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Airedale - a visitor's guide to the attractions

Tower Works in Leeds From its birthplace at Malham, to its end near Goole, the Aire provides tremendous contrasts between industry, beauty and desolation.

It would be impossible to fuly explore Airedale here, so instead I've concentrated on some of the more touristy attractions - because this is after all a visitors guide.

Born at Air Head Springs near Malham, the Aire comes to life in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, amongst some of the most beautiful countryside in Yorkshire.

From there it wends its way through the lovely town of Gargrave, past Skipton with one of the most unique castles in the UK,  and round the back of Bradford via the world heritage site at Saltaire.

On it goes, still through beautiful countryside into the heart of Leeds, and finally winds its way across the flatlands until it joins the Ouse near Goole.

Impossible to do it justice, so here are some of the better known attractions, and hopefully over the years I'll find time to add some of the lesser known ones. This is, after all, a long term project. 


What to see in Airedale

Shipley Glen

Shipley Glen

Once a great Victorian pleasure ground - now just a beautiful spot in the country, ideally suited for a relaxing Summer's afternoon. Great for dog walking too.

Just a short walk from Saltaire, so it's ideal to combine a visit to the two - and not forgetting the historic tramway the last remnant of the areas's past glories.

Decent pub, tea room, ice cream vans. Well worth a visit



Yorkshire's second World Heritage Site. Saltaire is a victorian "model" village built by Titus Salt to house the workforce for his magnificent new mill. He provided everything for the workers from schools to libraries and everything in-between. The only thing he didn't provide was a pub - but there's two of those now. 

The buildings are to marvel at, but even better is that Salts Mill now provides a very unusual and very fine shopping experience. Plus there's the Hockney Gallery, where you might even start to like his work. Well worth a visit whether you like shopping or not.
Skipton Castle

Skipton castle

An unspoilt, small but still complete castle in one of the nicest little towns in Yorkshire. Absolutely unmissable and kids love it.

Still in private ownership and totally unique.
Armley Mills

Armley Mills Industrial Museum

One of the more interesting industrial museums. This one's located on the banks of the Leeds-Liverpool canal just outside Leeds.

Has some great collections including a steam railway, but the textile machinery is the star of the show. But sad to see just how much industry we've lost so quickly.

Cliffe Castle

Cliffe Castle

A quirky little social history museum in Keighley. Has an eclectic collection of ephemera - let's just hope they don't try and modernise it too much.
Leeds Liverpool Canal

Leeds Liverpool Canal - Leeds to Saltaire

Who would believe that the canal between Leeds and Bradford could be so beautiful. A great bike ride, or a nice walk catching the train home.

Ends at Saltaire and Shipley Glen, so plenty to see, and a short extension takes you on to Bingley five rise locks.

Malham Tarn

Malham and Gordale

Walks don't get better than this.

A wonderful half-day's walk from malham, to Malham Cove, up above onto the Limestone Pavements, then up to Malham Tarn and back down through Gordale, and finally home via Janet's Foss.


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