Blow off a few Christmas cobwebs and enjoy a socially-distanced stroll around BradfordCity Centre – taking in some of the area’s fascinating history along the way.
As part of our Sparkling Bradford series, we’ve made a special seasonal version of Bradford’s City Centre Heritage Trail – perfect for spending an hour or two outdoors in between shopping.
1.Start your stroll at City Park
In warmer months, City Park is renowned for its impressive water feature, which gradually fills throughout the day and boasts the highest water fountain of any UK city. If the exterior of City Hall looks familiar in a festive light, you may recognise it from the BBC’s Peaky Blinders, where the grand civic entrance was used for several Christmas scenes.
From City Park’s grand open vista, you can see the National Science + Media Museum, the Alhambra Theatre,and the former Odeon Cinema.Originally built as a 1930s super-cinema, it went on to be a renowned concert venue, hosting the Beatles,The Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendix among others. The building is now known as Bradford Live, a new live music and entertainment venue to be operated by the NEC group after its redevelopment.
3.Bradford City Hall
The original building, with its ‘Italianate’ clock tower, was opened in 1873 and was designed by Bradford architects Lockwood and Mawson. The upper parts of the elevations contain 35 statues of the Kings and Queens of England and Oliver Cromwell.As Christmas is a traditional time for a good ghost story, it’s worth looking closely at the ornate gothic windows to see if you can catch a glimpse of “Chains Charlie” – City Hall’s resident ghost, who is said to stalk the building’s corridors and preserved Victorian courtroom after dark…
Walk through Centenary Square, passing the big Christmas tree, and cross BridgeStreet to Rimmington’s Pharmacy.
4.Historic Rimmington’s Pharmacy
Note the legendary Christmas display at Rimmington’s Pharmacy, a shop that has been trading since the 1800s. There is a blue plaque here dedicated to the pharmacy’s founder, Felix Marsh Rimmington – a brilliant scientist and Bradford Borough Pharmacist who cracked many a grizzly case in the Victorian city.
To the left of Rimmington’s is a distinctive red brick building. The street next to this is Ivegate – the oldest part of the city centre. Near here stood the medieval Toll booth with the manorial court house (or “Hall of Pleas”) above it, and the town dungeon below.
Walk towards Bradford BID’s striking illuminated Christmas tree at New Market Place.