West Yorkshire

Otley is a market town in the Leeds metropolitan district of West Yorkshire.

Leeds is 12 miles away by road.

A small number of homes on the outskirts of the expanded town are in the Harrogate district of North Yorkshire.

Otley was granted a market charter by King Henry III back in 1222 and there are still open market days, now on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays in the Market Square. The clock tower in the Market Square was built to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1888.

The town lies beneath a high wooded ridge, known as The Chevin, along which ran a Roman road between York, Tadcaster and Ilkley. A stone carving believed to date from the Bronze Age, has also been found there.

Carved wood furniture designs made Otley-born Thomas Chippendale famous in the 18th century. Chippendale was born in the town in 1718 and after moving to London, aged 30, he published a pattern book which would make him one of the best known cabinet makers of the century.

The town lays claim to having the oldest one-day agricultural show in the country with a history stretching back to 1796. The show is held in mid-May at the showground at Bridge End.

In the graveyard of All Saints' Church in Otley is a memorial to the 24 men who died during the construction of the Bramhope railway tunnel over four years between 1846 and 1849 which is in the image of the tunnel's elaborate north portal.

Otley has a number of claims to TV fame. It features as Hotten in the award-winning TV soap Emmerdale. In the 1960s-based TV police series Heartbeat, made between 1992 and 2010, Otley's courthouse was the location for Ashfordly police station, although most other scenes were in the North York Moors where the story was set. Otley has also been a location in the TV crime series DCI Banks.

 Town features

Otley is close to the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Otley is on the Six Dales Way, a 38-mile waymarked trail between Otley and Middleham.
The town is on the River Wharfe.
The town has a range of shops and supermarkets. Otley offers bakery goods, books, clothes, flowers, furnishings, an outdoor market (Tue, Fri, Sat).
The town has a Post Office.
Otley has banks.
Otley has a choice of pubs.
Otley has a selection of places to eat.
Takeaway food outlets in the town include fish and chips, chinese, curries, sandwiches.
The town has a library.
Otley has a museum.
The town has a swimming pool.
Places of worship: Anglican, Catholic, Methodist, United Reformed, other.
Otley has tourist information.


Bus travel

The town has a bus station.

Road travel

Otley can be reached via the A660 A659 B6451 .

Places to visit

Otley Chevin Country Park

East Chevin Road, Otley
The Otley Chevin Country Park is a forested hillside with rocky outcrops offering magnificent views across Otley and the Wharfe Valley, a network of paths to explore, a variety of wildlife and some interesting tree sculptures. The Chevin is an area with strong evidence of hunting in the stone age with thousands of flint arrowheads and knives having been found there. Cup and ring marked rocks dating from the bronze age are scheduled ancient monuments. Two areas of an iron age settlement were discovered in the 1960s and an archaelogical dig in the 1990s found evidence of a hut circle within a rubble enclosure. Much of the forestry in the area was planted in the 1950s and 1960s and it became a local nature reserve in 1989. There are car parks with access to the country park at East Chevin Road and Yorkgate.
Further information can be found at the  Leeds City Council - Otley Chevin Country Park and  Friends of Chevin Forest web pages.

Kirkstall Abbey

Kirkstall Abbey

Abbey Road, Kirkstall
The ruins of the Cistercian Kirkstall Abbey, dating from 1152, are in public parkland alongside the River Aire at Kirkstall, 3 miles north-west of Leeds city centre.

More information at these  Leeds City Council - Kirkstall Abbey web pages.
Find on map:  Kirkstall Abbey

Roundhay Park and Tropical World

Prince's Avenue, Roundhay
Roundhay Park is a popular large park 3 miles north of Leeds city centre, owned by Leeds City Council, with more than 280 hectares of parkland, woodland, lakes and gardens. It also has cafes and is the location of Tropical World, which holds a large collection of tropical plants, birds and reptiles, a butterfly house, aquariums and other animal enclosures, including the ever-popular meerkats.

Find out more at this  Leeds City Council - Roundhay Park web page

Harewood House

Harewood House Harewood House, an 18th century stately country home, is at Harewood, about 7 miles south of Harrogate. It opens to visitors during a season stretching from March to October. Harewood hosts a variety of exhibitions and events as well as guided tours of the house. The house has been used to film scenes for the ITV series "Victoria" in which it has represented Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace. Harewood has extensive grounds including more than 100 acres of gardens, parkland planned by Lancelot 'Capability' Brown, a farm experience, bird garden, deer park and the ruins of the 13th century Harewood Castle. The grounds also include the purpose-built village set of ITV's "Emmerdale", although this is not open to visitors except on selected dates on pre-booked tours via partners of the TV company.
More information can be found at the  Harewood website.
Locate on map:  Harewood House

Kirkstall Abbey

Kirkstall Abbey

Abbey Road, Kirkstall
The ruins of the Cistercian Kirkstall Abbey, dating from 1152, are in public parkland alongside the River Aire at Kirkstall, 3 miles north-west of Leeds city centre.

More information at these  Leeds City Council - Kirkstall Abbey web pages.
Find on map:  Kirkstall Abbey

Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Extending across an area of 232 square miles (600 sq km), the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Beauty starts at the edge of Otley. The area has a beautiful and varied landscape including rolling heather-topped moorland, stone-walled agricultural fields and farms, small villages, lake-like reservoirs and some outstanding geological features, the best known of which are Brimham Rocks. For more details see our Nidderdale page.

Emergency services

West Yorkshire Police  West Yorkshire Police website.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service  West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service website.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust  Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust website.

Local government

Civil parish council

Otley Town Council
Provides some local services in the area.
Link to council website  Otley Town Council

Metropolitan district council

City of Leeds

The City of Leeds authority covers an area extending several miles beyond the city itself, including areas of agricutural land with widely spaced villages to the north east and several separate small towns including Garforth, Guiseley, Morley, Otley, Pudsey, Rothwell, Wetherby and Yeadon.

Leeds is just one of a ring five metropolitan councils covering the many cities, towns and villages of the conurbation of West Yorkshire. Around one-third of the West Yorkshire population live in the Leeds metropolitan district, just over ¾ million at the time of the 2011 census.

In the City of Leeds metropolitan district a total of 99 councillors are elected. There are three councillors per ward across 33 wards. Councillors are usually elected for four-year terms, one councillor being elected in each of three years out of four. In 2018 all 99 were elected following a ward boundary review. A Lord Mayor of Leeds is elected from the council each year.

Link to  Leeds City Council website.

Political composition after the May 2021 election:

99 members ( 6 = Morley Borough Independents | 3 = Garforth and Swillington Independents )

County strategic authority

West Yorkshire Combined Authority
Covers some combined services of the five metropolitan district councils of West Yorkshire -  Bradford,  Calderdale,  Leeds,  Kirklees and  Wakefield - which were at one time provided by a West Yorkshire metropolitan county council, with the addition of the non-contiguous unitary authority area of the City of  York council as well as the unelected Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership.
Will work with an elected mayor as chairman and as decision-maker for some responsibilities after May 2021 election.

 West Yorkshire Combined Authority website.

Police and Crime Commissioner

The Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire
 Police and Crime Commissioner West Yorkshire website.
Role will become one of the responsibilities of a West Yorkshire elected mayor after the May 2021 election.

Fire Authority

West Yorkshire Fire Authority
The fire authority is made up of elected members of each of the five metropolitan district councils of West Yorkshire - Bradford, Calderdale, Leeds, Kirklees and Wakefield.
 West Yorkshire Fire Authority web pages.

Ceremonial county

West Yorkshire


Within the West Riding of Yorkshire

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