Looking for things to do in Bradford? Boasting two UNESCO World Heritage sites, a plethora of popular museums, picturesque towns and villages and some truly stunning landscapes, Bradford is well worth exploring. As the summer season approaches and we begin looking for things to fill our days during the school holidays, take a moment to browse our list of the 29 best things to do in Bradford. This diverse and multicultural district has something to suit all ages and interests so you’re bound to find a few activities to add to your itinerary. For property to rent in Bradford, check out Rentola UK.
The Best Things to do in Bradford…
National Science and Media Museum
Little Horton Lane, Bradford BD1 1NQ
The National Science and Media Museum is one of Bradford’s most popular attractions. Free to enter and home to more than 3 million items of historical and cultural significance, it offers an educational journey through the history of image and sound. Discover the story behind the Apollo 11 broadcast, watch the world’s earliest television footage and see the camera that made the first moving pictures in Britain. A fantastic museum bursting with interesting collections and immersive displays. The museum is also home to an IMAX cinema that screens big movie releases, indie films and much-loved family classics.
Bradford Industrial Museum
235 Moorside Rd, Eccleshill, Bradford BD2 3HP
Housed in a small worsted spinning mill dating back to 1875, Bradford Industrial Museum offers a fascinating insight into the city’s well documented industrial past. With permanent displays dedicated to textile machinery, steam power, engineering, print engineering and motor vehicles there’s plenty to entertain inquisitive minds. Once you’ve perused the collections, set back in time and discover the splendour of Moorside House and see how the interiors of mill workers’ terraced houses changed through history,
Bronte Parsonage Museum
Church Street, Haworth, Haworth, Keighley BD22 8DR
Once the home to the Brontë family, the Brontë Parsonage Museum houses the world’s largest and most important Brontë collections. Beautifully preserved and offering a glimpse into the lives of the most famous literary family, the house itself is a joy to explore. Step back in time and uncover the secrets of Mr Brontë’s study, immersive yourself in the warmth of the family dining room and peruse the exhibition room which boasts the world’s most comprehensive collection of Brontë manuscripts, letters, early editions and more.
Bradford Police Museum
City Hall, Bradford BD1 1HY
Inside Bradford City Hall you’ll find yet another museum filled with interesting artefacts and fascinating displays. Bradford Police Museum beautifully celebrates the history of policing, criminal justice and crime and punishment in Bradford since the late 19th century. Highlights include an extensive collection of Victorian police uniforms, a photographic archive covering 150 years and Victorian cells which formed part of the original police station in which the museum is housed.
Lister Park, Bradford BD9 4NS
One of the UK’s leading regional art galleries, Cartwright Hall can be found in Bradford’s Lister Park. In addition to an eclectic range of permanent art collections, the gallery also hosts a number of temporary curated and visiting exhibitions. Once you’ve enjoyed viewing the art collections, unwind with coffee and cake in the refreshment room before enjoying a relaxing stroll through the city’s picturesque park. A grand day out!
15 Bowling Hall Rd, Bradford BD4 7RY
Bolling Hall was once the seat of two land-owning families and boasts a fascinating history. Situated a mile out from the city centre, it’s one of the oldest buildings in Bradford and one of the best things to do in Bradford for history lovers. Parts of the building date back to medieval times but overall, it’s an eclectic mix of different styles. Beautifully preserved with rooms furnished and decorated to give visitors an accurate insight into life at Bolling Hall during different periods in history, it’s a delightful attraction with much to view and admire.
Keighley BD20 6LQ
Once home to Victorian millionaire and textiles manufacturer, Henry Issac Butterfield, Cliffe Castle was remodelled in the 1950s to become a free museum for local residents with grand public gardens. Bursting with character and housing enrapturing displays covering natural history, archaeology and social history, it offers a fantastic family day out. Marvel at the original Victorian furniture and opulent decor before enjoying a scenic stroll through the grounds.
East Riddlesden Hall
Bradford Rd, Riddlesden, Keighley BD20 5EL
Saved from demolition in 1934, East Riddlesden Hall is a 17th-century manor house that was once part of the Riddlesden estate. This historic house with its intimate gardens is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Bradford area and is great for a family day out. In addition to the house itself, there’s a natural play garden with a mud kitchen, storytelling chair and weaving loom to keep the little ones occupied. There’s also a charming tea room serving hot drinks, sandwiches and cakes.
Ilkley Toy Museum
2 Whitton Croft Rd, Ilkley LS29 9HR
This little gem of a museum in the Victorian spa town of Ilkley displays a delightful private collection of toys that big kids and little kids will adore. With toys dating back as far as the 4th century BC, visitors to Ilkley Toy Museum can see how playtime has changed through the centuries. View the playthings that entertained your ancestors, introduce your children to the toys of your childhood and uncover the stories of the children who originally played with some of the items exhibited. From dolls and teddies to tinplate toys and wooden soldiers, there’s plenty to ignite imaginations and inspire play.
Ilkley Manor House
Ilkley Manor House, Castle Yard, Ilkley, West Yorkshire, LS29 9DT
Ilkley Manor House is one of the oldest surviving houses in West Yorkshire. Built upon the remains of a Roman fort, this unique Grade 1 listed building will surely delight history lovers. The earliest parts of the house date back to the 14th century and many features of the original design remain today. This fascinating building house was restored and extended twice during its long history so Ilkley Manor House is now a magnificent example of how English houses developed over the centuries. Ilkley Manor House is open to the public at weekends from 11 am until 4 pm.
Keighley and Worth Valley Railway
The Railway Station, Station Rd, Haworth, Keighley BD22 8NJ
This unique 5-mile branch railway line runs heritage steam and diesel trains through the magnificent Bronte country, so journeys aboard their trains offer spectacular views. You can book your trip in advance on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway website or simply turn up at one of the stations on the day. The railway houses 20 steam locomotives, 10 diesel locomotives and six diesel railcars; most of which can be viewed by visitors, They also host regular themed events so be sure to check their calendar before planning your visit.
Victoria Rd, Saltaire, Shipley BD18 3HU
Built by Sir Titus Salt in 1853, this former textile mill is now a vibrant art gallery, shopping and restaurant complex. Completely free to enter, the iconic Salts Mill houses a significant number of David Hockey’s paintings and drawing in the 1853 gallery and there are some excellent indie shops selling all manner of trinkets and treasures. Make a full day of it by enjoying a spot of lunch in Salts Diner or Cafe in to the Opera, where you can enjoy tasty treats beneath a huge handpainted David Hockey mural.
Morley St, Bradford BD7 1AJ
Built in 1913 and named after the Alhambra palace in Granada, Spain, Bradford’s Alhambra Theatre is one of the most recognizable buildings in the city centre. Beautifully refurbished in the late 80s, it is regarded as the North’s premier receiving venue and hosts musicals, drama and international dance plus Yorkshire’s biggest and most popular panto. Many a celebrity has graced its stage! Family-friendly with a 1,400 capacity and a brilliant restaurant offering views across City Park, it’s THE place to visit for live entertainment in Bradford, if not Yorkshire!
1 Stott Hill, Bradford BD1 4EH
Carved stones of Saxon origin indicate that Christians have been worshipping at the site of Bradford Cathedral since AD 627. The site underwent many developments through history but it wasn’t until 1919, that the ancient parish church actually became Bradford Cathedral. With its Gothic style main porch, magnificent nave and stunning stained glass windows, the building is a joy to explore, whether visiting for worship or simply as part of a day out in Bradford. If heading over during the school holidays, check their website beforehand as they often host free, family-friendly events.
Bradford BD9 4NS
Home to the Cartwright Hall Art Gallery, Lister Park is situated a mile away from Bradford city centre. The extensive green space offers plenty of opportunities for little legs to let off steam but there’s also a fantastic modern play area, boating lake, tennis court, multi-use games area and a cafe. The perfect little spot for a family picnic and some playtime in the fresh air.
Bradford City Park
Centenary Square, Bradford BD1 1HY
Other than when it’s closed for events, Bradford City Park is open to the public all year round, 24 hours a day. Its mirror pool is the UK’s largest urban water feature and it has won numerous awards. A fun feature by day, offering lots of hands-on enjoyment for children, this award-winning public space looks vastly different at night, When the sun begins to lower in the sky, the mirror pool transforms into a magical water, light and laser display. A great little place to take a selfie after an evening dining in one of Bradford’s many excellent restaurants.
Higher Coach Rd, Saltaire, Shipley BD17 7LU
Robert’s park is a 14-acre public park in Saltaire with a beautiful bandstand that plays host to numerous live acts and entertainment events throughout the year. Relax upon the grass on a warm summer’s afternoon and let the children enjoy the fun play equipment or practice their skills at the skate park. A peaceful urban park with plenty of space to enjoy a ball game or two.
Cliffe Rd, Bradford BD3 0LT
This 22-hectare urban park was named after Sir Robert Peel and is just over a mile away from Bradford city centre. With large areas of open space, a children’s play area, a skate park and a lake, there’s much to keep families occupied for an afternoon. Little ones will particularly enjoy the Totem and Play trail which features various wooden challenges, wooden animals and a wobble bridge.
Hall Ings, Bradford BD1 1JR
Bradford’s best shopping and leisure complex first opened its doors in 2015 and is now home to over 90 shops and eateries. Located in the centre of the city and easily accessible via public transport, you’ll find big brand retailers such as H&M, New Look, Next and River Island plus a great array of restaurants, snack bars and coffee shops. If that’s not enough to keep you entertained, then end your day with a few cheeky drinks and a movie at The Light Cinema, which can also be found at The Broadway!
Tong Garden Centre
Tong Ln, Bradford BD4 0RY
More than just a place to buy plants, Tong Garden Centre is a popular retail destination that has won multiple awards. In addition to their huge stock of pants, flowers, garden furniture and gardening tools, they also have a couple of concessions, a toy department, two table service eateries and their very own indoor and outdoor play centre. At Christmas, the magic really comes alive and Tong Garden Centre becomes one of the best places in Yorkshire to visit Santa! Despite the area being home to numerous museums and popular attractions, this is still one of the very best things to do in Bradford.
Bradford Ice Arena
19 Little Horton Ln, Bradford BD5 0AD
Fancy learning a new skill? Bradford Ice Arena is open daily for general ice skating and family ice skating sessions. Prices start at just £4.50 for those wanting to brave the rink and adult spectators only need to pay a £2 admission fee. On Friday and Saturday evenings, they also host disco sessions which see the ice rink transform into a unique party venue complete with disco lights and music. Fantastic fun!
The Leisure Exchange, Vicar Ln, Bradford BD1 5LD
Another great option for family fun and weekend entertainment is Hollywood Bowl. It has an impressive 28 bowling lanes, an American diner, a licensed bar plus a brilliant amusements area. Continue the competition with a spot of pool or try your luck on the arcade machines that dispense tickets which you can exchange for prizes at the end of your visit.
33 North Parade, Bradford BD1 3JH
Virtual reality gaming is becoming increasingly popular as technology advances and more titles are released. Dedicated arcades are popping up all across the country and Bradford’s VR City promises to be the biggest and best in Yorkshire. Boasting a huge catalogue of games to play and a whole host of immersive experiences to enjoy, this is one you won’t want to miss if you’re a gamer. Prices for racing simulators start at £18.00 for a 30-minute session. Alternatively, you can pay £27.50 for an hour’s access to over 100 games.
Drake St, Bradford BD1 1JA
Another one for gamers! Flashback Arcade is a family entertainment centre offering unlimited access to a vast number of classic and modern video games, for a one-off entry fee. Housing exclusive gaming machines and some which have never actually been released in Europe, it’s a gamer’s paradise! You can buy a great value family pass for £40 so 2 adults and 2 children can enjoy hours of unlimited play.
Funzy Inflatable Theme Park
Leisure Exchange, Vicar Ln, Bradford BD1 5LD
Funzy is Yorkshire’s very first inflatable theme park and offers hours of fun for the whole family. The 15,000 sq ft park features a giant open bounce area with a surrounding obstacle course, a number of slides and a cliff edge drop. For under 4s, there’s a small play area with interactive features. Once you’ve finished bouncing around, refuel with a hot drink and sandwich in the coffee shop. Brilliant fun and a great one to surprise the kids with!
Dockfield Rd, Shipley BD17 7AD
Formerly known as Funopolis, Kidzplay is an 18,000 sq ft play centre in Shipley with an extensive play frame, separate toddler frame and indoor go-karting. As far as soft play centres go, this is one of the best in the area so it does get quite busy. However, there’s plenty of space and lots of tables for parents to sit and enjoy a coffee and light bite whilst the kids let off steam.
The Wardley Centre, 19 Little Horton Ln, Bradford BD5 0AB
Yet another excellent indoor play centre in Bradford is Airobounce. Jam-packed with fun activities, you’ll be spoiled for choice and the kids won’t want to leave. Book a spot on one of their many trampolines, whizz down one of their inflatable helter-skelter slides, test your racing skills with a VR gaming experience or get competitive with a spot of laser tag!
1 Hustlergate, Bradford BD1 1RE
Time Trapped is Bradford’s ultimate escape room destination. With two immersive experiences to choose from, and another two to be launched in the not too distant future, it offers an hour of unique entertainment. Solve puzzles and uncover the mysteries of The White Room or outwit a sickening serial killer with the Survival experience. This is certainly one for the adults and bigger kids and you get a reduction in price per person if playing in a group of 4-6.
Units 1 & 2, Beckside Business Park, Beckside Rd, Bradford BD7 2JT
Thrill-seekers rejoice! Bradford’s multilevel indoor go-karting track offers a fun-filled day of action and speed. Located just a few minutes out of the city centre, TeamSport boasts a brand new 590m track so you can experience the thrill of F1 racing without the experience of a professional racing driver. You’ll be supplied with quality racing equipment and given a detailed safety briefing by experts before being let loose behind the wheel. A great day out for families, couples and colleagues. Those who don’t want to join you on the track can watch the action from a dedicated spectators area.