Welcome to Visit Bradford Places
The Walkfo guide to things to do & explore in Bradford

Visit Bradford PlacesVisit Bradford places using Walkfo for free guided tours of the best Bradford places to visit. A unique way to experience Bradford’s places, Walkfo allows you to explore Bradford as you would a museum or art gallery with audio guides.

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Bradford rose to prominence in the 19th century as an international centre of textile manufacture, particularly wool . It was a boomtown of the Industrial Revolution, rapidly becoming the “wool capital of the world” Lying in the eastern foothills of the Pennines, the area’s access to a supply of coal, iron ore and soft water facilitated the growth of Bradford’s manufacturing base . Since the mid-20th century, deindustrialisation caused Bradford’s textile sector and industrial base to decline . When you visit Bradford, Walkfo brings Bradford places to life as you travel by foot, bike, bus or car with a mobile phone & headphones.


Bradford Places Overview: History, Culture & Facts about Bradford

Visit Bradford – Walkfo’s stats for the places to visit

With 106 audio plaques & Bradford places for you to explore in the Bradford area, Walkfo is the world’s largest heritage & history digital plaque provider. The AI continually learns & refines facts about the best Bradford places to visit from travel & tourism authorities (like Wikipedia), converting history into an interactive audio experience.

Bradford history


The name Bradford is derived from the Old English brad and ford which referred to a crossing of the Bradford Beck at Church Bank below the site of Bradford Cathedral . It was recorded as “Bradeford” in 1086 .

Early history

Bradford was laid waste by William the Conqueror’s Harrying of the North in 1070 . It then became part of the Honour of Pontefract given to Ilbert de Lacy for service to the Conquerors . By the middle ages Bradford had become a small town centred on Kirkgate, Westgate and Ivegate . During the Wars of the Roses the inhabitants sided with House of Lancaster .

Industrial Revolution

Bradford Industrial Revolution photo

In 1801, Bradford was a rural market town of 6,393 people, where wool spinning and cloth weaving was carried out in local cottages and farms. Bradford was thus not much bigger than nearby Keighley (5,745) and was significantly smaller than Halifax (8,866) and Huddersfield (7,268). This small town acted as a hub for three nearby townships – Manningham, Bowling and Great and Little Horton, which were separated from the town by countryside. Blast furnaces were established in about 1788 by Hird, Dawson Hardy at Low Moor and iron was worked by the Bowling Iron Company until about 1900. Yorkshire iron was used for shackles, hooks and piston rods for locomotives, colliery cages and other mining appliances where toughness was required. The Low Moor Company also made pig iron and the company employed 1,500 men in 1929. when the municipal borough of Bradford was created in 1847 there were 46 coal mines within its boundaries. Coal output continued to expand, reaching a peak in 1868 when Bradford contributed a quarter of all the coal and iron produced in Yorkshire. The population of the township in 1841 was 34,560. In 1825 the wool-combers union called a strike that lasted five-months but workers were forced to return to work through hardship leading to the introduction of machine-combing. This Industrial Revolution led to rapid growth, with wool imported in vast quantities for the manufacture of worsted cloth in which Bradford specialised, and the town soon became known as the wool capital of the world. A permanent military presence was established in the city with the completion of Bradford Moor Barracks in 1844. Bradford had ample supplies of locally mined coal to provide the power that the industry needed. Local sandstone was an excellent resource for building the mills, and with a population of 182,000 by 1850, the town grew rapidly as workers were attracted by jobs in the textile mills. A desperate shortage of water in Bradford Dale was a serious limitation on industrial expansion and improvement in urban sanitary conditions. In 1854 Bradford Corporation bought the Bradford Water Company and embarked on a huge engineering programme to bring supplies of soft water from Airedale, Wharfedale and Nidderdale. By 1882 water supply had radically improved. Meanwhile, urban expansion took place along the routes out of the city towards the Hortons and Bowling and the townships had become part of a continuous urban area by the late 19th century. A major employer was Titus Salt who in 1833 took over the running of his father’s woollen business specialising in fabrics combining alpaca, mohair, cotton and silk. By 1850 he had five mills. However, because of the polluted environment and squalid conditions for his workers Salt left Bradford and transferred his business to Salts Mill in Saltaire in 1850, where in 1853 he began to build the workers’ village which has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Henry Ripley was a younger contemporary of Titus Salt. He was managing partner of Edward Ripley & Son Ltd, which owned the Bowling Dye Works. In 1880 the dye works employed over 1000 people and was said to be the biggest dye works in Europe. Like Salt he was a councillor, JP and Bradford MP who was deeply concerned to improve working class housing conditions. He built the industrial Model village of Ripley Ville on a site in Broomfields, East Bowling close to the dye works. Other major employers were Samuel Lister and his brother who were worsted spinners and manufacturers at Lister’s Mill (Manningham Mills). Lister epitomised Victorian enterprise but it has been suggested that his capitalist attitude made trade unions necessary. Unprecedented growth created problems with over 200 factory chimneys continually churning out black, sulphurous smoke, Bradford gained the reputation of being the most polluted town in England. There were frequent outbreaks of cholera and typhoid, and only 30% of children born to textile workers reached the age of fifteen. This extreme level of infant and youth mortality contributed to a life expectancy for Bradford residents of just over eighteen years, which was one of the lowest in the country. Like many major cities Bradford has been a destination for immigrants. In the 1840s Bradford’s population was significantly increased by migrants from Ireland, particularly rural Mayo and Sligo, and by 1851 about 10% of the population were born in Ireland, the largest proportion in Yorkshire. Around the middle decades of the 19th century the Irish were concentrated in eight densely settled areas situated near the town centre. One of these was the Bedford Street area of Broomfields which in 1861 contained 1,162 persons of Irish birth—19% of all Irish born persons in the Borough. During the 1820s and 1830s, there was immigration from Germany. Many were Jewish merchants and they became active in the life of the town. The Jewish community mostly living in the Manningham area of the town, numbered about 100 families but was influential in the development of Bradford as a major exporter of woollen goods from their textile export houses predominately based in Little Germany and the civic life of Bradford. Charles Semon (1814–1877) was a textile merchant and philanthropist who developed a productive textile export house in the town, he became the first foreign and Jewish mayor of Bradford in 1864. Jacob Behrens (1806–1889) was the first foreign textile merchant to export woollen goods from the town, his company developed into an international multimillion-pound business. Behrens was a philanthropist, he also helped to establish the Bradford chamber of commerce in 1851. Jacob Moser (1839 – 1922) was a textile merchant who was a partner in the firm Edelstein, Moser and Co, which developed into a successful Bradford textile export house. Moser was a philanthropist, he founded the Bradford Charity Organisation Society and the City Guild of Help. In 1910 Moser became the first Jewish Lord Mayor of Bradford. To support the textile mills, a large manufacturing base grew up in the town providing textile machinery, and this led to diversification with different industries thriving side by side. The Jowett Motor Company founded in the early 20th century by Benjamin and William Jowett and Arthur V Lamb, manufactured cars and vans in Bradford for 50 years. The Scott Motorcycle Company was a well known producer of motorcycles and light engines for industry. Founded by Alfred Angas Scott in 1908 as the Scott Engineering Company in Bradford, Scott motorcycles were produced until 1978.

Independent Labour Party

A mural commemorates the centenary of the founding of the Independent Labour Party in Bradford in 1893 . The city played an important part in the early history of the Labour Party .

The Bradford Pals

Bradford The Bradford Pals photo

Bradford Pals were three First World War Pals battalions of Kitchener’s Army . The 16th (1st Bradford), 18th (2nd Bradford), and 20th (Reserve) Battalions, The Prince of Wales’s Own (West Yorkshire Regiment) were raised in the city .

Recent history

Bradford’s Telegraph and Argus newspaper was involved in spearheading the news of the 1936 Abdication Crisis . After the Second World War migrants came from Poland and Ukraine and since the 1950s from Bangladesh, India and particularly Pakistan . Lister’s Mill has become a beacon of regeneration after a £100 million conversion to apartment blocks by property developer Urban Splash .

Bradford culture & places

The National Science and Media Museum hosts the Bradford International Film Festival annually in March. In June 2009 Bradford was designated the world’s first UNESCO City of Film for its links to the production and distribution of films, its media and film museum and its “cinematographic legacy”. “Becoming the world’s first City of Film is the ultimate celebration of Bradford’s established and dynamic history in film and media,” said Colin Philpott, director of Bradford’s National Media Museum. “With the UNESCO City of Film designation, Bradford will now go on to achieve inspirational projects in film.” Simon Beaufoy from Bradford, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Slumdog Millionaire, said the city had played a crucial role in the story of cinema and deserved to be recognised. Bradford has developed a relationship with Bollywood, hosting the International Indian Film Festival awards in 2007. The Bradford Animation Festival is the UK’s longest-running animation festival. Held each November, the festival hosts an array of screentalks, workshops and special events. The festival culminates in the annual BAF Awards which celebrate new animation from around the world. The Cottingley Fairy photographs taken by Elsie Wright and two of the cameras used are on display in the Kodak Gallery in the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford. There are four theatres in Bradford. The Alhambra also has a smaller studio theatre in the same complex. These are operated by City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council. The Theatre in the Mill is a small studio theatre at the University of Bradford, which presents student and community shows and small-scale touring professional work. The Bradford Playhouse is a privately run venue with a medium-sized proscenium theatre and a small studio. Among the professional theatre companies based in Bradford are Kala Sangam, the satirical madcap comedy troop, Komedy Kollective, Lost Dog (based at Theatre in the Mill) and Mind the Gap, one of the longest established, who have always worked with a mixture of disabled and able-bodied performers. Groups and organisations teaching theatre include The Asian Theatre School, Bradford Stage and Theatre School and Stage 84. There are also a number of amateur theatre groups. St George’s Hall is a concert hall dating from 1853 making it the oldest concert hall in Britain and the third oldest in Europe. Bradford Festival Choral Society was founded to perform at the inaugural Bradford Musical Festival that took place in August of that year, and the choir is still a part of the musical life of the city. The Hallé Orchestra have been regular visitors over the years, as have a wide range of popular musicians, bands, entertainers, comedians and theatrical productions. In 2017 an £8.2 million renovation scheme of St George’s Hall was started, after completion it is planned for the concert venue to re-open in late 2018. Cinemas have been replaced by vast entertainment complexes with multi-screen cinemas. The Leisure Exchange in the city centre has a 16 screen Cineworld. At Thornbury, on the outskirts is the Odeon Leeds-Bradford with 13 screens which replaced the old Odeon next to the Alhambra which is the continuing focus of protests by Bradfordians who do not wish to see the old building demolished. The University of Bradford also has a cinema run by the Students’ Union, operating from the University’s Great Hall. Nightlife in Bradford has traditionally centred on Manor Row and Manningham Lane. More recently, several clubs and pubs have opened in the West End of Bradford, around the Alhambra Theatre, turning what was a previously fairly quiet area into one that is often crowded and vibrant at night. North Parade has also seen several new themed bars open and is at the heart of the Independent Quarter of the city. Sunbridge Wells is an underground leisure and retail complex which opened in Bradford city centre in 2016. Bradford was one of the first areas of the UK to get a local commercial radio station Pennine Radio in September 1975. Today this is The Pulse of West Yorkshire and Pulse Classic Gold. As of 2006 Bradford Community Broadcasting based in the city centre has broadcast on full-time Community Radio licence around Bradford and the Aire Valley, whilst the University radio station Ramair broadcasts to the student population. Bradford’s only television station AAP TV caters for Bradford’s large Asian community. The Telegraph and Argus is Bradford’s daily newspaper, published six days each week from Monday to Saturday. The Bradford Mela is now part of the bigger Bradford Festival which takes place in June. The word mela is Sanskrit for ‘a gathering’ or ‘to meet’. In the UK, melas provide an opportunity for communities to come together to celebrate and share their cultures. Mela festivals include a combination of markets, funfairs, food and drink, arts and workshops, children’s activities, strolling entertainment and a variety of music and dance performances on a number of stages. Bradford held the first mela in Europe in September 1988 and it is presently held in Bradford City Park. Bradford City Park has the largest city centre water feature in the UK. The city also has a history of skateboarding culture, in Ian Glasper’s 2012 book Armed with Anger, the city was described as “West Yorkshire’s de facto skate capital”. In October 2021, Bradford was shortlisted for the UK City of Culture 2025.

Museums and art galleries

Bradford Museums and art galleries photo

National Science and Media Museum is the most visited museum outside London . It contains the UK’s first IMAX theatre, the Cubby Broccoli Cinema, and the Pictureville Cinema — described by David Puttnam as the best cinema in Britain .


Bradford is the home town of rock bands, New Model Army, Anti System, Smokie, Southern Death Cult, The Scene, Redwire, Chantel McGregor, One Minute Silence, Scars on 45, Terrorvision, My Dying Bride and Fun-Da-Mental . Since the 1980s, Bradford has proved influential within the UK’s punk rock scene, primarily due to the 1 in 12 Club .


Bradford was crowned ‘Curry Capital of Britain’ in 2013 . Judges were particularly impressed by the quality of food and service offered by each of the restaurants . The district raised funds for charity The Curry Tree, which seeks to alleviate the plight of the poor in South East Asia .

Bradford economy & business


Bradford Shopping photo

The Broadway is the main retail shopping facility in Bradford . Kirkgate Shopping Centre is located in Bradford city centre . It includes Primark, New Look, Bank, W H Smith, Boots, Boyes, SportsDirect.com, Deichmann and F. Hinds . Sunbridge Wells is an underground retail complex, it incorporates restaurants, bars and retail units . It is built in a series of Victorian tunnels situated in the centre of Bradford .

Bradford landmarks

Bradford Landmarks photo

Bradford’s oldest building is the cathedral, which for most of its life was a parish church. Little Germany is a splendid Victorian commercial district just east of the city centre. The National Science and Media Museum is the most visited museum outside London.

Bradford geography / climate

Bradford is located in the eastern moorland region of the South Pennines. It is not built on any substantial body of water but is situated at the junction of three valleys, one of them the Bradford Beck. The beck’s course through the city centre is culverted and has been since the mid 19th century.


The underlying geology of the city is primarily carboniferous sandstones . These vary in quality from rough rock to fine, honey-coloured stone of building quality . Access to this material has had a pronounced effect on the architecture . The city lies within the north western parts of the Yorkshire Coalfield .


Records have been collected since 1908 from the Met Office’s weather station at Lister Park, a short distance north of the city centre . The absolute maximum temperature recorded was 32.2 °C (90.0 °F) in August 1990 . In an ‘average’ year, the warmest day should attain a temperature of 27.5 °C .

Why visit Bradford with Walkfo Travel Guide App?

Visit Bradford PlacesYou can visit Bradford places with Walkfo Bradford to hear history at Bradford’s places whilst walking around using the free digital tour app. Walkfo Bradford has 106 places to visit in our interactive Bradford map, with amazing history, culture & travel facts you can explore the same way you would at a museum or art gallery with information audio headset. With Walkfo, you can travel by foot, bike or bus throughout Bradford, being in the moment, without digital distraction or limits to a specific walking route. Our historic audio walks, National Trust interactive audio experiences, digital tour guides for English Heritage locations are available at Bradford places, with a AI tour guide to help you get the best from a visit to Bradford & the surrounding areas.

“Curated content for millions of locations across the UK, with 106 audio facts unique to Bradford places in an interactive Bradford map you can explore.”

Walkfo: Visit Bradford Places Map
106 tourist, history, culture & geography spots


  Bradford historic spots

  Bradford tourist destinations

  Bradford plaques

  Bradford geographic features

Walkfo Bradford tourism map key: places to see & visit like National Trust sites, Blue Plaques, English Heritage locations & top tourist destinations in Bradford


Best Bradford places to visit

Bradford has places to explore by foot, bike or bus. Below are a selection of the varied Bradford’s destinations you can visit with additional content available at the Walkfo Bradford’s information audio spots:

Bradford photo Birch Lane
Birch Lane was the first long term home of Bradford Northern Rugby League Football Club. It was also home to Bradford F.C. in their first incarnation as a football club. The ground was described as “notorious” and a “poverty-stricken place”
Bradford photo Odsal Stadium
Odsal Stadium in Bradford is home to Bradford Bulls Rugby League team. It has also been used by the Bradford Dukes speedway team, BRISCA F1 and F2 stock cars, the football team Bradford City, following the Valley Parade fire, and for baseball, basketball, kabbadi, show jumping, tennis, live music, and the 1997 Speedway Grand Prix of Great Britain. The stadium is owned by Bradford City Council, but due to financial problems the Rugby Football League purchased the lease on it in 2012.
Bradford photo East Bowling
East Bowling is an area of Bradford, West Yorkshire, England located to the south of Bradford city centre. It forms the eastern half of the historic township and manor of Bowling. Bowling became a ward of the newly created Borough of Bradford in 1847.
Bradford photo Iraq Economic Development Group
The Iraq Economic Development Group (also frequently abbreviated to IEDG) is an apolitical private limited company established in United Kingdom that facilitates financial services in Britain. Its official abbreviated form is IEDg_UK Ltd and its abbreviated word is commonly used.
Bradford photo Bradford Alhambra
The Alhambra Theatre was built in 1913 at a cost of £20,000 for theatre impresario Francis Laidler. In 1964, Bradford City Council bought the theatre for £78,900 and in 1974 it was designated a Grade II listed building.
Bradford photo Bradford City Park
Bradford City Park is a public space in the centre of Bradford, West Yorkshire. It is centred on the Grade I listed Bradford City Hall. It comprises three main areas (each side of the triangular City Hall site.) To the east of the City Hall is the Norfolk Gardens area.
Bradford photo The 1 in 12 Club
The 1 in 12 Club refers to both a members’ club and the building in which it is based. Owned and run by its membership as a collective based upon anarchist principles. In the 1980s it was one of the main locations for the UK crust and anarcho-punk scene.
Bradford photo Wool Exchange, Bradford
The Wool Exchange Building in Bradford, West Yorkshire, was built as a wool-trading centre in the 19th century. The Gothic Revival architecture is symbolic of the wealth and importance wool brought to Bradford. Today it is a Waterstones bookshop as well as a cafe.
Bradford photo St Patrick’s Church, Bradford
St Patrick’s Church is a Roman Catholic church in Bradford, West Yorkshire. It was built from 1852 to 1853 and designed by George Goldie. It is situated on the corner of Sedgfield Terrace and Westgate in the city centre.
Bradford photo Bowling Iron Works
The Bowling Iron Works was an iron working complex established around 1780 in the township and manor of Bowling, now in the southeast of Bradford in Yorkshire, England. The operation included mining coal and iron ore, smelting, refining, casting and forging to create finished products.

Visit Bradford plaques

Bradford Plaques 30
Bradford has 30 physical plaques in tourist plaque schemes for you to explore via Walkfo Bradford plaques audio map when visiting. Plaques like National Heritage’s “Blue Plaques” provide visual geo-markers to highlight points-of-interest at the places where they happened – and Walkfo’s AI has researched additional, deeper content when you visit Bradford using the app. Experience the history of a location when Walkfo local tourist guide app triggers audio close to each Bradford plaque. Explore Plaques & History has a complete list of Hartlepool’s plaques & Hartlepool history plaque map.