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Bradford is a cosmopolitan hub that's bursting with surprises. Known as the city of film, a centre of Victorian history and the curry capital of the UK, this culturally diverse destination has a vitality that grabs you by the collar and pulls you in. And it just keeps getting better.
Bradford City Centre Get out and explore this culturally rich city.
Bolling Hall, Bradford One of the oldest buildings in Bradford. Bolling Hall is situated just a mile from the city centre.
Yorkshire has plentiful supplies of soft water, which was needed in the cleaning of raw wool during the peak of the industrial revolution.
It was the ford over the wide Bradford Beck which gave the city its name. In the city centre the beck is now entirely underground.
If you enjoy a pint or two, Whitby is a great place to have a pub crawl thanks to all the friendly publicans. Cheers!
Located in the heart of Brontë Country, you can't help but be impressed by Bradford's industrial legacy. Spectacular Victorian mills rise up and speak of the city's heritage as an international trading centre - the historic Wool Exchange being a wonderful example of its rich and influential past. How apt that Bradford Cathedral still stands as an oasis of calm in this thriving city.
Today's Bradford is a successful fusion of old and new, and eastern and western; where original buildings play host to an exciting modern culture. As well as being a UNESCO City of Film with Yorkshire's only IMAX cinema, Bradford proudly boasts a wide collection of galleries and theatres. And no visit to this impressive city is complete without sampling the delights of its famous curry houses.
If you want a day away from the city centre bustle, you'll find beautiful towns, villages and countryside just a stone's throw away. Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site that is Saltaire, treat yourself in the elegant spa town of Ilkley and be immersed in the world of the Brontë sisters in Haworth. With a wealth of hotels, cottages and B&Bs on offer, the whole of Brontë Country is on your doorstep.
Find out more, visit visitbradford.com
As you'd expect from the city of film, Bradford has an enviable events diary. So while you're here, grab a piece of the action at one of its cinemas or theatres. As well as hosting the renowned Bradford Film Festival, the city is home to the National Media Museum with Yorkshire's only IMAX cinema. And for large scale entertainment of a different kind, The Alhambra Theatre has musicals, dramas and Yorkshire's biggest panto.
Why not jump aboard the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway and take a steam train to some of Bradford District's treasures. Hop off at Saltaire World Heritage Site and visit this Victorian industrial village created by mill owner, Titus Salt. Inside Salts Mill itself lies a feast of arts, crafts and local history, including one of the largest collections of work by the artist David Hockney. Then steam over to Haworth and explore the infamous Brontë Parsonage.
One way to explore the area is with Bear Boating. Bear Boating offer a truly luxurious canal boat experience. All their boats are built by Ashwood Narrowboats and are constructed and fitted out to the same specification as for luxury Liveaboard clients.
Love curry? Got a taste for tandoori, balti and korma? Then get ready to sample the real McCoy in one of Bradford's famous curry houses - it's not known as England's Curry Capital for nothing. You'll find award winning restaurants in and around the city, from café-style favourites like Prashad, to impressive dining experiences in Mumtaz and Aagrah.
Bradford's diverse and colourful culture means you'll find food from all corners of the globe. And its watering holes are no exception! There's Costa and Starbucks for a mid-morning caffeine boost and for a pre-dinner aperitif, you'll find trendy stools a-plenty in its many cosmopolitan bars. But if it's a real Yorkshire pub you're after, the famous Woolpack or the Halfway House are just out of town.
If you'd like to take a taste of Yorkshire home with you, your taste buds will be spoilt for choice. There are wonderful farmers' markets and farm shops both in Bradford itself and villages like Saltaire so you can stock your boot full of the freshest local fruit and veg.
If it's a good take away you're looking for though, look no further than Websters of Saltaire for divine fish and chips.
The National Media Museum has so much going on, it's hard to know where to start. But if you love film, photography, TV, radio or gaming, it's best to jump right in. Kids can play with light and colour in the Magic Factory, get gaming in the Games Lounge and watch favourite TV moments in TV Heaven. But the star of the show has to be the IMAX cinema - showing jaw-dropping 3D short films and movies.
You might be surprised to discover that Bradford is also a city of parks and green spaces. So if the weather's glorious, why not enjoy some fresh Yorkshire air out at Lister Park. As well as its formal Mughal Water Gardens, there's a boating lake, children's play area and even the Cartwright Hall Art Gallery. And if you're really in the mood for adventure, why not introduce the little ones to the tranquil landscape and limestone pathways of the great Yorkshire Dales.
As you wander around Bradford city centre, you can't help but notice there are beautiful old buildings at every turn. And where better to start than 500 year old Bradford Cathedral, situated on the edge of the city's historical heart. A few steps more and you'll reach Little Germany, named after the 19th Century European merchants who came here. And there's more Victorian architecture to admire in the form of the Grade I listed Wool Exchange.
If you'd like to spend a little time exploring a different side of Bradford, then go to Bolling Hall. Just a mile outside the city centre, here you'll discover the lives and times of the Bradford families who called it home for over 500 years. Every nook and cranny is packed with history through the centuries, including Cromwell's Death Mask. But can you spot the White Lady in the Ghost Room?
Back in the city centre sit a wealth of museums, containing different snapshots of Bradford's colourful history. The Peace Museum is unique to the UK and, as the name suggests, charts non-violence and conflict resolution. Bradford Industrial Museum has innovative displays of textile machinery, steam power and engineering. And why not combine a day out in pretty Ilkley with a visit to the Manor House Art Gallery and Museum.
Bradford has a proud history. It was the wool capital of the world (a trade which originated in Yorkshire in the 14th century, based on the Cistercians and their superior woolly sheep), and part of the cradle of the Industrial revolution - a city full of 'Yorkshire grit'. These are some of the titles that apply to Bradford. However, at first glance the Jewish connection to Bradford seems a strange one. While the Leeds and Manchester Jewish community grew as part of the migration of Russian Jews escaping from tsarist Russian persecution in the 1880s and 90s, Bradford was part of an earlier settlement from the 1820s onwards, part of a commercial venture of Germans, both Jewish and Gentile. German Jews who came to Bradford from the 1820s onwards, came not to seek freedom from persecution, but to build businesses and fortunes. They did much to shape Bradford and to create its wealth and fame. They were passionately concerned in the building of Bradford and helped change a small town into a major commercial city. They made an indelible mark on its industrial as well as cultural and charitable life.
For some retail therapy of the High Street kind, you'll find all your favourites at the indoor Kirkgate Centre or outdoors at the Forster Square Retail Park. From fashion and sports to those bathroom cabinet essentials, there are plenty of bargains to be found as you mooch between stores, departments and coffee shops.
If you're looking for something a little bit different, then there's a wealth of exciting independent shops to tickle your fancy. Home to some of the best Asian shops in the country, you'll find yourself surrounded by all the beautiful fabrics, sparkling jewellery and pretty shoes you could wish for. You simply can't afford to miss out on the treasures in the vibrant quarter known as the World Mile.
The Butterfly Rooms has a wide range of gifts for all occasions from baby clothes, homewares to cosmetics and jewellery. All made in the UK or produced ethically by fair trade organisations. Their commitment to the UK and local artists means they provide support to British companies whilst offering the customer a beautiful and inspiring selection of products.
Also well worth a visit is Bombay Stores. With forty years experience, they have developed an in-depth understanding of the Asian fashion market. So if you are looking for style that affords comfort and doesn't cost the earth visit Bombay Stores. For an unrivaled range and to find the perfect occasion wear visit here as they are an Aladdin's cave of possibilities and you will find yourself spoilt for choice.
Beyond Bradford's centre, tucked away in the surrounding towns and villages, there are even more boutique and vintage finds to be had. Ilkley is wonderful for extra special gifts, Haworth Main Street is a treasure trove of antiques and old fashioned sweets and Saltaire's Salts Mill has the most delectable homeware section. If you never thought you could get excited about cutlery, think again.
Keelham Farm Shop is a national award-winning farm shop based in Bradford. Food always comes first at Keelham, and being based on a working farm they believe no one is more passionate about sourcing local and seasonal produce than they are! They're known for providing great tasting, fresh and affordable food, which is sourced directly from over 250 local and regional producers and farmers.
The Alhambra Theatre
With a capacity of 1,400 seats, this is a wonderful theatre and often recieves visits from major touring companies including The Northern Ballet Theatre and The Royal Shakespeare Company.
This secluded little hamlet is well worth a visit. The packhorse bridge and quaint cottages make for a surprising find so close to the busy city of Bradford.
A taste of Asia
Don’t leave England’s Curry Capital 2011 without dining at one of its award winning curry houses.
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