Living in Ilkley: What Life is Like in the North’s Most Desirable Postcode


Posted on Thursday, July 15, 2021

Living in Ilkley: What Life is Like in the North’s Most Desirable Postcode

The Sunday Times recently listed Ilkley as the north’s most desirable postcode in its definitive Best Places to Live Guide 2021. For those living in and around Ilkley, this inclusion will come as no surprise because waking up to the charm of this stunning spa town in the middle of the Yorkshire Dales never gets old. But, for those thinking of moving to Ilkley, what makes living in Ilkley so great? And, how much would it really cost to relocate? 

The Cost of Living in Ilkley

 Following the pandemic and several lockdowns later, Rightmove has noted a surge in house moves to the north of England, from cities to rural areas with increased demand across Yorkshire, where pretty towns like Ilkley are no exception. The demand for outdoor space as a priority factor when moving house has increased by 42% compared with 2019, described as the “emotional legacy of lockdown”. So, if you’re looking to uproot in favour of more outdoor space, a property in Ilkley might be for you with many houses featuring large adjoining gardens, flats offering communal outdoor spaces, and, of course, the Yorkshire Dales is right on your doorstep.

House Prices in Ilkley

According to Rightmove, Ilkley house prices are above the national average, at £464,145 over the last year accounting for the sales of terraced and detached houses and flats available in the area.

However, Ilkley has plenty of affordable homes for any potential suitor at any budget. Rightmove’s data shows that the average family home in Ilkley, for example, a four-bedroom terrace, would set you back an average price of £370,000, depending on your choice of location. A 2 bedroom house in Ilkley could cost around this price or less, depending on where in the town you’d prefer to reside.

There is a wide variety of home styles available in Ilkley, from Victorian stone terraces in the town centre to period homes in the southeast or modern homes across the River Wharfe. All of which are a stroll away from the bustling centre of town, local amenities and transport links.

Neighbouring villages within the vicinity of Ilkley also offer equal charm. The village of Middleton offers modern suburban homes that boast views across the Wharfe Valley. Ben Rhydding has some gorgeous and affordable period homes with a good primary school in the area. Other primary schools in Ilkley that are rated “outstanding” according to Ofsted include The Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School, Ashlands Primary School and All Saints CofE Primary School, as well as Ilkley Grammar School for secondary education.

It’s a great time to consider moving, with interest rates so low and the extension of Stamp Duty for all, not just first-time buyers. If you’re thinking about moving to Ilkley, we suggest contacting a local, reputable Yorkshire-based solicitor who understands the Yorkshire market to guide you through the process.

Well connected?

Ilkley is a well-connected town, a commutable distance either via car, rail or bus travel to Leeds, Bradford, Skipton and even Harrogate and York. The train into Leeds or Bradford takes around 30 minutes, leaving at 30-minute intervals with reliable rail links to Harrogate, York, taking an hour and a half, with tickets starting at £5.60 for a round trip.

Places to Visit Near Ilkley 

Ilkley is surrounded by beautiful countryside, famously having the Yorkshire Dales on its doorstep. Ilkley Moor is just a short walk away from the town centre, offering stunning panoramic views of the town and the surrounding Wharfe Valley. Up the moor, you can see the infamous Twelve Apostles Stone Circle, the Cow and Calf Rocks, Ilkley Tarn, and walk back through the Darwin Gardens. Also, the town is a stone’s throw away from the start of the Dales Way hiking trails, Otley Chevin and Bolton Abbey, all suitable for walkers of all abilities. 

Within the town centre itself, there is plenty of greenery and open space. Relax by the banks of the River Wharfe on sunny days, or stroll the beautiful Riverside Gardens nature and wildlife area in Ilkley Park. Each of these activities will cost you only as much as you wish. For example, you may want to park closer to the start of a walk for the day. Luckily, there is plenty of car parking in the town centre, available at a very reasonable cost.


Ilkley is a great place to enjoy a bit of retail therapy, with a fantastic range of shops along the length of the high street (The Grove) from independent boutiques like Nora’s Interiors & Gifts or The Grove Bookshop to well-known favourites such as Oliver Bonas and White Stuff. Plus, there’s a great range of charity shops if that’s more your style! When the shopping is complete, there is a fantastic range of inviting cafes and restaurants that line The Grove to lure you in for a treat.

Food & Drink in Ilkley

There’s an abundance of places to eat and drink in Ilkley, including local independent cafes like Toast House, Daniel’s Cafe & Bistro, La Stazione and The Commute Cycle Cafe of which offer fantastic lunch options and cater to all dietary requirements. The star of the show being New Brook Street Deli, Ilkley’s very own mother/daughter venture. Offering artisan produce, take-out food, fabulous cakes & speciality coffee. Ilkley is also home to the multi-award-winning restaurant The Box Tree, an unforgettable food experience in the heart of Yorkshire. There is even a local branch of Betty’s in the town centre, perfect for a mid-afternoon chomp down on their famous fat rascal or to grab a cup of tea with the family. Other popular haunts include Banyan, for a cocktail night out or classic British pubs like The Flying Duck or the Cow and Calf, perfect for an evening out or to fill hungry bellies after a walk up Ilkley Moor. With the price of a pint in Yorkshire costing you around £3.70 – one of the cheapest in the country – you can’t go wrong!


Ilkley has a rich history, with old Roman roads and forts littered around the town, a legacy as a very fashionable spa retreat, and links to Charles Darwin; this town has a lot to offer all ages and interests. For family days out, popular attractions include museums, such as the Ilkley Toy Museum and the Manor House, set in the Wharfe Valley. Or, try the Ilkley Lido or the Clip’ n Climb indoor theme park for oodles of fun for the whole family!

Several local events take place throughout the year in Ilkley, including the annual Ilkley Literature Festival, the Ilkley Summer Festival and the Real Food Ilkley Markets. As well, Ilkley Playhouse is located in the heart of Ilkley and offers productions suited to all ages. The town centre also boasts a boutique Ultra 4k screen independent cinema that makes for an ideal rainy day treat.

So, is Ilkley a nice place to live? With views like this, it’s hard to imagine the answer is anything but “yes”! But is it affordable? Considering everything you can do in and around the area and what it has to offer in terms of day to day living, we feel like every penny spent investing in living here will be worth it.

But why not take it from the people that know best and see what the locals have to say? 

The stunning spa town of Ilkley has so much to offer its residents. With a rich history and culture, plenty of restaurants and cafes to choose from, an unrivalled shopping scene and, of course, being on the doorstep of the Yorkshire Dales, it’s no surprise that living in Ilkley is rated so highly. Come and see it for yourself!