Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Keighley - Airedale Town

During March 2009 comedian Mark Steel visited Skipton for his radio 4 show - Mark Steel's in Town. It was hilarious - so funny that my partner had to stop whilst driving in case he crashed!
One of the butts of Mark Steel's jokes was Keighley, where I work, which made it even funnier. But then I got thinking - I spend a good deal of my working life out and about in Keighley. What makes it a better town than Skipton?

Skipton has a castle but we have Cliffe Castle, the Victorian home of Henry Butterfield. It has extensive grounds and is packed full of treasures, history and art. Parking is ample and, even better, it is FREE!

Like Skipton, we have a steam railway but you don't have to drive out of town to travel on it. The Worth Valley Railway journeys from Keighley train station to Oxenhope, stopping at Ingrow, Damems, Oakworth, Haworth and Oxenhope. The Railway Children was filmed on the railway.

Keighley has many fine examples of Victorian architecture as it was once a wealthy town built on the wool trade. Cavendish Street, with its shops and glass canopy, links the train station with the commercial centre... and that glass canopy certainly keeps us dry on wet days!

Keighley Library is another architectural gem. Recently restored and modernised, it still retains it's original features. It's worth visiting the lending library upstairs to look at the murals.

Both our town centre shops and our market are undercover. Very sensible when you think how unpredictable the Yorkshire weather can be. You can wait for a bus under cover and park undercover too. There's plenty of parking on Hanover Street and Scott street and it's cheaper than Skipton.

On sunny days it's so pleasant to eat outside in the Town Square, surrounded by trees. Or visit Church Green, at the end of North Street, another peaceful spot.

Keighley is a place of cultural diversity and there are plenty of places to worship - the most stunning is the Emily Street Mosque. Just got the minaret to finish...

... and if it's culture you are looking for then visit the Arts Factory, Keighley's only contemporary gallery. Admission is free.

More culture? A few yards from the Arts Factory is The Picture House on North Street. Parking is in Scott Street, across the road.

Keighley is vibrant with colour thanks to the Keighley In Bloom committee and its local sponsors. The roundabout at the end of Showfield looks fantastic at the moment (particularly if you like orange).

A short bus/train ride away from the town centre are: wonderful East Riddlesden Hall, a National Trust property with a very large duck pond and historical Haworth, home of the Brontes. For more about Keighley and why it is worth a visit go to


  1. I'm guilty of visiting Skipton but not Keighley - I will have to rectify that soon :)


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