Make your Christmas an Otley Christmas

There is nowhere quite like the Yorkshire market town of Otley at Christmas. Festive events and trimmed-up independent shops line the Dickensian cobbled streets and market square. Over 200 Christmas Trees feature across the town and everyone is filled with Christmas cheer. Come visit us here in Otley this Christmas.

Check out our Christmas video above, sponsored by the very fabulous – your local shops, all in one place.

Otley’s Christmas events for 2017

Otley Town Mayor’s Christmas Concert
Saturday November 25 – from 7pm
Join Otley’s Town Mayor Nigel Francis at Otley Methodist Church for this magical carol concert that includes performances from the Otley Bell and Chime Orchestra, the Otley Ukulele Orchestra and Otley Brass Band. Tickets are available from Otley Core on Orchard Street, £5 for adults, £4 concs. All profits go to charity.

Otley Christmas Lights switch-on and fireworks Christmas lights switch on
Monday November 27 – from 5.30pm
Organised by Otley Town Council, this free event will provide family entertainment to suit all ages, with on-stage performers, street theatre and fairground rides offering a distinct community feel. The lights will be officially turned on at 7pm and followed by a fireworks display. Otley town centre car parks will offer free parking from 3pm on the day.

Otley enhanced Christmas markets
Fridays and Saturdays in December – 8.30am until 3.30pm
Throughout December, Otley’s regular market will see a host of Christmas-themed events on Fridays and Saturdays, from festive children’s entertainment to impromptu carol concerts, as well as the usual stalls to stock up on everything for the Christmas table from Brussels sprouts to brandy sauce.

Otley Snowman Trail
Friday December 1 to Sunday December 17
Newly launched for this year is the Otley Snowman Trail. Snowmen will be located around the town centre and in people’s homes and gardens. Maps of the trail will be available for £1 from Otley Core on Orchard Gate, Kim Lorraine on Market Street, Otley Library on Nelson Street and Colin Pitt Leeds Road Service Station. The treasure hunt-style trail will offer people the chance to enter a prize draw with proceeds going to local charities.

Free parking in Otley
Monday November 27 from 3pm and every weekend in December until Christmas Day
In order to encourage more residents and visitors to enjoy the Christmas programme of events, Leeds City Councillor Colin Campbell has arranged for free parking on the three city council managed car parks on select dates in December. The Beech Hill, Courthouse Street and North Parade car parks will offer free parking from 3pm on Monday November 27 and then every Saturday and Sunday in December up until Christmas Day.

Otley Victorian Fayre Victorian Fayre
Sunday December 3 – from noon until 6pm
Now it its 32nd year, Otley’s Victorian Fayre continues to be a highlight of Otley’s festive season. The Dickensian-inspired free event sees locals dress in Victorian costume as around 20,000 people line the streets to witness this exciting Christmas extravaganza organised by Otley Town Partnership and Otley BID.
The Fayre is held in the pedestrianised town center, and attractions include market stalls and street food, entertainment, carol performances by local schools, and traditional fairground rides.

Otley Christmas Tree Festival
Wednesday December 6 – from noon to 6pm
Daily thereafter until Saturday, December 9 ¬– from 10am until 6pm
All Saints Parish Church will host this four-day Christmas Tree festival with 40 trees decorated by local charities and community groups. The event, organised by the Otley Chamber of Trade, is a charity fundraising initiative – entry into the church is free, but visitors are encouraged to drop a donation into the buckets lined up under the trees. The festival will also be supported by a concert programme with performances by the Chippendale Singers and school choirs from local schools.

Otley Courthouse Christmas Designer Craft Fair, Note change of date
Saturday December 16 – from 10am to 1pm
Otley Courthouse Christmas Designer Craft Fair features bespoke gifts including candles, cards, jewellery, paintings, woodcraft and knitted items, all handmade by the stallholders themselves. Free admission

Otley Christmas Farmers Market
Sunday December 17 – from 9am to 1pm
Head down to Otley’s Christmas Farmers Market and stock up on locally sourced organic produce, as fresh as it gets. A wide variety of stalls will let visitors try-before-they-buy, and stallholders are happy to discuss their wares and offer tips for the Christmas table.


Shopping in Otley

Otley boasts a fantastic array of more than 200 independent shops, including award-winning bakeries and butchers offering locally sourced festive favourites. There’s also a variety of specialist shops for those seeking gifts, including an artisan chocolatier, a traditional sweet shop, art galleries, jewellers, and a craft ale shop. Throughout the festive season, Otley’s regular Tuesday, Friday and Saturday markets are open as usual.

Late Night Shopping in Otley

7th December will see over 70 shops open until 7pm together with many pubs and cafes so that you can sit down with a relaxing drink and meal after the shopping. There will also be entertainment around town in the evening including Sally’s Army, Otley Bell Ringers, the Parish Church Choir, the Buttercross Belles, and Santa’s Grotto  and Face Painting (in Orchardgate). See Events for more details

The story behind Otley’s 2017 Christmas advert

In October 2017, members of Otley’s community gathered to produce a top-secret project – a Christmas film for Otley in the style of a well-known high-street department store.

The short film tells the heart-wrenching tale of a lonely young man working in London who could miss out on Christmas Day at home in Otley.

Pam starring in Otley Xmas videoLifelong Otley resident and Yeadon Operatics Society member Pam Beck, who is an active member of Otley society through her involvement with Otley Parish Church choir, Otley Chevin Inner Wheel and Otley Tangent Club, stars as the young man’s mum.

Ilkley-born Robson Stroud, a semi-professional actor who has appeared at Ilkley Playhouse in more than a dozen productions, as well as treading the boards at the prestigious Minack Theatre in Cornwall, stars as the son.

While alone in his big-city flat, the son pines for his Yorkshire home; meanwhile, his mother prepares for a bumper Christmas in Otley. She is seen visiting the town’s fabulous selection of independent shops, meeting local residents and joining an impromptu Christmas sing-along in one of Otley’s many traditional pubs.

The film, released on this site on November 3, features cameos from a number of well-known faces around Otley, including Town Mayor Nigel Francis, Chair of Otley Town Council Cllr Ray Georgeson, Otley Bellman Terry Ford and Greg Silverwood, owner of the town’s Rocca Bar and who is currently appearing as an extra in BBC1’s Gunpowder.

Keen-eyed viewers will also be able to spot Otley BID Chair Steph Lee, Chair of the Otley Chamber of Trade & Commerce Katie Burnett and a number of local people who volunteered following a social media appeal. The film also includes several ‘easter eggs’ – as hidden messages or in-jokes in film and games are known.

Many of the town’s independent shops feature in the film: a Christmas pudding is picked up from award-winning chocolatier Patisserie Viennoise, wine specialist Chez Vin provides a full-bodied red for Christmas dinner, and two of the town’s award-winning butchers, Weegmanns and Geo. Middlemiss & Sons, show off their famous pork pies and a turkey raised on Middlemiss’s own farm in nearby Askwith.

Sylvia Cullen singing the Otley Xmas songThe soundtrack to the advert, shot and edited by Miles Charlesworth of Menston-based MCharMedia, features a seasonal take on the traditional folk song The Oak & The Ash, also known as North Country Maid and once a hit for Marianne Faithfull. Arrangement was provided by Otley resident Sally Egan of Opera North, with haunting vocals by her daughter Sylvia Cullen.

Recording took place at Otley’s Limbo Studios, owned by folk musician Phil Snell. On November 27 2017, The Oak & The Ash will be available to buy on digital download from services including iTunes, Google Play, Napster and Amazon Music, with pre-orders available from November 20. Profits will go to the Town Mayor’s 2017-18 charities.

The video has been sponsored by local shopping champion and is part of a robust social media marketing campaign to promote Otley’s traditional Christmas offering around the premise ‘Make Yours an Otley Christmas’. The campaign was devised by Otley-based tourism marketing experts All About The Story.

Chairman of Otley Town Council’s Trade and Tourism Committee Cllr Paul Carter said: “Christmas in Otley is unique, from our fabulous festivals such as the perennial favourite Victorian Fayre, to our incredible array of independent shops that allow people to provide Christmas dinner all sourced from a few miles around Otley. Our festive film shows our warm and welcoming offering, as well as providing what we hope is a happy end for all involved.”

Jackie Mulligan of sponsors said: “Otley is one of the key locations featured on our website thanks to its unique shopping offering. We are proud to be involved in this fun film that highlights how important local shopping is to a community.”

Full cast

Main characters
Pam Beck
Robson Stroud

Town officials
Town Mayor Nigel Francis
Chair of Otley Town Council Cllr Ray Georgeson
Leeds City Cllr Sandy Lay
Cllr Douglas Robinson
Cllr Penny Robinson
Chair of Otley BID Steph Lee
Lawrence Ross, Otley Town Partnership
Otley Bellman Terry Ford
Bob Brook, Otley Pub Club
Otley Ambassador Dudley Parker
Chair of Otley Chamber of Trade Katie Burnett

Otley residents
Greg Silverwood
Léona McLoughlin
Sarah Leafe
Oliver James Rockett
Jo Swann
John Ealden
Janet Copping
Samantha Gray
Pearl Spencer
Andrew Gillivar
Samantha Stringer
Joseph Peel
Jacob Peel
Ken Jarvis

Shops, stores and cafes
Courtyard Planters
Patisserie Viennoise
Chez Vin
Geo. Middlemiss & Sons
Bondgate Bakery
Aura Jewellers
The Bay Horse pub
Otley market stall Simon & Becky

Vocals: Sylvia Cullen
Backing vocals, piano and arrangement: Sally Egan
Sound engineer and production: Phil Snell