During our trip back home to Yorkshire, we stayed for a week in Ilkley. I love Ilkley. The plan has always been to move back to Ilkley one day. It still is our plan. If anyone knows of a company in the area looking for freelance writers then please let me know 😉 . Anyway, I digress, here is my guide to Ilkley.
What the locals say about Ilkley:
A little gem
It really is! Easily commutable to Leeds, less than half-an-hour on the train, and within spitting distance of The Dales. Ilkley is the best of both worlds. Surrounded by stunning moors and a fantastic array of shops. What’s not to love? Perfect for families and couples alike.
What can you do?
There is so much to do in and just outside of Ilkley. A short train ride and you are in Leeds with its art galleries, museums and new shopping mall! As well as the new shopping mall you can find the stunning Victoria Quarter. Just be warned, you will find yourself seduced by the shops. So many pretty shops and not enough money!
In Ilkley itself there are lots of lovely shops that are perfect for a peruse. However, you might prefer to strap on your walking boots and go exploring the moor. Climb to the top of the Cow and Calf rocks and reward yourself with lunch at the nearby pub. There is also the wonderful lido that can be used in the summer months. A short stroll from the shops and you will find the riverside walk that has a brilliant little park for children. In addition, there is the Toy Museum near the train station. Alternatively, why not take a short bus ride and visit the very beautiful Bolton Abbey in its wonderful grounds with the River Wharfe and fantastic woodland walks? But hold on tight to the hands of little ones as the river is fast flowing at certain points.
Where to eat and drink?
Ilkley is spoilt for choice with independent bars to your bigger chain restaurants. You can find Carluccio’s at the end of The Grove. A lovely little spot with seats outside to watch the world go by. We loved it so much that one day we went for coffee and cake and then dinner in the evening. The staff are brilliant and really welcoming. This is perfect for families. You can also find a Pizza Express right next to the station. If you are without children then you have to try Bar Ta’t with its extensive beer menu and delicious home cooked food. A recent addition to Ilkley is Friends of Ham, a wonderful deli and bar where you can feast on platters of meat and cheese while sipping on the finest wine.
Where to stay
Ilkley has a number of fantastic hotels, one of them being the Best Western Rombalds. However, if you are looking for somewhere really family friendly then check out the self-catering apartments at Westwood Lodge. A short stroll from the centre of Ilkley, these apartments are perched on the edge of the moor and amazing value for money. We stayed in a two bedroom apartment and I could have easily moved in. A beautiful apartment with stunning views.
We arrived to find a homemade Victoria sponge waiting for us. That cake was divine, light as a feather.
The bathroom boasted a roll-top bath which my two loved. Ok, I may have loved it too.The bedrooms were lovely and stylish but also welcoming. They both had the most comfortable beds!
In the gardens there was a play area for the children, including a trampoline and, best of all, friendly pigs who liked to eat your left-overs. At the top of the house (where the apartments are) there was an amazing reading room, offering wonderful views. Even better there was a rooftop terrace.
This was a lovely spot for enjoying a cup of tea •cough• wine.
Would you love Ilkley?
If you are looking for a family break then there is plenty to do for families. Ilkley offers a slower pace of life but it still has a lovely buzz about it. It is also great if you are looking to be close to a city and all of its facilities but not right in the thick of it. Ilkley offers a lovely romantic getaway and an amazing retreat for couples, with its cosy bars and restaurants.
Looking for somewhere for a half-term break? Then try Ilkley and sample some of that lovely Yorkshire charm.
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