View of White Wells on Ilkley Moor

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There has been bathing at White Wells since 1703 when there was a bath to the rear of the premises. This was replaced in 1791 by two baths, one of which is on display today. Although the water has no significant mineral content it is the coldness of the water which stimulates the circulation.

White Wells was instrumental in establishing Ilkley as a spa town. A number of large hydros were built in the Ilkley area during the 19th century where people could come to "take the waters", believing all manner of aliments could be cured. Charles Darwin visited Ilkley in 1859 and is believed to have "taken the waters" at White Wells.

Modern day visitors can still use the plunge bath. New Year's Day is the most popular day for this activity, with usually over a hundred plungers throughout the day. However, providing it is quiet enough in the cafe we can usually open the bath gate should visitors wish to plunge at other times of the year too. Plungers must supply their own bathing costumes and towels and the activity is undertaken at the plunger's own risk! There is no charge for plunging, but bathers can buy a certificate to mark the occasion, throw some loose change into the bath and of course support the cafe by buying hot drinks and snacks afterwards.

White Wells - New Year's Day Event

The plunge bath is open for this traditional event on New Years Day.

White Wells accept cash: Sterling or Euros. (However, if you pay in Euros you will receive any change in Euros). Cheques are accepted with a valid bank card for sums over £10.00.

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  • Disabled access
  • Disabled toilets


  • On-site light refreshments


  • Children welcome


  • Facilities for educational visits
  • Guided tours for groups


  • Free Parking

Property Facilities

  • Dogs Accepted
  • Public toilets
  • Smoking not allowed

Target Markets

  • Accepts groups

Map & Directions

Road Directions

By Road:
From the central traffic lights in Ikley, head south up Brook Street. Go over the crossing at the top and turn left at the junction then immediate right up Wells Road. The HSBC bank is on the corner of Wells Road. Proceed south and up hill, past the Rombalds Hotel on your left and over the cattle grid. After 200m you will pass an old water pumping station on your left. Proceed uphill a further 100m and the entrance to the White Wells carpark is on your left. From here you can see White Wells.

By Public Transport:
From the station, turn right upon exiting, westerly along Station road. Cross the road at the crossing (approx 100m west of the bus station) and go south and up hill on Wells Road. The HSBC Bank is on one corner of Wells Road with Dacre Son and Hartley on the other. Proceed up Wells Road past the Rombalds Hotel on your left to the cattle grid. You will be able to see White Wells about half way up the moor on your left.

The nearest railway station is Ilkley, which is 1 mile away.

White Wells Spa Cottage

Type:Historic Site

White Wells Spa Cottage, Ilkley Moor, Wells Road, Ilkley, West Yorkshire, LS29 9RF

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Tel01943 608035

Opening Times

* Open when the flag is flying

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