10 things to do around Bradford over the festive season

Every year, many of our students stay in Bradford for the festive season. A quieter campus and all that free time can be daunting though.University of Bradford campus in the snowFear not! If you’re staying in Bradford, there’s plenty for you to get involved in:

Visit the Living Advent Calendar

Each day from the 1st December, a window in a different Saltaire home illuminates with a festive scene. The design of each window remains a secret until the day it is illuminated.

The magical window scenes can be viewed by visitors until New Year’s Day – a map is available from the Living Advent Calendar website. Saltaire is easy to reach by car, bus or train.

Catch a classic Christmas movie

There’s nothing like a festive film to warm up those cold, dark nights.

The Picturehouse cinema at the Science and Media Museum has a bill of festive classics scheduled for the run-up to Christmas. Films include The Nightmare Before Christmas, Mary Poppins Returns, and The Nutcracker. There’s also a special showing of It’s a Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve.

Come dine with me – cook a festive meal

A great way to meet fellow students who are staying in Bradford is to host a festive meal at your accommodation. You could even organise your own version of Come Dine With Me, and each cook a special meal for the group.

Cooking in The GreenThe University’s international advisers can put you in touch with fellow students who may be interested.

He’s behind you! See a pantomime

It’s hard to imagine Christmas without a pantomime – they’ve been around almost as long as Santa Claus.

This year, a star-studded production of Aladdin will be appearing at our local theatre The Alhambra, which is just a five minute walk from campus.

the-alhambra-bradfordTake a winter walk

Late-December is the perfect time to wrap up warm for a walk in the fresh winter air, especially if there’s snow on the ground.

You don’t have to travel far for stunning winter scenery, with Ilkley, Haworth and the Aire Valley on our doorstep. You can even stay within the city and take a stroll around Lister Park, home to a lake, botanical gardens, and the magnificent Cartwright Hall.

Lister Park in snow

Image credit: Tim Green from Bradford (Cartwright Hall) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Full steam ahead! Take a steam train ride

The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway is a throwback to the vintage days of coal and steam.

steam trainTheir “Mince Pie Special“, which runs from Boxing Day until 1 January, recreates the magic of a 1950s Christmas train ride. The train runs between nearby Keighley and Oxenhope, with stops at Haworth, Oakworth and Ingrow along the way.

Grab a bargain – hit the sales

The Boxing Day sales are a big deal in Bradford, with hundreds of people hitting the Broadway and Kirkgate shopping centres at sunrise.

Broadway Shopping Centre, BradfordThe early start is for the hardcore shoppers. If you don’t fancy queuing through the night, there’s plenty left for the afternoon bargain hunter.

Party at the Piece Hall

Just outside Bradford (13 minutes on the train, to be precise), the Piece Hall in Halifax is a former trading station for the once-lucrative cloth industry.

Halifax Peace Hall

Image credit: Tim Green from Bradford, UK [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The hall is now a cultural centre and home to many independent shops, restaurants and bars. Whichever day you go during the holidays, you can almost guarantee some kind of festive fun will be happening.

Hit the town for New Year’s Eve

Almost every restaurant, bar and club in Bradford will be hosting a New Year’s Eve party.

New year's Eve celebrationsThere are plenty of ways to celebrate:
If you fancy something to eat and drink, the tunnels of Sunbridge Wells offer a range of options. Or, for a New Year’s Eve with a difference, the Picturehouse cinema will be showing the Berliner Philharmoniker’s Gala Concert, broadcast live from Berlin.

Donate your time

If you find yourself with spare time on your hands, there are lots of individuals and organisations seeking help over Christmas (and all year round).

Volunteers at ChristmasYou can volunteer your time in a number of ways, working with groups including Community Christmas and Bradford Central Foodbank. You can also check the Do-it website for the latest volunteering opportunities.

Our Facebook group for international students also includes lots of festive activities and events for students who are staying in Bradford for the holidays.

Author: Steve Hobson

Steve works within the Content Team at the University of Bradford. He studied an online degree in E-communication, and his 2018 highlight was finishing 122nd in the World Stone Skimming Championship on Easdale Island, Scotland.

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