Creative Settle

A guide to creative things to do in Settle

Nestled in the stunning Yorkshire Dales National Park, Settle is a thriving historic Market Town surrounded by dramatic limestone crags, steep fells and walled fields. This is a land of more sheep than people, the perfect place to get away from it all. Relax and breathe, or immerse yourself with the elements and tackle the vast mountainous regions.

Settle is a hub for tourists, who come here to soak up the limestone and glacial scenery, the close proximity to waterfalls, caves and the potholes of the famous 'Three Peaks' area. This idyllic town is perhaps best known as the starting point of the scenic Settle-Carlisle railway which is the perfect way to arrive here.

Settle is also where we, Settle Stories have been based since our inception in 2010. We've recently moved to a new venue, The Joinery, a place to meet, create and share. We're now just behind Ye Olde Naked Man Cafe, a stone's throw from Settle Market Place. 

Over the last few years Settle has become home to an increasing number of creative people and businesses. The town attracts people who come for more that just the picturesque landscape. There are quirky hidden gems around every corner. From second hand bookshops, to galleries and a museum, Settle has something for everyone.

Why not take a trip down to Gallery on the Green? This is probably the world's smallest Art gallery, housed in an old telephone box. The gallery showcases interesting work with a constantly changing exhibition programme, with contributions from local, national, and international artists.This art gallery is different from others as it's housed in a traditional phone box meaning that it's also the only Art gallery in the world to reach maximum capacity at least twice a day! Located in upper Settle and open 24/7 the art gallery is both the perfect place to start or finish your Settle adventure!

Adding to your telephone box adventures… Settle Stories recently opened the world's first Listening Gallery in an old phone box. This beautiful restored piece of the town's heritage is again open 24-7, 365 days a year. It’s just a short walk from the Gallery on the Green. Step inside, pick up the retro candlestick phone, choose a story to listen to from the story menu and enjoy! The gallery is currently showcasing its first exhibition ‘My Favourite Doll’ but, the exhibition will change later this year. If you have any unusual ideas for new exhibitions let Settle Stories know.

At the heart of Settle is the historic Town Hall. In recent years this has been restored to its former glory. The building is now a shopping destination filled with a stunning array of independent, lifestyle shops - one of our favourites has to be Capella who stock lots of lovely treats! The Town Hall's restoration has attracted a wide range of hidden gems for art lovers...

Studio Vault is tucked away underneath the Town Hall and is the creation of local jeweler Emily Knight. Emily creates her own work here in the studio and the gallery space is the perfect place to browse and purchase contemporary and fine art, ceramics and jewelry. Emily also runs a range of workshops at Studio Vault too.

Gavagan Art is again located underneath the Town Hall. This spacious exhibition space showcases modern and contemporary art by nationally recognised and professional regional artists. We should stress that these exhibitions will only be available to view from April to December. So, hurry down if you fancy a spot of fine art!

The newest addition to the Town Hall’s creative community is Settle Glass Studio. If you’re the kind of creative person that enjoys making art, you’ll love it! The Glass Studio is run by Angela Henderson, and is a great place to buy local handcrafted glass works and also offers you the chance to make your own with a wide variety of workshops. These workshops are open to all no matter their experience levels.

Should you find yourself with a thirst for knowledge look no further than the Folly Museum, a 17th century, Grade 1 listed building that has maintained its old fashioned charm for just under 400 years. Still standing strong the Folly has given insights to the people of Settle and all who visit of what life was like in the area hundreds of years ago.This fascinating museum has hosted the Settle Stories Tom Twisleton 100  exhibition recently and so, there’s always varied and interesting exhibitions on offer.  Recently the Folly opened a new cafe that serves up tasty grub throughout the day. What’s more there’s now an Artisans shop, showcasing work of local artists and craftspeople.To get to Folly, simply head into the town centre and head up to the Talbot pub and keep to your left.

Settle is full of historic buildings are non are finer than Settle Victoria Hall - the oldest surviving music hall in the world. This grade 2 listed building has hosted many of our shows and events and plays a key part during festival time. Victoria hall comfortably holds a large capacity of people and even features a balcony of which over looks the main stage  to give clear and beautiful views of all the action. The hall boasts a wide range of events year round and there’s always something going on. They run a huge range of classes and community groups, alongside auctions, bazaars, and public and private events. Come the evening there’s always something happening be it music, drama, comedy or a film. The venue programmes around 150 events every year!

Another hidden gem is Settle Community & Business Hub. Tucked away in one of Settle’s many quaint side streets, the hub is just off the centre of Settle close to the gorgeous health food shop, Wholesome Bee. The hub is a focal point for community groups, charities, businesses and residents to find out what is going on in the area. They often programme arts activities and workshops too.

Cross the Settle border to neighbouring village Giggleswick and you’ll discover another theatre. The Richard Whiteley Theatre. Built in 2010, the theatre is located at Giggleswick School. It was named after TV Presenter and Old Giggleswickian Richard Whiteley who, at the time of his death, was believed to have clocked more hours on British television screens—and more than 10,000 appearances—than anyone else alive, apart from Carole Hersee, the young girl who appeared on the BBC's Test Card.

Finally for all you bookworms out there Settle benefits from having not one but three Book shops! Pages, Mansergh's and The Corner Art and Books. These are great little gems should you feel the need to indulge yourself in a great story,  here you will find all types of your favorite stories and genres and possibly a new favorite book! All these shops operate in a close proximity to each other and are conveniently located right next to the centre of town. Pages bookstore is located just next to poppy's tea room at Bishopdale Court and Mansergh’s secondhand Bookshop is located just across the road from the Talbot and next to the florist. The Corner - Arts and Books, is located next door to Warren and Wright (the jewelers), here you might also find some great art works too as this place is home to an artist's studio and also showcases local artists work.

If poetry is up your street then make sure you spend an evening with Settle Sessions. This local group brings leading poets and writers to Settle with their latest work and also offers local people the opportunity to read their own works, or their favourite poetry or short stories. There are four evening sessions during the year and members get great discounts.

Of course Settle is home to the bi annual Settle Stories Festival which in 2018 boasted over 70 events in just one weekend. But our festival is not the only one Settle has to offer.

The ride2stride is a festival of walks, talks and music along the fabulous Settle-Carlisle railway line. The festival lasts for a week and will take you along some of the most beautiful parts of our local area. If you love to embrace the elements then this festival will  definitely appeal to you. The next ride2stride festival will take place next year in May.

We all like a good tipple every once in a while right? From the 5th to the 7th of July, Settle is home to a Beer Festival. A large variety of beers will be on offer to try so why not come on down and have a pint or two. 

You might have picked up already that Settle is home to the weird and wonderful. No event celebrates this better that Settle’s annual Flowerpot Festival. Almost everybody gets involved in this in the town, creating the unimaginable using flowerpots. This is great fun for all the family and an excellent opportunity to explore Settle in search of both the wacky and the quite simply amazing flower pot creations the locals have made. This event will be hosted around both Settle and Giggleswick and will begin in July and finish late August. Do you think you could catch them all?

Settle is also home to the Settle Folk Gathering. This festival grows each year and is free to all. You’ll catch a wide variety of folk musicians performing in venues across the town, including the local pubs and even in the Market Place. Building on last year’s success festival organisers have even more great music, workshops and dance events planned for 2018.

In short Settle is great little town with plenty of quirks and pleasant surprises. There is certainly more to this beautiful place than first meets the eye. This is a town full of creatives and we’ve certainly not mentioned them all here. We’d love you to tell us your favorite creative place in Settle or. Let us know via our facebook page.

Written by Declan Cardus - apprentice at Settle Stories.