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Things to do in Haworth, West Yorkshire


Bronte Bridge on Haworth Moor, West Yorkshire which is said to be a favourite walking area of the Bronte sisters.
Bronte Bridge

The West Yorkshire village of Haworth is set in the Pennines, ten miles west of Bradford. The name Haworth is first recorded in 1209 and meant "hedged enclosure".

It is best known as the home of the literary Bronte sisters who lived with their father in the local parsonage.

Bronte Falls, Haworth Moor, West Yorkshire, England, as featured in the Bronte Sisters
Bronte Falls, Haworth Moor

Signpost on Penistone Hill nr Haworth in Bronte country
Penistone Hill

They moved to the village from Thornton in 1820 and Patrick Bronte served the community for 41 years. He tried to improve local conditions for his parishioners. For a time Charlotte ran a local school, but without success.

In 1867 the Keighley and Worth Railway reached Haworth. It ran until the 1960s and is now operated as a Heritage Steam Railway.

Haworth had many old traditional customs, most of which have died out. There was a rush bearing ceremony and a Spa Sunday. "Scroggling the holly" takes place each November to gather holly for Christmas decorations.

Reservoir in the heart of Bronte Country in hazy sunlight
Bronte Country

The event starts with a parade led by local Morris men and children in Victorian costume. The Holly Queen is crowned on the church steps and she ceremonially unlocks the church gates to allow the spirit of Christmas into the village.

 

Present Day Haworth

Haworth is a charming and well maintained village set on a steep cobbled hill lined with old stone houses. It drops a total of 240 feet from the church at the top to the railway station, a lovely listed building at the bottom on the hill.

Parish Church of St Michael and All Angels, Haworth, Yorkshire on a sunny day
Church of St Michael and All Angels

There are many book shops, tea rooms and gift shops catering for the many visitors who pay homage to this home of English literature.

Pubs include the Royal Oak and The Black Bull, where Branwell Bronte, only brother of Charlotte, Emily and Anne, begin his slide into opium and alcohol addiction.

Despite being a major tourist attraction, Haworth has a close local community of around 5,000 residents. There is a school, library, cricket club and St Michael and All Angels Church.

Local committees organize events such as the Haworth Arts festival. There is a brass band, one of the oldest secular music groups in the area, which meets in the local Band Room.

Things to Do Around Haworth

Haworth makes an excellent base for exploring the surrounding area, known as "Bronte Country". The Worth Valley and the Pennine Moors are popular places for hikes, cycling and scenic road trips.

Traditional Mill Cottages in Haworth with Hanging Baskets and Flowers
Old Mill Cottages

Bronte Way is a 43 mile walk around some of the local sites connected to the Bronte sisters. Bronte Waterfalls, Bronte Bridge and the Bronte Stone Chair are passed, along with Top Withens and Ponden Hall which both featured in Wuthering Heights.

Restored steam trains run special events on the former Haworth to Keighley railway line. Trips include a Vintage Train Day, Steam Galas, Fish and Chips Specials, Guided Railway Tours, Santa Specials and a Mince Pie Special after Christmas.

Haworth Parsonage, next to the interesting churchyard, is now a museum known as Bronte Parsonage Museum. It has 19th century furniture and personal mementoes of the family. The dining room is furnished with pieces bought by Charlotte Bronte from her royalties from Jane Eyre. It is set out just as when the three sisters discussed their literary projects in the evenings.

Haworth Main Street © Adrian Snaith
Haworth Railway Station © Adrian Snaith

The Top of Haworth Main Street © Adrian Snaith
The Bronte Parsonage © Adrian Snaith

 

 

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