Things to do in Hebden Bridge

Polly Checkland Harding

Hebden Bridge has a near-embarrassing number of accolades to its name. Winner of best Small Market Town at the Great British High Street Awards in 2016 by a record-breaking number of votes, Hebden Bridge is home to a proud and tightly-knit community of people, who champion their garlanded market, celebrated Trades Club, independent jewellery studio The Workshop and historic Picture House cinema – but also come to the aid of the town’s fiercely independent businesses in a crisis. This is a place that has seen off infiltration from major corporations and chains, and has bounced back from devastating flooding on Boxing Day, 2015. Name-checked in the National Geographic’s ‘Cool List 2019’, Hebden Bridge is home to the Hebden Bridge Arts festival and the annual Handmade Parade, a mecca for walkers and cyclists with an impressive roster of good cafés, restaurants, bars and pubs.

The town takes its name from an ancient packhorse bridge, built in 1510, which still bears old inscriptions recording repairs over the years. Some of Hebden Bridge’s houses and shops are built onto the steep, wooded hillsides of the Calder Valley – occasionally opening out onto a different street at the bottom than they do on the opposite side at the top – with the Rochdale Canal and River Calder coursing through the centre of town. A great jumping off point for exploring the surrounding countryside with Hebden Bridge Cruises, the town is also within striking distance of National Trust site Hardcastle Crags, Stoodley Pike and the moors, the birthplace of Ted Hughes at Mytholmroyd and Sylvia Plath’s grave at Heptonstall.

Now known for its creative spirit, independent shops and excellent bars and restaurants, Hebden Bridge’s fortunes were first forged by the textiles industry – the Fustian Knife sculpture in St George’s Square a nod to the hard-wearing cloth made locally. The decline of this industry led to the influx of young people, environmentalists and hippies looking for a closer connection with nature in the 1970s – a shift that came to shape the town Hebden Bridge is today, with its idealism, activism, organic shops and workers’ cooperatives. Read on for our guide to the very best cultural attractions, places to eat and drink, shop and stay here.

Our top picks

Hebden Bridge Market

Hebden Bridge Market, St. George's Square Car Park, Hebden Bridge, HX7 7BZ - Visit now

Open four days a week in St. George’s Square car park selling a medley of new goods, second-hand antiques, arts and crafts and local produce.

Hebden Bridge Market
Hebden Bridge Market - Facebook page

The Trades Club

The Trades Club, Holme Street, Hebden Bridge, HX7 8EE - Visit now

The Trades Club is a celebrated small music venue and socialist members cooperative combining standout gigs with support for political cause.

The Trades Club
Image courtesy of Hebden Bridge Trades Club

The Workshop, Jewellery Studio

The Workshop, Jewellery Studio, 9 Hollins Place, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, HX7 8EU - Visit now

Learn from master jewellers Robert and Jenny Dutson with their jewellery-making workshops and courses at The Workshop.

The Workshop
Jack Downing

Hebden Bridge Picture House

Hebden Bridge Picture House, New Road, Hebden Bridge, HX7 8AD - Visit now

A thriving, independent, not-for-profit cinema operated by Hebden Royd Town Council, celebrating its 100th year in 2021.

Image courtesy HebdenBridge.org. Credit: Sarah Mason Photography.

Hebden Bridge Cruises

Hebden Bridge Cruises, Behind The Stubbing Wharf Pub King Street, Hebden Bridge, HX7 6LU - Visit now

Jump on a traditional narrowboat to explore the beautiful waterway that runs through the Calder Valley, forging the town’s heritage and history.

Hebden Bridge Cruises
Hebden Bridge Cruises

Hardcastle Crags

Hardcastle Crags, Gibson Mill, Midgehole Road, Hebden Bridge, HX7 7AW - Visit now

Hardcastle Crags, a wooded valley and 19th century mill, owned by the National Trust, is just a ten minute cycle from the centre of Hebden Bridge.

Hardcastle Crags
https://www.visitcalderdale.com/

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Pixies at The Piece Hall

Legendary American rock band Pixies are bringing their unmistakable and era-defining sound to The Piece Hall.

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Poetry at the Dusty Miller

Poetry at the Dusty Miller is a brand-new night with invited readers, organised by Carcanet-published Carola Luther and Judith Willson in the Coiners’ Room in the Mytholmroyd pub.

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Where to go in West Yorkshire

Huddersfield Art Gallery courtesy of Kirklees Council
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Gallery
Huddersfield Art Gallery

Based in the town centre and easily accessible, Huddersfield Art Gallery is home to an extensive and stunning collection of paintings, drawings and sculptures.

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Bankfield Museum

Situated in the beautiful gardens of Akroyd Park, Bankfield Museum is a grand Victorian villa with permanent exhibitions of textiles and costume, as well as varying temporary exhibitions also.

West Yorkshire
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Open Gallery

A beautiful and varied collection of contemporary art from across the UK. Their regular exhibitions are both seasonal and thematic and always worth visiting…

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AC Gallery

What was once, in the 1950s, a family ran art shop, has since evolved through the generations into a successful series of galleries across the north.

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Jock’s Cavern

High quality cocktails and vibrant live music is what makes Jocks Cavern so popular. This underground bar offers an intimate and effervescent atmosphere to indulge in their well-stocked bar.

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Now Serving

In the heart of Wakefield this basement bar, ‘high end, low brow’ by their own description, remains a popular watering hole.

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Hebden Bridge
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