Museums in Bradford

Carmel Smickersgill, Tours & Activities Editor

Bradford gained its status as a UNESCO world heritage site for film this decade and has gone from strength to strength since then. Although there are a varied collection of museums in Bradford, the jewel in the city’s crown, is definitely the National  Science and Media museum. It was the first place in the UK to open IMAX and Panoramic cinema screens, it was the first place to open a live broadcasting studio in a museum and it’s now moving forward to incorporate the history of video games as well.

The Industrial Museum in Bradford is unlike others in the North, as it highlights the importance of how the industrialisation and the need for a larger workforce lead to the diverse cultural landscape of Bradford as a city today. These stories are represented through archive, demonstrated through machinery and responded to by contemporary artists working in Bradford today, helping us all to feel connected to our past. In a similar vein, the Police Museum is a fascinating journey through Law and Order over the past century. You can visit the Victorian cells or court and see the ornate batons of 19th century bobbies.

Another Victorian gem is Cliffe Castle: this old manor house has been preserved and expanded with exhibitions of Natural History, Minerals and Molecules, and of course the outrageously lavish collection of art from the home’s former resident Henry Isaac Butterfield. With the surrounding park and an extensive playground, it’s a great day out for the whole family.

Although it’s the smallest of the Museums in our guide, The Peace Museum should not be underestimated. The collection of peaceful objects here each link to a time and place where someone has taken action towards a more peaceful world. Walking through the exhibits is a very powerful experience and will have you motivated to become more active in your peacemaking role in the world today.

Scroll down to find out more about our top picks of museums in Bradford.

Our top picks

The National Science and Media Museum

The National Science and Media Museum, The National Science and Media Museum, Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD1 1NQ - Visit now

Visit the Science and Media Museum to explore how light and sound work and how film, television and video games have developed, with interactive exhibitions a live studio and a one of a kind cinema it shows how Bradford earned its reputation as a UNESCO city of Film. 

Science and Media Museum
Courtesy of the National Science and Media Museum

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.

the peace museum
Courtesy of The Peace Museum

Cliffe Castle Museum

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.

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

Bradford Industrial Museum

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. 

Courtesy of Bradford Museums and Galleries

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. 

Bradford Police Museum
Courtesy of The Bradford Police Museum

Where to go in Bradford

Salts Mill
Hockney 1853 Gallery

For a David Hockney fan, this is the place to be. Visit this lesser known gem for access to the beautiful collections of legendary David Hockney.

Tinker Gallery

Ilkley’s contemporary art gallery, set up by artist Joanne Tinker, is a studio space in combination with a gallery.

Ilkley Playhouse

The Playhouse has a well established season of productions, also used as a venue for events, including the popular Ilkley Literature Festival.

Tourist Attraction
Victoria Hall

Saltaire’s Victoria Hall is a beautiful 15th century Italian inspired building first opened to the public in 1871.

Bar or Pub
SALT Beer Factory

SALT Beer Factory, named after the village of Saltaire where they first began, pride themselves making delicious craft beer for those who love it.

Tapestry Arts

Tapestry Arts is a live-music venue and bar, arts complex and theatre all rolled into one.

Paratha Box

The flaky, buttery flatbread of Partha Box has opened in Bradford – to the joy of all those local.


Japanese sushi meets Brazilian Grill in a fantastic melding of cuisine. This gem in Bradford is not only quirky in concept but delicious in execution.

Bagshaw Museum

‘Eclectic’ is the name of the game at the Bagshaw Museum in Batley. Their collections are varied but not lacking in quality.

Bolling Hall

Tucked away in a quiet, leafy garden, Bolling Hall Museum is full-to-the-brim with the history of its residing families.

Cartwright Hall Art Gallery

Cartwright Hall is Bradford’s civic art gallery and offers an exciting programme of contemporary exhibitions, with four permanent galleries.

Bradford Visitor Guides

Art Galleries in Bradford

Bradford has given us giants of the visual art world such as David Hockney and Ian Beesley, check out our guide of art galleries to find the best places to experience art in the city.

The Alhambra
Theatres in Bradford

As the birthplace of J.B. Priestly and the home of the Alhambra, the city's longstanding thespian tradition ensures there are no lack of theatres in Bradford.

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Bradford Cathedral
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