If you are looking for charm combined with vibrancy, great amenities and beautiful countryside, then Living in Ilkley could be your ideal location.
The magnificent Victorian spa town of Ilkley in West Yorkshire is set in an idyllic location. Situated in Lower Wharfedale, partially straddling the River Wharfe it is surrounded by breathtaking countryside and is regularly voted as one of the best places to live. On the north side of the river, the exclusive hamlet of Middleton enjoys south-facing views and a rural feel.
Ilkley gained prominence during the 19th century as a spa town, attracting thousands of visitors seeking fresh air, fine cuisine, and a vibrant social atmosphere. Opulent hydro hotels were constructed, and affluent guests arrived by horse-drawn coaches to partake in the therapeutic benefits of the local waters. Today the town is still favoured by the well-heeled – and no wonder, with its close-knit community, plethora of independent shops and other businesses and great transport links.
There is an active sporting community in the area and multiple facilities and clubs including Ilkley Golf Club, Ilkley Rugby Club, Ilkley Lawn Tennis Club, Ilkley Pool and Lido and hockey at Ben Rhydding Hockey Club.
So, if you are thinking of living in Ilkley, here is what you need to know …
What Types of Property Are There in Ilkley, Yorkshire?
Living in Ilkley, you will have a choice from a wide selection of property types, from stone farmhouses to substantial period properties and million-pound homes in tree-lined cul-de-sacs to smart apartments.
Because Ilkley has a historical significance, some homes will be in conservation areas, meaning any development will need to be in keeping with the original historic architectural settings. Many newer homes are built to keep within the town’s aesthetic.
Schools in Ilkley
Ilkley and the surrounding area have several successful schools, colleges and other establishments, including the University of Law in Leeds and the nearby University of Bradford.
Primary Schools In and Around Ilkley
Ashlands Primary School;
All Saints C of E Primary School;
Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School Ilkley;
Secondary Schools In and Around Ilkley
Ilkley Grammar School – a co-educational state school for students aged 11-18;
Otley Prince Henry’s Grammar School – this is a co-educational state school and specialist language college for students aged 11-18;
St. Mary’s Menston – a co-educational school for pupils aged 11-18;
Independent Schools Near Ilkley
Moorfield Primary School, a co-educational, non-denominational school for students aged 2 -11;
Bradford Grammar School – a co-educational school for students 6 -19;
Westville House School – a co-educational day school for pupils aged 2 – 11;
Institute of Islamic Education – a boys’ day and boarding senior and sixth form school.
Green Spaces in Ilkley
Living in Ilkley, in the heart of the country, you will be surrounded by quaint villages and miles and miles of rolling countryside.
Situated at the southern end of the Yorkshire Dales, if you are seeking open spaces and fresh air, you will be spoilt for choice.
For those who relish an active lifestyle, living in Ilkley is an ideal choice. The famous moorland caters to hikers and rock climbers, while cyclists frequent the area’s scenic routes. Yet, what truly sets Ilkley apart is its harmonious blend of urban amenities with stunning countryside vistas.
Riverside Gardens, Ilkley
Explore the scenic beauty of Riverside Gardens, just a short walk from Ilkley and a delightful park that offers a picturesque escape into nature. Nestled along the banks of the River Wharfe, this tranquil oasis provides a perfect setting for strolls, picnics, and moments of relaxation.
Meander along the winding paths and enjoy the vibrant flora that graces the park. The gently flowing river adds a soothing soundtrack to your visit, making it an ideal spot for unwinding and contemplation.
This park is an excellent destination for families, friends, and individuals seeking a peaceful and natural retreat. You can bring a picnic to savour by the riverside, or simply find a bench to watch the world go by.
There is a designated play area as well as a skate park and a Pétanque terrain.
The inspiration for the Yorkshire anthem “On Ilkley Moor baht ‘at”, Ilkley Moor was inhabited as far back as the Stone Age and the land was farmed for many thousands of years. Even today, you can get a glimpse of its long history by looking at the many carvings thought to date back to 1800BC.
Right on the doorstep, Ilkley Moor offers a unique opportunity to not only soak in its amazing panoramic views but also to enjoy walking and rock climbing.
Ilkley Quarry is home to the famous “Cow and Calf,” a striking rock formation. These rocks get their name from their resemblance to a mother cow and her calf, with one being considerably larger and the other situated nearby.
Darwin Gardens, Ilkley
Darwin Gardens Millennium Green is conveniently located just a short walk away from the heart of Ilkley town. Take a stroll around the area and bask in the stunning vistas of Ilkley Moor that envelop this picturesque spot. The Green offers picnic tables and seating.
Beyond its charming setting and diverse wildlife habitats, the Millennium Green incorporates elements inspired by Ilkley’s evolution throughout the ages. This includes a nod to Charles Darwin’s residency during the initial publication of ‘The Origin of Species’ and his connections with historic buildings that grace the surroundings of the Millennium Green.
There are several different walks to enjoy, including the Darwin Gardens Trail, pretty streams, footpath bridges and lots of wildlife to spot.
Ilkley, Yorkshire Transport Links
You will be well-connected living in Ilkley. The civil parish boasts two railway stations: Ilkley and the nearby Ben Rhydding, both interconnected by the Wharfedale Line. Northern Trains operates services along this line, connecting Ilkley with Leeds station (around 30 minutes). London is around three and a half hours away by train (one change).
Leeds Bradford International Airport is conveniently located less than a 30-minute drive from Ilkley, offering air travel options for the area.
Ilkley is situated along the A65 road, which stretches between Leeds and Kendal. The closest major motorways to the area are the M62 in Bradford, the M1 in Leeds, and the A1(M) in Wetherby. London is around a four and a half hours drive away.
Places to Eat, Drink and Shop in Ilkley
Ilkley has lots of quirky and interesting shops and a beautiful Victorian shopping arcade. There are a wide choice of dining options, from independent cafes and fine tearooms (including the very famous Betty’s Tea Rooms) to Indian, French, Turkish, Italian and Spanish cuisine in one of the many independent restaurants in the town. There are also bars and pubs where you can enjoy locally crafted beers.
The town has a twice-weekly market selling crafts, local produce and tasty treats while the surrounding shopping area has bookshops, clothes shops (well-known high street brands as well as independent boutiques), and antique shops. For those looking for more of a shopping mall experience, Leeds City is around 45 minutes away by car.
The town regularly hosts events such as the Ilkley Literature Festival and the Ilkley Art Trail, plus the town has a quaint cinema where you feel like you have stepped back in time.
Why Move to Ilkley?
This charming West Yorkshire town, nestled in the picturesque Wharfe Valley, originally gained fame in the 19th century for its therapeutic air and rejuvenating moorland waters, drawing visitors from far and wide in search of its health benefits.
Today, it has evolved into a haven for hikers exploring the iconic Cow and Calf Rocks overlooking the town, while tourists and residents alike delight in its numerous tearooms and boutique shops.
Ilkley is a highly desirable place to live, not just for its scenic beauty but also for its exceptional transport links, its array of beautiful homes, the magnificent countryside and its top-tier schools.
Living in Ilkley
If you’d like to find out more about living in Ilkley, Garrington Property Finders will be delighted to help you find your dream property. Please contact us today for a no-obligation chat.