Located in the Yorkshire Dales, Otley is a charming market town that’s rich in history and culture. From exploring the ruins of Otley Priory to hiking the Chevin Hills, there’s something for everyone in Otley.
Whether you’re looking for a fun day out or just want to relax and take in the stunning views, Otley has plenty of activities for you to enjoy.
In this article, I’ll be revealing the 15 best things to do in Otley, England.
So, if you’re ready for a great day out, let’s get started!
Stroll Through Otley Chevin Forest Park
Take a leisurely stroll through Otley Chevin Forest Park – it’s a great way to explore this beautiful area!
Spanning over 200 acres, this scenic park offers a variety of trails for all levels of hikers. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, you’ll find plenty of hiking routes to choose from.
Keep your eyes peeled for the many species of wildlife that call the park home, such as red deer, foxes, badgers, and woodpeckers. You can even spot some rare species of butterflies and wildflowers if you’re lucky!
The park is also home to many historical sites, such as a 19th century quarry and the ruins of a Roman settlement.
As you wander through the park, you’ll get to take in some breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. From the top of the Chevin Ridge, you can see for miles in all directions.
So don’t forget to bring your camera!
Visit the Otley Museum and Art Gallery
Head over to the Otley Museum and Art Gallery to explore its captivating collection of art and artifacts!
Located in the heart of the town, the museum is a great place to immerse yourself in the history and culture of the region.
As you explore the museum, you’ll find a rich collection of artifacts from the Stone Age to the present day.
There are also art pieces from local and international artists.
The museum also holds regular events and workshops, which are perfect for families and those interested in the arts.
On the top floor, you can even find a cafe and gift shop.
The Otley Museum and Art Gallery is a great place to visit and learn more about the area.
Take a Tour of the Otley Courthouse
Explore the fascinating Otley Courthouse, a historic building filled with centuries of history! Built in 1847, the Grade II listed Courthouse is one of the oldest surviving buildings in the town. It was originally built as a courthouse and a police station and has been lovingly restored to its former function.
Today, it serves as a museum, providing visitors with an interesting insight into Otley’s past.
Take a guided tour of the building and discover its fascinating past. Learn about the history of Otley’s legal system, the people who worked and lived in the building, the various court cases that were heard there, and the different aspects of law enforcement. You can even explore the cells in the basement, once used to house criminals awaiting trial.
During the tour, you’ll also have the opportunity to explore the many artifacts and exhibits that are on display. It’s a great way to learn about the history of Otley and its people.
Explore the Ruins of Otley Priory
Uncover the secrets of the ruins of Otley Priory, an ancient site that dates back to the 12th century. Located in the picturesque Yorkshire Dales, the Priory is a must-do for history and architecture enthusiasts alike.
It is believed that the Priory was founded by Walter de Gaunt, a Norman nobleman, in the mid-12th century, and its ruins are some of the best preserved in the area. Take a walk around the grounds and explore the ruins of the Priory church, the cloister, and other ancient buildings. Be sure to look out for the ancient gravestones scattered around the site, which provide a fascinating insight into the past.
The Priory is a popular spot for outdoor activities such as birdwatching and picnics, as well as being a great place to just relax and take in the beauty of the site. The ruins are surrounded by a large area of grass and woodland, making it a great spot for a leisurely stroll. There are plenty of benches and picnic tables around the grounds, so you can really make a day of it.
The site also has an information board that provides an overview of the history of the Priory. So why not make a visit to the ruins of Otley Priory and uncover the secrets of the past?
Hike Up the Chevin Hills
For those looking to get active, the Chevin Hills offer a great opportunity to take in some breathtaking views while enjoying a challenging hike. Located just south-east of Otley, the Chevin Hills are a popular destination for hikers of all ages and experience levels.
With a variety of trails, they offer something for everyone. The rolling terrain creates a challenge for the more adventurous hiker, while the scenic views along the way make it a great spot for a leisurely stroll.
On a clear day, it’s possible to see all the way to Leeds from the highest point on the Chevin Hills. There are plenty of places to stop and take in the views, so it’s easy to find a spot to rest and admire the landscape.
Whether you’re looking for a short hike or a longer trek, the Chevin Hills have something for everyone. The trails are well marked, making it easy to find your way around, and the scenery is sure to make for a memorable experience.
Go Birdwatching at Bramhope Woods
Take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life to enjoy the beauty of nature at Bramhope Woods. Located just outside of Otley, England, Bramhope Woods is a picturesque spot for nature lovers and birdwatchers.
The woods are full of a variety of different species of birds, making it the perfect spot to observe and appreciate these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat. Bramhope Woods offers a tranquil environment with plenty of opportunities to get up close and personal with its feathered inhabitants.
With a variety of trees, shrubs, and other plants, the woods provide a safe and comfortable home for the birds, making it easy to spot them. In addition, the woods also offer a variety of different walking and hiking trails, making it the perfect spot for a leisurely stroll and a chance to observe the birds and other wildlife in the area.
Spend a Day at Weeton Ponds Nature Reserve
Immerse yourself in the beauty of nature at Weeton Ponds Nature Reserve, the perfect spot to explore and appreciate the wildlife and scenery of the Yorkshire countryside.
The reserve is located in the heart of Otley, and it’s a great way to spend the day outside and get some fresh air.
The reserve is home to a wide range of birds, such as mallard ducks, coots, Canada geese, moorhens, and herons.
You can also spot kingfishers, butterflies, and dragonflies around the ponds.
There’s a network of paths and boardwalks that make it easy to explore the area, and benches and picnic tables scattered throughout the reserve so you can relax and take in the views.
The ponds are a great spot for fishing, with plenty of different species of fish to be found.
You can also take a canoe or a kayak out onto the water and experience the reserve from a different perspective.
With so much to explore and discover, Weeton Ponds Nature Reserve is the ideal spot for a day out in the countryside.
Stop by the St. John the Baptist Church
Take a break from exploring nature and visit the impressive St. John the Baptist Church, located in the heart of Otley. This historic church is a must-see for anyone visiting the area, boasting beautiful Gothic architecture and stunning stained glass windows.
The church dates back to the 15th century and has been home to a variety of different worshipping denominations throughout its rich history. Inside the church, visitors can admire its intricate decorations, as well as its carefully preserved stained glass windows, which depict figures from the bible. The church is also home to several interesting artifacts, including a 14th-century font and a 15th-century altar.
The church also offers a variety of services and events, such as regular Sunday services, bible study classes, and concerts. No matter what you’re looking for, St. John the Baptist Church is sure to offer something special to its visitors.
Take a Boat Ride on the River Wharfe
Cruise along the River Wharfe and soak in the stunning scenery of the English countryside. Taking a boat ride on the River Wharfe is a great way to explore the town of Otley and its stunning surroundings.
Not only is it a great way to relax and take in the view, but it also provides an interesting perspective on the town and its history. The river runs through the center of Otley and is home to a variety of wildlife, making it a great spot for bird watching.
There are also plenty of places to stop along the way, including pubs, restaurants, and historic sites. The boat rides are typically an hour long and can be booked online or through local tour operators. A knowledgeable guide will provide interesting anecdotes about the town and its history as your boat glides along the river.
A boat ride on the River Wharfe is a great way to experience the history and beauty of Otley.
Wander Around the Otley Town Market
After a boat ride on the River Wharfe, I decided to take a stroll around the Otley Town Market. This weekly market is a great place to explore, with a wide variety of items on offer from fresh produce to handmade crafts.
There are plenty of stalls to explore, all with interesting items from local traders. I was pleasantly surprised to find so many delicious items to choose from, including fresh fruit and vegetables, homemade cakes, and locally brewed beer.
There were also many craft stalls selling jewelry, textiles, and woodworks. It was a great way to spend the day, and I enjoyed exploring the different stalls and discovering new and unique products.
Visit the Otley Old Hall
Experience the history of Otley Old Hall and be taken back in time to the medieval era with its traditional architecture and cobbled courtyard.
The building has stood in the same spot since the 1400s and is the oldest building in the town.
Its timber-framed structure, with its dark oak beams and plaster panels, is a beautiful sight to behold.
It was originally built for the Fountains, a powerful family of the period, and is now open to the public to explore its history.
The Old Hall houses a range of artifacts from the period, including artwork, tools, and weapons.
There are also interactive displays, with costumed guides to take visitors on a journey through the building’s history.
Tour the building’s chapel, great hall, and kitchen and learn about the lives of those who lived and worked in the house.
There is also a café on site, offering refreshments for visitors after exploring the Old Hall.
Enjoy a Picnic at the Chevin Park
Take a stroll through the lush greenery of Chevin Park and enjoy a peaceful picnic surrounded by nature. Chevin Park is a stunningly beautiful park located in the heart of Otley. Situated on the side of the Chevin Hill, the park offers breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.
The park is large enough to accommodate a variety of activities, including picnicking, jogging, walking, and fishing. You can also find a variety of benches and tables scattered throughout the park, perfect for a leisurely picnic.
The park is home to an abundance of wildlife, including squirrels, foxes, rabbits, and birds, so it’s an ideal spot to watch and listen to nature. The park also has a large playground for children and a pleasant café for refreshments.
With plenty of space to relax, explore, and admire the natural beauty of the park, a picnic at the Chevin Park is a great way to spend an afternoon in Otley.
Go Shopping at the Otley Shopping Centre
Head to the Otley Shopping Centre and explore the selection of high-quality shops for a great day out.
With a variety of stores, there’s something for everyone.
Enjoy browsing the local boutiques for unique items, or shop the larger stores for all the latest trends.
Many of the shops offer great discounts, so it’s worth checking out.
You’ll also find plenty of cafes, pubs, and restaurants, so you can take a break and refuel.
The Otley Shopping Centre also has a mobile app that can help you find the best deals and discounts.
There’s something for everyone at the Otley Shopping Centre, so it’s a great place to spend the day.
Stop by the Otley Parish Church
Stroll past the historic Otley Parish Church, a beautiful 15th-century church with stunning architecture that will take your breath away.
The church is located in the center of Otley, and it’s one of the most iconic buildings in the city. It’s one of the oldest churches in the area, and it’s full of fascinating history – it’s even said to have been visited by Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn in the 16th century.
The interior of the church is just as impressive as its exterior, with its impressive stained glass windows, intricate wood carvings, and ancient stone architecture. There’s also a peaceful chapel where visitors can take a moment to reflect and pray.
The Otley Parish Church is open to the public and free to visit. It’s the perfect spot to explore and get a glimpse of the area’s rich history and culture. There are also occasional events and services held at the church, so keep an eye out for them.
Whether you’re a local or a tourist, the Otley Parish Church is a must-see spot – you won’t be disappointed!
Have Fun at the Otley Playhouse Theatre
After visiting the Otley Parish Church, I was ready to experience the local culture in a different way. The Otley Playhouse Theatre is a great place to do just that!
This historic theatre offers a wide variety of live performances, ranging from musicals to plays, comedy shows, and more. It’s the perfect place to spend a night out with friends or family.
The theatre is housed in the beautiful Grade II listed building, which was built in 1788. It has a large auditorium that seats up to 300 people and is equipped with modern lighting and sound systems. There are a range of concessions available, including alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
The theatre also offers special events and discounts for students, seniors, and members of the military. With so much to explore, the Otley Playhouse Theatre is an ideal destination for anyone looking to experience the local culture and have a great time.
I’ve had a wonderful time exploring Otley, England and all it has to offer. There’s something for everyone here, no matter your age or interests.
From taking a tour of the Otley Courthouse to enjoying a picnic at the Chevin Park, I’ve had a truly memorable experience. Otley is a charming town and I’m glad I visited.
I’d highly recommend visiting Otley and experiencing the best it has to offer. Whether you’re looking for a fun day out or a more laid back experience, there’s something here for you.
I’m sure you won’t regret exploring the beautiful town of Otley.