Although technically part of Leeds, the outdoorsy market town of Otley has its own distinct personality and a long history. It dates to the Saxon times and cattle markets have been held here since the 13th century. Today it has a small tangle of cobbled streets full of independent shops, cafes and bars, anchored by a handsome Market Place. The 2020 Keira Knightley film Official Secrets used Otley Police Station as a double for Cheltenham Police Station, where Katharine Gun’s partner Yasar is held.
Kay Mellor’s critically acclaimed crime drama The Syndicate filmed in and around Otley for the fourth series (airing from March 30, 2021) using sites such as the Market Place, Wharfemeadows Park and Otley Chevin, a vast forest park overlooking the town. Otley’s Wharfebank Mills were also a filming base for the 2020 feature film Say Your Prayers. The market town is often used in Emmerdale, serving as the filming location for their neighbouring town of Hotten.
Otley has several other unusual claims to fame, too. Thomas Chippendale, the world-famous cabinet maker, was born here in 1718. Otley’s Black Bull Pub – which features on-screen in Say Your Prayers – was the gathering place for Oliver Cromwell’s army before the Battle of Marston Moor in 1644. And some of Yorkshire’s oldest prehistoric rock art can be found at Otley Chevin.