West Yorkshire is made up of three cities – Bradford, Leeds and Wakefield - and two towns – Halifax and Huddersfield – each of which have their own tourist attractions and each of which provide things to do and see which distinguish one from the other. Yet, the five locations lie in close enough proximity to each other to enable visitors to visit more than one place with relative ease.
I moved to Leeds a little while ago, but I hadn’t yet taken the time to visit any of its tourist attractions, due to being plunged straight into the deep-end in my new job. However, during one weekend, my girlfriend and I decided to check out what Leeds and the rest of West Yorkshire has to offer.
There are a quite a few transport options, I found that the best way to travel around more than one location in a day is by car, simply because not being at the mercy of public transport enabled me to move from one location to another much quicker and to take in much more of what West Yorkshire as a whole has to offer over a two days. The only problem was that I don’t have a car, but I was in luck, as I noticed the Hertz office on Wellington Street in Leeds, which as it turns out is very reasonably-priced. Here are the places I visited over a two-day period:
Situated right in the centre of Bradford, the National Media Museum has seven floors of galleries that are home to permanent exhibitions, focusing on a range of different media, including television, animation, photography, video-games and the internet, as well as explaining the science behind the use of light in colour in the media.
I’m a bit of tech and history-geek so I have to say I loved this place - I’m not at all surprised that it is one of the most frequented museums in the whole of the north of England. The booklet that I was given upon entry states that this museum houses over 3.5 million items of historical significance – nice.
Halifax Piece Hall is located in the centre of Halifax, just up from the train station and next to the Woolshops Shopping Centre and is a nice relic of the wool trade, having been built in 1779, with the 300 rooms – all of which were originally dedicated to creating hand-woven wool garments . On the Market Street side of the Hall are pair of handprints that are the stuff of legend, it being said that they in fact cursed, having overcome the many attempts to eradicate them over the years.
Now home to a number of specialist shops, another point was that Piece Hall was featured in my girlfriend’s favourite film, “Brassed Off”.
Located within – funnily enough – the Colne Valley at Golcar in Huddersfield, the Colne Valley Museum constitutes three converted 19th century weavers’ cottages and provides wonderful insight into what life was like for a weaver back in the mid-19th century. The museum is run entirely by volunteers.
The first place we visited, the Royal Armouries is located in Clarence Dock and displays the National Collection of Arms and Armour, some of which was previously displayed or stored at the Tower of London. The Armouries has a thematic structure with four floors dedicated to different themes, including ‘War’, ‘Peace – farewell to arms?’, ‘Hunting’, ‘Oriental’, ‘Tournament’, ‘Self-Defence’, ‘Arena’ and ‘Flags’.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park is found in the grounds of Bretton Hall and it’s an open-air gallery showing a lot of really interesting works, by, among others, Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth. For my money, this has to be one of the best places in the world to see contemporary art sculpture.