12 Best Things to Do in West Yorkshire (Must-See Attractions)

by Jen
Best Things to Do in West Yorkshire
This post may have affiliate links, where I may receive a commission if you purchase through them. Here's our Disclosure and Privacy Policy for more info.

Are you searching for exciting things to do in West Yorkshire? Get ready to embark on a journey through a region brimming with charm and adventure. From historic towns to stunning natural landscapes, prepare to explore the most captivating and delightful activities West Yorkshire has to offer!

If you’re looking for a gem in England, especially in the northern part, you can’t miss West Yorkshire. It’s where city vibes and nature’s tranquility meet, offering North of England charm. Picture yourself exploring the lively streets of Leeds City Center, or roaming the stunning grounds of Harewood House. These are the kinds of moments that stick with you.

I’m always on the hunt for spots where nature and city life blend seamlessly, and West Yorkshire is just that kind of treasure.

In this guide, I’ll walk you through the best activities and hidden gems in West Yorkshire. From the serene beauty of Ilkley Moor to the historic elegance of Kirkstall Abbey, each place tells its own unique story. And for those looking for fun, wait until you try indoor skiing at Xscape Yorkshire!

Ready to explore the coolest things to do in West Yorkshire? Let’s start this adventure together and find out why this part of England is truly special.

The top places to visit in West Yorkshire right now

West Yorkshire’s Best Attractions & Places

Ready to discover the best of West Yorkshire? From the literary streets of Haworth to the scenic beauty of Ilkley Moor, this guide covers it all. We’ll delve into the fun and free things to do in West Yorkshire, exploring both well-known attractions and hidden treasures.

If you’re a fan of cultural history, outdoor adventures, and vibrant city life, West Yorkshire’s diverse offerings are sure to enchant you. Gear up for an exciting journey through West Yorkshire’s finest, beginning with the charming and historic Brontë Country in Haworth!

1. Explore Brontë Country in Haworth

Right in the heart of the rolling hills near Bradford, Haworth is a dream spot for anyone who cherishes literary history or quaint English villages. Without a doubt, it’s one of the most fun places to visit in West Yorkshire, especially if you’re into the Brontë sisters’ tales.

My visit to Haworth was like walking onto a movie set. The main attraction here is the Brontë Parsonage Museum. This is where the sisters lived and wrote their famous works. It’s open daily, and the entry fee is pretty reasonable – trust me, it’s worth every penny.

Make the most of your time here. Pop into the quaint bookshops, savor a homemade scone at a local café, and maybe even catch a glimpse of the countryside that inspired ‘Wuthering Heights’. Haworth’s unique blend of culture and charm makes it a delightful stop in your West Yorkshire adventure and a must-stay destination in England.

Exploring Brontë Country is one of the best things to do in West Yorkshire.
Haworth is a charming village near Bradford, ideal for Brontë sisters’ fans.

2. Visit the Hepworth Wakefield

In Wakefield, the Hepworth Wakefield gallery stands out as a modern jewel. It’s a top pick for what to see in West Yorkshire, especially for art enthusiasts. The gallery, named after the sculptor Barbara Hepworth, showcases a stunning collection of British art.

Visiting the Hepworth was an eye-opener for me. The architecture alone is a work of art, with its bold, geometric shapes. Inside, you’ll find an array of contemporary art and sculptures. The best part? Entry is free!

While you’re there, don’t miss the chance to stroll along the River Calder, right next to the gallery. The riverside setting adds a peaceful backdrop to the artistic experience. If you’re looking for free things to do in West Yorkshire, head to the Hepworth Wakefield. It’s where art, nature, and architectural brilliance come together.

Explore Wakefield's Hepworth Wakefield gallery, a modern gem showcasing British art.
Explore Wakefield’s Hepworth Wakefield gallery, a modern gem showcasing British art.

3. Stroll Through Harewood House and Gardens

Harewood House, near Leeds, is a real treat for visitors. It’s one of the best West Yorkshire attractions, offering a blend of history, art, and stunning landscapes. The house itself, with its art collections and exquisite interiors, tells a story of elegance and history.

The gardens are a highlight. Spanning over 100 acres, they include a beautiful bird garden, an adventure playground, and tranquil walking paths. The entry fee to Harewood covers both the house and gardens, providing a full day of exploration and enjoyment.

For a unique experience, I recommend checking out the seasonal events often held at Harewood. From outdoor cinema screenings to art exhibitions, there’s always something new happening. Remember to check their website for event schedules and any special exhibitions, ensuring you make the most of your visit to this enchanting estate.

Exploring Harewood House is one of the best things to do in West Yorkshire.
Explore Harewood House near Leeds, a top attraction with history, art, and stunning landscapes.

4. Walk the Leeds-Liverpool Canal

A walk along the Leeds-Liverpool Canal is a must for anyone visiting West Yorkshire. Stretching through the heart of Leeds, this canal offers a unique perspective of the city. It’s a top choice for what to do in West Yorkshire when you need a moment of tranquility.

Start your walk at Granary Wharf, bustling with cafes and bars. It’s an ideal spot for grabbing a coffee before you set off. The path along the canal is well-maintained, which makes it suitable for both casual strolls and energetic walks. Along the way, you’ll pass historical buildings, contemporary developments, and maybe even spot some local wildlife.

For a truly memorable experience, plan your walk around sunset. The reflections of the city lights on the water create a magical atmosphere. It’s also a great opportunity for photographers to capture the beauty of Leeds in a different light.

My tip? Look out for the charming little pubs along the route – they’re perfect for a refreshing break. I always find that a leisurely canal walk, with a stop at a waterside pub, really lets you soak in the local vibe.

Experience the Leeds-Liverpool Canal, offering a unique perspective of Leeds and a tranquil escape.
Experience the Leeds-Liverpool Canal, offering a unique perspective of Leeds and a tranquil escape.

5. Explore Salts Mill in Saltaire

Salts Mill, located in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Saltaire, is an absolute gem. It’s one of the best places to visit in West Yorkshire for anyone interested in art, history, and architecture. This former textile mill has been transformed into a vibrant cultural center.

Inside, you’ll find galleries featuring the works of local artist David Hockney, unique shops, and delightful eateries. The building itself, with its Victorian architecture, is a marvel. I recommend setting aside a few hours to fully enjoy everything Salts Mill has to offer.

Don’t miss the chance to explore the village of Saltaire as well. It’s a step back in time, with well-preserved Victorian houses and the tranquil Roberts Park, making it a beautiful spot in the UK. I recommend grabbing a bite at one of the mill’s cafes and then wandering around the village for a complete Saltaire experience.

Visit Salts Mill, a vibrant cultural center showcasing art, history, and architecture.
Visit Salts Mill, a vibrant cultural center showcasing art, history, and architecture.

6. Attend a Performance at Leeds Grand Theatre

For a night of entertainment, Leeds Grand Theatre is the place to be. Known for its stunning Victorian architecture, attending a performance here is one of the best things to do in Leeds at night. From dazzling musicals to gripping dramas, there’s always something exciting on stage!

The atmosphere inside is electric. The ornate decor and plush seating add to the experience, making you feel part of something special. For a fun evening, I suggest catching a show here. You’ll be swept away by the performances and the grandeur of the venue.

After the show, the fun doesn’t have to end. The theater is located in the heart of Leeds, surrounded by lively bars and restaurants. Check out the nearby eateries for a post-show dinner or drink, such as the Blind Tyger. It’s a great way to discuss the performance and soak up the city’s vibrant nightlife.

Enjoy entertainment at Leeds Grand Theatre, renowned for its stunning Victorian architecture.
Enjoy entertainment at Leeds Grand Theatre, renowned for its stunning Victorian architecture.

7. Visit the Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Yorkshire Sculpture Park is an open-air gallery like no other, blending art with the beauty of nature. It’s one of the most unique places to go in West Yorkshire, offering a refreshing take on experiencing art.

As you wander through the park, you’ll encounter sculptures by renowned artists set against the backdrop of lush landscapes. The park is vast, so wear comfortable shoes and be ready for a good walk. It’s a fantastic way to combine art appreciation with a bit of exercise.

For a fun day out, pack a picnic. There are plenty of spots to relax and enjoy the scenery. My recommendation? Don’t rush your visit. Take time to see the temporary exhibitions and the permanent installations. Located just a short drive from Leeds, Yorkshire Sculpture Park is a beautiful place in Europe and a perfect escape into a world where art and nature intertwine seamlessly. In my opinion, a visit here is one of the best things to do in West Yorkshire with kids.

Explore Yorkshire Sculpture Park, a unique blend of art and nature, offering a refreshing art experience.
Explore Yorkshire Sculpture Park, a unique blend of art and nature, offering a refreshing art experience.

8. Try Indoor Skiing at Xscape Yorkshire

Without a doubt, skiing and snowboarding at Xscape is one of the most fun things to do in West Yorkshire. Located in Castleford, just a short drive from Leeds, Xscape offers an exhilarating indoor snow experience for all ages and abilities.

The slopes at Xscape are impressive, offering a real-snow experience all year round. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, you’ll find something to suit your style. And if skiing isn’t your thing, there’s also an indoor skydiving center, a cinema, and a bowling alley.

A tip for visitors: combine your skiing session with a movie or a meal at one of the many restaurants inside Xscape. Situated right off the M62, it’s easy to reach and offers ample parking.

If you’re heading to Xscape, I recommend visiting during off-peak hours for a more relaxed experience. Don’t forget to explore the climbing wall, either – it’s a hidden gem inside the complex!

Enjoy skiing and snowboarding at Xscape, a top fun activity for all ages.
Enjoy skiing and snowboarding at Xscape, a top fun activity for all ages.

9. Enjoy the Nightlife in Leeds City Center

Leeds City Center at night is a vibrant hub of activity. Believe me, it’s one of the best places to go in West Yorkshire for an unforgettable nightlife experience. The area buzzes with an array of bars, clubs, and live music venues, each offering a unique flavor of fun.

For a start, the Electric Press area is renowned for its lively atmosphere. Here, you can hop from chic cocktail bars to traditional pubs. Music lovers should check out the Belgrave Music Hall for live performances. If you’re into clubbing, Popworld and The Key Club are hotspots for dance music enthusiasts.

Many venues in Leeds offer early bird specials or happy hour deals, so it’s worth doing a bit of research before you go. If you’re like me and prefer a quieter evening, the city center also boasts a selection of cozy wine bars and gourmet restaurants.

Experience vibrant nightlife in Leeds City Center, boasting bars, clubs, and live music venues.
Experience vibrant nightlife in Leeds City Center, boasting bars, clubs, and live music venues.

10. Hike in Ilkley Moor

Ilkley Moor, with its sweeping landscapes and iconic rock formations, is a hiker’s paradise. Only 15 miles from the bustling city of Leeds, it’s a place where you can truly connect with nature. It’s one of West Yorkshire’s most beautiful places, hands down.

The moor offers a range of trails, from easy walks to more challenging hikes. The views from the top are breathtaking, especially at sunset. Keep an eye out for the famous Cow and Calf rocks – they’re not only a sight to behold but also popular with climbers.

For those planning a visit, remember to wear sturdy footwear and check the weather forecast. The moor can be quite exposed, so it’s best to be prepared. If you’re heading to Ilkley Moor, don’t miss the chance to visit the nearby town of Ilkley. It’s perfect for a post-hike meal or a stroll through charming local shops.

Ilkley Moor is a hiker's paradise, offering sweeping landscapes and iconic rock formations.
Ilkley Moor is a hiker’s paradise, offering sweeping landscapes and iconic rock formations.

11. Tour the Kirkstall Abbey

Visiting Kirkstall Abbey is like stepping back in time. This well-preserved medieval Cistercian abbey, located just outside Leeds, is one of the most fascinating historical sites and a must-see in West Yorkshire.

The abbey’s ruins are remarkable, offering a glimpse into monastic life in the 12th century. Strolling through the arches and cloisters, you can almost hear the echoes of the past. The adjacent museum provides more insights into the abbey’s history and the daily life of the monks.

Kirkstall Abbey hosts various markets and events throughout the year, including outdoor cinemas and seasonal fairs. Check their events calendar before your visit to catch these special occasions. Additionally, the surrounding parkland is perfect for a family picnic, making it more than just a historical visit – it’s a delightful day out for all ages!

Explore Kirkstall Abbey near Leeds, a must-see medieval site offering a glimpse into the county's history.
Explore Kirkstall Abbey near Leeds, a must-see medieval site offering a glimpse into the county’s history.

12. Ride the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway

Last up on our list of the best West Yorkshire things to do is a journey on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway. This heritage steam railway offers a nostalgic trip through the heart of Brontë country. It’s a unique and enjoyable experience for all ages.

The train chugs along a five-mile route, passing through picturesque landscapes and charming stations that seem frozen in time. Each station along the line has its own character and history. Haworth is a particular highlight due to its connection with the Brontë sisters.

For a special experience, check out their themed rides. These range from Santa specials during the holiday season to vintage train weekends. Also, consider combining your train ride with a visit to the nearby Brontë Parsonage Museum or a walk on the moors for a full day of exploration. Riding the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway is a fantastic way to see the beauty of West Yorkshire from a different perspective.

Experience the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, offering a nostalgic trip through Brontë country.
Experience the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, offering a nostalgic trip through Brontë country.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Best Attractio in West Yorkshire:

Looking for more content on the top things to do in West Yorkshire? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your trip to West Yorkshire.

What is West Yorkshire best known for?

West Yorkshire is famous for its history and natural beauty! It’s where the echoes of the Industrial Revolution meet the literary whispers of the Brontë sisters in Haworth. I always tell friends that West Yorkshire is a blend of vibrant cities like Leeds, with its fantastic shopping and nightlife, and the serene beauty of rural landscapes. It’s this mix of urban and rural charm that really sets it apart.

What is the main city in West Yorkshire?

Leeds is the main city of West Yorkshire and it’s buzzing! It’s a city where you can shop till you drop, dance the night away, and immerse yourself in cultural gems like art galleries and theaters. As a sports fan, I love the energy here during a football or rugby match. Leeds is this perfect mix of old-world charm and modern vibes – there’s always something new to discover.

Leeds Town Hall - A majestic building with intricate architectural details
Leeds Town Hall – A majestic building with intricate architectural details

What is the prettiest part of Yorkshire?

While North Yorkshire has the famous Dales and Moors, West Yorkshire holds its own with stunning spots. For me, Ilkley Moor and Haworth are postcard-perfect and an Instagrammable spot in the UK. The views from Ilkley Moor are breathtaking, and Haworth’s quaint streets are like stepping into a storybook. It’s these picturesque landscapes that really showcase Yorkshire’s quintessential beauty.

What food is Yorkshire famous for?

You can’t talk about Yorkshire without mentioning its food! Yorkshire Pudding is a legend in its own right – fluffy, golden, and perfect with a Sunday roast. Then there’s Wensleydale cheese, creamy and delicious. And for something sweet, Parkin is a must-try. It’s a sticky ginger cake that’s a Bonfire Night tradition. Trust me, your taste buds are in for a treat in Yorkshire!

The top things to do in West Yorkshire for all types of travelers
Enjoyed reading about the top things to do in West Yorkshire? Pin it!

You may also like

Leave a Comment