20 Things You Can Only Do in West Yorkshire

by Visit Bradford, Visit Calderdale, Visit Leeds, Experience Wakefield and Kirklees Council.

We’ve come up with the ultimate list of experiences, attractions and events you’ll only find in West Yorkshire; featuring top recommendations and insider tips from our partners at Visit BradfordVisit CalderdaleVisit Leeds and Kirklees Council.

From one-of-a-kind museums and stunning heritage buildings to epic experiences and spectacular events – you’ll be amazed at what you’ll discover next!

#EnjoyWestYorkshire

Wakefield

Discover the Magic of The Hatchling

A dragon is coming to Wakefield! Our beautiful visitor, The Hatchling (the world’s largest human-operated puppet), emerges from her egg, builds herself a nest and then attempts to take to the skies in a bid for her freedom.

Along the way she explores the area, and as she roams, she encounters a series of events: from intimate interactions to city-wide performances. At the end of her journey our hatchling will undergo an incredible metamorphosis, unfurl her wings, and soar over Pugneys Country Park as the sun sets.

📍 Wakefield city centre, WF1 1HG
📅 Friday 23 and Saturday 24 August

📍 Pugneys Country Park, WF2 7EQ
📅 Sunday 25 August

📸 The Hatchling – Trigger © Dom Moore

Immerse Yourself in Culture at Wakefield's Art Fund Museums

Did you know that Wakefield is the only place outside of London to have two Art Fund Museums? It’s true!

First up is the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, which was awarded the top honour in 2014, and is an international sculpture park set in idyllic landscape in the heart of Yorkshire. With 500 acres of grounds to explore, over 100 outdoor sculptures, several indoor galleries, delicious food and drink and award-winning shops, there is an abundance of inspiration and experience to be enjoyed.

📍 Yorkshire Sculpture Park, WF4 4LG

📅 Monday – Sunday 10am – 6pm

📸 Daniel Arsham, Bronze Eroded Venus of Arles (Large), 2022. Courtesy Perrotin Gallery and Arsham Studio. Photo © David Lindsay, courtesy Yorkshire Sculpture Park


Then there’s The Hepworth Wakefield, Art Fund Museum of the Year in 2017. On the banks of the River Calder, The Hepworth Wakefield is a sculpture gallery celebrating Wakefield-born artist Barbara Hepworth and showcasing modern and contemporary art. Designed by the acclaimed David Chipperfield Architects, inside you’ll find major exhibitions of the best international artists of the 20th and 21st centuries, alongside dedicated galleries exploring their namesake’s art and working process.

📍 The Hepworth Wakefield, WF1 5AW

📅 Tuesday – Sunday 10am – 4pm | Monday Closed

Journey Through Time at Queen’s Mill

Perched majestically on the banks of the River Aire, Queen’s Mill in Castleford is a record-breaking marvel. As the world’s largest stone grinding flour mill, it boasts an impressive twenty pairs of stones still churning out flour today. But its history stretches back millennia – the West Yorkshire Archaeological Society confirms a mill has stood on this spot since Roman times, grinding grain for nearly two thousand years.

Today, Queen’s Mill is more than just a historical landmark – it’s a vibrant hub of creativity and artisanal craftsmanship. Visitors can savour freshly roasted coffee, sample local craft beers, explore artists’ studios, or try their hand at pottery painting. With a charming tearoom and a dynamic calendar of events throughout the year, Queen’s Mill offers a unique blend of heritage and modern experiences, making it a must-visit destination for history buffs and art enthusiasts alike.

📍 Queen’s Mill Castleford, WF10 1JL

Plan Your Perfect Short Break at the World's First Nature Reserve

Did you know you can spend the night in the world’s first nature reserve? Walton Hall, near Wakefield, was the home of pioneering naturalist Charles Waterton, who in 1821 created a groundbreaking wildlife sanctuary by enclosing his estate with a 3-mile long, 9-foot-high stone wall. This innovative protected area predated formal conservation efforts by decades.

Today, Walton Hall has been transformed into the luxurious four-star Waterton Park Hotel, allowing guests to immerse themselves in this historic setting. Walton Hall, a gracious Georgian mansion on its own island, houses 22 bedrooms and the indulgent Bazaar Spa, complete with outdoor hot tubs overlooking the lake. The mainland Waterton Park Hotel offers 41 additional rooms, many with stunning views of the lake and ancient woodland.

📍 Waterton Park Hotel & Walton Hall

Bradford

Delve Into the Literary Legacy of the Brontë Sisters in Haworth

Come and explore the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth and immerse yourself in the world of the extraordinary Brontë sisters. Charlotte, Emily, and Anne were remarkable literary figures of the 19th century. They published several novels that became classics of English literature, including ‘Jane Eyre,’ ‘Wuthering Heights,’ and ‘Agnes Grey.’ Their works are known for their passionate storytelling, complex characters, and exploration of social issues.

📍 Brontë Parsonage Museum, Church St, Haworth, BD22 8DR

📅 Summer Hours: Wednesday – Monday, 10am – 5pm | Closed Tuesdays | Last entry to the Museum 4pm

📸 Brontë Parsonage Museum © Bevan Cockerill

Discover a Cultural Gem in Bradford the UK City of Culture 2025

Cartwright Hall is the civic art gallery in Lister Park, Bradford. The gallery opened in 1904 and has become a beloved cultural attraction, housing a diverse art collection spanning from the 16th century to the present day, featuring works by artists like Hockney, Lowry, Warhol, Lichtenstein, and Anish Kapoor. As Bradford prepares to become the next UK City of Culture in 2025, an exhibition titled “Where It Began” by Osman Yousefzada is currently on display at Cartwright Hall, highlighting textiles, sculptures, and new artworks.

📍 Cartwright Hall, Lister Park, Bradford BD9 4NS

📅 Tuesday – Friday: 10am – 4pm. Saturday an Sunday: 11am – 4pm. Monday: Closed

Trace the Threads of History That Have Shaped Saltaire

Bradford is well-known for its rich industrial history, especially in the textile industry. In the Victorian era, it became a major hub for wool and worsted production on a global scale. The city’s industrial roots are still visible today, with iconic sites such as Salts Mill. Discover Saltaire Village through a guided tour to uncover the UNESCO World Heritage Site created by Sir Titus Salt, showcasing impressive architecture and a vibrant arts scene. To delve deeper into the industrial heritage, visit the Bradford Industrial Museum on Yorkshire Day for a unique experience filled with entertainment and historical activities.

📍 Arrive by Train: Saltaire Station, Victoria Road, BD18 3LQ

📅 Salts Mill is open Wednesday – Sunday. Closed Monday and Tuesday. Open most bank holiday Mondays

Enjoy a Leisurely Dip with an Iconic Backdrop in Ilkley

Ilkley Lido is a stunning outdoor swimming pool situated in the charming town of Ilkley. The town has a rich history dating back to Roman times when it was called Olicana. One of the unique features of Ilkley Lido is its breathtaking surroundings. With lush greenery, the rolling hills of Ilkley Moor, and the iconic Cow and Calf Rocks as a backdrop, swimmers are treated to magnificent views that enhance their experience. Whether you’re seeking a relaxing swim, a day out with the family, or a trip down memory lane, Ilkley Lido is a must-visit destination.

📍 Ilkley Lido, Denton Rd, Ilkley LS29 0BZ

📅 Various times until September

Calderdale

Climbing the Spiral Staircase at Stoodley Pike Monument

The Grade II listed Stoodley Pike Monument dominates the skyline above Todmorden in the Upper Calder Valley, standing at 121 foot (37 metres) high and sitting atop Stoodley Pike, a 1,300-foot (400 metre) hill. The monument commemorates the defeat of Napoleon and the surrender of Paris. Completed in 1856 it replaced an earlier structure that collapsed in 1854.

Stoodley Pike Monument contains a spiral staircase of 39 steps leading to a viewing balcony on its West face, offering spectacular views across the Upper Calder Valley. Please be aware that several of the internal steps are in darkness, so it’s useful to have a torch to light your way when you visit.

The site is accessible from the Pennine Way and other well-defined public footpaths. There is no vehicular access to the monument, although it is reached by many mountain bikers.

📍 Langfield Common, Todmorden, West Yorkshire, OL14 7AA

Celebrate Calderdale's 50th Birthday on the Way

The Calderdale Way is a 50 mile (80km) walk encircling Halifax, Hebden Bridge and Todmorden. It follows old packhorse routes, passing through pretty hillside villages and old mill towns, and provides exceptional panoramic views over the Pennines.

The route can be completed in short stages, with numerous paths providing links from valley bottoms onto the Calderdale Way. A great way to celebrate Calderdale’s 50th birthday this year is to set out on an epic 5-day hike exploring our hills, moors and valleys. Be inspired by Visit Calderdale’s ‘50 Miles for 50 Years’ Calderdale Way itinerary.

🔗 Explore the Calder Valley

📸 The Calderdale Way by Mark Rosser

Unlock the Secrets of Science and Play at Eureka!

You’ll find nothing behind a glass cabinet at Eureka! the National Children’s Museum! Over 400 interactive, hands-on exhibits are designed to inspire enquiring minds to find out about themselves and the world around them. Discover six unique zones each with a different theme to explore. Make some noise and explore how music is created, experience the world of work and take over a child-sized town, and step inside giant body parts. Each zone is packed with equipment to explore, activities to do, and buttons to press. An exciting programme of events throughout the year, from science experiments to interactive shows, mean that you’ll enjoy a different Eureka! experience every time you visit. Eureka is proud to be accessible for all visitors. Pay once, and get in free for a year with an Annual Pass.

📍 Eureka! The National Children’s Museum, Discovery Rd, Halifax HX1 2NE

📅 Tuesday – Friday 10am – 4pm | Saturday & Sunday 10am – 5pm | Monday – Closed

Experience a Historical Treasure in Halifax

The Piece Hall is unique – a Grade I listed Georgian masterpiece and the oldest remaining Georgian cloth hall in the world! Standing at the heart of Halifax since 1779, the huge open-air courtyard is today surrounded by unique and boutique independent shops, bars, cafes and a restaurant. The stories of Georgian Halifax are told in the specially created exhibition spaces, while the central courtyard is a spectacular venue for a huge array of events, from contemporary music concerts to impressive site-specific performances, circus spectacle and street theatre.

📍 The Piece Hall, Blackledge, Halifax, HX1 1RE

📅 Monday – Thursday 10am – 11pm | Friday – Saturday 10am – midnight | Sunday 10am – 11pm. | Event times vary

📸 Live at The Piece Hall by Danny Payne Photography

Kirklees

Get Ready for the Panoramic Views of Castle Hill & Victoria Tower

Castle Hill is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, standing some 275 metres (900 feet) above sea level. With its high position, on clear days you can see as far as south Yorkshire, the Peak District and big cities to the north. The site contains a diverse mosaic of wildlife habitats and Castle Hill is a designated Local Nature Reserve. There are a number of interpretation panels on footpaths around the site, giving you an insight into its history and wildlife.

The spectacular Victoria Tower was built to commemorate the 60 year reign of Queen Victoria. Taking two years and costing £3398 to build, Victoria Tower was opened in June 1899 by the Earl of Scarborough.

📍 Castle Hill, Hillside, Huddersfield, HD4 6TA

📅 The Tower is open to the public on various days of the year. Visit Kirklees.gov.uk for up to date details.

Visit Holmfirth, a Quaint Town Full of Charm and Character

Against the stunning backdrop of the Peak District National Park, Holmfirth is a thriving town with speciality shops and markets, bespoke art and tempting treats, plus a packed events programme. The historic Picturedrome regularly hosts live music events, drawing acts and fans from all over the UK.

Fast flowing streams, moorland sheep, quaint weavers’ cottages and impressive mills reflect Holmfirth’s proud history of producing world class woollen yarns and cloths. But it’s the valley’s landscapes and villages which have brought the area fame as the star of BBC comedy ‘Last of the Summer Wine’.

📍 Holmfirth Bus Station, Towngate, HD7 1HA

Dare to Discover Oakwell Hall's Ghostly Secrets

Oakwell Hall is a Grade I Listed Elizabethan manor house, furnished as a family home of the 1690s, complete with its own mysterious ghost. Oakwell Hall was also visited by Charlotte Brontë in the 1830s and it was immortalised as ‘Fieldhead’ in her 1849 novel ‘Shirley’.

Outdoors, you can explore 110 acres of Green Flag Award-winning country park with period gardens, nature trails, mountain bike track, playground and picnic areas, gift shop and café and enjoy an events programme throughout the year.

📍 Nutter Lane, Birstall, West Yorkshire, WF17 9LG

📅 Every Saturday and Sunday – 12pm – 4pm (last entry 3:30pm)

Unleash Your Adventurous Spirit at Standedge Tunnel

Standedge Tunnel is Britain’s longest, deepest and highest canal tunnel! You can explore deep beneath the beautiful Pennine countryside, get on the water with a paddlesport session, take a family boat trip through the tunnel, enjoy a canal-side stroll in stunning surroundings and top it all off with tasty meals and indulgent treats at the cosy Watersedge Coffee House restaurant.

📍 Standedge Tunnel, Waters Road, Marsden, Huddersfield, HD7 6NQ

📅 Boat Trips: Fridays, Saturdays and alternate Sundays. Book online.

Leeds

Celebrate at Europe’s Longest Running Carnival

Europe’s Oldest Authentic Caribbean Carnival, Leeds West Indian Carnival, is a true celebration of Caribbean culture. Taking place on Monday 26th August at Potternewton Park, with colourful costumes, tropical music, and mouth-watering food, it’s a spectacle that sees people travelling from all over the city and beyond to enjoy.

📍 Buses to Chapeltown Road for Potternewton Park or Roundhay Road

📅 Monday, 26 August 2024

📸 Leeds West Indian Carnival © JMO

Take a Water Taxi to the UK’s National Collection of Arms and Armour

Hop on one of the little, yellow water taxis near Leeds train station for a short ride (£3 per trip) on the River Aire to Leeds Dock. Here you’ll find the Royal Armouries museum; the UK’s national collection of arms and armour. The museum is free to enter and houses five galleries with over 4,500 objects on display, including elephant armour and movie props. Plus there’s daily shows and combat demonstrations.

While you’re at Leeds Dock, be sure to visit Hold Fast Bookshop – a bookshop on a boat!

📍 Leeds Dock, The Boulevard, Leeds, LS10 1PZ

📅 The water taxi service runs every 20 minutes

📸 Leeds Waterfront Water Taxi by Carl Milner Photography for Leeds City Council

Watch a Film in the Last Surviving Gaslit Cinema in World

Hyde Park Picture House is one of the UK’s oldest cinemas, having opened in 1914, and the last surviving gaslit cinema in the world! Today, they screen the very best new independent films, alongside family-friendly movies, classics, documentaries and artist films. It’s one of the host venues for Leeds International Film Festival.

📍 Hyde Park Picture House, 73 Brudenell Rd, Leeds LS6 1JD

📅 Monday and Tuesday 4pm – 10pm | Wednesday 10:30am – 10pm | Thursday and Friday 2pm – 10pm | Saturday and Sunday 10:30am – 10pm

📸 Ollie Jenkins

Find Owls, Elephants, Peacocks and Parrots in Leeds City Centre

Follow the Leeds Street Art Trail and discover the striking works that provide a decorative backdrop for much of the city, creating an ever-growing web of distinctive pieces that tell the story of Leeds and its communities. You’ll find vibrant and adventurous art around every corner; from owls and elephants to one of the tallest murals in UK!

📍 Leeds City Centre

📅 Open 24 hours

📸 Winifred by Qubek by Carl Milner Photography for Visit Leeds

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