Skipton Castle: A Complete Guide to Visiting Skipton Castle

Nine hundred years of history is a hard thing to comprehend. And, staring at the remarkably maintained structure of Skipton Castle, you quickly find yourself stumbling over the concept.

Civil Wars, World Wars, and even the antics of Medieval England – Skipton Castle has seen it all. It is easy to rush out on walks in the Yorkshire Dales, but don’t miss out on the history under your nose. If you are planning a visit to Yorkshire (or, better still, a stay in Skipton), I highly recommend carving out space for a visit.

To prepare you for visiting Skipton Castle, I’ve compiled a complete guide. Happy exploring!

Where is Skipton Castle?

An aerial view of Skipton Castle.
An aerial view of Skipton Castle via Skipton Castle.

Skipton Castle is in the market town of Skipton, which sits on the border of the Yorkshire Dales National Park in Northern England.

Skipton Castle is at the top of Skipton High Street and is easy to spot for visitors. It is within walking distance of all Skipton’s attractions and the best shops.

Why is Skipton Castle famous?

Skipton Castle is a Grade 1 Listed medieval castle and is revered as one of the best-preserved in its age category. Seriously, how incredible is it that you can walk around an essentially still functional 900-year-old castle?

Aside from its age, preservation standard, and historical importance, Skipton Castle was also home to the Cliffords. The Cliffords were instrumental as military leaders in the War of the Roses and political campaigners – so Skipton Castle had some extremely important residents.

What to expect when visiting Skipton Castle

Skipton Castle courtyard.
Tudor courtyard via Skipton Castle.

The best thing about a well-preserved castle is that all the rooms are still intact. Instead of trying to picture what a few crumbling stones would have looked like as a watchtower, you can look straight in front of you!

There is an open-air Tudor courtyard, cobbled floors, original stone steps, and a number of contraptions like a chute for kitchen waste. Also, keep an eye out for carvings and grooves, as each holds a historical and sometimes personal insight into the old everyday happenings.

Allow around two hours to visit Skipton Castle thoroughly, as you’ll want to take in the minute details and fully appreciate the architecture.

One thing I will say is that a guide or at least some direction is required to get the most from Skipton Castle. If you don’t know where to look, it is all too easy to overlook a memorable detail or feel underwhelmed in empty rooms.

Luckily though, pre-booked visitors can request a guide at no extra cost. If you want to be able to ask questions and engage with an expert, this is a clear choice. You can book online here.

At the very least, I’d suggest picking up a free tour sheet to help guide you around independently. You can enquire on arrival for your free copy.

What are the Skipton Castle prices for entry?

I have compiled the 2022 entry rates for Skipton Castle into the table below.

 Children under 5Children (5-17)AdultsOver 65sAdult group (15+)Family (2 adults and up to 3 children)
Ticket price (£)Free6.9010.209.209.20 each34.00

Where is the Skipton Castle car park?

There is a paid car park onsite at Skipton Castle. The Bailey Car Park has 193 car spaces and four coach bays – so you shouldn’t be pushed to find a spot even during peak visiting hours.

All-day parking costs £4.50, while, after 2 pm, it costs only £2.50 per vehicle. Bailey Car Park is open seven days a week from 9:30 am until 6 pm, which is perfect for convenient parking.

Alternatively, you can find a free street-parking spot and then walk to Skipton Castle.

What to expect when walking around Skipton Castle Woods

Skipton Castle Woods.
Skipton Castle Woods via Skipton Castle.

Skipton Castle Woods has not only been a beautiful, natural surrounding for the castle for nearly a thousand years.

The woodland provided all the necessary resources to maintain Skipton Castle, which was especially important during times of sieges and crises. The trees provided firewood for heating and timber for building. The waterways – which still run today – provided fish to catch and vital freshwater. The history of Skipton Castle and its woods are heavily intertwined.

Nowadays, you can explore Skipton Castle Woods for free and as an added addition to visiting Skipton Castle. There is a pavemented trail of approximately 2 miles looping through the woodland, crossing many wooden bridges, and running alongside the old waterways.

I’d highly recommend visiting Skipton Castle Woods after the castle. It is a perfect one-hour stroll to really put history into a natural perspective.

Skipton Castle Quickfire FAQs

How old is Skipton Castle?

Skipton Castle is over 900 years old.

What are the Skipton Castle opening times?

Skipton Castle opens every day at 10 am and takes the last entries at 5 pm. The castle only closes on the 23rd, 24th, and 25th of December.

Who owns Skipton Castle?

The Fattorini family owns Skipton Castle.

Why was Skipton Castle built?

Skipton Castle was built to help keep Scottish armies out of Northern England.

Who built Skipton Castle?

Robert de Romilly built Skipton Castle.

Who lives in Skipton Castle?

The Fattorini family has a private residence at Skipton Castle.

Are dogs allowed in Skipton Castle?

Yes, dogs are allowed on a short lead in Skipton Castle.

Is Skipton Castle worth visiting?

Absolutely, Skipton Castle is definitely worth visiting!

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