The larger Pennine Yorkshire towns hold some hidden treasures, particularly architectural gems. Experience the outstanding late Georgian and Victorian architecture in Halifax. Architect Charles Barry was commissioned for Halifax’s magnificent Victorian town hall dating from 1863 whilst late Georgian historic Piece Hall first opened in 1779 as a market centre for handloom weavers to sell their cloth. Victoria Theatre, originally Victoria Hall, dates from 1901.
The spectacular mammoth Dean Clough Mill site in Halifax was once home to the world’s largest carpet manufacturers Crossley Carpets. Today it’s a vibrant mix of art galleries, chic restaurants and cafes, the acclaimed Viaduct Theatre and a host of specialist arts shops. Piece Hall is the site for the Halifax Visitor Centre and numerous specialist shops and markets in the courtyard. Within the grounds of Akroyd Park visit the nationally acclaimed Bankfield Museum for an important collection of textiles, costumes and contemporary arts and crafts. One of Yorkshire’s best attractions for children is in Halifax. Eureka! The Museum of Children is hands-on rip roaring fun all the way particularly aimed at tots under 11 years.
Bradford City Breaks
Bradford is renowned as a centre for film, television, photography and media revolving around the National Media Museum. Within the National Media Museum discover numerous galleries including TV Galleries, a giant IMAX screen, two cinemas and constantly changing exhibitions and events pulling on this acclaimed museum’s huge visual archive. Bradford is home to some of the best curry restaurants in the UK and features a mix of chic bars, world cuisine restaurants and galleries around funky Centenary Square. Great theatres are in Bradford too, particularly the historic and beautifully restored Alhambra Theatre which in its early days was a mecca for Edwardian music hall. The city also boasts two exciting art galleries and just outside the city centre the fascinating Bradford Industrial Museum explores in-depth Bradford’s textile heritage in within former vast worsted spinning mill Moorside Mills.
Events and festivals are numerous in Bradford through the year including a selection of film festivals, a World Curry Festival and a host of events within Salts Mill at nearby Saltaire just north of the city. Once a self-contained village for workers at Titus Salt’s Mill which opened in 1853, today Saltaire is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and dynamic contemporary arts centre with galleries, numerous arts and craft shops, chic eateries and canal towpath walking along the adjacent Leeds Liverpool Canal. (the canal walk from the striking Bingley Locks to Saltaire is stunning is one of West Yorkshire’s most scenic canal walks!).
Bradford also borders Bronte Country affording easy access to Haworth and the Bronte Parsonage and Keighley and the Keighley & Worth Valley Scenic Railway. Other highlights in the Bradford area include historic spa town Ilkley to the north of Bradford. Ilkley has a fine choice of specialist shops and serves as popular walking base for access onto the Dales Way and around the town’s stunning backdrop – Ilkley Moor.
Haworth & Bronte Country
Haworth is a place of literary pilgrimage with huge numbers of visitors flocking to this picturesque West Yorkshire village due to worldwide interest in the Bronte sisters. Patrick Bronte and his family came to Haworth Parsonage in 1820 and this remained their main home base for the rest of their lives. For lovers of the Bronte novels and poetry a visit to the parsonage and surrounding moorland, so integral to their writing particularly Emily’s Wuthering Heights, is to touch the essence of their literary influences.
Haworth offers a superb choice of charming B&Bs and the renowned cobbled Main Street in Haworth is crammed with arts, crafts and second hand bookshops, as well as cafes, pubs and tea rooms. The Keighley & Worth Valley Steam Railway has a main station at Haworth and a choice of walking trails push out from the town onto Keighley Moor, including the famous walk across Bronte Falls and up to Top Withins, the ruined farmhouse considered the influence for the Earnshaw’s house in Wuthering Heights.
Keighley & the Worth Valley is rich in industrial history, and is home to a railway and bus museum. Platform 3 and 4 at Keighley Station are designated to the Worth Valley Railway and the fully restored branch line. Take your seat on a vintage steam train which will take you from Keighley to Ingrow, Oakworth, Haworth and Oxenhope with beautiful views of the moors, Bronte Country and key sites featuring in The Railway Children film, starring Jenny Agutter.
Hebden Bridge, Todmorden & Calderdale
The natural assets of the South Pennine/Calderdale region of Yorkshire including its spectacular choice of walking, cycling and bridleway trails and its fascinating non-conformist industrial history see it today as a Yorkshire visitor hotspot. A selection of historic and atmospheric villages in the region serve as perfect walking bases like Hebden Bridge and Todmorden, crammed with superb arts and crafts shops, vegetarian and specialist organic cafes and restaurants and 19th century mills now arts centre and architecture.
Other stunning accommodation bases include Mytholmroyd (boyhood home of poet Ted Hughes), Luddendenfoot, Sowerby Bridge and pushing into the heart of the Pennines, Mankinholes and Ripponden. Numerous walking and bridleway trails criss-cross and interlink in the area including the Calderdale Way, the Brighouse Boundary Way, the Pennine Way, the Pennine Bridleway and the Todmorden Centenary Way.
In small villages such as Heptonstall north of Hebden Bridge the octagonal Methodist chapel hints at the region’s non-conformist history and is the oldest in the world still in use today! Hebden Bridge is one of Yorkshire’s best contemporary bohemian arts and music bases with a fascinating industrial history. If you love specialised arts and craft shops, second-hand bookshops and real ale pubs, cosy live music venues, vegetarian and Vegan cafes and walking along the Rochdale canal towpath, the stunning woodlands of Hardcastle Crags and along the nearby Calderdale Way, then Hebden Bridge is the perfect short break or holiday for you!
Huddersfield & The Holme Valley
Diverse and dynamic university town Huddersfield is one of the UK’s best kept secrets. A classic Yorkshire town on the one hand with its non-conformist political and religious history (Chartist uprising was prevalent here), and its many Victorian listed buildings (1,660 in all) built by wealthy Huddersfield industrialists like the Ramsdens, and on the other hand a contemporary large town influenced by its central university and its mix of cultures.
Industrial heritage and new contemporary arts blend well in this Pennine Yorkshire centre. Huddersfield hosts many festivals throughout the year and is home to numerous acclaimed museums, theatres, art galleries and a famous stadium, centre for sports, conferences, events and more. Huddersfield is main centre for the Kirklees region which includes the stunning landscapes of the northern Peak District and the South Pennines.
To the south west of Huddersfield are the dramatic Pennine Moors including the National Trust’s Marsden Moor Estate. Further south sits the equally stunning Colne and Holme Valleys. Historic villages such as Marsden and Holmfirth (‘Last of the Summer Wine’ village) make perfect walker bases. To the east the landscapes are somewhat gentler around Kirkburton, Emley and Denby Dale. A walker’s paradise, Kirklees contains a host of way-marked trails and national trails including the Pennine Way winding across the high moorland of the region, the circular Kirklees Way, the Colne Valley Circular Walk, the Holme Valley Circular Walk, the Bronte Way and the Spen Valley Heritage Trail.
Leeds City Breaks
Access to Leeds City breaks couldn’t be easier with Leeds Bradford International Airport situated just 11 miles north west of Leeds City Centre. Leeds is Yorkshire’s largest city, firmly on the map as a top European city break, with an eclectic mix of internationally and nationally acclaimed art galleries, museums, fine shopping quarters, dynamic waterfront development, superb theatres and a nightlife and music scene to beat all. Yorkshire’s Tour De France ‘Grand Depart’ in July 2014 begins in Leeds from the city’s spectacular town hall.
Take a tour of the Leeds City Museum, explore the city’s beautiful waterfront quarters and checkout those free entry family friendly museums including the popular Royal Armouries alongside the River Aire. Don’t miss a visit to one of the UK’s largest medical museums – The Thackray Medical Museum with lots of interactive exhibits and things to do with children. Like shopping? Leeds is a Top 10 UK shopping break featuring the historic Victoria Quarter, a stunning collection of historic shopping arcades containing a mix of designer and quirky independent boutiques, gift shops and delectable cafes.