The following and their links are provided as sources of useful information on the town and the surrounding area. Pure Pilates Ilkley has no responsibility for their accuracy.
Ilkley rose to fame as a Spa town in the nineteenth-century when thousands visited for fresh air, good food and the lively social scene. Today's visitor can look forward to an equally stimulating experience. The earliest traces of settlers in Ilkley can be found on the moors above the town. Strange carvings on the stones, called ‘cup and ring' markings from their shape, were created by ancient man, one of the more famous being the ‘Swastika Stone'.
The rocks are easily seen from public footpaths. Later the Romans were tempted by Ilkley's riverside charms and established a small fort on the road from York to Manchester, calling it Olicana.
Grand hydro hotels were developed by the Victorians and wealthy visitors arrived by coach to ‘take the waters'. The arrival of the railway in 1865 allowed the middle classes to visit the town and smaller establishments were opened to cater for their needs. Ilkley boomed in the Victorian era and the legacy of the age is the wonderful collection of private and municipal architecture.Ilkley history
Charles Darwin visited in 1859 to take the waters and is reputed to have revised his book 'On Origin of the Species by Natural Selection' in Ilkley.
After two years of planning and fund raising, the first Festival was launched by W H Auden in April 1973, in one of the poet’s last public appearances. At first biennial, the Festival became a regular yearly event by 1988, going from strength to strength. Over the last thirty five years innumerable famous authors have passed through its doors – from international figures and Nobel prize winners to poets like Ted Hughes and Benjamin Zephaniah. There have been residencies, literary walks, discussions, commissions, workshops, exhibitions, performances & moments of high drama.more information
Today the Festival is held over a two week period at the start of October in this miniature Victorian spa town at the foot of Ilkley Moor – surrounded by beautiful countryside – but only fifteen minutes from Leeds Bradford airport and a stone’s throw from Haworth, Harrogate, Leeds and Bradford. The Festival is supported by Arts Council England Yorkshire and Bradford Metropolitan Council who also provide the Festival with two tiny offices in a listed Victorian cottage on the site of a Roman Fort in the grounds of the Manor House Museum.
Ilkley Literature Festival
As J.B. Priestly said, writing of the very first Festival:
‘Ilkley is the right size for a Festival town…large enough to provide various amenities and small enough to stroll around and run into everybody.’
The King's Hall and Winter Garden are located in the heart of Ilkley. The Hall comprises a traditional theatre and with the adjacent glass roofed spa Winter Garden is perfect for weddings or social functions. The King's Hall and Winter Garden currently host a wide range of events and community provision, from local amateur dramatic and performing arts companies, weddings and parties to lifestyle fairs and community events, as well being a key venue for the Summer Festival held in August.
The auditorium of King's Hall is a delightful multi-functional space that consists of a small balcony and eight bow fronted boxes, richly decorated with busts of famous authors and composers. The stalls seating area is flexible and can be modified to suit all requirements. The Winter Garden is a handsome reception area featuring a grand staircase leading to a curved iron balcony. The spa lantern glass roof provides a delightful focal point to this flexible and attractive space. King's Hall and Winter Garden are available for hire for many functions including Weddings and Corporate events.
Built in the 30's it retains some of the Art Deco charm of that era and is a fantastic place to spend a sunny day with the family. There's a huge, sparklingly clean and fresh unheated outdoor pool with fountain and toddler paddling end; plus plenty of space to swim seriously. The brave can swim on the cooler days - wet suits are allowed and many use it to practise for outdoor events such as Windermere races.
There's a heated indoor pool which has laned swims, adult only sessions and family fun inflatable times. On sunny days the cafe is open for hot and cold snacks But the best thing about it is the open air - there are tennis courts and places to have a picnic, and its setting by the Bluebell Woods and close to the river make it an idea day out.
From the outdoor pool you can imagine you're in Switzerland - the atmosphere is so much fresher than an indoor pool, and from water level you can't see any traffic or much signs of civilisation at all - just Iklley Moor to one side and the wooded hill to the other. Perfect.
Ilkley Playhouse is a not-for-profit charitable organisation run by a Board of Trustees and is staffed almost entirely by volunteers drawn from its extensive membership We have no regular funding, so every job has to be done by willing helpers while every penny spent is earned through the box office, our other activities and industrious fundraising efforts.
We encourage new members to “have a go”, whether their interest is in acting, directing, making costumes or sets, or pulling pints on the bar. And we provide training to help you develop your skills, so if you would like to learn the mysteries of stage lighting or want to join our regular Front of House team, looking after our audiences, there’ll be someone to show you how.
We strive to provide high quality entertainment and to be a community resource, giving opportunities to all who wish to participate. Balancing the enjoyment of creating productions with the demands of maintaining a financially sound business can sometimes be a struggle, but our first aim is to be a warm and welcoming place for all visitors and participants.
Ilkley is a beautiful small Victorian town surrounded by the famous Ilkley Moor and ancient woodland, close to the lovely Yorkshire Dales and already has much to offer the tourist. The Ilkley Gallery’s mission is to support regional artists and to heighten the profile of visual arts in Ilkley all year ’round. The Ilkley Gallery uses non-gallery space (eg wine bar, hotel, osteopath, solicitors reception area…and so on), around Ilkley to exhibit local and regional artists.
Exhibitions are ‘pop-up’ by nature and have the relatively long exposure of three months. We curate solo and group exhibitions – bringing art to people socialising and going about their daily business, reaching people who might not normally enter a traditional gallery space, for whatever reasons. 2011 saw Ilkley’s first Art Trail including Open Studios and exhibitions in unusual spaces.
Walks around Ilkley & the Moors
Pure Pilates Ilkley has no responsibility for the accuracy of the above. They are provided as brief information on the town and the surrounding area.