Download GPX file for this article
53.8000-1.75206Full screen dynamic map

From Wikivoyage
Jump to navigation Jump to search

For other places with the same name, see Bradford (disambiguation).

Bradford is a city and metropolitan borough in West Yorkshire in the north of England. With a population of about 550,000 (2021) to the east its built-up area runs into that of Leeds, while to the west are Pennine valleys, the "Bronte Country". It's notable for the many Victorian mills and other buildings from its industrial heyday, and for its high Asian population: some 27% of residents describe themselves as "Asian", their families mostly originating from Pakistan.

Bradford has been a wool-processing town for centuries, but remained small until the 19th century. It then burgeoned as the textile industry evolved from cottage weaving to mass production, related trades such as dyeing and fashion retail developed alongside, and the metal-bashing industries arrived. Bradford sucked in skills and labour: German-Jewish wool merchants and dye-makers, Irish flax and linen workers from County Mayo, and Yorkshire folk drifting away from an agricultural way of life. The population grew ten-fold, with great mill complexes and neo-Gothic public buildings springing up, and appalling squalour and pollution in its teeming streets. A few enlightened industrialists tried to better the conditions of their workforce, such as Titus Salt, but even he eventually despaired of Bradford and created a new model town at nearby Saltaire, now a UNESCO cultural site.

In the 20th century there was further immigration from East Europe around the war years, but the largest group of incomers were recruited from Pakistan: the traditional weavers of Mirpur had skills that Bradford sought. They arrived in the 1950s and 1960s just in time to watch the textile trade go into long-term decline, unable to compete with cheap imports. The city became tatty, with disused factories crumbling into brownfield sites, and a blighted centre. It began to turn a corner from 1983, with what's now called the National Science and Media Museum creating a tourist destination; film tourism expanded, and there was other urban regeneration. There's still a lot to do.

Visitor information


Get in

Bradford City Hall.

By plane


1 Leeds Bradford Airport LBA IATA is ten miles north-east of city centre along A658. There's a good choice of flights from Western Europe, e.g. Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Düsseldorf and Dublin, and within UK from Southampton, Exeter, Belfast and Glasgow. See Leeds#Get in for more info.

LBA doesn't have a motorway or rail link so the journey through traffic can be slow and anxious. Buses 737 and 747 between them run every 30 mins from Bradford Interchange Station to LBA, taking 50 mins; the 737 runs via Shipley, the 747 runs via Greengates and continues to Harrogate. Other buses run from the airport to Leeds, Otley, Ilkley and Keighley. Taxis are plentiful.

2 Manchester Airport MAN IATA is a better option for long haul flights. From there take any train towards Leeds, and change at Huddersfield for Bradford Interchange, journey time 1 hr 40 min.

By train

  • 3 Bradford Interchange. The main railway and bus station. It has trains to Manchester Victoria and Chester, Preston and Blackpool North, Leeds (20 mins) and York, and Huddersfield. There are three direct trains a day to London King's Cross, but it's usually quicker to change in Leeds. Change there also for Birmingham and the southwest, and Newcastle and Scotland. Bradford Interchange (Q2191497) on Wikidata Bradford Interchange on Wikipedia
  • 4 Bradford Forster Square railway station (half a mile north of Interchange). Has trains from Leeds (25 mins via Shipley), Ilkley, and (via Saltaire) to Skipton. Bradford Forster Square railway station (Q2604550) on Wikidata Bradford Forster Square railway station on Wikipedia

By bus


The M62 motorway crosses the Pennines and at junction 26 the M606 is a spur into Bradford city. Bradford bus station is within the Interchange, see above.

First Bus X6 runs to Leeds every 10 minutes M-Sa, every 30 min Sunday, taking 35 min. Bus 72 runs a similar route but with more stops, taking 50 mins. Bus X11 also runs to Leeds every 30 min, and Bus X63 runs to Huddersfield every 10 min. Metro has all the details of these buses.

National Express has 9 direct buses daily from London Victoria, taking six hours. They also run to Bradford from Manchester city and airport, Liverpool, Birmingham, Oxford, Cardiff, Hull and Newcastle upon Tyne.

Megabus has one direct bus from London Victoria and two with a change at East Midlands Parkway.

Get around


By bus: see West Yorkshire Metro for timetables and route maps. Your likeliest bus trip is to Leeds, see above.

By taxi: there are many taxi ranks in city centre, but it's often cheaper to call and book. Metro Taxis are considered reliable, call +44 1274 733733 or +44 1274 728999. No call out charge.

Driving in Bradford is a tedious business, because of the many terraces opening onto the narrow thoroughfares. You're always stuck behind a van that is waiting to turn right against the oncoming traffic: no sooner does it succeed but a taxi flies out from the left to take its place, then the traffic lights ahead turn red.


  • 1 Little Germany. An impressive collection of 85 buildings constructed between 1855 and 1890, during the heyday of Bradford's wool textile industry, now a residential and business district. 55 of them are listed because of their architectural and historical importance. Little Germany (Q6650151) on Wikidata Little Germany, Bradford on Wikipedia
National Science & Media Museum
  • 2 National Science & Media Museum, Little Horton Lane BD1 1NQ, +44 1274 203354, +44 844 856 3797. Daily 10AM-6PM. A wealth of information and interactive exhibits from the history of photography, film and television, as well as the IMAX cinema. You can view archive episodes of Dr Who, The Clangers, Coronation Street and so on. Free, but charges for cinema. National Science and Media Museum (Q3054692) on Wikidata National Science and Media Museum on Wikipedia
  • 3 Bradford Industrial Museum, Moorside Mills, 235 Moorside Road, Eccleshill BD2 3HP (3 miles NE of centre off Harrogate Rd; Bus 660), +44 1274 435900. Tu-F 10AM-4PM, Sa Su 11AM-4PM. Museum of early industry with working textile machinery. Car museum and mill manager's house on same site. Free. Bradford Industrial Museum (Q4954703) on Wikidata Bradford Industrial Museum on Wikipedia
  • 4 Peace Museum, 10 Piece Hall Yard BD1 1PJ, +44 1274 780241. W-F 10AM-4PM. Recounts the stories of those who tried to bring an end to extremism, conflict, violence, war and inequality; to create social justice, peace and cohesion. By donation. The Peace Museum (Q7157398) on Wikidata Peace Museum, Bradford on Wikipedia
  • 5 Bolling Hall Museum, Bowling Hall Road (one mile south of centre). W-F 11AM-4PM, Sa 10AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM. One of the oldest buildings in Bradford, with parts dating to the 14th century, now a museum with various rooms in different period décor. Free. Bolling Hall Museum (Q4939788) on Wikidata Bolling Hall, Bradford on Wikipedia
  • Brontë Country: Thornton is a village 4 miles west of Bradford, now a commuter suburb for the city. Patrick Brontë was curate of the "Bell Chapel" here from 1815, and the three sisters and brother Branwell were born at 74 Market Street. The remains of the chapel stand in the graveyard of the modern church that's been built alongside. Five miles northwest of Thornton is Haworth where the sisters grew up and launched their literary careers. Other nearby locations are Guiseley in Leeds where their parents married, and Oakwell Hall near Birstall, inspiration for "Fieldhead" in Charlotte's novel Shirley.
  • 6 Bradford Police Museum, City Hall Bradford BD1 1HY, +44 7798 518035, . Friday (11AM-3PM) and Saturday (noon-4PM). The Bradford Police Museum provides a unique insight into the history of policing, criminal justice, civic enforcement and the development of crime and punishment in Bradford from the early 19th century onwards. Adult £5; child (5+, under 5 are free) £4; family (2 adults and up to 2 children) £15; senior (65 and over) £4; disabled (accompanying carer is free) £4.


  • Theatres are the Alhambra on Morley Street, Bradford University's Theatre in the Mill on Shearbridge Road, and Bradford Playhouse on Chapel Street.
  • Cinemas are Cineworld on Vicar Lane, Odeon at Gallagher Leisure Park, The Light on Broadway, and the IMAX within the National Science & Media Museum.
  • Music: concerts are held at St George's Hall. Several pubs have live music of an evening.
  • Football: Bradford City play soccer in League Two, the fourth tier. Their home ground is Valley Parade (capacity 25,000) a mile north of the centre.
  • Rugby League: Bradford Bulls play 13-a-side in the Championship, RL's second tier. The women's team play in Super League, their top tier. The playing season is Feb-Sept. In 2021 they returned to their traditional home stadium at Odsal (capacity 22,700) at the south edge of the city.


  • Bradford Mela is held in July on Lister Park.
  • Family Film Festival is in August.
  • Widescreen Film Weekend is held in late Sep/early Oct at Pictureville Cinema within the National Science & Media Museum.




Morrisons HQ in Thornbury, Bradford

Bradford is the headquarters of the supermarket chain Morrisons, founded in the suburb of Thornbury in 1899. There are four stores around the ring road.

Darley Street Market was due to re-open in Sept 2023.


  • Karachi Restaurant, 15 Neal Street BD5 0BX, +44 1274 732015. Daily noon-10PM. This cheap and cheerful Pakistani restaurant is a Bradford institution. BYOB, cash only.
  • The Kashmir, 27 Morley Street BD7 1AG, +44 1274 726513. Su-Th 11AM-2AM, F Sa 11AM-4AM. Restaurant upstairs, cafe-style downstairs. Long-established, relentlessly tatty decor, good food most nights, and very cheap: a starter & main meal should be under £7.
  • Mumtaz, 386-410 Great Horton Road BD7 3HS, +44 1274 571861, . Daily 11AM-11:30PM. Good up-market Pakistani-Kashmir restaurant. No alcohol.
  • Omar's Balti House, 46 Great Horton Rd BD7 1AL, +44 1274 414188. M-Th 11AM-1AM, F Sa 5PM-3AM, Su 5PM-1AM. Gets great reviews for food and service, the family-sized naan is humongous. Bring your own alcohol.
  • Momma Mia's is a reliable Italian chain on Upper Piccadilly next to Forster Square Station. It's open Tu-Sa noon-2PM & 5-9PM, Su 4:30-9PM.
  • 1 Akbars, 1272 Leeds Rd BD3 8LF (2 miles from centre, just east of ring road). Modern curry house with contemporary feel, pricey but value for money. Their spices are hot! Often packed and noisy, difficult to hold a conversation, booking advised at weekends. M-F 5PM-midnight, Sa 4PM-midnight, Su 2-11:30PM.
  • Zouk Tea Bar & Grill, 1310 Leeds Road BD3 8LF (next to Akbar's), +44 1274 258025. Daily 11AM-midnight. Restaurant with a mix of Indian, Pakistani and Middle-eastern style cuisine.


  • Fighting Cock, 21-23 Preston Street BD7 1JE (near jcn with Thornton Rd). Daily noon-11PM. Free house, old-style pub. Excellent range of real ales, bottled beers and good grub. A 10-min walk out of the city centre but worth it!
  • The Sun, 124 Sunbridge Road BD1 2ND. M-Th noon-1AM, F Sa noon-3AM, Su 3PM-1AM. Long established gay pub. Drag nights, karaoke, quiz & cabaret, not necessarily at the same time.
  • The Corn Dolly, 10 Bolton Rd BD1 4DE, +44 1274 720219. M-Sa 11:30AM-11PM, Su noon-10:30PM. A great pub near Forster Sq Station. A free house with a good amount of guest ales. Great food too. Has won several awards from CAMRA.
  • Shoulder of Mutton, 28 Kirkgate BD1 1QL. M-Sa 11AM-11PM, Su noon-10:30PM. A Samuel Smiths pub, all the regular Smiths' brews on draft, low prices. The beer garden is a nice sun-trap, allows smoking. Note there's also a Shoulder of Mutton at Thornton Rd, and another in Keighley.



Stay safe


The city's crime rate is lower than that of similar large cities such as Leeds or Manchester. Use commonsense and avoid wandering off the beaten track. The city centre is well-policed and seldom sees trouble, but avoid Lidget Green, Manningham and Low Moor after dark.

Go next

  • Leeds, 20 min away, has galleries, museums and lots of good eating and drinking places.
  • Saltaire, 10 min away, is a well-preserved 19th-century industrial complex, on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Within Salt's Mill are a large David Hockney exhibition, two restaurants and numerous shops.
  • Bingley is where the Leeds-Liverpool Canal starts to climb steeply, at Five-Rise Lock.
  • Skipton is the gateway to the Pennines and Yorkshire Dales.
  • Harrogate is a spa town with extensive parks and gardens; nearby the smaller Knaresborough teeters above the river ravine.
  • Hebden Bridge and Heptonstall are attractive villages set in a steep-sided Pennine valley.
Routes through Bradford
ManchesterHuddersfield  SW  NE  South LeedsHull

This city travel guide to Bradford is an outline and needs more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. Please plunge forward and help it grow!