When James recently suggested a long weekend in Bradford, I think I had the same response as everyone else I told – surprise, and then trying not to laugh. Why would we want to go there when we could just as easily return to our beloved York?! Well, price for one thing but also to explore somewhere new. I knew very little about Bradford before I left, and whilst I don’t profess to know it well now, I know there is more to it than the fictional image I had in my head. Now I’m going to try and convince you too that Bradford could be a great destination for your next long weekend.
I did a little bit of research before we went, but didn’t have time to do too much. Tweeting @visitbradford turned out to be a very effective method of collecting recommendations – I was tweeted lots of suggestions in and around the area, and whilst we didn’t have time for them all, we did try a few.
We spent the first evening and full day in Bradford and then spent the rest of the weekend exploring the surrounding area (which I will write about soon). We stayed in The Great Victoria Hotel, which was conveniently situated opposite Bradford Interchange and close to the main attractions. Staff were friendly and we had a pleasant stay, although it would have been nice to have been warned about the wedding taking place on the Saturday!
The first thing we did was go for a curry. The Kashmir had been recommended to us and featured in the Good Curry Guide so seemed like a safe bet. It was very tasty and different to the types of curry I had had previously. Portions are big and the food was very reasonably priced (£16.50 including starters and drinks). I’d recommend getting a seat downstairs in the restaurant – we sat upstairs in an area that was a bit like a greasy spoon cafe which was fine, but lacked atmosphere. This was followed by drinks at Brew Haus, which we enjoyed so much we came here twice!
If you’re going to Bradford the one thing you really must visit is the National Media Museum. Entrance is free (suggested donation of £3) and gives you access to 7 floors of exhibits. There’s something to interest everyone, and most of the museum is really interactive so there is plenty to entertain children too.
The highlight for James was the Games Lounge, and seeing the last remaining original Wallace and Gromit set.
I particularly enjoyed the In Your Face exhibition (running until 3oth October) which is all about how you see the world, and how it sees you. There is also an IMAX cinema and Picturehouse cinema located inside the museum.
Another recommended location via Twitter was City Park, which we walked through on numerous occasions and on a summer day would have had great fun playing in the fountains!
Bradford Cathedral is the oldest building in the city and worth a visit, although I was disappointed by the lack of information about it within the actual cathedral. It would have been nice to learn a bit more about its history on the way round, so make sure you pick up a leaflet in advance or look at the website.
If you enjoy shopping then nearby Leeds is better, but The Broadway was quite new and had a decent selection of high street stores. If you like old buildings or bookshops then you have to go to the Wool Exchange Building; a grade I-listed building built as a wool-trading centre in the 19th century. An important building in Bradford’s history which now houses a lovely Waterstones. Enjoy cake in the cafe on the balcony to fully appreciate it!
Bradford isn’t the typical destination for a long weekend, but there was plenty to keep us entertained and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Where would you recommend that’s not a typical tourist destination?