Guest Post By Catherine Simes
Bradford has been proclaimed the UK’s most improved city. But when was the last time you went into town to see for yourself? It is my mission to persuade you to go with five of the best independent shops in the city centre which deserve your custom and are worth a trip to Bradford on their own. What I love about these places is that they’re not just shops, they don’t just do what it says on the shop front. They all offer something that bit different. They run events, meetups, and promote local artists and other independent businesses. So, with our high streets under increasing pressure, it’s never been more important to get off-line, get into town and support our local traders.
Here are my top 5 Bradford independents:
Plant One On Me Yorkshire
If there were an award for most Instagrammable shop in Bradford, Plant One On Me Yorkshire would win the title. Anyone who’s been in Ursula’s shop is a bit obsessed by it, and by Ursula herself. This stunning little house plant shop has made green fingers of us all. New plants arrive in the shop every week to tempt you and Ursula is always on hand to provide advice about plant care. Ursula has put her heart and soul into making this shop a success. Not only a plant shop, the coffee, cake and chat is always welcome too. In a short space of time, Plant One On Me Yorkshire has become a haven in the heart of the city.
11 Upper Millergate, Bradford, BD1 1SX
Closed: Wednesdays and Sundays
Website: Plant One On Me
La Fronda is a luxury chocolate shop with a difference. It specialises in middle eastern, artisan chocolate and sweets from highend chocolate boxes, to individual pick and mix chocolates if you prefer to choose your own, Turkish delight in all colours and flavours and my own favourites the delicious chocolate mushrooms.
The shop expanded earlier this year to include a cosy cafe in the upstairs room where you can sample Turkish tea, coffee and baklava. The chocolate flavoured Turkish coffee has to be tried, a perfect wide-eyed pick me up if you’ve had an early start. Strong is not the word. The cafe also makes for a great place to people watch in the streets below.
12 Market Street, Bradford, BD1 1LH
Tel: 01274 722283
One of Bradford’s most historic pharmacies dating back over 175 years is still going strong thanks to new owners Sajid Hussain and Qaisar Sheikh. Recently awarded a blue plaque by the Bradford Civic Society due to its importance to the city’s heritage, the pharmacy at its present site dates back to 1875. Today Rimmington’s proudly continues in the traditions of its founder Felix Rimmington operating a valuable public service, a pharmacy in the heart of the city centre serving third and fourth generation customers, together with a shop selling gifts and trinkets. Well worth a visit and a nosy round the beautiful original apothecary cabinets.
9 Bridge Street, Bradford, BD1 1RX
Tel: 01274 726611
Hidden away in the Sunbridge Wells tunnels, Liz’s Knitting is a gem of a shop full of unique handmade knitted items of all kinds, from babies’ hats, bootees and cardigans to scarves, bags and mug warmers. Liz is really accommodating and happy to talk through designs, patterns and sizes. I recently bought my little nephew a bobble hat which Liz made to order when the one I bought was too small. If you can deal with the cuteness, you’ll find it a great place to do your Christmas shopping. Prices from 30p to £35, with most gifts under £10. Liz also organises a monthly Craft and Draught event on Sundays at the Rose and Crown pub to meet fellow crafters over a drink or a cuppa.
Unit 3, Sunbridgewells, Millergate
Open: Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays
Website: Liz’s Knitting
Bradford Camera Exchange
One of Bradford’s oldest independent shops, the Bradford Camera Exchange on North Parade sells new and used camera equipment and stocks digital and film cameras. It offers services from repairs, to film processing and has its own dark room. One of those few remaining shops where you can benefit from the advice and experience of the owner, John Greenwood, and his helpful team. If you’re a budding photographer or a bit of an expert, this is the shop for you. The Camera Exchange also sponsors the Telegraph and Argus’ camera club which brings together amateur photographers to share their work, swap tips and take part in monthly competitions.
19, North Parade, Bradford, BD1 3JL
Tel: 01274 729144