Ilkley is a spa town and civil parish in West Yorkshire, in the north of England. Ilkley civil parish includes the adjacent village of Ben Rhydding and is a ward within the metropolitan borough of Bradford. Approximately 12 miles (19 km) north of Bradford, the town lies mainly on the south bank of the River Wharfe in Wharfedale, one of the Yorkshire Dales.
The town is popular with tourists and is overlooked by Ilkley Moor - see Yorkshire infobox for the traditional song warning against going there "baht at" ie without a hat. In the 19th century it gained its reputation as a spa town with the construction of Ben Rhydding Hydro, a Hydropathic Establishment. Charles Darwin underwent hydropathic treatment at Wells House when his book On the Origin of Species was published on 24 November 1859, whilst staying with his family at the nearby North View House (now Hillside Court). Tourists flocked here to 'take the waters' and bathe in the cold water spring.
- Leeds Bradford International Airport (LBA IATA) has flight connections across Europe and within the UK. It's 11 miles southeast of Ilkley and is more convenient for here than for Leeds or Bradford, as you dodge the city-centre traffic. This means that flying to London from Ilkley may make sense, whereas the train is always quicker for Leeds-London. Keighley Bus 62 runs direct from LBA to Otley, Ilkley railway station (one hour) and Keighley, M-Sa 06:00-18:00 every 30 mins; there are only five buses on Sunday.
- Consider using Manchester Airport (MAN IATA) for flights beyond Europe. There's a train direct from the airport to Leeds at least hourly.
- 1 Ilkley station has trains to and from Leeds/Bradford. During Monday to Saturday, daytime services run to/from Leeds and Bradford twice per hour. In the evening, services are hourly to/from both Leeds and Bradford Forster Square. On Sundays, services are hourly to/from Leeds and every two hours to/from Bradford.
- 1 Manor House Museum. Free entry, various exhibitions also held at the museum, contains many Roman materials.
- 2 Ilkley Toy Museum. Check website for opening times and admission prices. Houses collections of dolls, dolls houses and other toys dating from 350 BCE to modern times.
Hike the Dales Way, to Lake Windermere, over 80 miles through the Dales and into the Lakes.
- Rombalds Hotel (Best Western), West View, Wells Road, ☏ .
- The Wheatley Arms, Ben Rhydding, Wheatley Lane, ☏ .
- The moors around Ilkley are a popular place for walking pets. If an emergency occurs requiring veterinary attention, then Ashlands Veterinary Centre (119 Leeds Road, LS29 8JS, 01943 817000) is an exceptionally good local practice.