City Guide by Leisha Greenfield
Huddersfield was dubbed 'the
poetry capital of Europe' for its thriving creative industry and numerous
poetry publishers, editors and writers, and regular readings and poetry
events, and the city's reputation for creative excellence is deserved.
The Kirklees Media Centre is home to seventy creative businesses and there
are half a dozen studio units available to hire in the city centre alone.
role as a creative centre is reflected in its dozens of theatres, performance
spaces, galleries and art studios, and the country's rising 'cafe culture'
is certainly apparent here.
Set into 160 miles of the
Pennines and encompassing surrounding villages, such as Holmfirth, Huddersfield
combines the best of city and rural life.
History in Huddersfield dates
back to a mention in the Doomsday book, when it was the village of 'Oderesfelt'.
Today it is a city with a population of 150,000, and the third highest
number of listed buildings in the United Kingdom.
Oakwell Hall is a sixteenth
century manor house, its seventeenth century fixtures and fittings restored
or reproduced. The Hall is set into 100-acres of country park, picnic areas,
nature trails and an adventure playground, and is open to the public.
The Red House Museum was
once a seventeenth century home, home to close friends of Charlotte Brontë’s.
The home is now a museum devoted to seventeenth century servant life, with
a Brontë exhibition in the barn.
Longley Old Hall is another
historical family home, this one a fourteenth century timber-framed building.
The art exhibition spaces
in Huddersfield are too numerous to mention, but the Huddersfield Art Gallery
is the largest, with 2000 twentieth century paintings, prints and sculptures.
The venue also hosts music concerts and festivals, and original art is
available for £2 for the Art Vending Machine.
Stansfields Gallery is home
to workshops and an exhibition space in the gardens. Park View Studios
exhibits works by Tony Chisholm, a local artist.
There are three more large
galleries in other parts of the borough: The Lupton Square Gallery in Holme
Valley, the Bruton Gallery and the Ashley Jackson Galleries in Holmfirth.
The Lawrence Batley Theatre
is the largest of many theatres and performance spaces in Huddersfield,
and located in an early nineteenth century Methodist church. There are
two auditoria and a busy programme of productions of drama, comedy, dance
Cragrats Theatre, in Holmfirth,
seats eighty people and presents small-scale touring performances and productions
by the in-house theatre company. The theatre is located in Holmfirth.
Proper Job Theatre Company
is an organisation that presents drama in schools and on educational sites
to emotional wellbeing. Mikron Theatre Company is a small-scale, touring
drama group that use drama and music as tools to explore educational, historical
and social themes.
For traditional British cuisine
in upmarket surroundings, The Olive Branch has been listed in Good Food
Guide on more than one occasion and offers idyllic countryside views, and
the Grade II listed hotel, The George, is open and newly refurbished. Bradley's
serves high quality British dishes in a more relaxed atmosphere, and is
Cragrats is a fine dining
restaurant, with chic leather and suede furnishings, serving unique, high
quality cuisine and open until 9pm.
Popular Indian restaurants
include Kebabeesh, Shabab and Elahi Tandoori; and in Holmfirth is The Wrinkled
Stocking, tearooms devoted to Last of the Summer Wine.
Huddersfield CAMRA particularly
recommend The Rat and Ratchet, The Sair Inn, and Rose and Crown which has
received mentions in the last thirty editions of Good Beer Guide, and awarded
The Grove Inn its 'Pub of the Season' accolade in 2006.
There are branches of Wetherspoon
and O'Neill's in the city, as well as Revolution Vodka Bar with DJs every
night, a license until 2am and free entry.
Vox Bar serves a range of
unique and classic cocktails, real ales, beers and food, and plays continental
Huddersfield has several
night clubs. The Camel Club opens four nights a week, to a capacity of
450 people, and presents a mix of pop, commercial dance, underground music
and a punk, rock, ska and metal night on Fridays.
Club Tokyo comprises four
themed rooms – Club, Basement, Courtroom and Bar – with funky house in
the first, indie and rock’n’roll in the second, r'n'b in the third, and
funk and disco in the fourth. The venue hosts live bands on non-club nights.
The official afterparty is held at Rouge, open until 6am.
Visage and Ethos comprises
The Union, Visage and Ethos, with a total capacity of 3000 people over
the three venues. Music includes chart, commercial dance, funky house,
disco, hip-hop and r'n'b from the 60s to the present day.
The Kingsgate Centre is the
main shopping mall in the city, and is home to more than thirty stores
and half a dozen cafes and bars. Close by is The Packhorse Centre, comprising
a dozen budget jewellery, clothes and gift stores. The Byram Arcade is
a shopping and office complex, with units currently occupied by creative
businesses, independent publishers and music, gift and art stores.
Huddersfield Queensgate Market
is a huge indoor market, trading in clothes, food, electricals and more,
with a cafe and hairdressers on site. There is also an open market and
specialist markets throughout the year.
Huddersfield Sports Centre
is one of fourteen leisure centres in the city, and comprises two pools,
health and fitness suites, a climbing room, sports hall, bowling hall,
junior gym and an Ofsted-registered creche. Free childcare is available,
and first time visitors do not pay to use the pool.
For those interested in outdoor
climbing, Huddersfield Climbing Club are active in the area.
Castlefields Golf Club is
one of fifteen in the area, and covers 2406 yards; Huddersfield Golf Club
is an 18-hole course with an eighteenth century clubhouse. There are also
numerous hiking paths and horse-riding trails set into the picturesque
Pennine valleys around the city, and White Rose Potholing Group take groups
out every Sunday.
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Hotels in Huddersfield