West Yorkshire is a county in Yorkshire in the north of England. It’s largely industrial, but with a surprising amount of countryside, especially in the Pennine hills to the west.
West Yorkshire is nowadays a county in name only, as it comprises five “unitary” or metropolitan districts with no county level of government. It’s convenient here to describe it in terms of those five, since transport routes radiate and visitor amenities cluster in that way.
The five districts are Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield, Calderdale and Kirklees.
- 1 Leeds is West Yorkshire’s biggest city and main transport hub. It makes its money from IT, finance and law, and has a large university quarter. It has the best shopping, dining and drinking, and a modern art gallery. Within the district are:
- 1 Bradford, the second-largest city, hosts the National Media Museum and has a wide variety of shops, restaurants and pubs. Within the district are:
- 1 Bingley is industrial, but the canal is worth walking by the ladder of locks.
- 1 Ilkley is a market town on the edge of the Dales.
- 1 Keighley is the start of the steam-hauled railway to Haworth.
- 1 Haworth is where the Brontë sisters did much of their writing. Other locations associated with them, the Brontë Country, stretch across the north of England.
- 1 Saltaire is an outstanding “model village” and UNESCO World Heritage site, centred around Salts Mill.
- 1 Wakefield is home to the Hepworth, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and the National Mining Museum. Within it:
- 1 Halifax, the chief town of Calderdale district, has “Piece Hall”, a well-preserved 18th C market place, and Eureka children’s science museum.
- 1 Holmfirth is a charming rural town.
- 1 Marsden in the Pennines, with good local walking.
- Birstall has a huge retail park and cinema. Just north of it is Oakwell Hall, a fine Elizabethan manor.