Guide to Skipton - The Gateway to the Dales

Skipton is a bustling market town and a thriving shopping and business centre. It has an excellent selection of shops, a busy outdoor market 4 days a week, many interesting pubs and restaurants, cinema, a renowned livestock mart, and a range of places to stay. Skipton High Street was awarded ‘High Street of the Year’ beating London’s Kensington High Street and Portobello Road.

Justifying 'The Gateway to the Dales' name, just north of Skipton are the limestone Dales of Wharfedale. South are the gritstone moors of the South Pennines, east is the West Yorkshire conurbation – served by three trains per hours on the route to Leeds, and west is the rural Ribble valley.

An ancient market town

Founded in the 7th century, Skipton (a corruption of Sheep Town) was granted to the de Romille family in 1066. They built the castle fortress, leading to the regular market for food and produce, and from the castle and nearby church the town expanded around the market place.

Skipton Castle passed to the Clifford family in 1309, becoming their residence for over 300 years. It played a part in the Civil War, with much of the present castle dating from that 1650s period. The Castle is superbly preserved and open to the public daily.

As roads developed, Skipton became an important wool trading centre with an established livestock market. In 1770 the Leeds-Liverpool Canal arrived in Skipton, bringing industrial development, notably in clothmaking and corn milling. A famous product was Sylko sewing thread made at Dewhurst’s Mill.

More recently, Skipton Building Society has developed into one of the UK’s largest and a major employer in the town. Numerous smaller businesses have found Skipton an ideal location, including cruise specialist Blue Water Holidays.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal in Skipton Skipton Castle
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