This old monastic estate is now a giant country playground set against the striking backdrop of 12th-century priory ruins on a bend of the River Wharfe. On summer days, the estate’s trout river, its stepping stones and two shallow, sandy beaches are popular with family picnickers, and 85 miles of walking trails attract hikers. There’s also a couple of pleasant tea rooms, one beside the ruins, and the 1890s Cavendish Pavilion along the banks of the river north of the priory.
The priory was founded in 1154 by Augustinian monks and partially demolished after the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII in 1539, though the nave of the church became the village’s Parish Church and is still used as such to this day: it’s possible to go in and take a look around.
The 74a minibus runs from Ilkley and Grassington to Skipton on Mondays and Wednesdays, and on Sundays and public holidays the 874 bus runs from Leeds and the 873 from Skipton. There is a large car park at either end of the site.