Wednesday, 6 April 2016


Ilkley Moor, Yorkshire
View from the Cow and Calf on Ilkley Moor
Ilkley Moor, Yorkshire
Ilkley is a town that we have included in our posts before, so we thought we would kick off our new mid-week post with this visitors guide to Ilkley and give you some insights into our favourite places to visit, eat and shop.  

Easily accessible, being on the train line from Leeds and Bradford, the spa town of Ilkley is popular with visitors and is nestled between the moors and the River Wharfe.  Famed by the song "On Ilkla Moor Baht 'at'" it is only a 1.3 mile walk from the town centre to the Cow and Calf rocks, a climb well worth making when greeted by magnificent views - proof of which is in these pictures, all taken near the Cow and Calf. 

Ilkley Moor, Yorkshire

And don't worry - there is a great pub/restaurant right by the car park for the Cow and Calf with outdoor seated area, fabulous for sunny evenings.  There is also an informal cafe at the foot of the rocks in the car park.  

Cow and Calf, Ilkley, Yorkshire
The Cow and Calf Pub 

The River Wharfe flanks the other side of the town, less than 5 minutes walk from the town centre,  and provides some easier walking along its' banks, with distant views of the moors.

River Wharfe, Ilkley, Yorkshire

River Wharfe, Ilkley, Yorkshire

Shopping in Ilkley is centred around The Grove.  Here you will find clothes shops, cafes, bookshops and the ubiquitous charity shops that populate most English towns nowadays. There is even a dedicated shop for dogs - Barkers, which includes a spa and groomers, food and treats, accessories and even - wait for it - a Baby Barkers with everything you need for a new puppy!  

Ilkley, Yorkshire
Betty's Cafe and Tea Rooms on The Grove 

But most famous of all is Betty's Cafe and Tea Rooms which combines olde world charm with amazing delicacies served between 9am and 5.30pm.  It also includes a shop where you can buy amazing cakes, breads, teas and coffees, so don't go home empty handed.

Betty's Tea Rooms, Ilkley, Yorkshire

Ilkley has an amazing array of restaurants and cafes.  Amongst our favourites are Friends of Ham, which serve specialist beers, wine, sherry, cheeses and charcuterie in the beautiful Victorian former Ilkley Gazette offices on Wells Road.  Great for a lunchtime snack or a full evening meal, the restaurant is open every day from 10am, closing from around 10pm, depending on the day. 

Friends of Ham, Ilkley, Yorkshire
Friends of Ham on Wells Road 

Filmore & Union on The Grove is another regular haunt.  Offering fresh, healthy, unprocessed foods accompanied by amazing smoothies, fresh juices and hot drinks.  This is somewhere you don't realise you are "eating healthily"  and is great for breakfast, brunch or evening meal.  And dog lovers' are welcome to.... so nip to Barkers for your doggy treats and then here for your own treat.   There is an outside seated area for warmer days with blankets and heaters  to keep you warm, while the inside has a fresh and rustic charm.  Well worth a visit. 

Filmore & Union, Ilkley, Yorkshire

Filmore & Union, Ilkley, Yorkshire
Filmore and Union on The Grove 

If a French-inspired Bistro is more your style, then head to Monkmans on Cunliffe Road.  Try out the fish, which is delivered daily, and is featured on the Specials blackboard.  They are open for lunch and dinner but as it is a small restaurant we would recommend booking. 

Monkmans, Ilkley, Yorkshire
Monkmans on Cunliffe Road 


If you are only wanting a coffee and snack then head to La Stazione - probably the best coffee in town and such a friendly staff.  Right next to the station, so handy for take out too.

If you like bread then visit Toast House on Leeds Road who are open during the day.  And vegetarians can pop into The Veggie which is just a couple of doors down.  Although, not so appropriately, just over the road is the award winning butchers Lishman's which is also worth a visit.

We have previously mentioned The Little Teahouse which is just off the main car park and others include Cafe J and Smooth.  

Other restaurants we favour include Le Bistrot Pierre which does a particularly good pre-theatre menu,  La Qunita Bar and Grill , which is right next door to Friends of Ham, and Piccolinos for Italian where we would recommend heading to their roof terrace for the amazing ambience, The Moody Cow for your meat fix or The Olive Branch for fabulous, reasonably priced Greek food and located a short walk from the new Ilkley Cinema, possibly the most bijou cinema in the country, where you can have drinks and pizza served to you in your seat (sorry, sofa) while watching the latest film. 


Of course, we couldn't let you down with just mentioning The Grove.  There are lots of fabulous shops all located near the main car park in the centre of town.  One of these include Nora's a lovely, quaint shop on Church Street with mix of interior and gift ideas.  

Nora's Ilkley Yorkshire
Nora's on Church Street. 

Nora's Ilkley Yorkshire

We've got to mention Covet again, just in case you didn't get the message before that this is our go to shop on every visit to Ilkley. 

Covet Ilkley Yorkshire
Covet, rear of The Grove 
Baytree Interiors Ilkley Yorkshire
Baytree Interiors on The Grove Promenade 
And Baytree Interiors doesn't disappoint either with a wide selection of home accessories, lighting, stylish gifts and furniture. 

Baytree Interiors Ilkley Yorkshire
Other shops worth paying a visit include:
Maison - furniture, home accessories, jewellery, clocks and soft furnishings 
Morgan Clare - for top end women's designer clothes
5th Avenue - women's clothing and a good place for Joseph Ribkoff lovers 
Moda in Pelle - for shoes 

But Ilkley includes other main stream shops such as Laura Ashley, Clarks Shoes, Phase Eight, J Crew, Joules, White Stuff, Fat Face and M & Co so there is plenty for everyone .  And for the men, there is always Mortens -  billed as Yorkshire's famous hardware store.  Yes, even hardware can be fun.  



  1. Stunning place. I haven't been there for so long

    1. It is very pretty and particularly lovely on a sunny day.

  2. Beautiful photos and Betty's café and tea rooms looks amazing!
    I will have to add Ilkley to my list of places to visit. :)

  3. We love Ilkley - but beware that Betty's gets very busy at peak times. They do breakfast and dinner as well though!


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