Halifax’s 10 Best Kept Secrets and where to stay to see them
Halifax and Calderdale were rightly named as the 7th must see destination in the world to visit in 2019 by National Geographic. It is THE place to visit if you enjoy industrial architecture and canals, a thriving art and cultural scene and the beautiful Pennine countryside.
1 All Souls Church Halifax is a disused Grade 1 listed building on Haley Hill whose 72m spire is the second highest in Yorkshire. Designed by Sir Gilbert Scott in a Gothic Revival style and completed in 1859, it was the centre of the industrial model village of Akroydon.
Edward Akroyd, whose family owned the adjacent worsted mill, created the village to improve the social conditions of the workers. His own house nearby, Bankfield, is now a museum with constantly changing displays. No charge. See: https://www.visitchurches.org.uk and https://museums.calderdale.gov.uk/visit/bankfield-museum
2 Tuel Lane Lock on the Rochdale Canal at Sowerby Bridge is the deepest lock in the UK with a fall of 6m. No charge. For more information search for Sowerby Bridge at: https://www.canalrivertrust.org.uk
3 The sight of a carpet of bluebells and the scent of wild garlic in the woods between Southowram and Brighouse can’t be missed in May. No charge.
4 Lister Lane Cemetery Halifax opened in 1841 and occupies 3 acres arranged around a now derelict chapel. It has Grade 11 listing status because of the variety of gravestones and monuments and here you can see the final resting places of many eminent local families such as the Crossleys of Dean Clough Mills, world famous carpet manufacturers.
Open from 10.00 to 15.00 on Wednesdays and also on Sundays 10.00 to 12.00 weather permitting. No charge. See: htpps://www.listerlanecemetery.co.uk
5 Magna Via Have you ever walked along a Medieval road? Prior to the 18th century, this was the road connecting Halifax and Wakefield and a section of it near Halifax is virtually unchanged. Walk the original sets as it climbs Beacon Hill and then explore the steeply banked holloway along Dark Lane.
For a free 5.5 mile circular walk called Halifax-The Magna Via and Southowram see: https://www.walkingbritain.co.uk and enter Halifax in the ‘Find walks near me’ section. No charge.
6 Perhaps combine the activity above with a trip to Dove Cottage Nursery and Garden, a terraced North facing hillside near Shibden Hall, where a mix of perennials and grasses grow. There is plenty of seating and a sales area where you can buy their plants.
No charge. Open Wednesday to Sunday 10.00 to 17.00. See: https://www.dovecottagenursery.co.uk
7 Warley Moor Reservoir, also known as Fly Flatts Reservoir, is set amidst peaceful moorland at a height of 400m. With an average depth of 14m and an area of 28ha, it is a wonderful bird spotting site as well as being home to Halifax Sailing Club (https://www.halifaxsailingclub.org.uk).
8 The vaccary wall at Norland is a 100m section of Medieval walling resembling short standing stones. It is considered to be one of the finest surviving examples of vaccary walling in England. Probably dating from the early 13th century, this cattle grazing land was owned by Fountains Abbey and the wall acted as a cattle enclosure.
9 Shaw Lodge Mills Shaw Lane Halifax have their 200th birthday in 2020 and remained in production until 2008, employing 3000 workersat their height. The main product woven was moquette, a fabric used to cover the seats of buses and trains across the world, including the Orient Express! It is now a multi-use complex which has preserved the community feel and architectural character of the original buildings. An indoor soccerhealth and fitness centre is based in the old clock tower and Loft 1850 occupies the top floor of the 1850 mill selling a range of contemporary furniture and home interior accessories. See: https://www.3gisoccer.co.uk and https://www.loft1850.co.uk
10 The Secret Cafe is hidden away in a small industrial park next to the Rochdale Canal in Luddenden Foot. Open Monday to Friday 08.00 to 14.30 and Saturday 08.00 to 15.00 with occasional Secret Bistro Nights, it serves delicious breakfasts, lunches, light snacks and sandwiches. See: http://yoursecretgourmet.co.uk
For an alternative to a hotel, have you considered staying in a self-catering holiday cottage? Dyer’s Holiday Cottage Halifax offers you 17th century character features but 21st century comfort and style. Sleeping up to 3 adults and a child, this spacious short-term let holiday cottage with high ceilings and a sunny garden is located in the heritage Wainhouse area of Halifax near Sowerby Bridge. For more details see https://www.dyerscottageyorkshire.co.uk