We can all appreciate just how hard times are right now with what’s going on around the country due to Covid-19 and the devastating impact it’s having on our economy. This means we need to be smarter about some of the things we used to take for granted such as mini-breaks and holidays. Are you finding there’s just too much month left at the end of the money? Many of us know just how fabulously beautiful Skipton and the Yorkshire Dales can be and millions normally flock here each year to sample the delights.

What we have done here is to try and find activities in the area that all the family can enjoy, without breaking the bank! If you’re on a tight budget and let’s face it, many of us are right now, let’s see if we can inspire you to find something within your reach that can entertain, amuse and stimulate the imaginations of the whole family!

If you know anything about Skipton at all, then you will know about the fabulous Medieval, Skipton Castle that proudly stands guard over us. It’s believed to be one of, or perhaps THE best preserved Medieval castle in the country and is mentioned by William the Conqueror (William 1 of England) in his Domesday book of 1085; now that’s history! The castle is fully rooved and has dark corners, plenty of stairs, tiny rooms and vast ones, an air of mystery ad intrigue.

It is now privately owned by the Fattorini family who have a very successful jewellery business in Harrogate close by. They live in one wing and the rest of the building is open to the public and really is a must-see. If you have ever read any of the C. S. Lewis books from the Chronicles of Narnia such as The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, bear them in mind when you enter the courtyard! I am always transported to Narnia each time I enter it with its square shape, ancient Yew tree in the centre and stone mullioned windows looking out onto it. This image might give you an idea of just what I mean.

Skipton Castle Courtyard The castle is a fantastic backdrop for all kinds of events and activities and if you check their event calendar and time it right there are things such as battle re-enactments, archery contests, craft fairs and all kinds of things going on. So pick your favourites and book then to maximise the enjoyment.

The guides at the castle are very knowledgeable so pick their brains, kids in particular normally have tons of questions, so make the most of their expertise and find out all you can about the chequered history of this wonderful building!

Just behind the castle we have Skipton Woods, which is a wonderful walk peaceful and tranquil with lots to see. It is approached down the narrow stone steps at the side of Mill Bridge and again the kids will love it. The picnic area with its bench and seats at the foot of the steps is a perfect place to enjoy your lunch and of course picnics help when you’re counting the cost! The beck runs past and overflows into the Leeds to Liverpool Canal and used to power the watermill that can still be seen, although sadly no longer functional.

When you make your way through the woods you circumnavigate the rear castle wall and looking up from a worm’s eye view, it’s easy to see why the castle proved impossible to breach during the English Civil War.