OTLEY is a town steeped in history and breath-taking scenery.

Sitting in the shadow of the Chevin, a popular vantage point for walkers to savour the appropriately-named ‘Surprise View’ embracing the Wharfe Valley and beyond, Otley is perfect for a day out strolling round the town or for striding the woodland pathways or cycling along roads previously graced by the Tour de Yorkshire.

Within, and surrounding, this pretty market town, with its characteristic stone properties and cobbled streets, there is certainly plenty to offer.

Those fond of bagging a bargain or two can look forward to the town’s thrice-weekly market in Otley’s historic market place, a location for two of the town’s historic landmarks - The Buttercross, a venue for selling items for charity, and the Jubilee Clock, originally built to commemorate Queen Victoria’s 50th year on the throne.

More recently, an engraved plaque was installed on the Grade II listed structure in recognition and celebration of our Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Dating back some 800 years, Otley Market is also a regular location for a specialist farmers market where visitors can take their pick of local produce.

Sticking with the ‘home grown’ theme, the town also boasts a range of independent shops selling all manner of creations from jewellery to crafts.

Sweet-toothed visitors must seek out renowned confectioner Trevor Backhouse’s ‘Patisserie Viennoise’ on Westgate.

Browsing the window display of delicately arranged sweet treats is certainly sufficient to tempt you into this emporium of high quality confectionery which has had more than a famous customer, or two....

The Hairy Bikers, Si King and Dave Myers, helped to create a croquembouche, some individual wedding cakes and a show-stopping lily chocolate wedding cake when they popped in to film for BBC2’s The Hairy Bikers’ Cookbook - and were presented with a novelty cake with sugarpaste figures of them and their motorbikes.

Following in the Hairy Bikers’ footsteps, the Black Bull in Otley’s market square also hosted the pals when they popped in during their search for pubs with interesting pasts for the BBC2 programme ‘The Pubs That Built Britain’.

Over the years Otley has become a popular location for filming too. Fans of the Yorkshire soap, Emmerdale, could see their favourite characters strolling along the cobbles as Otley is regularly used for filming scenes from the soap.

It was also used as a location for the detective series DCI Banks and some of the scenes for The Chase, starring actress Gaynor Faye, who co-wrote the tale about a family veterinary practice with her mum, the actress, scriptwriter and director Kay Mellor.

The town is also home to a thriving community arts and resource centre. Otley Courthouse brought the redundant 19th century magistrates court back to a useful purpose offering a packed programme of performances, events and activities.

Otley’s creative vibe continues through the town’s association with the renowned carpenter, Thomas Chippendale. Look for the Blue Plaque bearing his birth date - 1718 - and you can also view some of his works at the nearby stately homes of Newby Hall, near Ripon, where he was commissioned to create sofas and chairs, and Temple Newsam near Leeds which houses the Chippendale Society collection.

If you are planning a visit to Otley, this weekend the town promises to be ‘blooming’ lovely as it prepares to go for gold in this year’s Britain in Bloom finals.

Otley is one of 79 finalists in this year’s Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Britain in Bloom finals and to help it win the coveted crown Otley in Bloom has organised a number of events including Open Gardens, showcasing seven hand-picked private gardens, on Sunday. Cream teas will be available in two of the gardens.

For tickets, or more information, contact Courtyard Planters, 9 Westgate, Otley, LS21 3AT; call 01943 462390 or visit shopappy.com.

On Thursday Otley Walking Festival gets under way. The gentle four-mile walk starts at 7pm at the Buttercross in Otley. For more information visit otleyinbloom.co.uk.