The industrial Yorkshire city of Bradford might not be the first destination on everybody’s bucket list, but it should be. With a rich history that includes some of the country’s literary greats, an ever-evolving centre, and world renowned cuisine, it’s time this melting pot of northern culture is given a chance. Bradford boasts Saltaire Mill which is brimming with rainbow-kissed Hockney art, and a beautiful bookstore in a former wool exchange. It has a verdant village which remains unchanged since it was home to the Bronte sisters in the nineteenth century, its own Little Germany, the National Media Museum, and a vibrant spice in the air, which is the reason this city was crowned the curry capital of Britain, six years in a row.
Book a holiday apartment in Bradford
When looking for a holiday rental in Yorkshire, it can be hard to know where to start, but the answer to this question just might surprise you. If you are a lover of literature, visit Bradford. If you are a history buff, visit Bradford. If you are a theatre-goer, arts enthusiast, sports fan or curry lover, visit Bradford.
This vibrant hive in the heart of God's own Country was home to the Bronte sisters and J. B. Priestley, who documented a time when this urban land was a renowned powerhouse, not only in Yorkshire and the UK, but across the world. In the contemporary day, it is not the wool mills that draw travellers to these streets, rather, it is the majestic Alhambra theatre, which attracts West End producers and theatre lovers alike for an unforgettable evening in the city. Bradford is not exclusively about the arts, however, as sports fans should not pass up the chance of catching a game at Valley Parade, where Bradford City welcome its roaring fans from across the country. However you spend your time in Bradford, remember to leave time for a curry, as the spicy dishes cooked up here are famed for being the very best in the country. There is no time to sleep in this city which remains the UK's best-kept secret, but for when you do need to recharge, you can filter through a range of holiday apartments for rent in Bradford, then book through TripAdvisor, Booking or Airbnb today.
When to visit
Located in West Yorkshire, Bradfords temperate climate is typical of a northern city, with chilly winters, warm summers, and a rather frequent chance of rain, so don't forget to pack your umbrella. You don't need the sun to have a good time in Bradford, however, as the city hosts a range of events and festivals throughout the year. The most famous of these is Bradford Literature Festival, which is held for ten days across June and July, while the 1940s weekend turns Howarth into a nostalgic village for a weekend in May. Music lovers are also catered for over the last weekend in August, when Bingley's Myrtle Park welcomes a host of artists for a huge party in the park, known as Bingley Music Live. Holiday rentals and bed and breakfast can book up during this weekend, so be sure to book your accommodation in Bradford in advance for this time.
How to get there
The quickest way of reaching Bradford from across the UK is most likely to be by rail, with the Grand Central Railway offering a frequent service direct from London Kings Cross to Bradford Interchange taking just over 3 hours. Alternatively, LNER offer a service to the nearby city of Leeds, which takes only 2 hours, before you can compete the last hop from Leeds to Bradford in 20 minutes. If you are travelling from Scotland, the journey takes around 4 hours from Glasgow, which includes the stopover in Leeds. Journey's from neighbouring northern cities York and Manchester take only one hour, before you arrive in the very heart of Bradford city centre. For travellers from afar, it could be quicker to fly to Bradford, but thankfully for you, the region has its own airport, which has reliable bus to the centre. Fly from Belfast, London Heathrow, Newquay, Southampton or Jersey to Leeds Bradford airport, then travel the final 8 miles by climbing aboard the Flying Tiger Bus, or hopping in a taxi outside the terminal building.
If you are travelling from the furthest corners of the country, it is a good idea to make the most of your trip to Yorkshire by exploring this beautiful county. Once you have visited the city, take a look at holiday rentals in York or holiday cottages in Whitby if you want a slice of the Yorkshire coastline, which is only a 2 hour drive from Bradford.
Where to stay
Bradford City Centre
There is no better place to begin than in this multi-cultural centre, where you can fall from the Alhambra theatre, and the country's most influential Media Museum, to the City Park, which showcases a water and light display in its giant mirror pool. Choose a self catered holiday apartment in Bradford centre, and grab your morning coffee and cake in the beautiful Waterstones, housed in a Grade I nineteenth century wool exchange building, whose Gothic architecture remains a symbol of the city's great former wealth. It would be impossible not to mention the main reason why foodies flock to Bradford, which is to sample, an iconic Bradford curry. The most famous curry houses include MyLahore, Omar Khan's, Akbars, Aagrah, and Zouk Tea Bar and Grill. Wherever you decide to enjoy your Bradford curry experience, we can guarantee it is going to be good.
A UNESCO Wold Heritage Site? In Bradford? Yes, that's exactly right. You only need to spend a few minutes in this Victorian village to see why it holds such a prestigious title, as its quaint cobbled streets are home to vintage tearooms, art shops and French themed restaurants and bars. Rent a quaint townhouse with a view of the crowning jewel of Saltaire, the striking Salts Mill, with its unmissable chimney which towers above the village Sir Titus Salt built for his factory workers in the mid nineteenth century. Today, this monumental structure is exhibits the works of David Hockney, the Bradford-born artist whose most famous works of the 150 pieces in the 1853 Gallery, include, ‘Sunflowers for Jonathan', along with Hockey's own panting of his home town.
Little Germany is the best place to choose a holiday apartment in Bradford if you want to immerse yourself in the history of this urban jungle. When a vast number of German merchants arrived in Bradford in the mid- nineteenth century, they settled in this inner-city area, now known as little Germany. Though the population was primarily, German, the area showcases Italian architecture, in its stripped back warehouses, which make up Bradford's bustling commercial area. Choose a property in Little Germany which is flexible for your duration of stay, and suitable any family size, the get out there and enjoy the secret wonders of this industrial northern kingdom.
Known locally as the ‘Bronte Country', this hilltop village is as beautifully quaint today, as it was in the days when Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte wrote their globally-renowned novels among its cobbled streets. Reserve a traditional holiday cottage in Haworth, and spend your days exploring the Bronte Parsonage Museum, which sits alongside St Michael and All Angels' Church, where Patrick Bronte was the reverend for 41 years. Leave some time for some tea and crumpets in one of the cafes along the Haworth high street, then hop aboard the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, a steam train which will transport you back in time, as you travel along the surrounding moor land by rail.
Located on the River Aire, this borough can be traced right back to the Doomsday book, before becoming a market town in Medieval England, and prospering in the Industrial Revolution. Bingley's waterside position attracts walkers to its famous Five Rise Locks, and the former estate of Bingley St Ives, which offers a 550-acre space to relax and escape the noise of the city. Bingley is the perfect place to choose a peaceful holiday home, where you can live like a local, by waking up in a bedroom with a view before unwinding in this organic green space. When evening falls, be sure to call in for a pint or a cocktail in the Potting Shed, or a glass of red in Martinez Wine bar.
The prestigious area of Ilkley is the most fashionable neighbourhood in the Bradford, meaning there is no better place to choose a luxury holiday apartment than here in this acclaimed spa town. With its indie boutiques, exquisite restaurants, and sublime scenery which surrounds these distinguished streets, there is nowhere quite as stylishly sophisticated as Ilkley. Rent a room in an elegant bed and breakfast, or in an apartment for a surprisingly low price opposite Bettys tea room on the high street, then spend your days shopping, dining or hiking in the most elegant organic haven in the country. If you are a night owl, then Ilkley is the place for you, as there are a host of exquisite bars where you can dance the night away.
What to do
Take in the art in Salts Mill
The MoMA, the Art Institute of Chicago, Tate Britain, Salts Mill. That's right, this former textile mill in the picturesque village of Saltaire is blessed with Bradford-born David Hockney's rainbow kissed works, meaning this venue is held in the same prestige as some of the finest art museums on the planet. Don't pass up the chance to visit this art lovers utopia, if not for the paintings, but for the tasty diner, bookstore, or vintage shop on the top floor of the mill.
Eat a curry in the UK's curry capital
With a curry house filling every corner of this city with spice, you certainly won't be going hungry in the UK's curry capital. Whether you want a mild Korma dish, or you want to brave the famous Vindaloo, you can find a flavour to cater for all tastebuds.
Visit the Bronte Parsonage Museum
The former home of the Bronte sisters, located in the quaint village of Haworth, is an unmissable pilgrimage for any literary enthusiasts. Browse the largest collection of Bronte artefacts, and explore the streets where the likes of Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and Agnes Grey were dreamy up by Bradford's most treasured daughters.
Catch a show at the Alhambra Theatre
Can't make it to the West End? No worries, just come to Bradford! With nationally acclaimed performances travelling to the beautiful jewel in Bradfords central crown. With the likes of the Lion King, Mamma Mia, Wicked, Kinky Boots and Les Miserables passing through this nationally acclaimed stage, nowhere does evening entertainment quite like the Alhambra Theatre.
Hike around the Cow and Calf rocks
Towering above the verdant Ilkley Moor, the cow and calf rock formation is the ideal place for leisurely walkers, rock climbers and hikers alike to take in the glory of the West Yorkshire countryside. You can take in views of Ilkley and the surrounding landscape from its peak, which is especially breathtaking during the minutes before sunset.
Admire the architecture in Centenary Square
With its mirror pool, jet powered water fountains and surrounding coffee shops and bars, it is no surprise that Centenary Square is seen as the heart of Bradfords town centre. The main draw to the square, however, lays in the architecture of the Grade I listed Town Hall, a Venetian Gothic structure which has been a reconsigned jewel in the city since the 19th century.