First off, get the name right. As long as you pronounce Slaithwaite Sla-wit’ or ‘Slath-wait’ rather than 'Slayth-wait’ you won’t go far wrong.

Nestled in the heart of the Colne Valley and overlooked by the Pennines, it was once one of the most prosperous places in the North thanks to its prominent role in the woollen textile industry. Back then, the Huddersfield Narrow Canal was the main transport link, but folk nowadays can just jump on the TransPennine railway to access local towns and cities such as Huddersfield, Leeds and York. Not only is the village (or town, depending who you speak to) commuter friendly, but it boasts something of a star status, too.

It starred as the location for ITV series Where the Heart Is, and also featured in the well-loved comedy Last of the Summer Wine. Its Roman roots can be found on an isolated patch of the Pennines accessible from the village where the earthwork remains of two Roman forts can be found – better spotted from the information boards that stand beside them. In February the Slaithwaite Moonraking Festival is in full swing. Expect an evening full of light, music and merriment as thousands of people come together to celebrate the legendary tale of the Moonrakers.

Great British Life: Thriving independent shops in Slaithwaite include Acorn & PipThriving independent shops in Slaithwaite include Acorn & Pip (Image: Kevin Gibson)


There’s a reason Slaithwaite was voted the best place to live in the North by The Sunday Times in 2022. Not only does it boast a picturesque and commutable location, but it’s given the trendy neighbourhoods of London a run for their money with its plethora of independent establishments. You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking for cool coffee shops and edgy eateries such as Northern Sole Café serving scandalously delicious street food. Not only will you find your traditional Yorkshire pubs here, but Slaithwaite seems to be a hub of breweries with at least three in this small part of the county. If you take a scenic stroll along the Huddersfield Narrow Canal and happen across a pile of kegs near the canalside then you’ve stumbled across the Empire Brewing Company, a microbrewery that’s been brewing and serving its own beers since 2004. Be sure to enjoy a pint of Moonraker Mild before continuing onto The Handmade Bakery where, as the name suggests, you can tuck into lots of homemade loveliness. You can even have a go yourself, at this social enterprise, which teaches bread making courses for anyone ‘kneading’ to learn a new skill – sorry, couldn’t resist!

It's a hub for independent businesses such as The Gallery which is home to artists, makers and artisans and a stockist of the Frenchic range of products. Seek out antiques at Cobweb and china at Polkadot Lane. 

They must have very cool kids in these parts too if Acorn & Pip is anything to go by. This children's lifestyle store is full of gorgeous toys, nursery accessories, clothing, as well as a cafe and thriving little community - all underpinned by an ethos of sustainability. 

Green Valley Grocer is a community owned co-operative with produce sourced no further than 30 miles from the village. For those who want to explore outside of this cosmopolitan community, there are some breathtaking walks to be had over the Pennines, especially around Hill Top Reservoir. Or venture a little further to explore the great Yorkshire Dales and the Peak District.

Great British Life: One of the historic properties in SlaithwaiteOne of the historic properties in Slaithwaite (Image: Kevin Gibson)

Bag a property

If you’re looking to get a little more for your money, then this is the place for you with the average house price coming in at £248,092. Being a former mill village, most of the property you’ll find here are rows of terraces, but don’t let that put you off as they shine with character. The average price for a terraced property is £192,079 with many of them boasting four bedrooms. Some newer houses in keeping with the village aesthetic have been built and average £242,11 for a semi-detached. If you’re after something a bit more unique there are some beautiful barn conversions to be found, as well an array of impressive old manor houses that were likely built for the wealthy mill owners of the time. These types of properties often come with beautiful views and are currently for sale anywhere from £500,000 all the way up to £900,000. For something a little more quaint make your way up from the canal to the steep hillside of the Pennines where you’ll find an array of multicolored cottages perched up high with glorious views. Many people have been upping sticks out of London to get their own slice of Pennine life and the rise of popularity can clearly be seen in the rising house prices, so be quick if you’re looking for your own patch of rural idyll.

Great British Life: Susanna-Meese Simpson loves life in SlaithwaiteSusanna-Meese Simpson loves life in Slaithwaite (Image: Susannah Meese Simpson)

Town life

Susanna-Meese Simpson is a teacher and storyteller, as well as being a member of the Slaithwaite Moonraking Festival committee.

‘As a young couple, we moved to Slawit in 1993. We were looking for somewhere green but not isolated, rural but not disconnected. We were actors so working meant being away from home, so transport links were vital.

They say ‘It takes a whole village to raise a child’ and both ours have certainly benefitted from the local schools, leisure centre, swimming pool, library and shops; community and arts activities, the crazy Moonraking festival; fabulous dog walks in the hills, by the river and on the canal; Sunday brunches, meals and take-outs.

We thought we’d be here for five or six years. I honestly couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. Yes, it’s rural and newly hip but it also has industry at its heart and history, so it will never be just a chocolate box village. It keeps itself real, whilst having a creative character and a liberal outlook.

And when you come home and you catch sight of the hills and the view of the village nestled in the valley… I am constantly grateful.’