Walks in Halifax

Sarah Gaffney-Lang, Families Editor

Halifax, the largest town in the diverse borough of Calderdale, packs a punch when it comes to the breadth of arts, culture, and historical sights on offer along with an incredible array of green spaces. Our Walks in Halifax guide brings it all together in one place – from the best boutiques, cafes and bars to mooch around, to historic landmarks with grounds. We have you covered.

The breathtaking Piece Hall – a magnificent Grade I listed Georgian building is an unmissable stop on any meander around town. Following an epic restoration, it now boasts a huge open-air courtyard and an array of multi-purpose businesses including galleries, bars, and independent shops. The vastness of the space, though, is what makes it so attractive for a wander, with little ones sure to race around the ornate archways and steps with views of softly undulating hills in the background.

One-of-its-kind Eureka! has long been a must-see for families with children of all ages, and with 400 installations across eight separate ‘zones’ it’s a brilliant way to combine fun and educational activities with a substantial stomp.

Picture-postcard pretty Shibden Hall and its surrounding parkland is a haven for wildlife. Popular with birdwatchers, Shibden Park features a boating lake with island, wilderness garden and a miniature railway. Visit in spring or summer and you’ll be greeted by a riot of colour from the flowers in bloom which is guaranteed to add some cheer to your walk.

With so much to see many visitors extend their visit to the town with a stay in one of the many great hotels. We highly recommend Holdsworth House and the White Swan which both provide easy access to hiking trails – including the Calderdale Way and The Mary Towneley Loop.

Whether your trip to Halifax is inspired by the award-winning dramas Gentleman Jack and Last Tango in Halifax or you have the all-weather gear packed primed to explore the surrounding moorland, one thing’s for sure, Halifax has heaps of cultural attractions to be discovered on foot.

Here are our picks

  • 1. Eureka! The National Children’s Museum

    Eureka!
    Eureka

    Eureka! The National Children’s Museum, Discovery Road, Halifax, HX1 2NE - Visit now

    No trip to Halifax would be complete without a visit to Eureka! – the UK’s only national children’s museum – which has been enriching the lives of families with a range of fun, one-of-a-kind educational activities since opening in 1992. Designed for youngsters aged 0-11, the museum’s footprint is vast – with 400 installations across eight different zones – which means visitors are likely to spend a full day meandering around the exhibits. With such substantial square footage to be covered, it’s wise to arrive armed with your Fitbit or Garmin!

    The museum has an on-site café which offers a selection of delicious meals and snacks and if the weather permits there is outdoor space with picnic tables to enjoy a cuppa with your sarnies. While the museum itself might lack country air it is a thoroughly enjoyable way to combine learning, family time and some exercise and if you do have the time, there are plenty of green spaces nearby.

  • 2. The Piece Hall

    The Piece Hall

    The Piece Hall, The Piece Hall, Blackledge, Halifax, West Yorkshire, HX1 1RE - Visit now

    A stone’s throw away from Eureka! is the incredible Grade I listed Piece Hall which dates back to 1779 and has been coined as one of the most significant Georgian buildings in the country. Now, the hall and glorious surrounding square are a hive of activity – providing a heady mix of independent shops, cafes, bars, and art from local artists in The Yorkshire Gallery.

    Piece Hall also offers a world-class events programme of music, dance, film, and visual art for audiences of up to 7500 people in an informal, outdoor performance space. This striking square and adjoining buildings are beautiful, particularly lit up at dusk and provide a haven for little ones to bomb around, with steps to climb, soaring archways to weave in and out of and water features to splash in. Combining the magic of history, beauty, entertainment and culture, Piece Hall is simply a must-see on any walker’s itinerary.

  • 3. Shibden Hall

    Shibden Hall in Halifax
    Image courtesy of Calderdale Museums/ Calderdale Council.

    Shibden Hall, Lister's Road, Halifax, HX3 6XG - Visit now

    Thanks to the wide-spread success of the BBC period drama ‘Gentleman Jack’ which charts the life of the notable diarist Anne Lister, Shibden Hall (where Lister resided) is fast becoming one of Halifax’s top attractions. It is only a 25-minute walk from the train station (albeit uphill), and undoubtedly worth the effort. Situated in the picturesque Shibden Valley, the 600-year-old hall is a magnificent picture-postcard medieval property dating back to 1420 and is home to a well-persevered collection of historical artefacts from the people that lived and worked on the estate.

    The surrounding wooded grounds that make up Shibden Park are an oasis for those wishing to explore nature on foot. With beautifully restored gardens, the park boasts a miniature railway, boating lake with island, ‘wilderness garden’, kids’ play area, orienteering course, and coffee shop. The stunning parkland comes to life in spring and summer, the fruit trees bearing fruit and the flowers in bloom. With plenty of space to roam and run, the Shibden Estate is unbeatable.

  • 4. Dean Clough

    Image courtesy of Dean Clough.

    Dean Clough, 139 Dean Clough, Halifax, HX3 5AX - Visit now

    Occupying a vast 22-acre site on the edge of Halifax town centre, the Grade II listed Dean Clough Mills (once the world’s largest carpet manufacturing factory) is now home to a thriving community of arts venues and businesses which include office space, a hotel, shops, and eateries. Perhaps most excitingly, the mills now house a hive of arts activity with six galleries, the hugely successful Viaduct Theatre, and several other performance spaces.

    Under a mile away is Akroyd Park with eight acres of well-maintained lush parkland. It is home to Victorian Mansion Bankfield House and museum which opened in 1887. The dwelling was the home of mill owner, philanthropist and MP, Colonel Edward Akroyd and is now open to the public to showcase the rich history of Halifax and Calderdale through its diverse collections.

    With Dean Clough offering a plethora of arts venues to uncover and Akroyd Park ripe for exploring, this part of Halifax is well worth a visit.

  • 5. Holdsworth House

    Holdsworth House
    Image courtesy of James Tracey.

    Holdsworth House, Holdsworth Road, Halifax, HX2 9TG - Visit now

    The breathtakingly beautiful Holdsworth House must be seen to be believed. Situated in secluded gardens on the northern edge of Halifax, the historic Jacobean manor featured as the backdrop for several key scenes in the TV series Last Tango in Halifax. The estate is made up of several buildings – the original, ivy-covered house which was constructed in the late 16th century, with other additions added in 1689 and the 1970s.

    Combine a relaxing afternoon tea and overnight stay with some walking along the rugged Calderdale Way – a 50-mile circular walking route around West Yorkshire which can be accessed nearby. Offering unrivaled views – punctuated with some of Yorkshire’s best little towns, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy windswept Brontë moorland along meandering canal towpaths.

  • 6. Halifax Borough Market

    Halifax Borough market
    Bruce Fitzgerald

    Halifax Borough Market, 31-32 Market Stall,, Halifax, HX1 1DZ - Visit now

    Halifax’s Borough market is grand to say the least – set within a striking Victorian structure, topped by an impressive 60-foot glassy octagonal dome, the market attracts visitors from near and far. It’s a place to experience a real slice of Yorkshire life in covered market form.

    With a whopping 179 stalls and 47 external retailers, Borough Market is best tackled at a slow and steady pace to fully absorb the beauty of over 120 years of retail history. While in the area, a short walk away in Westgate Arcade you’ll find Revo Records – an iconic independent record store which has been in the business for more than 30 years, known for its eclectic vinyl collection. This, and the other shops and cafes in the area are perfect for having a good old mosey and mooch around.

  • 7. Meandering Bear

    Meandering Bear
    Meandering Bear

    Meandering Bear, 21-23 Union Street, Halifax, West Yorkshire, HX1 1PR - Visit now

    Meandering Bear is a new addition to Halifax’s growing independent food and drink scene owned by the powerhouse behind award-winning Grayston Unity. Offering locally sourced wholesome food, you can expect toasties, ploughman’s, and meat and cheese platters along with an impressive range of drinks including ales, lagers, cocktails and spirits.

    Located close to Westgate Arcade (which houses some great shops, including the vinyl haven Revo Records), the Meandering Bear is perfect for a pitstop on a walk around town with the incredible The Piece Hall a mere hop skip and jump away, this gem makes for a great addition to any bar crawl. The unusually named spot refers to the real-life grizzly bear who, in 1913, pluckily made a dash for freedom from Halifax Zoo – enjoying a good old meander around town before being captured and returned. With that in mind, we think a meander over to this bar and eatery for some fuel is a must.

  • 8. White Swan Hotel

    White Swan Hotel
    Image courtesy of the White Swan, Halifax.

    White Swan Hotel, Princess Street, Halifax, HX1 1TS - Visit now

    With bright, modern rooms on offer, situated in the heart of Halifax town centre, the White Swan Hotel offers an ideal location for those looking to explore West Yorkshire – its arts and culture, its shops, and its stunning surrounding countryside. Grade II listed, the hotel building itself is worthy of note and is just one of many examples of Halifax’s rich architectural heritage.

    Basing yourself here is perfect for soaking up the grandeur of many sites – including the Town Hall, The Piece Hall and Shibden Hall. What’s more, hop in the car for a short drive and you soon have access to many walking trails.

    The popular Pennine Way for example, runs for 268 miles from Derbyshire to Cumbria and passes through some of West Yorkshire’s most historic towns. And The Mary Towneley Loop – a 47-mile section of the Pennine Bridleway takes in the sights of Blackshaw Head, Heptonstall, Hebden Bridge, Todmorden and Walsden. So, all in all, there are plenty of options for avid ramblers.