Top 5 reasons to visit Bradford – UK’s upcoming city of culture 2025

Much of Bradford’s industrial heritage, dating from the 19th Century when it was a centre for wool and cotton manufacture, has been converted into cultural spaces for which the city is now famous today.

From world-class literature, top musical talent, a thriving culinary scene, and more, it’s no wonder that Bradford has just been announced as the UK’s City of Culture for 2025!

Beautiful scenery

When you think of a city, rolling hills and deep valleys nestled among lush greenery may not be the first thing that springs to mind, but that’s precisely what you’ll find in Bradford. From the windy moors from Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights to the 55 acres of natural beauty, you find at Lister Park.


Hailed as one of the country’s most diverse and inclusive festivals, the Bradford literature festival is one of the city’s events of the year. It was founded by Syima Aslam and Irna Qureshi in 2014 and attended by about 1,000 people. Four years later, that figure shot up to more than 70,000. It’s much-loved by writers and attendees from minority groups, with volunteers from a cross-section of society. You’ll find Robert Peston rubbing shoulders with Nikesh Shukla, Anita Rani and Lemn Sissay.
After you’ve been to the event, you’ll be inspired to buy books, and there’s no better place to go than The Waterstones in Bradford, which is potentially the most beautiful bookshop in the world. The ceilings are high and arched, with beams running along with them and stunning windows set within arches made of Yorkshire stone. Like much of Bradford’s industrial heritage, dating from the 19th Century, it was once the city’s wool exchange. It’s a peaceful quiet place, with a curved stairway leading up to the mezzanine floor where you will find a cafe providing a quiet spot where you can enjoy your new book over a coffee.

A foodie’s delight

Asian food
Bradford’s culinary scene is a foodie’s delight, boasting a melting pot of worldwide cuisine that celebrates the city’s cultural diversity. It was voted ‘curry capital of the UK’ six years in a row, and you’ll hear people rave about the multiple incredible Indian restaurants here. However, Pakistani food isn’t all that this city serves up. If you drive up the road from the centre to Leeds, you’ll find a wide range of cuisine from American diners, Turkish grills, Italian trattorias, French bistros and Syrian eateries.


David Hockney’s work can be seen in the BD18 postcode of Bradford, which is the Unesco world heritage site of Saltaire This delightful part of the city was previously a Victorian industrial village. Once the “wool capital of the world”, Bradford was home to more than 70 mills, and mill owner Sir Titus Salt built the village for his workers. It now attracts millions of visitors who view the exquisite architecture and gallery, browse the independent shops, take a stroll by the Leeds and Liverpool canals or walk through Roberts Park to Shipley Glen Tramway.

Notable people

Visit Bradford, Zayn Malik's hometown

Haworth, the home of the Brontë family, is one of many villages in the Bradford district. It is a literary mecca, with people from all over the world visiting the parsonage where the writers lived, walking its historic cobbled main street and gazing at the village’s vintage charm. It makes you feel you’ve stepped back in time. Bradford also has strong musical roots, with the likes of Kimberley Walsh from Girls Aloud being born and raised here, as well as Bob Hardy, a bass player for indie band Franz Ferdinand, who grew up on the city’s outskirts and went to Bradford grammar school. A few streets away, musician, actor and LGBTQ+ rights campaigner Heather Peace grew up. And last but not least, One Direction fans will be aware that Zayn Malik was also born and raised here.

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