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48hrs in Rural West Yorkshire by Girl About West Yorkshire

By Emma Banks – 10th February 2020

A weekend in West Yorkshire:

Made up of a whole host of historic towns, cosmopolitan cities, quaint villages and even the odd hamlet it would be very easy to spend weeks exploring and discovering what it is that makes West Yorkshire so great. Be it with friends, a romantic getaway or a family staycation there are so many things to see and do in this special corner of God’s own county that I’m proud to call home. But with just 48 hours to spend, I’m going to focus on the best places to eat, sleep and visit in Calderdale and the surrounding areas.

Haworth Feature Image

 

Friday lunchtime in West Yorkshire:

On the outskirts of Calderdale are the charming cobbled streets of Haworth. This must-see village is famous for its Bronte heritage and rugged moorland which is a beautiful backdrop to the thriving main street, which is jam-packed with specialist shops and old fashioned tea rooms. For lunch, drop in at Cobbles and Clay – a café and pottery painting studio at the top of Haworth’s Main Street. Serving freshly made meals and cakes sit back and enjoy the food whilst letting your creative juices flow with a bit pottery painting.  Alternatively, for beer enthusiasts and those who love good honest, homemade pub grub then you can’t go far wrong with The Fleece Inn. A lovely little pub which is family-friendly and never fails to come up trumps with its menu.

A visit to Haworth isn’t complete without going into the old fashioned sweet shop, Mrs Beightons. Jars upon jars of traditional sweets will delight people of all ages. Another shop that you won’t be able to pass by is the extraordinary Cabinets and Curiosities. Makers of botanical candles, soaps and other lotions and potions this beautifully restored Victorian apothecary will amaze you and your senses.

If you visit during May make sure it’s on the very popular 1940s weekend where you’ll be transported to the era of the lindy hop and victory rolls as the whole village goes back in time.

 

Friday Afternoon in West Yorkshire:

One of the best things to do in Haworth with or without kids is to jump onboard the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway steam train.  Buy a day rover ticket and spend a couple of hours hopping on and off at various stops taking in the rolling Yorkshire views as you steam along.  Throughout the year there are some great themed events on the trains such as the adults-only Gin and Rum Express and the most recent child-friendly Jurassic Specials.  For the history and literary lovers then The Bronte Parsonage will be right up your street. Open between February and December this beautifully preserved Georgian house celebrates the Bronte family in all their glory.

However, if you’d rather spend your afternoon doing something a little bit more off the beaten track then Alpaca trekking could be just the thing! A fun and utterly bonkers way to see the Haworth moorland, the guys at Thornwood Alpaca will pair you up with a compatible furry friend before taking you on a steady journey through the picturesque Bronte countryside. The trek lasts 90 minutes and you’ll have plenty of cuddles, photos and fun along the way.

 

Friday Evening in West Yorkshire:

You’ll be ready to sit down and have a well-earned rest by now so it’s a perfect time to check into your Jacobean manor for the night – Holdsworth House. Slightly biased since I got married there, this stunning independent hotel will mesmerize you with its architecture, sunken parterre gardens and roaring fires. Many period features still remain – the mullion windows and beamed ceilings create a special and unique feel that you’ll be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. Those of you who watched the BAFTA-winning series Last Tango In Halifax will notice Holdsworth House as a key filming location on the drama. Since you’ve spent the day hot-footing around West Yorkshire’s best bits, I’d highly recommend staying in and dining in the hotel’s award-winning restaurant. If you do have more energy then a quick taxi ride to the Victoria Theatre is a great place to catch a show.  Whether you want ballet, comedy, music or drama there’ll be something on to tickle your fancy. Pop into the Circle Lounge Cocktail bar for pre or post-show drinks.

Saturday Morning in West Yorkshire:

In recent years, Halifax town centre has undergone a much-needed regeneration. The Piece Hall located in the Cultural Quarter of the town had the ultimate face-lift to the tune of £19m and is the best area to start your day. This stunning 200-year-old building set around an open-air courtyard is a great place to spend a few hours eating, shopping and being entertained. For brunch I’d recommend going to The Trading Rooms. Set on the ground level you can choose to dine inside or out making it a perfect people-watching spot. Beautiful décor and food that tastes as good as it looks you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Stroll around the rustic walkways, which overlook the square and treat yourself or a loved one in one of the many unique independent shops. Brown Paper Packages and Spogs and Spice both are worth stopping in at.

Throughout the year, The Piece Hall holds some fantastic food and drink festivals so if you’re visiting in the summer months try to coincide it with the annual Chow Down. The list of events held here is endless from music gigs and acrobatic shows to silent discos and craft sessions so whenever you do decide to visit West Yorkshire a quick search to see what’s on at The Piece Hall will stand you in good stead.

A little insider’s tip before you leave The Piece Hall is to head to the West entrance where if you look carefully just to the right-hand side, there is a mysterious handprint set in the stone. There are a number of urban myths surrounding these but I’ll leave you to make your own mind up.

Another great spot for something quick to eat and drink in Halifax town centre is Noco Kiosk, which is found at the bottom of Westgate Arcade and serves the best Italian street food. They also make the ultimate freakshakes which I challenge anyone to finish!

 

Saturday Lunchtime in West Yorkshire:

If you’re visiting with kids (or are a big kid yourself) I’d highly recommend taking a trip to Next Level which is a family-friendly bar and restaurant in the old Dean Clough mills that houses a huge collection of free to play retro and modern arcade games. Let the nostalgic sounds of Mario Kart take you back to your misspent youth whilst tucking into their very tasty and affordable lunch menu.  However, if you’re wanting something a little more classy and refined then Alibi’s afternoon tea is a sure-fire winner. This Georgian mansion has the wow factor. Be sure to dine in The Grand Salon area where you’ll be met with a live pianist, crisp white linen, silverware and lavender hue seating.

Food out of the way, it’s time to go slightly out of town to Shibden Hall and Estate. It’s a 20 minute (uphill) walk from Halifax city centre so my advice is to drive or hop on one of the very frequent buses. Fans of Anne Lister will recognise this historic house and grounds from the hugely popular BBC drama Gentleman Jack. Visit between March and December and you can take a tour of her family home. For children coming to the estate, they’ll love to explore the grounds and woodland areas. Head down to the boating lake for a sail; jump on the land train; play on the pitch and putt course and let loose in the super adventure play areas. Venture deep into the park to discover a small wooded area known as Cunnery Wood for its stunning display of bluebells and wildlife.

If the weather isn’t great then you might prefer to stay in the town centre and head indoors to Eureka – the museum dedicated to children. Kids and grown-ups will love the interactive exhibits and the with a ‘pay once visit all year’ ticket you can return as many times as you want.

 

Saturday Afternoon in West Yorkshire:

After a busy day, it’s time to make the short drive across to Lindley, an upmarket West Yorkshire village dubbed the “Knightsbridge of the North”, where you’ll check into your luxury boutique for the night – Manor House. This Grade II listed building had the makeover of all makeovers a couple of years ago and is now a glamorous hotel complete with sweeping driveway and chic decor making it the perfect place to unwind and relax. Once you’ve dumped your bags, I’d recommend either staying onsite to have a drink in The Kitchen Bistro which is an Instagrammer’s dream with pink interiors, overhanging wisteria and ornate doorways or head onto the high street to try the deli/café – Bubble & Squeak. If you do choose to venture out you must have a quick look in the very quaint Children’s Bookshop, which has been open for almost 50 years.

 

Saturday Evening in West Yorkshire:

For your evening meal, it’s a toss-up between making reservations at the multi-award-winning Eric’s – a stone’s throw away from the hotel or staying in and dining in the Manor House’s own very highly praised fine dining restaurant – The Lantern Room. Eric’s is home to exciting, imaginative seasonal menus (and was good enough for Arnold Schwarzenegger on his recent trip to West Yorkshire). The opulent Lantern Room offers a truly special tasting menu that’s to die for. They do operate an over 12s policy during dinner service, however, so if you’ve got the kids in tow then definitely head down the road – walking distance so you can enjoy a drink with your meal – to AJ’s (formally PAX burger). They serve light bites and mean burger stacks to suit all appetites with a great range of gluten-free and veggie options too. With American style cocktails, beers and milkshakes it’s a hit for all the family.

 

If you’re without the little ones then definitely make the most of the bars and relaxed nightlife Lindley has to offer.  Aborist, described as dark and atmospheric, deserves a mention as does the lively No10 bar. The best thing about Lindley is everything is on your doorstep; no taxis needed and you can stumble from one excellent watering hole to the next.

Before you hit the sack back at the Manor House you’ll want to head down to their secret drinking hideout – Lindley Cellars. Often hosting live musicians this atmospheric den is dark, dramatic and has some mouthwatering cocktails.  Alternatively, in the summer months, you can head up to higher ground on the rooftop terrace bar for a drink with a view.

 

Sunday Morning in West Yorkshire:

Your next port of call should be the bohemian town of Hebden Bridge. Best known for its quirky shops, indie cafes and friendly welcome, Hebden is a jewel in the West Yorkshire crown that shouldn’t be missed. You’ll be starving and in need of a good breakfast so get over to Humblest of Pleasures – a 100% vegan café that even the meat-eaters among us will fall head over heels in love with. This cool yet cosy hotspot, where you choose your own mug off the wall to drink from, has a superb breakfast menu which will satisfy all tastes. They cook up the fluffiest pancakes and serve the most amazing full English breakfasts that will have you questioning “Is this really vegan?” Don’t step foot out of the door without taking some of their delicious doughnuts with you. Big, bold and beautiful, these sweet, sticky delights (some of which are gluten-free too) will not disappoint.

Even on a Sunday, Hebden Bridge will be bustling with people (and dogs – this West Yorkshire town loves their four-legged friends). You’ll struggle to find many chain stores here but don’t fear you’ll be spoilt for choice with all the great independent shops. Pop into the Yorkshire Soap Company for bath treats that look good enough to eat and step into an Aladdin’s cave of eco-friendly and ethical treasures at Spirals.

 

Sunday Lunchtime in West Yorkshire:

For a Sunday lunch with a difference, you could hop onboard Gracie the narrowboat!  Take in the stunning views of the Calder Valley on this Hebden Bridge cruise whilst being served a two course Sunday lunch (cooked at The Stubbing Wharf Pub). The journey along the canal lasts 1.5 hours and includes a lock experience.

If you’d rather keep your feet on dry land then pull your walking boots on and make your way to one of West Yorkshire’s beauty spots – Hardcastle Crags. This National Trust maintained wooded valley has miles of glorious walks where you’ll be able to explore tumbling streams, waterfalls and rugged rocks.  Perfect for the kids to blow off some steam they can tick off many of the “50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾” as they splash, scramble and scurry around nature’s playground. For a more mindful, peaceful stroll then the woodland trail, which has eight poems scattered along the way, is the one for you. This walk leads you down to Gibson Mill where you can have a drink and bite to eat at Weaving Shed Café.

 

After 48 hours spent in West Yorkshire you’ll be knackered but by ‘eck you’ll have had a good time.

Where to stay in West Yorkshire:

1: Wentbridge House in Pontefract https://www.wentbridgehouse.co.uk/the-hotel

2: Ashmount Country House at Haworth https://www.ashmounthaworth.co.uk/ (Hot tub rooms!)

3: Canopy & Stars – Maythorn Yurt and Falling Water https://www.canopyandstars.co.uk/britain/england/yorkshire/uppergate-farm

https://www.canopyandstars.co.uk/britain/england/yorkshire/ponden-mill/falling-water

4: The Bailey in Skipton https://thebaileyskipton.co.uk/

5: Waterton Park Hotel in Wakefield https://watertonparkhotel.co.uk/

6: Faweather Grange in Eldwick https://faweathergrange.co.uk/

Emma Banks WestYorks
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