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Things to do in West Yorkshire

West Yorkshire is a spectacular county which encompasses much of the old West Riding of Yorkshire.

The Pennine village of Heptonstall viewed from across the Calder Valley
The Pennine village of Heptonstall viewed from across the Calder Valley

To the west of the county are the southern Pennine Hills and lovely Calder Valley, which provide excellent opportunities for walking and cycling.

Leeds Town Hall
Leeds Town Hall

The cosmopolitan city of Leeds,is considered to be the country's second commercial centre after London. Leeds offers superb shopping, dining, entertainment and nightlife.

Leeds Dock near the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and the Royal Armouries Museum
Leeds Dock near the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and the Royal Armouries Museum

Within the City are many excellent attractions such as the Royal Armouries, the first National Museum to house part of the Royal Collection from the Tower of London, the Henry Moore Institute, and historic Armley Mills, home of the Leeds Industrial Museum.

Leeds City Library and Art Gallery
Leeds City Library

Leeds City Art Gallery houses a superb collection of 20th century art.

Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds
Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds

Kirkstall Abbey is a particularly fine example of the remains of a Medieval Cistercian Monastery.

Wakefield Cathedral
Wakefield Cathedral

Just four miles from Leeds is Temple Newsam House a magnificent country house, whose grounds contain the largest rare breeds centre in the world.

Old Town architecture, Wakefield
Old Town architecture, Wakefield

Seven miles from Leeds is Harewood, one of the great treasure houses of England.

Sandal Castle, Sandal Magna, a suburb of Wakefield, overlooking the River Calder.
Sandal Castle, Sandal Magna, a suburb of Wakefield, overlooking the River Calder.

Wakefield was the centre of the clothing industry before Leeds and Bradford came to prominence, the fine Georgian buildings in the city reflect the prosperity of these times.

Dominating the city centre the Spire of Wakefield Cathedral is the tallest in Yorkshire at 247 feet.

Chantry Chapel of St Mary the Virgin, Wakefield, UK
Chantry Chapel of St Mary the Virgin, Wakefield, UK

On the medieval bridge over the River Calder is the best of the few remaining bridge chapels, the chapel of St Mary which is richly carved and dates from the 14th century.

Wakefield Museum, in Wood Street is fully interactive and a great place for families to visit.

The Hepworth Art Gallery, Wakefield
The Hepworth Art Gallery, Wakefield

A short stroll from the city centre is Wakefield Art Gallery, showing early works by the sculptors Henry Moore, born in Castleford and Barbara Hepworth born in Wakefield.

Bretton Hall, Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Bretton Hall, Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Anyone interested in sculpture should visit the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, set in historic gardens and parkland where art and nature are brought together for all to explore and enjoy.

A short drive away at Overton is an attraction in complete contrast! - The National Coal Mining Museum for England, where you can travel 140 metres underground in one of Britain's oldest working mines.

Pontefract Castle
Pontefract Castle

Pontefract's Norman Castle is where King Richard II died in 1400. The castle was destroyed during the English Civil War, and the ruins of the castle and the underground magazine chamber are now open to visitors.

The town is famous for the production of liquorice sweets known as Pontefract Cakes, and although liquorice is no longer grown in the area, the sweets are still manufactured here.

Pontefract Race Course
Pontefract Race Course

The town is home to Pontefract Park Racecourse, one of the best appointed courses of its kind in the Country.

Huddersfield, in the Kirklees district of West Yorkshire, is one of the largest towns in England.

Castle Hill, Huddersfield
Castle Hill, Huddersfield

Castle Hill is a local landmark over 900 feet above sea level, and the site of an Iron Age hill fort. On top of the hill is Victoria Tower built in 1897 to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.

Huddersfield Railway Station
Huddersfield Railway Station

Huddersfield's railway station built in 1847-8 with long colonnades is one of the finest railway buildings in England.

The area is also home to Kirklees Light Railway, visitors can enjoy an 8 mile steam train ride through beautiful countryside. At Batley, Bagshaw Museum, makes for an interesting family outing.
Nearby at Birstall is Oakwell Hall, a beautiful Elizabethan Manor, featured by Charlotte Bronte as Fieldhead in her novel Shirley.


The town of Holmfirth is where the long running television series 'Last of the Summer Wine' is filmed.

Holmfirth and the Holme Valley
Holmfirth and the Holme Valley

There is an exhibition located in Compo's house, with photographs, memorabilia and inventions created by the characters.

Standedge Canal Tunnel, Marsden
Standedge Canal Tunnel, Marsden

The small town of Marsden on the Huddersfield Canal is close to the Standedge Tunnel, the highest, longest and deepest canal tunnel in Britain. Trips are available into the tunnel and along the canal.

The Pennine Way at Calderdale, West Yorkshire
The Pennine Way at Calderdale, West Yorkshire

Calderdale, named after the River Calder, is a fairly rural district and encompasses part of the Pennines.

The Calderdale Way, a circular walk approximately 50 miles/80km, follows old packhorse routes and moorland paths, circling high around the Calder Valley.

Piece Hall in the Blackledge area of Halifax
Piece Hall in the Blackledge area of Halifax

Halifax is the main town in the area, and West Yorkshire Tourist Information can be found - in the historic Piece Hall in the town centre.

Halifax Town Hall
Halifax Town Hall

Halifax contains many fine buildings such as the town hall, designed by Sir Charles Barry who designed the Houses of Parliament.

Halifax town centre is the home to Eureka! The National Childrens Museum, Britain's leading interactive museum for children.

Bankfield Museum in Halifax
Bankfield Museum in Halifax

Bankfield Museum in Akroyd Park, contains the Duke of Wellington's Regimental Museum, and also exhibits contemporary crafts.
Memorial to Edward Akroyd, Victorian Mill Owner
Memorial to Edward Akroyd, Victorian Mill Owner

Shibden Hall, Old House
Shibden Hall, Old House

Families can spend a great day at historic Shibden Hall, set in parkland with plenty of attractions for all ages.

Bradford was once one of the major textile producing towns.

Today many of the textile mills have closed, replaced by modern engineering, chemical manufacturing and light industries keeping Bradford a thriving city.

Bradford Town Hall
Bradford Town Hall

Bradford has many fine Victorian buildings such as the Wool Exchange.

The city offers good shopping and leisure facilities, there are museums, galleries, parks and gardens.

St Georges Hall Theatre, Bradford
St Georges Hall Theatre, Bradford

Bradford's most visited attraction is the National Museum of Photography and Television, with amazing interactive galleries.

Bradford Industrial Museum and horses at Work gives an insight into Bradford's historic past.

Bolling Hall, one of the oldest buildings in Bradford
Bolling Hall, one of the oldest buildings in Bradford

Just one mile from the city centre is Bolling Hall dating from the 15th century, set in a quiet garden - well worth a visit.

The area surrounding Bradford has many villages and towns, each with a unique history.

The Salt Mill, Saltaire
The Salt Mill, Saltaire

Saltaire was built in the 19th century by Victorian philanthropist Sir Titus Salt - a 'model village' of houses surrounding Salts Mill, opened in 1853.

Today following the restoration of the town, Saltaire is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The impressive mill has been transformed into galleries showing the works of Bradford born artist David Hockney, as well as designer shops and restaurants.

Situated in lower Wharfedale is the Victorian spa town of Ilkley, the starting point for the Dales Way footpath.

Ilkley Moor
Ilkley Moor

The town lies below Ilkley Moor, immortalised by the song "On Ilkley Moor baht 'at".

The Moor is a great place for walking, orienteering and rock climbing.

To the west of Bradford is the village of Thornton, birthplace of Charlotte, Emily, Anne and Branwell Bronte.

Their parents, the Reverent Patrick Bronte, his wife Maria and two elder daughters lived in Thornton between 1815 and 1820, during these years the four younger children were born.

Haworth Parsonage
Haworth Parsonage

The family then moved to Haworth Parsonage, which is now the Bronte Parsonage Museum.

Haworth is a delightful village with cobbled streets, attractive shops, tearooms and restaurants.

The Black Bull Inn, much visited by Branwell, still exists and exhibits his favourite chair.

Main Street in Haworth at Christmas time
Main Street in Haworth at Christmas time

A walk taken by the Bronte sisters can still be explored, the path leads two miles west beyond the cemetery along Enfield Side to the Bronte waterfall.

Bronte Falls
Bronte Falls

On the moorland above Haworth, the ruin of High Withins was the inspiration for Emily's Wuthering Heights.
River Wharfe viewed from bridge at Ilkley
River Wharfe viewed from bridge at Ilkley

Days out in West Yorkshire

  • Abbey House Museum
    Step back in time at the Abbey House Museum for an experience you will never forget. After your 1880's shopping trip you can find out more about Victorian Leeds, Chidhood in the 19th century and the history of nearby Kirkstall Abbey.
    Abbey House Museum
  • Armley Mills
    Formerly one the largest woollen mills in the world, Armley now illustrates Leeds city's impressive industrial past.
    Armley Mills
  • Bagshaw Museum
    This stunning Victorian Gothic former mill owner's house is set in 36 aces of parkland and ancient woodland. The home of George Sheard from 1875-1902, the house became a museum in 1911 and was named after its first curator, Walter Bagshaw.
    Bagshaw Museum
  • Bankfield Museum
    For half a century from 1837-1886, Bankfield House was the home of Edward Akroyd, the largest wool manufacturer in Britain.
    Bankfield Museum
  • Bolling Hall
    Tucked away in a leafy garden, less than a mile from the city centre. Bolling Hall is one of Bradford's most precious jewels.
    Bolling Hall
  • Bradford Industrial Museum & Horses At Work
    Think of industry in Bradford and you think of wool. Think of mills and you think of machinery, steam engines and horses, all of which can be found at Bradford Industrial Museum!
    Bradford Industrial Museum & Horses At Work
  • Bramham Park
    Bramham Park is a splendid Queen Anne mansion, containing fine collections of furniture, porcelain and paintings and is set in the peaceful tranquillity of 66 acres of formal gardens and 100 acres of pleasure grounds.
    Bramham Park
  • Bronte Parsonage Museum
    Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte, were the authors of some of the greatest books in the English language. Haworth Parsonage was their much-loved home and Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall were all written here.
    Bronte Parsonage Museum
  • East Riddlesden Hall
    East Riddlesden Hall was a thoroughly Yorkshire stately home of the Murgatroyd family with a medieval barn and fish pond.
  • Eureka! The National Children's Museum
    Eureka! is the UK's National Children's Museum, a place where children play to learn and grown-ups learn to play.
    Eureka! The National Children's Museum
  • Hardcastle Crags
    Walkers, naturalists and those interested in spotting the rare northern hairy wood ant will enjoy the 400 acres of unspoilt woodland which makes up the National Trust property of Hardcastle Crags.
    Hardcastle Crags
  • Harewood House
    For a great family day out, why not visit Harewood House?  The kids will love the Adventure Playground, and everyone will enjoy exploring the grounds and inside the house itself.
    Harewood House
  • Henry Moore Institute
    The Henry Moore Institute in Leeds is a unique resource devoted exclusively to sculpture, with a programme comprising exhibitions, collections and research.
    Henry Moore Institute
  • Kirklees Light Railway
    Ride on 'Yorkshire's Great Little Steam Train' through the lovely South Pennines on this old country branch line. A quarter mile long tunnel adds to the thrill of this nostalgic 50-minute return journey.
    Kirklees Light Railway
  • Kirkstall Abbey
    In 1889 a Leeds man, Colonel John North, purchased the abbey and surrounding land and generously presented them to the City of Leeds
    Kirkstall Abbey
  • Leeds Art Gallery
    Leeds Art Gallery offers a great visit opportunity at the heart of the city, home to 'probably the best collection of British Art outside London' ( The Times) it showcases both historic and contemporary collections of paintings
  • Lotherton Hall
    Lotherton Hall is a beautiful Edwardian country house with a bird garden, red deer park and formal gardens.
    Lotherton Hall
  • Marsden Moor
    Straddling the well-known Pennine Way Marsden Moor offers pre Roman archaeology.
    Marsden Moor
  • Middleton Railway
    The Middleton Railway was established by Act of Parliament in 1758 to carry coal from Middleton to Leeds and has operated continuously since that time.
    Middleton Railway
  • National Coalmining Museum for England
    A visit to Caphouse Colliery is great day out with a unique opportunity to travel 140 metres underground down one of Britain's oldest working mines.
    National Coalmining Museum for England
  • National Media Museum
    Consistently the most visited museum outside London with an average of 750,000 people coming each year, the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television has amazing interactive galleries to explore.
  • Nostell Priory
    The original Nostell Priory was founded more than 800 years ago and was dedicated to St Oswald, who first brought Christianity to Britain.
    Nostell Priory
  • Oakwell Hall
    This beautiful, Elizabethan manor house has delighted visitors for centuries. Built in 1583, the hall is now set out as it would have been in the 1690s, when it was the home of the Batt family.
    Oakwell Hall
  • Pontefract Park Race Company Limited
    Extensive improvements over the past few years have made Pontefract one of the best appointed courses of its kind in the Country. There are modern bars and refreshment areas in all enclosures.
    Pontefract Park Race Company Limited
  • Shibden Hall
    Built in 1420, Shibden Hall with its oak panelled interiors and atmospheric room settings is Halifax's Historic Home. The Folk Museum and Barn also offer you a world without electricity, where craftsmen worked in wood and iron.
    Shibden Hall
  • Temple Newsam House and Estate
    Temple Newsam is one of Yorkshire's greatest country houses. This stunning Tudor-Jacobean mansion has a history full of mystry and intrigue.
    Temple Newsam House and Estate
  • Thackray Medical Museum
    The Thackray Museum has been England's Small Visitor Attraction of the Year and is a fantastic day out, transporting you into a living experience of health and medicine, past, present and future.
    Thackray Medical Museum
  • Thwaite Mills Water Mill
    At Thwaite Mills you will find a fully-restored working watermill in an attractive riverside setting.
    Thwaite Mills Water Mill
  • Wakefield Art Gallery
    Significant early works by the highly acclaimed locally born sculptors Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, and important work by other major British modern artists, form the core of this collection.
    Wakefield Art Gallery
  • Wakefield Cathedral
    The ancient Parish Church of All Saints, Wakefield became the Cathedral Church of All Saints in 1888, when the Diocese of Wakefield was carved out of Ripon Diocese.
    Wakefield Cathedral
  • Wakefield Museum
    Wakefield Museum closed to the public on Saturday 26 November 2011 in preparation for the move to its new home within the new civic building - Wakefield One - at Merchant Gate, opening in early October 2012.
    Wakefield Museum
  • Yorkshire Sculpture Park
    Yorkshire Sculpture Park is an international centre for modern and contemporary sculpture.
    Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Places to Visit in West Yorkshire

  • Batley
    Batley is a small town between Bradford and Leeds in West Yorkshire.
  • Bingley
    Bingley is a West Yorkshire town located five miles northwest of Bradford. It is located in Airedale on the south of Ilkley Moor.
  • Boston Spa
    Standing on the banks of the rushing River Wharfe, the West Yorkshire village of Boston Spa is within the civil parish of Leeds.
    Boston Spa
  • Bradford
    The city of Bradford in situated in the Pennines, eight miles west of Leeds in West Yorkshire.
  • Clayton
    The picturesque village of Clayton, which is mentioned in the doomsday book, lies 3 miles west of Bradford, West Yorkshire.
  • Clayton West
    ClaytonWest Clayton West nestles in the Beautiful Dearne Valley overlooked by Emley Moor. It once boasted a thriving pit and textile industry. Clayton West affectionately known locally as Clayton is now residential.One of the domina
    Clayton West
  • Denby Dale
    The small West Yorkshire village of Denby Dale is a delightful place to visit, set on the banks of the River Dearne.
    Denby Dale
  • Dewsbury
    Dewsbury is a medium-sized town in West Yorkshire, known for its splendid Victorian architecture. It is 9 miles north east of Huddersfield and close to the M62.
  • Esholt
    Esholt is a small village of around 1500 residents in West Yorkshire. It is situated just off the A65 between Guiseley and Shipley.
  • Golcar
    The village of Golcar is about 3 miles from Huddersfield. It's a village which boasts some wonderful countryside and spectacular views.
  • Gomersal
    We have just received a description of Gomersal from one of our readers. This description is currently being prepared for publication and will appear on this page within the next few days.
  • Guiseley
    Guiseley is a small town eight miles north of Bradford in West Yorkshire.
  • Halifax
    The West Yorkshire town of Halifax is a sizeable Minster town, best known for its woollen industry, confectionery and the Halifax Bank. It is situated ten miles south west of Bradford, close to the M62.
  • Haworth
    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
  • Holmfirth
    Holmfirth is a small town high in the Holm Valley of West Yorkshire. Situated where the Ribble and Holme rivers meet, the town is nestled in the Pennines about six miles south of Huddersfield.
  • Horbury
    There are many good reasons to visit Horbury where the environment is welcoming and friendly and car parking is free.Our high-class clothes, food, bookshops and cafés are situated in a town that has retained its individuality.
  • Huddersfield
    Huddersfield West Yorkshire, geographically speaking the town is situated in a basin surrounded by hills; this can be readily seen from many of the vantage points around the area.
  • Ilkley
    Ilkley is a small tourist town in West Yorkshire, 11 miles north of Bradford.
  • Keighley
    The West Yorkshire town of Keighley is situated where the River Worth joins the River Aire. It is located on the main A629 between Skipton and Bradford.
  • Leeds
    Leeds, the commercial and cultural capital of the north, is a large and prosperous city, centrally situated in the north of England.
  • Marsden
    Marsden is a perfect example of the villages sited within the Colne Valley and lies about 8 miles away from huddersfield.The Village is small and compact with houses built around the central shopping area which is Peel Street.
  • Menston
    Menston is situated in Yorkshire within the picturesque valley of the River Wharfe northeast of Bradford city centre and to the northwest of Leeds.
  • Morley
    Morley is a town in West Yorkshire, five miles south west of Leeds. The town compares itself with Rome, as both are built on seven hills.
  • Mytholmroyd
    Situated in the beautiful Calder Valley, equidistant from the towns of Halifax to the east and Todmorden, to the west, Mytholmroyd (Norse:- a level place where two rivers meet Mitholm - Roid) is now a dormitory town for Leeds some 3' miles
  • Otley
    Overlooked by the Chevin, Otley is a market town situated in the Wharf Valley and is the Birth place of Thomas Chippendale.
  • Pontefract
    The market town of Pontefract in West Yorkshire is well known for its unusual black liquorice sweets known as Pontefract cakes. Close to the M62 and the A1 the town is nine miles east of Wakefield.
  • Roberttown
    Roberttown a quiet residential Village. It has been established for almost 200 years on top of a hill overlooking the Pennines to the west.
  • Rothwell
    Rothwell is a small, friendly town in Leeds. At around 6 miles from Leeds City Centre, the town is an ideal base for commuters and tourists alike. Rothwell has no shortage of facilities. With a population of around 22,000.
  • Ryhill
    Ryhill is a village surrounded by beautiful countryside & has a public footpath link to the Pennine Trail. The village overlooks 2 reservoirs & just out of sight is a manmade lake with a country trail around it. It is a short drive from Wak
  • Saltaire
    Saltaire is a stunning Victorian village, originally founded in 1853 by Sir Titus Salt, it is now a UNESCO World Heritage site located at the base of the Aire Valley.
  • Shipley
    Shipley is four miles north of Bradford in West Yorkshire. It is situated near the River Aire, on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.
  • Slaithwaite
    Slaithwaite (pronounced 'slawit' or 'slathwaite' by locals) is a true "Yorkshire grit" mill town straddled by the viaduct and bisected by the canal.
  • South Elmsall
    South Elmsall lies just off the A1, a few miles south of where it crosses the M62 on the very southernmost tip of West Yorkshire. It is part of Wakefield Metropolitan district.
  • Sowerby Bridge
    Sowerby Bridge is a town that is fast developing to compare with the most attractive places to visit in the area and has many beautiful local walks in its favour. Nestled between the river Calder and the canal with the deepest canal lock i
    Sowerby Bridge
  • Wakefield
    At the heart of Wakefield city is the beautiful cathedral,it stands on the site of a Saxon church and was mainly built in the 14th and 15th centuries.
  • Wetherby
    Wetherby stands on the Wharfe River, 12 miles northeast of Leeds in West Yorkshire. For centuries it was an important crossing place on the Great North Road for travellers journeying from London to Edinburgh.

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