Words by Chloe McLaughlin, photography by Mark Davis
Surrounded by villages and sandwiched by the Yorkshire Dales and the Forest of Bowland, it’s not surprising that Settle attracts thousands of visitors every year. There’s something for everyone from shopping to outdoor activities to a plethora of history and culture.
A historic, seventh century market town, Settle first obtained a Market Charter in 1249. Since then a market has been held every Tuesday with a variety of stalls selling local goods from fresh food to fashion and fancy goods. To this day, the market runs every Tuesday indoors at the Royal Oak pub with an outdoor market directly opposite.
“Walkers, cyclists and horse-riders flock to the area to take advantage of the many off-road trails”
Settle has enjoyed a colourful history from providing base for Cromwell’s Army in 1651 to being a cotton spinning hub in the 1800’s. Much of the town is listed as a conservation area with many of the buildings listed including ‘The Folly’ a seventeenth century, Grade One listed house in the centre of Settle. Home to the Museum of North Craven Life it holds a variety of exhibitions throughout the year. Current exhibitions include ‘Back in Settle’ and Settle Captured in Wool’ both running until 24th September.
Settle is also the starting point for the famous Settle-Carlisle railway. First opened to passengers in 1876, it takes passengers on a 72-mile scenic journey through the Yorkshire Dales. The railway isn’t the only attraction for those seeking the stunning scenery Settle has to offer. Walkers, cyclists and horse-riders flock to the area to take advantage of the many off-road trails available including the Settle Loop, a challenging ten-mile circular that forms part of the Pennine Bridleway.
Nearby in Clapham are Ingleborough Caves, first opened in 1837, features include stunning cave formations and artifacts dating back millions of years. Settle provides the perfect base for experiencing the breath-taking views on offer.
Ensuring the equine companions of the riders in the area are fit for the trails are Dalehead Vets. Offering high quality veterinary service, Dalehead ensure the health of all animals in the area offering only the very best care and attention. Taking on both agricultural and companion clients, Dalehead cover a large area including North Lancashire, North Yorkshire and South Cumbria. As well as the surgery in Settle, Dalehead also have a branch in Benthan and a farm office in Gisburn.
With an abundance of beautiful wilderness including an array of wild flowers, it seems fitting that Settle hosts its own Flowerpot Festival. Visit Settle in August and you will be greeted by a number of flowerpot creations. Most businesses have one and a flowerpot trail guide can be bought from the Information Centre.
No doubt supplying some of the flowerpots is Lay of the Land, a family owned garden centre. Green-fingered patrons can find a variety of locally sourced plants from the North of England meaning they can take home a piece of the gorgeous greenery that draws them to Settle. Visitors can also enjoy hearty, local grub and what they believe to be the best coffee in the world at the Garden Centre Café. The centre opens 9-5 from August to February.
The flowerpots can be seen until 4th September coinciding with the Settle Folk Gathering Weekend that runs from 31st August-4th September. There will be a range of free folk events including concerts and workshops.
Camping will be available all weekend for those attending but if camping isn’t quite your thing there is no need to worry. Settle has a number of guesthouses including The Lion, a characterful pub that offers a warm Yorkshire welcome for all. As well as providing four-star accommodation with spacious, pet friendly rooms, The Lion also offers an excellent food and drink menu. As a Thwaites pub, they offer exclusive cask ales brewed in their craft Lancashire brewery, as well as wines and spirits. They also take pride in their menu, which showcases local in season produce. There’s something for everyone from hearty Yorkshire breakfasts to
delicious Sunday Roasts making The Lion the perfect stop.
Settle is proud to house a variety of independent traders, many of whom have won National Awards including Drake and Macefield. They are Craven’s longest established traditional butchers and are committed to providing local food to local people with all of their meat sourced from local farms.
As well as providing the area with delicious meat, they also make award winning pies and pastries. Their popular steak and kidney pie won a Diamond Award at the Annual Smithfield Awards, the highest accolade possible. As well as their shop in Settle, they also have one in Skipton.
As well as being a hotspot for quality food, Settle is a hub of cultural activity. Supplying the theatrical offerings for the area is The Richard Whiteley Theatre. Based in the grounds of Giggleswick School and named after the Countdown host who was an active supporter of the school, the theatre hosts touring theatre companies and screens films Upcoming events include The Handlebards’ A Midsummer Night’s Dream on August 5th and a screening of Carmen on The Lake on 14th September.
“As well as being a hotspot for quality food, Settle is a hub of cultural activity”
The Richard Whiteley Theatre isn’t the only cultural offering, though. Settle is also home to the smallest art gallery in the world, Gallery on the Green, which is situated in a red telephone box.
For a truly inspirational experience head to the outskirts of Settle to The Courtyard. The Courtyard is a treasure trove of crafted furniture, art and design.
Housed by The Courtyard are Dalesbred. Owners Simon and Sally Robinson have been creating handmade furniture for 25 years. Following the philosophy of William Morris – “Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful” – Simon
creates stunning furniture while Sally works wonders on forlorn furniture, saving much-loved pieces from the skip by repairing and recovering them so they can enhance the next generation of family life. Dalesbred also offer interior design services and have a curtain-making showroom.
Also situated in The Courtyard is local mill, Abraham Moon’s first lifestyle shop. Abraham Moon have been operating for over 175 years and create consistently stunning tweeds and fabrics. As the last mill in England to take in raw wool and handle the entire production process through to the finished cloth, it’s no wonder that designers such as Vivienne Westwood and Ralph Lauren use their wools. The lifestyle shop is Moon’s only clothing shop selling an exclusive range of stylish country wear. They pride themselves on bringing classic designs bang up to date with quirky buttonholes and contrast stitching. They have a wide range of items available including tweed and wool jackets, shirts, knitwear, rugs, throws, cushions, gifts and much more.
If all the arts and crafts on offer have you working up an appetite, The Courtyard is also home to The Courtyard Brasserie where Richard Wright offers local, seasonal British food with a twist. With an open plan kitchen, beautiful art and open all day, The Courtyard Brasserie is the perfect place to enjoy quality Settle produce. From a delicious breakfast
to indulgent afternoon teas to light bites or a delicious Sunday Lunch, it’s the perfect place to stop no matter what time of day it is.
A favourite with visitors to Settle is the curiously named Ye Olde Naked Man Cafe in the town centre. Look on the outside wall and you’ll see the ‘naked man’ dated 1663. It’s thought to refer to the building’s former use as an undertakers, with the idea you come into the world naked and leave it the same way. For many years now, it’s been, it’s been a popular cafe with its own bakery… and no nudes!
With so much on offer, Settle is the perfect place to visit. From a day trip to a full weekend enjoying the Folk Gathering, there’s something for all the family to enjoy.