Yorkshire cycling website



Skipton Castle
Skipton Castle

Skipton is a town of 15,047 people (2017 estimate), on the Leeds and Liverpool canal, and near the river Aire. It has a historic castle, a bustling High Street with a regular market, and it's known as the Gateway to the Dales.

Name and history of Skipton

Skipton Castle Inn
Castle Inn, Skipton

Skipton grew up around its castle, which was first built in 1090 as a wooden motte and bailey construction by the Norman baron Robert de Romille (Wikipedia). He was lord of the estates of Bolton Abbey. In the 1100s, the castle was rebuilt in stone, to help repel attacks from the kingdom of Scotland to the north.

Skipton High Street
Skipton Free Library, on the High Street

After a Charter was granted in 1204, Skipton became a market town selling sheep and wool products. Indeed, the name of the town comes from the Old English sceap (sheep) tun (town). There are still sheep grazing in fields close to the centre of the town today, and there's a market on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. There's also the Auction Mart livestock market on the edge of town.

In the 1800s, Skipton became a mill town, helped by its links via the canal to Leeds, Bradford, and Liverpool.

In the 1900s up to the present day, the main industry became tourism. Tourists are drawn to Skipton because it's a pretty town, with a historic castle, and it's just on the edge of the beautiful Yorkshire Dales. Other than tourism, local people are also employed by Skipton Building Society, and in the recruitment business.

Skipton has a fair percentage of older inhabitants, and in 2012, the Craven district (centred on Skipton) was named the best place in England to retire.

The town of Skipton

Skipton church
Skipton church

The castle sits on the higher ground in the north of Skipton, and the church is next to it. The High Street, which runs down the hill from the castle, is lined with shops, many of them independent. It won an award for the best shopping street in Britain in 2008. There's a Marks & Spencer in Skipton, which is appropriate, since Thomas Spencer was born in the town in 1858.

Water Street and the canal run parallel to the High Street, just to the west of it. On the canal, in the south of the town, you can find canal boats, and the historic (dating from 1310) High Corn Mill.

Sport, leisure, and culture in Skipton

Because Skipton is on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, it's great for walking, cycling, and climbing. There are football, cricket, and rugby union clubs, as well as a cycle club.

Skipton castle is the most dramatic building in the town, even though Mark Steel joked about it being difficult to find or see in his Mark Steel's in Town show on Radio 4. At least the entrance is easily visible, but it is true that it's almost impossible to see the rest of it without paying to get in, because of the strategically high wall.

You can hire canal boats, and there are short canal boat trips

Skipton has two theatres, the Mart Theatre (at the Auction Mart), and Skipton Little Theatre. There are plenty of restaurants and pubs. You'll find beer from the Keighley-based Copper Dragon brewery in many establishments.

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UCI 2019 Harrogate circuit

Parliament Street, Harrogate

The Harrogate circuit is central to the 2019 UCI Road World Championships. The mixed team time trial is exclusively on it, and most of the other races will ride it after a route from elsewhere in Yorkshire. For example, the women's road race does three laps, and the men's road race does seven.

Discover the Harrogate circuit at the 2019 UCI road World Championships.

Bike lane, Manchester Parliament Street, HarrogateCote de Lofthouse