Discover the most accessible attractions around Ilkley with these great days out.
When considering days out with friends or family, it is always essential to ensure the chosen venue is accessible for everyone. Read our guide to the top attractions around Ilkley that have great disabled access.
Remaining physically active and mentally engaged in different activities is key to ageing well. Visiting different places within your local area is a great way to prevent isolation and loneliness and can help you or your loved ones remain connected to your local community. This is especially important given the challenges of the pandemic on our mental and physical health over the past two years. There are many places to visit across Ilkley, Otley, Skipton and North Bradford that are accessible or wheelchair friendly. These days out are great for reminiscing about the past or sharing activities with different family generations – there is fun for everyone!
Displaying toys from 4th Century BC to toys from the present day, reminisce about your childhood favourites at the Ilkley Toy Museum. Explore the toys that defined history, from dolls and dolls houses to teddies, soldiers and games, there is something for everyone. Whilst this museum is only open on Saturdays and Sundays, there are some great collections to explore.
Whether you enjoy musical performances, comedy shows or family entertainment, there is an exciting line-up of shows at the Kings Hall and Winter Garden located close to the centre of Ilkley. Kings Halls is part of Bradford Theatres – a theatre group which has won awards for their accessibility.
Take a step back in time on these vintage steam trains from the last hundred years that travel between Embsay and Bolton Abbey Stations. You can even enjoy afternoon tea, breakfast or a ploughman’s lunch onboard! There are a variety of different carriages to explore, many of which have featured on BBC and ITV programmes. This makes for a great day out as you can start your journey at either of the stations, with the travel between both taking 15-20 mins and making the total return journey an hour long.
For those that are mobile and would like to do so, it is a 1.5 mile walk to the spectacular Bolton Abbey from Bolton Abbey Station.
Exploring the Bolton Abbey Estate is a great day out for all the family! Whether you visit the Abbey itself, take one of the many walking trails through the estate or visit the Cavendish Pavilion tearooms, there is so much to do at this very picturesque location. For those who may be less mobile, following the road through the estate provides a great snapshot into the area and provides brilliant views across the River Wharfe and the surrounding valley before finishing at the Cavendish Pavilion tearooms.
At nearly 1000 years old, Skipton Castle is one of the most complete and best-preserved medieval castles in England. It is found at the end of Skipton High Street and from here you can explore the castle’s dungeon, the Watch Tower, the Chapel and the enchanting Tutor courtyard with adjacent Banqueting Hall.
Due to the history of the building, whilst much of the castle is not accessible for those with reduced mobility or wheelchair users, however the main grounds, which also provide great views of the front of the castle are accessible, as is the shop and tearoom so there are ways that you can see and explore this historical building.
Part of the National Trust, East Riddlesden Hall was built in 17th century by a wealth Halifax cloth maker with Tudor interiors and foundations dating back to the 10th Century. Discover what life was like in the 17th century by exploring the house, gardens, tearoom and medieval tithebarn at East Riddlesden Hall. There is also a children’s play area and Discovery Garden for children to play in, making it suitable for all the family.
Visit this UNESCO World Heritage Site that was created to help Victorian mill workers escape the pollution and poverty of inner-city Bradford in the 19th Century. Sir Titus Salt, a wealthy mill owner in Bradford, bought a small area of land outside Bradford and alongside the Leeds Liverpool canal to build his model village, Saltaire, centred around Salts Mill, a large textile mill to help improve the lives of the mill workers through better working and living conditions. As part of the town development, he built houses for the mill workers with better water and sanitation, schools, shops, a library, a hospital, a park and church, wash houses, public baths and alms houses for the poor and elderly.
People continue to live and work in Saltaire – you can easily explore the town in a couple of hours or can visit Salts Mill, now an art gallery containing an extensive collection of artworks by local artist, David Hockney. The mill is very accessible for wheelchair users and there are several cafes/restaurants inside plus a variety of shops to visit whilst you are there.
As the largest of Bradford Districts parks, St Ives Estate in Bingley has a great range of activities suitable for all the family across a variety of wooded areas, meadows, moorland and ponds. Explore Coppice ponds on an accessible, level-surfaced walk and feed the ducks before heading into the Ivy Kitchen café (also known as Lady B’s café) for some tasty treats. The children’s Adventure Playground is also accessible and is sure to be a highlight for any visiting grandchildren!
Take a ride through Brontë Country with this vintage railway line running from Keighley, Ingrow West, Oakworth, Haworth and Oxenhope Stations. Each of these have great historical features so hop-off on your journey to learn more about each one. Discover 150 years of history by taking a ride on one of the many vintage carriages for this 5-mile journey which has been featured in the original ‘Railway Children’ film and the newly released ‘The Railway Children Return’. The railway has endeavoured to make as many carriages as possible accessible for all, but it may be worth checking with the railway about specific requirements on 01535 645214 or [email protected] .
There is also the opportunity to hop-off and explore Haworth – the home of the famous literary sisters – the Brontë family.
Learn more about the nineteenth century literary family, who’s publications include Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall at their home, the Brontë Parsonage in Haworth. At the Museum, you can see manuscripts, early editions of the novels, letters, clothing and furniture. Whilst the cobbled streets of Haworth may be steep, you may be able to explore some of the shops at the top of the street, plus the Brontë Parsonage Museum has wheelchair access to the ground floor.
Take a tour around the home of Victorian millionaire and textile manufacture, Henry Isaac Butterfield, now hosting a variety of local history and art exhibitions accessible on the ground floor, with many accessible routes around the rest of the park. Restore energy at the Pavilion Café before visiting the formal and ornamental gardens around the house. There is also a children’s play area, pond, glass house, wildflower area, bandstand and aviary to explore! Whilst the museum and the surrounding grounds are accessible with wheelchairs, hearing and visual assistance is not always available.
Located in Lister Park, Cartwright Hall opened as a gallery in the early 20th Century and hosts a collection of Victorian and Edwardian artwork across a variety of exhibitions and galleries. Internationally renowned local artist, David Hockney, has a gallery at Cartwright Hall showcasing some of his early work. The museum has lifts which enables access to all floors and exhibitions. Alongside the exhibitions, there is also a café and the green flag-awarded grounds of Lister Park are wheelchair friendly and are great explore. They even have a boating lake, adventure playground and Mughal Gardens!
Only half an hour from Ilkley, the Alhambra Theatre showcases some of the best West End and nationally-recognised shows and hosts Yorkshires biggest panto. The Alhambra is part of Bradford Theatres – a theatre group which has won awards for their accessibility. Whether you love singing along to a musical, get lost in the magic of a ballet or are mesmerised by a performance from the Royal Shakespeare Company, there is something for everyone at the Alhambra.
Hosted in Bradford, the first UNESCO City of Film, this museum explores image & sound technologies and their impact on our lives. From photography, film and television to animation, videogames and sound technologies, there are a variety of different media forms to learn about. You can even watch a film in the UK’s first IMAX theatre or enjoy a snack in their café!
“I love visiting Bolton Abbey – it’s great looking out over the river and the Abbey. We’ve hosted some great client events here too, but I also love visiting with friends. The treats at the Cavendish Pavilion are definitely worth sampling !” Operations Manager – Home Instead Ilkley
There’s plenty of exciting accessible days out around Ilkley and North Bradford, whether you love learning more about the history of the area, discovering train journeys of yesterday or seeing modern artworks by leading artists, there are some great places to explore around Ilkley. There are many easy-to-reach attractions around Yorkshire that are as unusual as they are interesting so get exploring with your loved ones!