The village dates from Anglo-Saxon times and lies on high ground. At the crossroads in the village are the remains of a market cross.
In the village centre near the cross, are the Post Office and supermarket. The old Church Hall has been converted to a private residence. The Methodist church now houses the village playschool and the Emley Players, an amateur dramatics group.
Once there were at least eight public houses within the parish but now there is one, the White Horse. The village has two sports bars, AFC Emley Sports Bar and The Wentworth sports club, both of which have links with the village football club. There is a working men’s club close to the TV transmitter at Emley Crossroads.
The striking landmark dominating the area is Emley Moor Mast. It is 274 metres high, a Grade II listed structure and the main transmission site for Yorkshire.
The Emley Agricultural Show is an annual agricultural and horticultural event held on the first Saturday of August.
Emley is also home to AFC Emley football club.