Illustrations: Emma Saynor (@emma_illustrates)
Ahh Otley – you inspire us with your traditional pubs, nifty little bakeries and your beautiful surroundings. All of this in combination with your thriving sense of love and community makes it seems like there is never a dull day when spent with you, as there is always something going on.
For those who don’t know, the town of Otley nestles in between Leeds and the Yorkshire Dales – which means we get the benefit of having it as part of our thriving city, whilst also getting to enjoy the quiet scenic vibe of the countryside at the same time. This means there are plenty of green spaces to explore in Otley, especially the likes of Otley Chevin and Wharfemeadows Park alongside the river. Otley’s natural landscape means it is perfect for walking, hiking and climbing/bouldering, which there are a number of clubs for.
Not a walker – but a cyclist perhaps? There are a great deal of opportunities for you to get on yer bike in Otley, and The Otley Cycle Club runs many different groups and activities for everybody, no matter your age! So if you want to ride solo or enjoy the view with others then Otley is the place. If you are into sports then there is also a short walk to the Rugby Club where you can get your game on!
Otley’s previously mentioned picturesque location makes it an amazing place for filming or snapping photos – so if you’re looking for some inspiration then Otley is a great place for you to capture. Several programmes such as Emmerdale and Heartbeat have the privilege of having Otley as a filming location – as it is only the best for proper Yorkshire soaps.
The town of Otley is heart to a lot of amazing independents, which only drives the community more and more. The abundance of bakeries and cafes make Otley a great place for a cuppa and some cake, and some of these little joints also host activities like art workshops and classes, which emphasises the creativity and culture this town has.
As true Yorkshire folk, we love ale and beer – and for this, Otley doesn’t disappoint. There a lots of traditional pubs in the town centre that serve local real ale and beer, some of said pubs are located within the marketplace which makes for a cosy atmosphere – especially great with the up and coming winter months. Many also host live music, making it a great place to drink any time of the day.
We mentioned the pubs doing live music, but the live music scene is a completely different ball game in Otley and it something it prides itself on. There are regular events from the Otley Ukulele Orchestra and the Otley A Capalla Choir for you to enjoy, as well as a folk festival which runs in September.
In addition to the cafes, bakeries and pubs – there’s a lot of independent traders due to Otley being a market town and many have stalls. As well as the market stalls there are nifty little craft shops, amazing bookshops if you are a booklover and charity shops to grab yourself something quirky.
For art and culture, there are a number of community spaces for the creatives in this town to enjoy. There is Otley Courthouse which is an arts and resource centre, which hosts a number of different classes from yoga classes to Spanish classes meaning there is something for everybody. It also acts as an exhibition space for a number of local artists to showcase their stuff. Otley also has Woolpack studios which is a community music and art space for people of all ages to enjoy.
Not to be missed is the iconic clock tower in Otley’s marketplace – which features a plaque that thanks the people of Otley for welcoming Belgia refugees in WW1. Well, we’d like to thank the people of Otley for making your town a place full of love, creativity and diversity and providing something for everyone.