Saltaire is a cracking day out for the family and it’s so close to the Ilkley area. It’s a picturesque village, featuring beautiful Yorkshire stone houses that once belonged to the workers at the mill, but there’s more to it than that. With great, fun activities, fantastic places to eat and a wealth of history, it’s the perfect destination. Find out how to fill your Saltaire family days here.
Saltaire Family Days Video
Getting to Saltaire from the Ilkley Area
Salts Mill is the focal point of the village. A sprawling, beautiful Victorian mill, it stopped producing cloth in 1986 and is now home to art, shopping and places to eat. The huge open-plan halls provide a chance for young kids to wear themselves out, whilst older children will enjoy learning more about the history of Saltaire.
The mill is closely associated with Bradford artist David Hockney, and his work is everywhere you look. You can find food and drinks from snacks to full meals, and shops that sell everything from fancy homeware to lutes. Seriously – lutes!
The bookshop is a particular treat and they often put on events for kids and adults, so keep an eye out for what is going on when you visit.
Roberts Park is a beautiful open space across the river from the mill and is another great place to burn off energy. There’s a children’s play park, but you can also take a football or cricket set and make your own fun on the sprawling lawns. A great cafe offers refreshments and the gardens are ideal for a stroll too.
Shipley Glen Tramway
The Shipley Glen Tramway has, on and off, been taking visitors up and down Shipley Glen since 1895. Whilst at the top, you can visit the Old Glen House pub, or simply explore the open countryside of Baildon Moor. The tramway is open most Sundays, and on Saturdays between March and December, plus a few bank holiday Mondays. It costs £2 for a return adult ticket and 50p for kids for a short, but fun journey.
Saltaire Guided Walks
You can join guided walks of the village throughout the year, finding out exactly what it was like to live there in Victorian times. Some of the guides even perform their duties in character, which is particularly popular with visiting children. Kids love finding their names on street signs (most of the roads are names after village founder Titus Salt’s family members) and adults seem to find the name of Fanny Street funny for some reason.
At various points through the year, there are special events that take over the village.
The festival takes place every September and celebrates art, culture and community. There are live musical, theatrical and comedy performances, a food festival and family events in the park. The best bit? There’s loads of free events to keep you and the kids entertained.
Saltaire Arts Trail
The Saltaire Arts Trail usually takes place on the late bank holiday weekend in May, but 2018’s event is in the diary for 5th to 7th May. The concept is simple – display a load of art in places where art usually isn’t. The whole village becomes a gallery, with outside spaces, people’s homes and all sorts of other venues displaying pieces.
Saltaire Advent Calendar
The Saltaire Living Advent Calendar started in 2006 and is a fantastic idea. Each day between 1st and 24th December, a different resident displays a festive scene in their window. They stay on show until 5th January and various businesses around the village present additional scenes to add to the fun. It’s perfect for filling your festive Saltaire family days, running around spotting the windows.
There is a great mix of shops in Saltaire, from the arty gift shop, Radstudio! on Victoria Road, to Saltaire Vintage Shop a little further up. The mill hosts plenty of opportunities for retail therapy too. Vintage fans flock to the village for the Rose and Brown vintage fairs that take place at the Victoria Hall. The local firm also runs record fairs at the Caroline Street Social.
Eating and Drinking
- Address: Salts Mill, Victoria Rd, Saltaire BD18 3LA
- Phone: 01274 531163
Salts Diner is the large cafe/restaurant in Salts Mill and offers a menu of snacks and main meals in a light and airy, relaxed location. The food is great, the service quick and friendly and my eldest can’t get enough of their strawberry milkshakes.
- Address: 79 Victoria Rd, Saltaire BD18 3JS
- Phone: 01274 597818
Part of the Real Junk Food Project, Saltaire Canteen aims to reduce food waste by creating meals using food that would otherwise have gone to waste. There’s always something delicious on the menu and you are encouraged to pay what you feel for your meal. This video explains more:
Don’t Tell Titus
- Address: 6-7 Victoria Rd, Saltaire BD18 3LA
- Phone: 070 9330 4689
The name of this bar and restaurant is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the anti-booze stance held by the man who built the village to house the workers at his mill, Titus Salt. There’s a fascinating mix of meals available, with English, Indian and continental breakfasts, burgers in the bar and ostrich fillets in the restaurant!
Saltaire Family Days Parking
Be aware – much of Saltaire village is residents-only parking, so always check the signs. There are a few car parks; on Exhibition Road, Caroline Street and at the United Reformed Church, but they do fill up quickly, especially when there are big events on. You can park in the spacious Mill car park and wander up into the village on your Saltaire family days out or leave your vehicle further up the hill and walk down.
Alternatively, Saltaire lies on the Skipton train line. Take the train from Ilkley to Shipley and change – Saltaire is one stop on from there.