A town just over the Lancashire border gained a reputation for being a ‘little Ibiza’ earlier this year after hitting the headlines. The historic market town of Skipton received the nickname at the start of 2023 thanks to its nightlife.
Bars “boomed out club music every week” starting at 6pm and finishing at 3am, it was claimed, and that “the nightclub takes this on until 5am”, YorkshireLive reports. The claim that Skipton, usually called “the gateway to the Yorkshire Dales”, caused a bit of stir among locals.
Our colleague Megan Banner at YorkshireLive decided to investigate whether partygoers were still causing issues for Skipton’s residents. Yet she also discovered that the town’s hospitality scene might just be what makes it so special. Here’s what she found out.
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Skipton’s residents have actually hit back at the negative connotations – agreeing it is a busy little place but one that is thriving and “always has something going on”. They say that a little bit of liveliness at night is actually great for the community.
The town attracts a lot of visitors, whether it’s just passing, for a walk, to see its stunning castle or to venture round its quirky high-street full of independent shops, pubs, bars and restaurants. For me, and many others, it has got to be its thriving pub scene.
It boasts 85 pubs and bars, according to TripAdvisor anyway. That’s quite an impressive amount for a small town on the foot of the countryside.
With 85 places to eat and drink, you can imagine it gets pretty lively on a Friday or Saturday night. Despite it not being most people’s first choice for a night out, over places like Leeds, the little North Yorkshire town actually has lots of venues to chose from and is known for how lively it can get on a weekend.
There’s everything from cosy pubs with open fires to trendy bars – so you can party in Skipton no matter the vibe. It also has lots going on throughout the year which brings in literal coach-loads of tourists.
Samantha and Steph, who work in the Red Lion pub in Skipton, said: “Skipton is always busy, there is always something going on, so it’s always busy. The pubs are packed most of the time, especially on a weekend.
“We have sheep day, medieval markets, Christmas makers, goats nativity, food markets, Artisan markets, all sorts. When they do something they close the main road off as well so it’s just full of people and they all drink in the pubs. There is always something good going on which always keeps us busy and keeps customers coming in.
“It is such a community spirited town and I’m sure it was said to be one of the happiest places to live, its known as the gateway to the Dales, it’s just a lovely place.”
Bret Hepper, who was visiting from a nearby village, said: “We do come here [Skipton] sometimes to go to the pubs, we only drink in certain pubs like the wine bars. It gets very lively on an evening, we often visit because we only live in Settle down the road – we’ve been here many times.”
Ann Taylor added: “I’m just visiting today, I only live down the road, but I visit often. It’s poor market wise today but I always come for shopping, to go to the supermarkets etc… but there isn’t really much else here.
“I don’t really come for the pubs but there are loads of pubs and restaurants here, people often come here do go to pubs and things it’s quite lively. It brings money into the town.”
As a tourist to Skipton I can say I have visited a few times to go to the pubs and have a wander around the idyllic little town, often on the way home from the Dales – I love the pubs, how warm and welcoming they are, especially in the winter with their open fires and total cosiness.
I love how spoilt for choice you are and in honesty I would much rather go to Skipton to drink in the pubs on a Saturday afternoon than I would go into Leeds. It won’t be the last time I visit that’s for sure.
As for it being comparable to a “mini-Ibiza”, I think that’s a bit of a stretch. You can certainly get your fill of booze and food in Skipton but the class of the punters mean it retains its charm whatever time of day or night it is.
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