Skipton (also known as Skipton-in-Craven) is a civil parish and historic market town in the Craven district of North Yorkshire, England. It is a popular tourist destination in its own right, as well as being a convenient base for visitors to the Yorkshire Dales (the town is known as 'The Gateway to the Dales').

The town has a population of 14,313 according to the 2001 census.


The town of Skipton is known to have been in existence since 1085 as it is listed in the Domesday Book. It played roles in history during the English Civil War and as the site of a prisoner of war camp during World War I.


Skipton lies within the Parliamentary Constituency of Skipton and Ripon, which was created in 1983. The constituency has returned a Conservative MP since its inception. The seat is currently held by David Curry MP

Skipton forms part of Craven District, a Non-metropolitan district, and is home of the offices of Craven District Council. In 2007 there proposals to make North Yorkshire County Council a unitary authority, removing the layer of government represented by Craven District were rejected.

Skipton also has its own town council.


The town's major local employer is Skipton Building Society and its subsidiary companies. Tourism and retail sales are also significant: the wide main street used to host the sheep market, but now a general market is held there four days a week, and livestock is auctioned at the Auction Mart on the western edge of the town.

Amenities and Culture

Skipton has many pubs, two nightclubs, and restaurants ranging from traditional fish and chips to high quality French cuisine, taking in modern British, Mexican, Thai, Indian, Chinese and Italian.

Skipton Little Theatre theatre is located near the town centre. The Mart Theatre is an unusual and unique venue. Opening in October, 2005 with funding from the European Regional Development Fund, Yorkshire Forward, Craven District Council and the Arts Council England, it aims to provide a unique rural theatre, events and other facilities within a functioning Auction Mart.

Skipton is twinned with the Bavarian town of Simbach.


Skipton lies close to the junction of the A65 road (from Leeds to the Lake District) with the A59 from York to Liverpool. The north section (A65 & A59) of the £16.4m Skipton Bypass opened in December 1981. The rest of the six-mile bypass (A629) opened in October 1982, greatly reducing journey times to the Dales.

Skipton railway station gives access southbound to regular services for Leeds and Bradford on the electrified Airedale Line; northbound services connect to Lancaster, Morecambe and Carlisle; the latter route is along the famously scenic Settle-Carlisle Railway, passing over the Ribblehead Viaduct.

Skipton Bus Station is a hub for local bus services.


Primary education

There is a wide variety of choice for pupils at ages 5-11:

  • Roman Catholic:
    • St Stephen's Catholic Primary School
  • Church of England:
    • Christ Church
    • Parish Church (informally known as Brougham Street) Primary School
  • Non-denominational:

Secondary education

As well as Aireville School (ages 11-16), there are two single-sex grammar schools: Ermysted's Grammar School for boys, and Skipton Girls' High School (SGHS). Both schools are selective (by entrance exam) and obtain comparable high A-Level scores. On the basis of the 2007 A Level results Ermysted's and SGHS were rated first and third respectively in North Yorkshire, Ermysted's ranking 49th nationally.

Further education


Skipton is the home to Skipton Town A.F.C., Skipton Bulldogs, and Skipton LMS, all football clubs; Skipton CC and Skipton CI, both cricket clubs; and Skipton R.F.C., a rugby union club. The Coulthurst Craven Sports Centre, adjacent to the rugby club, has many facilities including all-weather football pitches and squash courts. There are several other gyms in the town as well as a public swimming pool.

Notable people

A number of notable people have been born in Skipton. The philosopher Henry Sidgwick was born in Skipton in 1838. Thomas Spencer the co-founder of Marks & Spencer was born in Queen's Court, Skipton in 1858. The American mathematician Thomas William Edmondson was born in Skipton in 1869. Geoffrey Dawson the editor of the The Times from 1912 to 1919 and from 1923 until 1941 was born in Skipton in 1874.

Two politicians were born in Skipton; the former Conservative MP and Chancellor of the Exchequer Iain Macleod in 1913, and the Labour MP Joan Humble in 1951. Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill's personal physician during the Second World War Charles Wilson the first Baron Moran was also born in Skipton in 1882.

The former Manchester City footballer Rick Holden was born in Skipton in 1964. The actress Elaine Glover who has appeared in Footballers' Wives and HolbyBlue was born in Skipton in 1983.

See also


External links

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