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Things to do in Guiseley, West Yorkshire

The Wetherby Whaler(was Harry Ramsdens) © Philip Moon
The Wetherby Whaler(was Harry Ramsdens) © Philip Moon

Guiseley is a small town eight miles north of Bradford in West Yorkshire. It is a suburb of Leeds and, along with Rawdon, has a population of around 21,000.

Guiseley dates back to the 7th century when it was part of the land given to the Archbishop of York by the King of Northumbria. The village was recorded as "Gisele" in the Domesday Book in 1086.

The first St Oswald's Church was built in 1150. It was rebuilt in the mid-13th century by the Ward family, who owned the Manor of Guiseley. They added the Chapel of St Mary and in the 14th century they built the tower.

It was the worship place of the Longfellow family before they emigrated to America. Two generations later poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was born in America, in 1807.

The church was the setting for the marriage of Patrick Bronte to Maria Branwell. They moved to Haworth and three of their six children became well known writers - Anne, Charlotte and Emily Bronte.

Guiseley's main claim to fame is that it is home to Harry Ramsden's, said to be the world's largest fish and chip shop. Harry Ramsden began selling his beautifully battered cod and chunky chips in 1928, operating from a small shed next to the tram stop.

Two years later he opened a proper fish and chip restaurant, which is still trading. 80 years on his name lives on as far away as Hong Kong and the Persian Gulf.

Present Day Guiseley

Guiseley is a typical Yorkshire village with stonebuilt cottages, a pretty church and several pubs. Next to the market cross is a set of stocks. The main shopping street is the A65 which passes through the town.

Guiseley Parish Church is celebrated each St Oswald's Day with a ceremonial "clipping" of the church. The first Sunday in July the congregation, choir and churchwardens process around the church singing St Oswald's ballad. They then join hands to circle or "clip" the church and say a blessing three times.

The town has a railway station with regular trains to Leeds and Ilkley.

England cricket captain, Brian Close, lived in Guiseley as a child and went on to play cricket for Yorkshire and England.

Guiseley was also where the puppet "Sooty" was conceived.

Things to Do Around Guiseley

Guiseley is a popular base for visitors wanting to explore the Yorkshire Dales and the
Lake District National Park. Walking, scenic drives, exploring small villages and tackling some of the mountain peaks are what many visitors flock to the area for.

Haworth is a charming village 10 miles away and was the home of the Bronte sisters. Their father was the parson at Haworth Church and the Parsonage is now the Bronte Parsonage Museum.

Neighbouring Esholt is popular with fans of Emmerdale Farm as the village is where it was filmed. You can still get a pint and a meal in the Woolpack Inn.

The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway is an authentically preserved steam railway used in films such as the Railway Children and Yanks.

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