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Crowds flock as Real Food market move a success

Real Food Ilkley held its first market on The Grove last Sunday (1 September). Amid glorious sunshine in the morning and rain showers in the afternoon, the market welcomed hundreds of customers, with a high percentage of stalls sold out way before closing time.

The market, which has been a regular on the Ilkley events calendar for over three years, is also lucky enough to be able to use Ilkley Bandstand to put on regular entertainment, and guests enjoyed live music whilst being served a pint from the Ilkley Brewery bar.

Organisers of Real Food Ilkley asked hundreds of visitors to the area for feedback on the market and its new location during the day.  So far, support for the move is overwhelming. 

Mark, a resident of Ilkley said: “Thank you for moving the Real Food Ilkley to the Grove. As a local resident it was a pleasure to be able pop down and buy some local artisan food. I hope you keep the Grove as your new home and that it was busier for the traders and the local shops.”

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “We are thrilled the Real Food Market’s move to The Grove has been so successful.  It was great to see such a positive atmosphere in Ilkley and so many people enjoying themselves at the market. Some traders were selling out of products by lunchtime, which shows you what a popular and important attraction this is for Ilkley. Local markets encourage entrepreneurialism and offer great opportunities for small and local businesses to grow and try out new products so we do everything we can to support them.”

Emma, a visitor on Sunday commented, “We have strolled, chatted, shopped and enjoyed every moment of the market on The Grove. Please come back here as a regular feature as it brings so much to Ilkley life! Thank you”. Another visitor, Liz, added “A lovely thing to do that brings the community together and tourists to the town and promotes local businesses.”

Organisers Lucy Allen, Becky Nash and Lee Teal added “Sunday was beyond what we could have hoped for.  The Grove was buzzing and the atmosphere was so friendly, welcoming and positive.  Real Food Ilkley was created to be a hub for the community and a platform for independents, Sunday was exactly that. Tony Gilroy opened the Bandstand for us and this really made the day feel special.  We saw families, friends and visitors meeting up, and enjoying a day on The Grove in the heart of Ilkley, amongst the finest of local produce.”

Helen Rhodes, Manager of Ilkley BID visited some of the retailers who were open and got a really encouraging response, she commented “One of the womenswear shops said they had definitely had more trade than usual and whilst others said it was too soon to comment on any impact, they all loved the buzz the market brought to the area and were really positive about it. I‘ll be doing more of this over the next few months but I was delighted with the initial feedback.”

Real Food Ilkley takes place on the first Sunday of the month at 10am to 3pm Feb - Dec. To enquire about stalls (producer and community) please contact

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