15:00PM - Fuggle & Golding
As the hop-inspired name suggests, this is a quirky bottle shop specialising in beer. Owner, Mark, took over here just over a year ago, and he’s doing a fine job of supplying Ilkley with the best of British brews and a good few bottles from further afield too. Key has been installing a set of taps at the counter and keeping cutting-edge craft ales on rotation. People stop for a snifter while they shop and there’s a lively crowd of devotees at the weekends. On my visit the conversation is animated around a shared love of beer. Several locals excitedly compare their purchases. I try a cheeky half pint of Verdant’s tangy Pulp – a sought after double IPA from Cornwall. Then the chat turns to nearby brews, and they don’t come much more local than Ilkley Brewery, one of Mark’s biggest sellers that is only a five-minute walk down the road.
16:00PM - Ilkley Brewery
Ilkley brewery is a runaway success story with a raft of beers known and admired UK-wide. They balance crowd-pleasing classics like Mary Jane, an honest session pale named after the love interest in the folk song On Ilkla Moor Baht ’at, to creative numbers like pineapple pales and spicy chocolate chipotle stouts. The brewery holds occasional events with tours, but day-to-day it’s just a lovely place to go have a chat with the team and pick up a few of their more interesting brews straight from source. I do exactly that, leaving with a few choice bottles and cans including a new one, Hendrix, which celebrates when Jimi himself played a gig in the town. But that’s another story.
16:45PM - Lishman’s
En route back to town I make a pit stop at the butcher's. Not an obvious choice, perhaps, but this isn’t any old butcher's. David Lishman’s is well known to Yorkshire folk, reputedly a favourite of Princess Anne, and recent winner of “Best Butcher's Shop in the UK”. Meat is, of course, king. Had I the carrying space I’d be leaving with armfuls of its Dales lamb and Lishman’s own charcuterie. Today though, I make do with a sausage roll, which is also deservedly multi-award winning. Scoffing it with a final cup of Yorkshire Tea, I watch a flow of customers chatting merrily with the staff, making orders and having things sliced and diced. It feels at once like a throwback to an earlier time and comfortably modern, much like Ilkley itself.