Happy Birthday To Britain’s Most Beautiful Bookshop

Waterstones Bradford, dubbed “Britain’s most beautiful bookshop,” celebrates its 25th anniversary this month. The bookshop is located in the Wool Exchange, a majestic grade I listed building that is one of the first buildings you see as you enter Bradford city centre, with its high clock tower on Market Street.

Built in the mid-late 1800s the design came from local architectural firm Lockwood and Mawson who designed many of Bradford’s landmark buildings during a period of rapid growth within the city. In fact, the firm designed not only the Wool Exchange but also (deep breath) Bradford City Hall, St. George’s Hall, Salts Mill and model village of Saltaire, and Saltaire United Reformed Church – originally the Congregational Church of Saltaire. All of these incredible buildings are easy to find and visit on your trip in the district, and they are well worth checking out!

Waterstones Bradford has been called “Britain’s most beautiful bookshop” for a good reason. The Victorian interior is utterly stunning with vast arches and skylights, now supported by a huge multi-story sheet glass frontage. It’s the sort of bookshop where you never want to leave and half expect some famous literary characters to emerge from among the shelves.

Alongside the bookshop, you can also visit one of several cafés on site from Waterstones’ own Café W on the first floor with a phenomenal view, to Tiffin Coffee located on the Bank Street side of the building.  Along the exterior on Market Street are a number of other independent shops from a florists to a hairdressers. A visit to Bradford’s city centre would certainly feel incomplete without spending a while wandering around this incredible building.

Happy Birthday Waterstones Bradford!

Follow the City Centre Heritage Trail to discover even more architectural beauties.

There’s nothing better than whiling away an afternoon in a relaxing bookshop. In Bradford & district we’re lucky to have some incredible places to do just that. Salts Mill Bookshop stocks a large selection of fiction, children’s books, art books and rare magazines in a large restored mill. The Grove in Ilkley offers a wide selection of Yorkshire books, from life in Bradford’s textile mills to the stunning photographic landscapes of the Dales.  While over in Haworth, Wave of Nostalgia stocks a collection of books to entertain, inspire & motivate, and T Venables sells a varied collection of used titles. For comics and graphic novels visit Narrow Escape in Shipley. 

Visit www.visitbradford.com for more inspiration, like us on FacebookInstagram, Twitter, and sign up for the visitBradford newsletter to receive the latest updates in your inbox. Have a fantastic Autumn and don’t forget to upload pictures of everything you’ve seen in Bradford tagging @visitbradford #VisitBradford.

Finally, whilst restrictions have been eased, please remember to follow the latest COVID-19 guidelines to enjoy these areas and more, safely and responsibly.