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Ilkley Literature Festival, Yorkshire, 2023

October 6 - October 22

Susie Dent by John Lawrence

Actors, writers, poets and even a few journos will descend upon the West Yorkshire Victorian spa town of Ilkley in October for the Ilkley Literature Festival, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2023.

The county might be noted for its Yorkshire brass bands, but this 17-day bookish fete is the second oldest in the UK, as well as the leading one of its ilk in the North. Expect authors, politicians and philosophers to be drawn to the town, and its wonderful scenery nestled by Ilkley moor immortalised in song.

Highlights of the Ilkley Literature Festival 2023

Schedule of events at the 2023 festival can be found here.

Anitarani , photo Jay Brooks
Anita Rani, photo Jay Brooks

Alternatively, why not visit Whitby and the North York Moors?

Restaurants and Pubs in Ilkley

Ilkley has a number of independent cafés, restaurants and bars, such as the tapas-style Friends of Ham and up-market Box Tree restaurant. The Crescent Inn dominates the centre of town and has a proper pub, as well as Le Bistrot Pierre restaurant.

Festivals in Yorkshire

If you can’t attend the Ilkley Festival but are going to God’s Own Country, you could try the Malton Food Festival (May), the Whitby Folk Festival (August) or the Freedom Festival Hull (August / September).

Ed Balls by Nicky Johnson Ilkley Literature Festival
Ed Balls by Nicky Johnson

When is the Ilkley Literature Festival 20221?

6 – 22 October, 2023.

Tickets for the Ilkley Literature Festival

For prices and booking details click here.

Ilkley Literature Festival Schedule

A full schedule of what’s on can be found here.

Ilkley Moor Song

If you haven’t heard Yorkshire’s ‘national anthem’ On Ilkley Moor Baht ‘at, then you are in for a treat.

Getting to the Ilkley Literature Festival

Trains run twice an hour from Leeds and Bradford, both 30 minutes away. Most trains will take bikes, or you can always cycle along the back lanes from Otley. If travelling by car, Ilkley is on the A65 from Leeds to Skipton. Or if arriving from overseas, Leeds/Bradford International airport is only a 15-minute drive away.

Hotels in Ilkley 

The Crescent Inn is in the centre of town, and the Innkeepers Lodge has great views of the Cow and Calf Rocks.

If you wish to book accommodation for the festival, perhaps you could use our hotel booking page. It scours the major hotel booking sites so that you don’t have to:

Things to do in Ilkley

For more inspiration on what to do in Ilkley, visit: or

Cover photo: Susie Dent by John Lawrence


October 6
October 22
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