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Skipton is a sizeable traditional market town at the southern end of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, on the River Aire and also on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.
The village arose around Skipton castle, a Norman castle that is still the most imposing monument in the town. The most important industry in Skipton has changed again during the 20th century with the historically important mill industry giving way predominantly to tourism.
The town is picturesque to explore, with the centre including some attractive cobbled streets and based around the canal and the castle. Especially lively to visit on market days (Skipton market days are Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday), Skipton also has a very wide selection of facilities including numerous pubs, eateries and shops.
Apart from the market, most shops are based along and near the High Street, and in the Craven Court shopping centre. Be sure to venture into the many smaller side streets around the centre where numerous further small shops and cafes etc can be found
The small museum in the Town Hall has exhibits looking at the long and changing history of the town, while a nice way to appreciate the surroundings is from a boat trip along the peaceful canal - these trips start from Skipton town centre. Alternatively you can walk along the short section of canal that leads from the centre to below Skipton Castle.
A popular trip from the town is to take a ride on the steam train that runs through picturesque countryside from Embsay (on the edge of Skipton) to Bolton Abbey, while Bronte Country around the village of Haworth is to the south of Skipton.
The castle at Skipton was originally a Norman stronghold, built towards the end of the 11th century, but is has been significantly reinforced and altered over the intervening centuries. Much of the substantial building we now see dates from the 14th century, with modifications from the 16th-17th centuries..
The castle, one of the most intact medieval castles in Britain, stands beyond the end of the High Street and is entered through an imposing stone gateway with towers either side that allows passage through the defensive walls. Inside there is a courtyard called Conduit Court, with a yew tree planted by Lady Anne clifford in the 17th century, and many imposing rooms to explore, including the banqueting hall and the kitchens, the dungeons and the towers.
Map of Skipton and places to visit
Skipton places to visit
See more places nearby in the North Yorkshire guide