A World Class Welcome: Bradford
Architecturally reminiscent of a Victorian ‘boom’ period that saw the city rise to prominence in the 19th century, Bradford has evolved into one of Yorkshire’s cultural hubs; with something for everyone to enjoy.
The way in which Bradford rose to prominence is not lost to history, this once international centre for textile manufacture rapidly grew to become the ‘wool capital of the world’ and the stunning Victorian buildings that rose in the area are still surviving in all their grandeur to this day.
The Alhambra Theatre, City Hall and Bradford Cathedral are three perfect examples of this architecture and are talking points even today.
The Alhambra is widely regarded as the premier receiving venue in the north and hosts the best in large scale entertainment and is home to Yorkshire’s biggest pantomime year on year starring Billy Pearce.
The Grade I listed City Hall sees its clock tower rise 220 feet above the city skyline and has thirteen bells inside and hidden in the heart of the city is Bradford Cathedral, a spiritual place that tells two stories. One of Christian history and one of a building that has stood for generations and connected with the people of Bradford throughout all of its years of existence.
The city is diverse and overflowing with culture of all kinds. In 2009, the city was crowned the world’s first UNESCO City of Film thanks to its rich film heritage and inspirational filming locations and is also home to the National Science and Media Museum. This museum explores the science and culture of light and sound technologies and has one main goal – to inspire the scientists and engineers of generations to see, hear, think and do more.
Being a city of film isn’t the only UNESCO link that the Bradford District has. Saltaire, founded in 1853 by Sir Titus Salt was designated a World Heritage Site back in 2001. The village, whose name comes from combining the founder’s surname and the name of the river that runs alongside, was built to house the workers of his industrial building, Salt’s Mill.
Salt’s Mill actually forms the heart of the village even today, the fully converted mill building is home to a superb selection of shops, restaurants and cafes and plays host to a David Hockney gallery.
The pretty, little spa town of Ilkley also falls under the Bradford district and is a rock climber’s paradise as not only does it offer plenty of quaint cafes but here you will find the famous Cow and Calf Rocks sitting proudly above the town, atop the rolling moorland.
Ilkely Moor is actually the perfect place to explore some of the finest Yorkshire countryside on offer and provides a wonderful, panoramic backdrop to this charming town. If you manage to visit when the sun is shining, then cooling off in Ilkley Lido is a different way to enjoy the weather. There are only 127 Lidos left in England and this one, built in 1935, is definitely one of the most popular.
Transport links in Bradford are well equipped to deal with the city’s bustling population but for a relaxing way to get around, and a picturesque one at that, the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway. This wonderful railway, powered by steam, allows you to step back in time on the Railway Children’s line right in the heart of Brontë Country.
Brontë country, named as such because of the literary successes of its famous family, the Brontës, sees Haworth sit at its very heart. Here you will find the iconic cobbled street and the home of the Brontës, which has now been repurposed into the Brontë Parsonage Museum. Sisters Charlotte, Emily and Anne penned some of their most-loved works in the place they called home between 1820 and 1861 and a range of furniture, clothes and personal possessions give an insight into how live must’ve looked in 19th century Haworth.
As far as hosting major cycling events goes Bradford has great experience in this, having hosted a start in 2017 in the city centre and Ilkley was the race’s first ever summit finish in the following year.
The best female riders in the world will be lining up in Bradford on the start line ahead of a 150km route that will see them head up into the Yorkshire Dales and finish with three laps of the testing circuit in Harrogate.
The UCI Road World Championships take place between 22-29 September and Bradford plays host to the Women’s Elite Road Race on Saturday 28 September.