How to spend 24 hours in Bradford City Centre
Getting to the city
From Leeds / Bradford Airport you will have to take a bus or taxi to Bradford centre.
Yorkshire Tiger operate the hourly 747 from Bradford direct and the hourly 737 from Bradford via Shipley.
Flying Tiger Services
737 Leeds Bradford Airport - Yeadon - Guiseley - Esholt - Shipley - Bradford
747 Leeds Bradford Airport - Yeadon - Yeadon - Rawdon - Greengates - Bradford
Arrow Cars is the official taxi company for Leeds Bradford Airport - the only taxi company able to drop you off on the forecourt close to the terminal entrance
A cheaper option is to book a private hire taxi which can pick you up at the Airport drop off point which is only a 5 minute walk from the terminal.
There is a fast bus service from Leeds, the X6 which is every 20 minutes Monday to Saturday during the day. The 72 bus is a frequent bus link between the town and Leeds. The fast X6 bus runs to Huddersfield in the opposite direction. Metro has all the details of local bus travel.
Megabus [serves the city with daily links to London, Burnley and Birmingham.
National Express serves the city with links to Manchester, Birmingham and London and other cities.
Bradford city centre has two railway stations, located about 15 minutes walk apart. If you are travelling from London, North Lancashire, Greater Manchester, York and Leeds there are regular direct train services to Bradford. From other areas of the UK, the easiest option is often to travel into Leeds and then catch a connecting service into one of the Bradford stations (journey time from Leeds of about 20 minutes).
Bradford Forster Square - Train from this station go to Leeds, Ilkley and Skipton.
Bradford Interchange - Trains from Bradford Interchange go west to Manchester Victoria station, Blackpool North via Preston and Huddersfield and eastwards to Leeds and York. There are direct trains to London operating from the Interchange. The Interchange is conveniently located next to the bus station.
Bradford district is served well by motorways and main trunk roads. Bradford's own motorway, the M606, brings you within 1.5 miles of the city centre and links with the M1, A1 and M6 via the M62. Once in the city all main destinations are easily accessible .Parking
There are plenty of car parks in Bradford city centre but our top pick for car parking is the one on George street. Cost £2.50 for 24 hours. Use Sat Nav BD1 5AA
If you are going to experience the Bradford City Centre for 24 hours you will need somewhere to stay nearby.
Our top picks for accommodation is based on proximity to the city centre and all of the local attractions.
Midland hotel5 minute walk to Foster square train station. 15 minute walk to Interchange. Across road from Broadway shopping centre.
Jurys Inn15 minute walk to Train and bus station. 10 Minute walk to city centre Alhambra theater and National science and media museum.
Start your day early, because there is a lot to see!
If you did not get breakfast in your hotel package and fancy a full English then we recommend trying Smorgasbord Coffee Bar on Rawson Place. The JD Wetherspoon pub Turls Green offers a good full English breakfast. as does the Guzelian Cafe Bar and the ginger goose.
Looking for a traditional Kashmiri breakfast then the Sweet Centre Restaurant has been a Bradford institution – for over half a century. What the Sweet Centre serves up best for breakfast is their fabled halwa-puri. Halwa is a sweet dish made from carrots or semolina cooked with a copious amount of butter and sugar. The puri served with it is basically a deep fried roti. If you want to be really unorthodox, you can order a side dish of channa, a chickpea curry, to give it that savoury kick.
After breakfast start the day by taking a gentle stroll around the conservation area of little Germany.
Little Germany remains a testimony to the time when Bradford dominated the world's woollen trade"Worstedopolis"
By the late 1850s German merchants were coming to Bradford after hearing that the Yorkshire city was International center for the woollen trade. Merchant warehouses were built to store and display their goods predominantly neoclassical in style with an Italian influence .
Architecturally Little Germany is arguably the most impressive merchant quarter in the whole of Yorkshire. Of 85 buildings constructed between 1855 and 1890 fifty-five are listed because of their architectural and historical importance.
The best way to see all of Little Germany is to walk the Greenline Mile. Just follow the regular green markers set into the pavement (either way) for an approximate mile long loop that takes in Little Germany highlights, including the Stone Clock and Armchair, The Digital Exchange (Home of City of Film), Westfield, The City Connect Cycle Route, Bradford Cathedral and Bradford Playhouse
Highlights not to miss
If you continue in the same direction along Peckover street to the end you will find the Former Sion Chapel and Presbytery, Harris Street (Grade II) – a very prominent building within the conservation area. It was designed by Lockwood and Mawson for the Baptists in 1873. Looking more like a town hall it is two-storeys sandstone ashlar, a large rectangular plan chapel employing a rich Italianate classical style
Turn left at the Grandfather clock junction onto Peckover street and you will see merchants house on the right. This building was specially designed for two German Wool Merchants Victor Edelstein and Jacob Moser who set up in business in Bradford 1872.
Turn right at the Grandfather clock junction onto Peckover street and walk a short distance and you will come across a particularly unusual warehouse building. 46 Peckover street (Grade II) – Scottish baronial style warehouse designed by George Corson. It was constructed in 1871 and has many distinctive features, such as triple chimney stacks, stepped gables, steep roofs, turrets with false cannon water spouts and deep corbelled eaves. As such stands out amongst the sea of Italianate style buildings that surround it.
Originally built as a Theatre and Cinema by Eric Morley in 1937. From 1929 was run by the Bradford Playhouse Company as the Bradford Civic Playhouse and Film Theatre. The well known novelist and playwright J. B. Priestley was the President of the Theatre from 1932 until his death in 1984. It is now run as a live theatre by Colin Fine, a local Theatre enthusiast.
Just after the Bradford playhouse you will notice 2 houses. 16 and 18 Chapel Street are (Grade II), built in 1825 to house the ministers of the long demolished Eastbrook Wesleyan Methodist Chapel. These houses are older than the surrounding warehouses
A good starting point is the Bradford playhouse on Chapel street BD1 5DL.
Continue your walk up Chapel street and just after the Yo Yo Café Bar you will find a Grandads clock and chair made from stone.. This is an amusing interpretation of a mill owner’s office with a comfortable chair, mirror and grandfather clock. The work looks back to the past, but the swinging pendulum of the clock indicates that time does not stand still and the past has an important contribution to make to the future.
Don't fancy the full mile tour then just check out our top picks
Continue to the next junction and turn left into Burnett street. witch links onto Vicar lane. This is where you will find the grandest of warehouses. The buildings are typically four, five or six storey in height and individually designed with real architectural merit. These grand buildings are all clustered together along Vicar Lane, Aked Street, Hick Street, Cater Street, Currer Street, Field Street and Well Street.
Sitting side by side the buildings 62 and 63 Vicar Lane are outstanding examples of warehouse architecture. 62 Vicar lane is possibly the finest Victorian warehouse in Bradford. It was built on a difficult shaped site and the detailing of the canted corner, like Devere House, was clearly designed to capture the eye on the approach up Vicar Lane. The grandeur of this façade is superior to those of its peers, as the high level of ornamentation is applied to all six storeys, rather than being limited to the entrance level. Pairs of Corinthian columns ascend the building, becoming smaller at each level, which have the effect of exaggerating the perspective of the building, and rise to graceful finials and a dome.
Bradford Cathedral is full of rich history, from gruesome carved skulls to eleventh century blackened stones, a memory of the former Norman Church built on the site. The Cathedral is usually open Monday to Saturday from 9.00am until 4.30pm and Sundays for services only: closed Bank Holidays.
St Peter’s House - Kala Sangam
Designed by architect Henry Tanner and built in 1886 as Bradford’s General Post Office. This beautiful grade II listed building measures 224ft across and has a polished granite frontage. Built in the Northern Renaissance architectural style with French overtones, it is a showpiece of particular architectural interest along with some of the finest Victorian buildings in the Little Germany area of the city.
The building is now used by Kala Sangam a South Asian community arts centre running workshops, classes and shows. Young people who share a love of dancing practice complex Asian dance routines
If you have worked up a thirst there is a fantastic Rooftop Cafe. They offer fresh sandwiches, wraps, flatbreads all with locally sourced produce.
Retail Therapy or more Architecture
Needing a bit of retail therapy and a mini mental vacation then the Broadway shopping centre is only a few minutes away from the Cathedral. The complex has over 70 shops and eateries with an individual mix of stores and recognised high street brands, all under one roof.
If shopping is not your thing and would love to see a bit more of Bradford’s architectural heritage then follow the outside of the Broadway shopping centre in an anti- clockwise direction. As you turn the corner you will see the imposing building of the Midland Hotel one of the architectural gems of Victorian Bradford. As with many Victorian hotels, the Midland came hand-in-hand with a railway station. The new Midland Station, now Forster Square station, opened in March, 1890. Work had begun on the hotel in 1885 and when it finally opened, three months after the station, it was a showpiece for the Midland Railway Company's northern operations.
The Midland Hotel
If you continue to follow the Broadway building around, standing in front of you will be a building with a clock tower which was clearly influenced by Flemish Cloth Halls such as the medieval commercial building, in Ypres, Belgium. This building is the former wool exchange.
The wool exchange s a grade I-listed building built as a wool-trading centre in the 19th century. The grandeur of its Gothic Revival architecture is symbolic of the wealth and importance that wool brought to Bradford. Occupying a triangular island site, the building has 3 main storeys of very finely masoned Bradford sandstone with a prominent clock tower at the north end. Red and yellow sandstone dressings. In type the design looks to the precedent of the great Flemish Cloth Halls but the style is Venetian Gothic, particularly in the polychromy and the serrated openwork of the parapet cresting. In the spandrel of the ground floor arcade are portrait medallions of the following notables: facing Market Street: Cobden, Sir Titus Salt, Stephenson, Watt, Arkwright, Jacquard, Gladstone, Palmerston. Facing Bank Street: Raleigh, Drake, Columbus, Cook and Anson. Today the building houses Waterstones bookstore, retailers and restaurants, including a news agency, pizzeria, café etc
Walk to the end of the road or leave Broadway past the Boots entrance, turning left you will find centenary Square and the new mirror pool which provides a true mix of leisure, entertainment and food and drink spaces – including the city's central library, restaurants for Nando's, Starbucks coffee house and Wetherspoon pub, all within a strikingly designed contemporary building, by the award-winning architects PanterHudspith.
Centenary Square was opened officially by Her Majesty The Queen on 27 March, 1997, and the big screen TV was installed for the Football World Cup of 2006. The screen remains on and active from early morning until late at night. What is shown can range from news one day, to sports on another.
Overlooking Centenary Square is the Bradford City Hall, with its distinctive clock tower based on the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, brings a bit of Italy to the centre of Bradford.
The large Grade I listed building, designed by local architects Lockwood and Mawson, opened as Bradford Town Hall in 1873. The exterior of Bradford City Hall is adorned with sculptural interpretations of the kings of England. There are forty of them, from William I to Queen Victoria. The website HERE gives a brief description of each one.
For the rest of the morning either walk around the mirror pool, watch the big screen tv or visit the police museum located near the toilets to the left of city hall.
The museum is open every Friday (11am-3pm) and Saturday (12 noon - 4pm) each week throughout the year up until and including Saturday 24th November 2018.
Bradford City Fire Memorial
The police museum
With a delectable selection of restaurants for every taste and budget, enjoy a delicious exploration of Bradford's restaurants, cafes and bars
One of Britain’s favourite fast-food and pub chains wetherspoon has a bar opposite the mirror pool. There is a Nando's next door so if you want to indulge in a toasted pitta filled with two flame-grilled PERi-PERi chicken thighs, this is the place to go.
The pavilion cafe bar overlooking the mirror pool offer delicious home cooked food. If it's traditional fish & chips you are after then the "In Place" sits just to the edge of the square. Over at the Broadway shopping centre you will find array of coffee shops, snack bars and restaurants. Burger king, Subway, Taco Bell, Zizzi, Yangtze, Patisserie Valerie, KFC.
10 minutes walk away you can try a Royal Thali lunch special at Jinnah Bradford, the newest addition to the Jinnah group popular throughout the Yorkshire.
For the afternoon a visit to the National science and media museum is a must.
The museum has seven floors of galleries with permanent exhibitions focusing on photography, television, animation, videogaming, the Internet and the scientific principles behind light and colour. It also hosts temporary exhibitions and maintains a collection of 3.5 million pieces in its research facility. The venue has three cinemas, operated in partnership with Picturehouse Cinemas, including an IMAX screen
For the evening walk up to the Leisure Exchange. The complex comprises a cinema, a casino, a gym, a bowling alley, a hotel and a selections of bars and restaurants.
Watch a movie at Cineworld or try your hand at bowling.
Hollywood bowl offers modern multilane bowling with an on-site bar/diner, plus a dedicated games area and arcade. Fancy a bite to eat then you can dine at Pizza hut, Nando's, Frankie & Benny's or Marco & carl
Alternatively book a night out at the Alhambra theatre
The venue seats 1,400 people and is a popular choice for major touring companies including Northern Ballet, Disney, the National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, Matthew Bourne's New Adventures and Cameron Mackintosh. It has staged major West End shows including The Lion King, War Horse, Billy Elliot, Wicked and Mary Poppins.
Why not make your night even more special by booking a pre-theatre meal in the 1914 restaurant. With views over City Park and a seasonal menu full of tempting dishes, it's the perfect spot for a pre-show meal. If you only fancy a light bite before the show there is the Circle Café, located on the Dress Circle level.
If you have had your fill of fast food and cheap eats and are looking for more of a fine dining experience for your evening meal then you will find Bradford has a good selection.