Attractions in Bradford

Polly Checkland Harding

Bradford is a northern city home to venues with real cultural clout, with the attractions at its neighbouring locations Ilkley and Saltaire also a big draw to the area. Bradford itself was designated as the world’s first UNESCO City of Film in recognition of the rich film heritage, evocative movie locations and the plethora of film festivals and events here. Ranked as a world centre for film, Bradford is home to the National Science and Media Museum, which was the first in the UK to open an IMAX and panoramic cinema screen, as well as a live broadcast studio in the museum itself.

Visual art is another strength in the city – perhaps no surprise when Bradford’s alumnus include David Hockney, photographer Ian Beesley and multidisciplinary artist Shanaz Gulzar. The city’s Impressions Gallery was instrumental in repositioning photography as a serious art form, Cliffe Castle Museum, the former home of Victorian millionaire and textile manufacturer Henry Isaac Butterfield, holds a lavish art collection, and Fuse Art Space holds the candle for interdisciplinary and mixed medium artists.

Bradford’s music and theatre scene is not to be out done, however. This is the city where Bowie played St George’s Hall, the birthplace of playwright and novelist J. B. Priestley and now a significant producing hub. Head to the monumental Alhambra Theatre for landmark touring shows, or to Theatre in the Mill for Edinburgh Fringe previews and experimental productions.

For more information on all of these venues, and Bradford’s other stand-out attractions, as well as things to do in Ilkley and Saltaire, read on.

  • 1. The Peace Museum

    the peace museum
    Courtesy of The Peace Museum

    The Peace Museum, 10 Piece Hall Yard, Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD1 1PJ - Visit now

    Don’t be fooled by the size of The Peace Museum, this collection of peaceful objects has a powerful message behind it and makes for fascinating exhibitions.

  • 2. Impressions Gallery

    Impressions Gallery

    Impressions Gallery, Aldermanbury, Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD1 1SD - Visit now

    As the leading gallery of photographic arts in the UK, Impressions is making photography accessible, inspiring and approachable for everyone.

  • 3. St George’s Hall, Bradford

    St George's Hall
    Courtesy of Bradford Theatres

    St George’s Hall, Bradford, Bridge Street, Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD1 1JT - Visit now

    Bradfords flagship music venue, St Georges Hall has been bring the best touring talent to Bradford since the 19th Century.

  • 4. Cliffe Castle Museum

    Cliffe Castle Museum
    Image courtesy of Stephen Craven / Cliffe Castle museum, Keighley.

    Cliffe Castle Museum, Spring Gardens Lane, Keighley, West Yorkshire, BD20 6LQ - Visit now

    Cliffe Castle Museum in Keighley, West Yorkshire, is a local heritage museum which opened in the grand, Victorian, neo-Gothic Cliffe Castle in 1959. In addition to the museum’s fixed galleries, Cliffe Castle’s temporary exhibitions often feature contemporary art works responding to local issues.

  • 5. Fuse Art Space

    Fuse Art Space

    Fuse Art Space, 7 Rawson Place, Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD1 3JP - Visit now

    Fuse is a new and exciting venue where multidisciplinary art forms meet a full spectrum of live performance; this dynamic space is broadening the artistic minds of Bradford and beyond.

  • 6. The Underground

    the underground
    Courtesy of The Underground

    The Underground, 9 Duke Street, Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD1 3QR - Visit now

    The Underground Bradford opened its doors in 2016 and has since been bringing the best of rock, indie, pop and big nights to the Bradfordians.

  • 7. The Alhambra Theatre

    The Alhambra
    Courtesy of Bradford Theatres

    The Alhambra Theatre, Morley Street, Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD7 1AJ - Visit now

    Every big name in live entertainment will know of The Alhambra Theatre; whether you’re looking for a West End show, international dance or large scale theatre, you can be sure to find it here.

  • 8. Bradford Industrial Museum

    Courtesy of Bradford Museums and Galleries

    Bradford Industrial Museum, Moorside Mills, Moorside Road, Eccleshill, Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD2 3HP - Visit now

    Bradford’s Industrial Museum transports you back to the city’s former incarnation as a powerhouse of the North. See working machinery, the living spaces of both the mill owners and workers, as well as contemporary responses to the archive. As with Cliffe Castle, Bradford Industrial Museum often works with contemporary artists to create new exhibitions.

  • 9. The South Square Centre

    South Square Centre

    The South Square Centre, Thornton Road, Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD13 3LD - Visit now

    Based in the village of Thornton, the South Square Centre is a collection of 19th century workers cottages that now house a gallery, cafe, pub and more.

  • 10. Black Dyke Mills Heritage Venue

    black dyke mills
    Courtesy of Black Dyke Mills Heritage Venue

    Black Dyke Mills Heritage Venue, Brighouse Road, Queensbury, Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD13 1QA - Visit now

    The Black Dyke Mills Heritage Venue is an exciting community space where you can see live music, exhibitions and events. Run by the community for the community, it’s the closest a venue will feel to someone’s front room.

  • 11. Theatre in the Mill

    Image courtesy of Theatre in the Mill

    Theatre in the Mill, Off Shearbridge Road, Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD7 1NX - Visit now

    As the place to go for original and fringe theatre in Bradford, Theatre in the Mill is a hive of emerging talent and exciting new works.

  • 12. Bradford Police Museum

    Bradford Police Museum
    Courtesy of The Bradford Police Museum

    Bradford Police Museum, Centenary Square, Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD1 1HY - Visit now

    The Bradford Police Museum resides in the old headquarters of the force. Explore the cells, courtrooms and artefacts that have over a century of stories to tell.

  • 13. Nightrain

    Courtesy of Nightrain

    Nightrain, 7-19 Queensgate, Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD1 1RB - Visit now

    Nightrain is a rock bar and live music venue in the heart of Bradford city centre. Live music can be enjoyed every weekend, along with a jukebox, pool and darts.

  • 14. Bradford Playhouse

    Courtesy of Bradford Playhouse

    Bradford Playhouse, 4 Chapel Street, Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD1 5DL - Visit now

    Bradford Playhouse is a beautiful Art Deco theatre with a vintage bar situated in the heart of Little Germany, Bradford’s cultural quarter.

  • 15. Caroline Street Social Club

    Caroline street social club
    Courtesy of The Live Room at Saltaire

    Caroline Street Social Club, Caroline Street, Saltaire, West Yorkshire, BD18 3JZ - Visit now

    Caroline Street Social Club brings together musicians, dancers, thespians and bingo players, in a club where live performance, real ale and a warm welcome are never out of fashion.

  • 16. Kala Sangam

    Things to do in Bradford: Kala Sangam
    Courtesy of Kala Sangam

    Kala Sangam, St. Peter’s House, 1 Forster Square, Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD1 4TY - Visit now

    Kala Sangam is an intercultural arts hub based in the heart of Bradford city centre which reflects the diversity of contemporary Britain through the work it presents, the artists it supports and the communities it engages.

  • 17. Bradford Cathedral

    Bradford Cathedral
    Bradford Cathedral

    Bradford Cathedral, 1 Stott Hill,, Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD1 4EH - Visit now

    Bradford Cathedral has been a place for Christian workshop since the 8th Century, today it feeds the community artistically and spiritually.

  • 18. Salts Mill

    Salts Mill
    Image courtesy of Salts Mill.

    Salts Mill, Victoria Road, Saltaire, BD18 3LA - Visit now

    Salts Mill has evolved from its roots as a powerhouse of the industrial revolution to become a chic gallery and retail space.

  • 19. Ilkley Library

    Bradford MDC

    Ilkley Library, Station Road, Ilkley, LS29 8HA - Visit now

    Ilkley Library is one of the older institutions in the town. They regularly host literary events as well as bringing books and services to the community.

  • 20. Kings Hall and Winter Gardens

    Visit Leeds

    Kings Hall and Winter Gardens, Station Road, Ilkley, West Yorkshire, LS29 8HB - Visit now

    The Kings Hall and Winter Gardens is a central venue in Ilkley, its traditional Victorian theatre and adjacent glass-roofed spa hall.

  • 21. Ilkley Lido

    Ilkley Lido
    Ilkley Lido. Image courtesy of James Smith/ Only By Land.

    Ilkley Lido, Denton Road, Ilkley, West Yorkshire, LS29 0BZ - Visit now

    Ilkley Lido is a Grade II listed outdoor pool, with a stunning view of the surrounding moors, there is also an indoor pool and tennis courts.

  • 22. The Live Room

    The Live Room
    Image courtesy of Olcay Bayir/ The Live Room.

    The Live Room, Caroline Social Club, Caroline Street, Saltaire, Shipley, BD18 3JZ - Visit now

    The Live Room is a well established Roots music club that attracts crowds from all over Yorkshire and acts from all over the world.

  • 23. The Bingley Gallery

    Courtesy of Visit Leeds

    The Bingley Gallery, 29A Park Road, Bingley, West Yorkshire, BD16 4BQ - Visit now

    The Bingley Gallery is a hidden haven of local art work and changing exhibitions. Curated by visual artist David Starley.

  • 24. Ilkley Manor House

    Ilkley Manor House
    Image courtesy of Ilkley Manor House.

    Ilkley Manor House, Castle Yard, Ilkley, West Yorkshire, LS29 9DT - Visit now

    Visit the collection of Roman artefacts in one of the oldest buildings in Yorkshire, or host a special occasion at Ilkley Manor House.

  • 25. Ilkley Cinema

    Visit Leeds

    Ilkley Cinema, 46a Leeds Road,, Ilkley, West Yorkshire, LS29 8DP - Visit now

    Ilkley Cinema combines relaxed and sociable spaces with state of the art screening technology. Join them for indie film, theatre and more.

  • 26. Saltaire Trip Boat

    Saltaire Trip Boat

    Saltaire Trip Boat, Victoria Rd, Saltaire, Shipley, BD18 3LA - Visit now

    Saltaire Trip boat runs every day between spring and summer, sharing the beauty of Saltaire from the vantage point of the Canal.

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