The charming village of Saltaire was founded in 1853 by Sir Titus Salt, a leading industrialist in the Yorkshire woollen industry. The name of the village combines the founder's surname and the name of the pretty river that runs through the village. In December 2001, the village was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Fast forward to present day, and Salts Mill now forms the heart of the village. The impressive building is now fully converted and home to an inspiring David Hockney gallery, a superb selection of shops and some tempting restaurants and cafes.
This pretty village has a rich history and heritage, and plenty of great attractions to discover. The United Reformed Church is a building of particular note - one of the nation's most precious Victorian buildings and a well preserved example of Italianite religious architecture - quite unique for a cosy corner of Yorkshire!
Other top destinations include the grand Victoria Hall, centrally located and a magnificent venue for village events, and Roberts' Park with its peaceful stretch of green grass and rather charming Half Moon Café. Surely the perfect place for a picnic!
Close by you can find the rambling Hirst woods and the local beauty spot of Shipley Glen, which can be reached using the Victorian Shipley Glen Tramway - a historic funicular dating from 1895.
Arts, crafts and vintage treasures
With its Bohemian feel and Hockney conections, Saltaire village has become a magnet for artists, poets, writers and musicians. Every year the village hosts the popular Saltaire Festival, and for the last couple of years the Saltaire Arts Trail has grown and expanded to become an event in its own right, offering a wide programme of family-friendly activities with the visual arts and crafts at its core.
The town is also a favourite with vintage lovers, with its popular Rose and Brown vintage clothing store, some great antiques shops and vintage fairs held regularly in the magnificent Victoria Hall.
Salts Mill closed in February 1986, only to be quickly bought and renovated to even more than its former glory. Today the Mill houses a mixture of businesses, galleries and restaurants, including the David Hockney Gallery with its paintings and stage sets, various shops selling everything from antiques to books and jewellery, and a variety of cafes and restaurants offering a tempting array of local produce.
The perfect place to visit on a rainy day, the Mill is also the perfect starting point for walks along the canal and visiting one of Saltaire's traditional ale houses such as Fanny's or Don't Tell Titus. Cheers!
Chez Shamwari is Saltaire's first secret bistro and tea room. It's not your regular high street retail outlet but set in a secret location in the heart of the world heritage site of Saltaire. Opening hours are advertised on their website and should you be lucky enough to secure a booking, you will find out the location details on a need to know basis only!
You could also try VM Lounge, who offer a Bistro style menu incorporating ‘weekly specials', with the locally sourced ingredients and enhanced by wine and beers from around the World.