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.
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.
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.
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.
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.