Ten Things You Never Knew About Bradford

bradford city centre

Bradford is a resilient community and a city that has been through the mill, in more ways than one. Now enjoying a cultural renaissance, it’s a true Pennine city with lots in common with the nearby towns of Huddersfield and Halifax in particular.

It’s also one of the biggest cities in England by population size, coming in fifth after Sheffield, Leeds, Birmingham and London. Many first-time visitors are surprised by the sheer number of attractions and a newly emerging leisure scene. Here are ten facts about Bradford that you might also find surprising.

Bradford is:

  1. Officially Britain’s ‘curry capital’

Bradford has been named Curry Capital of Britain for five years running, annually soaking up praise for its fine curry restaurants.

  1. Home to the biggest water fountain in the country

Bradford City Park was conceived as part of the 2003 masterplan to regenerate the city centre. A large public space right in the centre of the city, the park is very near the Grade 1 listed Bradford City Hall, and its main feature is a mirror pool containing the highest fountain in any British city.

  1. Home to the largest former industrial building in the world

Salts Mills was designed by Lockwood and Mawson for Sir Titus Salt in 1853. Today it’s a shopping centre, art gallery and restaurant complex and houses many paintings by local artist David Hockney.

The former textile mill was the largest industrial building in the world when it was built and didn’t close its doors as a manufacturer until 1986. Entrepreneur Jonathan Silver bought it a year later and turned it into a retail, cultural and business centre.

  1. Experiencing a large population boom

Excluding London, figures show that Bradford is currently undergoing the biggest population growth in the UK. The city also has the largest proportion of under-fives and under 19-year olds, and the largest average household size.

Between 2001 and 2011 when the last censuses were taken, the overall population grew by 11% to 470,800. The next census is due in 2021 and is expected to show a massive increase in general population.

  1. Home to the oldest concert hall still in use in the UK

St George’s Hall opened on 29 August 1853 and it’s still going. Not only is it the oldest in the UK, but also the third oldest in the whole continent. Originally designed for a capacity of 3,500, it now seats 1,500 and was financed by German Jewish wool merchants who moved to Bradford for its textile industry. It was temporarily closed in 2016 for an £8.5 million restoration project and is due to reopen later this year.

  1. Also home to the Alhambra Palace theatre

Right in the centre of Bradford, the Alhambra is much loved within the theatre community. Built in 1913 at a cost of £20,000 as the project of a local impresario, Francis Laidler, it opened on 18 March 1914. Over the last century it has welcomed many big names, including Laurel and Hardy, Morcambe & Wise, Peter Sellers and Rik Mayall onto its stage and was awarded Grade II listed status in 1974.

It’s one of the finest theatres in England, and now hosts large-scale touring theatre companies of all kinds to an audience of up to 1,456.

  1. Known as the former ‘King of Wool’

The 19th century was a golden time for Bradford, when it rose to prominence as an international centre for quality textile manufacture and, in particular, wool. It was a classic boomtown of the Industrial Revolution years and quickly became the wool capital of the entire world.

As the wool and textile manufacturing grew, so did the population and investment in the city. You can still see it today in the architecture of Bradford City Hall. In more recent times, the textile manufacture has moved abroad but the city’s rich past can be seen in its landmarks, including Salts Mill and Manningham Mills.

  1. The ‘City of Film’

In 2009, Bradford roundly beat Cannes, Venice and LA to be named the world’s first UNESCO City of Film. Bradford was awarded the title for its long association with filmmaking, going back to the very start of cinema. Today, Bradford hosts a number of high-profile and internationally recognised film festivals and film related events.

  1. Bursting with entrepreneurial spirit

Bradford has a young and dynamic workforce, and a host of creative entrepreneurs looking to take advantage of the unique culture and global business links in the city. There is a high level of self-employment and business start-ups. The fact that it’s the youngest city in the UK, with almost a quarter of its population under 16 years old, suggests that this youthful spirit will continue to revitalise the city going forward.

  1. Home to major company headquarters

In Bradford and the surrounding district, a number of major companies have their headquarters, including Yorkshire Building Society, Morrisons, Provident Financial, Hallmark Cards, Arris (Pace) and Yorkshire Water. More than 40 large companies have their headquarters in the district and employ more than 370,000 with a combined turnover of around £30 billion.

Aspen Woolf looks at whether Bradford could become the Shoreditch of Yorkshire

Bradford is growing quick although prices are still quite low.

With so many north western cities and towns undergoing a revival, with government support and mass-redevelopment, could it be Bradford’s turn for the same?

There are undeniably high levels of unemployment in Bradford, and some have dubbed it the most struggling city in Britain. But there is a movement to turn all of this around and kickstart its revival as a creative, thriving city with much to offer.

Creating alternative Bradford

Today, Bradford is no longer home to mills and mansions, as it was in Victorian times. Around 30% of adults in the city are out of work, and 40% of the wards are among the poorest in the country. While it does have the UK’s youngest population, it also has high levels of child poverty. Bradford is actually larger than Newcastle and wants to shrug off its reputation as the country’s most struggling city.

The CEO of Bradford Council, Kersten England, is very much behind this as she aims to ‘make Bradford the Shoreditch of Yorkshire’. However, Bradford is not asking for subsidies from London, nor is it competing with the recent boom in places like Leeds and Liverpool, instead there is a movement to revive an ‘alternative Bradford’.

Sunbridgewells success

While it seems an uphill struggle in some ways, there is definite hope for the future. At the moment, around 90% of property in the very centre of the city is apparently vacant. But there are many signs of life and progress.

In among a warren of old storage tunnels and caves there’s an area called Sunbridgewells. A local developer has invested £2 million in gin bars, craft beer pubs, food outlets and music venues and it’s seen as ground zero of the ‘creative hub’ of the city.

As with Shoreditch in London, when it became a hipster paradise, it’s hoped that people will begin flocking to Sunbridgewells. Nearby is the Assembly warehouse, a creative space for freelance publishers and designers. Run by David Craig, who reckons the space costs a fifth of what it would in Leeds, the Assembly is home to a few creative companies that have a passion for regenerating the city.

Another voice behind the new Bradford is architect Amir Hussain, who wants to persuade third generation Asians to move to the centre of the city and help to revitalise it.

Past town planning

There are generations of poor town planning behind Bradford’s current state. In the 1980s, the Victorian buildings were destroyed, and during a misguided rescue attempt in 2003, post-modern architect created what he called ‘dispersed centre’.

The council then added a massive shopping mall called Broadway, which took business away from any other retail outlets in the city. Today, there is a strong determination to restore Bradford back to its best, but with a different slant.

They aim to make central Bradford a place where people want to live and work, rather than a place from which people try to escape. This will take a massive effort as the city faces cuts of 40% to its budget over the last decade. Bright spots include the City Park, which cost more than £20 million, the relaunch of the Art Deco Odeon cinema and the annual literary festival.

Following examples

However, arts festivals and music venues don’t tend to draw residents, which is what is needed. The people behind the regeneration of Bradford aim to bring life back to the city. It’s been done before all around the world. In NYC, Manhattan’s Greenwich Village came back from the dead, as did Shoreditch in London and Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco.

They did it by taking enterprise and activity from nearby cities and regions. By attracting designers, writers and artists into some of the derelict buildings, others will also arrive. Today, Bradford looks to attract the digital entrepreneurs that are spearheading regeneration across the north. It will be exciting to see it happen.

Updated for Summer 2019 – A Guide to Property Investment in Bradford

bradford city centre

If you’re reading this you’re probably aware that property can be a great investment vehicle, bringing diversification to an investment portfolio, providing a stable income and shielding money from inflation. Even if you know all of this, you are going to be faced with one looming question: Where do I invest?

While many investors opt for investing in their local area, those with a little more ambition recognise the importance of investigating all of the options, whether they are near or far from home.

In this guide, we’re going to explore one of the most exciting parts of the United Kingdom for investors. We’re going to tell you the best reasons for investing in Bradford.

Bradford at a glance

Situated in the foothills of the Pennines, Bradford is part of the United Kingdom’s fourth largest urban area – the West Yorkshire Urban Area – and has a population of over 530,000. The city enjoys an excellent location just 16 miles from Leeds, and possesses extremely good links to the rest of the major northern cities, as well as easy access to the M1 motorway.

Steeped in heritage and culture, Bradford offers residents a selection of architectural delights, from the old industrial quarter of Little Germany to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Saltaire – a wonderfully preserved Victorian village. Bradford is also the first ever UNESCO City of Film in the world, proving this city not only has a cultural past, but a cultural future too.

Many people relocate to Bradford because of the ease at which it’s possible to escape to some of the most spectacular countryside in Britain. The northern tip of the world famous Peak District National Park is only a 40 minute drive away and the Yorkshire Dales National Park can be accessed in around about the same time as well.

Clearly there is an appeal to this West Yorkshire post-industrial town, but with all that said, let’s gets down business on why you should invest in Bradford.


Updated for Summer 2019 - A Guide to Property Investment in Bradford Aspen Woolf

Why invest in Bradford – economy

Bradford’s economy

Bradford’s economy is one of the strongest in the region. Valued at £9.5bn, it is the eighth largest in England and the third largest in the Yorkshire region after Leeds and Sheffield. This figure is proof that a city once struggling after the de-industrialisation of the north is now bouncing back to take its place as one of the major players in what many have dubbed the “Northern Powerhouse.” By next year, Bradford’s economy is expected to have grown by around 25% over the previous decade and will contribute 15.4% of the total growth within the Leeds City Region.

As of 2018, Bradford was home to 15,430 enterprises and 18,060 local units, employing 185,500 people, added to which there are more than 32,000 self-employed individuals.

The city’s own plan is to focus on four areas of development to encourage Bradford to become the fastest growing economy in the UK:

  • Education and skills development for young people
  • Using cultural assets to attract investment
  • Building on our business to drive innovation, increase productivity and create wealth.
  • Improving connectivity through a comprehensive transport infrastructure and digital connection

These initiatives are aiming to increase the value of the local economy by £4 billion, moving 20,000 more people into work and improving the skills of 48,000 residents.

One of the key drivers in Bradford’s resurfacing from its industrial past is its growing appeal to financial companies such as Santander UK, Yorkshire Building Society and Provident Financial, with the latter being one of Bradford’s biggest employers. Household names like Morrisons and the region’s water utility, Yorkshire Water, have head offices in the city as well as Hallmark Cards and Seabrook Potato Crisps.

Thanks to being recognised by UNESCO twice and its ever growing mark on the British cultural landscape, Bradford’s economy also benefits tremendously from the tourist industry. Around 9.2 million people come to Bradford each year, and as the city’s reputation grows, so too will the visitor numbers and the city’s tourist economy. At present, 91 per cent of all visitors are domestic, but this figure could change as the city’s reputation spreads across the wider world.

All in all, if you’re interested in the economy of where you’re investing, and let’s face it, you ought to be, then this should attract your attention. The local economy is one of the best reasons to invest in Bradford.


Updated for Summer 2019 - A Guide to Property Investment in Bradford Aspen Woolf

Why invest in Bradford – regeneration


Regeneration and investment in Bradford

When we wrote about regeneration in this article back in 2016 we spoke about how over £500 million was invested in the city centre with an additional £200 million being placed into the wider district. Additionally the Westfield shopping and leisure complex called The Broadway introduced eighty-two new stores to fill the 570,000 sq ft of retail space and over create over 2,000 jobs.

Now in 2019 we can talk about a £75 million investment to attract the so called ‘urban entrepreneurs’ of the future. Here’s a breakdown of the projects:

  • £12m on redeveloping the Odeon cinema.
  • £9.4m relocation of Bradford’s markets
  • £3m Top of Town redevelopment scheme
  • £8.9m restoration of St George’s Hall
  • £25.3m on the One City Park site to create grade A office space

The £3m Top of Town redevelopment mentioned above is of particular interest, being a sustainable development of a ‘city village’, comprised of around 1,000 new homes.

All of this regeneration and the efforts to bring Bradford in line with the Northern Powerhouse initiative has prompted some to compare the city to London’s tech and business district, Shoreditch. Whatever the end result of all the investment capital flooding into the area, Bradford is set reach never before seen levels of economic output.


Updated for Summer 2019 - A Guide to Property Investment in Bradford Aspen Woolf

Why invest in Bradford – transport and connectivity


HS2 and Bradford’s transportation links

Transportation in Bradford is massive, all thanks to not one but two major projects you may have heard of: HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail. If you’re reading this from outside the UK you might not be aware of the much anticipated High Speed Rail 2 network (HS2) which is presently under construction and will connect 25 stations and 30 million people across the country. The core of HS2’s missions is to increase connectivity from Northern and midland towns and cities to London and the south while slashing journey times. Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) is an initiative to create better connections between the major Northern cities. The combination of the two projects means that Bradford will be more connected than ever before. The city is due to be part of the NPR project which will connect it to those stations on the HS2 line.

These rail projects set to drive growth in the UK by an estimated £92 billion, with Bradford receiving a boost of a massive £15 billion by 2060. It should go without saying that connectivity generates wealth, and the knock on effect of this is an increase in house prices. We will come on to house prices a little further on in this Guide, but whilst we’re talking about HS2 and NPR we’ll mention what has been dubbed the “HS2 effect“: booming house prices for all areas around the HS2 stations. We expect the cities on the NPR to benefit from a similar phenomenon given the link between the two lines.

Aside from the excitement of HS2 and NPR, Bradford has all of the standard transportation links that one would expect from a city of its size, and enjoys good connections with the other major northern cities in the region. Neighbouring Leeds provides Bradford with the closest international airport (just six miles to the east), and Manchester Airport is only an hour’s drive away, which gives residents easy access to the country’s third largest airport.

Bradford is also well served by the road network with the M606 spur connecting to the M62. This means that entry on to the M1 is straightforward and provides those who wish to travel either south or north an easy way to do so. The M62 itself, which runs to the south of Bradford, links the city to Hull and Leeds in the east and Liverpool and Manchester in the west. Bradford is also served by a number of trunk roads, giving access to local towns and cities such as Queensbury, Wakefield, Halifax, Harrogate, Leeds and Keighley.

The city has two main railway stations, the Bradford Interchange and Bradford Forster Square. Bradford Interchange combines rail, bus and coach services and has a passenger footfall just short of 3 million people per annum. The station operates regular services locally and also links the city to London’s King’s Cross station. Bradford Forster Square – a mere 10-minute walk away from the Interchange – also connects with London’s King’s Cross.

As with the majority of British towns and cities, Bradford is served by several different bus companies, including First Group and Arriva.


Updated for Summer 2019 - A Guide to Property Investment in Bradford Aspen Woolf

Why invest in Bradford – local life

Local life in Bradford

As we have already seen in our guide, Bradford has plenty going for it in terms of culture, countryside and connectivity. Here we’ll explore the local environment in a little more depth.

Bradford forms part of one of Lonely Planet’s top regions in the world. Yorkshire was named in the Best in Travel Guide 2014, and it’s easy to see why the county received such an accolade once you visit. Bradford was cited as being one of the key reasons why Yorkshire was placed in the top three spots in the guide, and its UNESCO City of Film status further cements the city’s reputation as a must-visit region of the British Isles.

The city has a long and rich history and the local architecture reflects this in certain areas, especially the ever popular Little Germany. This part of Bradford is full of wonderful Victorian buildings and named after the German merchants who came to the city in the late 1850s. Another UNESCO recognised part of Bradford is Saltaire, a World Heritage Site model village that also boasts incredible architecture and a wealth of independent restaurants and shops. Salt Mills also sits within the site, home to one of the greatest collections of work by the artist David Hockney.

With a mix of families, cosmopolitan workers and university students, a population of over 530,000 call Bradford home. In fact the city houses the youngest population in the UK outside of London, creating a demand for student accommodation and homes for young professionals. Bradford is certainly a vibrant hub for younger people, providing an array of nightlife, as well as cultural and social experiences.

Those who enjoy a little retail therapy are spoilt for choice thanks to the brand-new Westfield Broadway shopping centre. The £260 million mall brings a whole host of retailers to the city and adds to the already existing Kirkgate Centre, Oastler Shopping Centre and Forster Square Shopping Park. The city also has one of the grandest book stores you will ever see. Bradford’s Waterstones is located inside the old Victorian Gothic Wool Exchange building and is well worth a visit even if you have no intention of buying yourself a paperback or two.

Food and drink offerings are as plentiful too. Dubbed the Curry Capital of Britain, Bradford naturally has a wealth of Asian eateries, but the range of cuisines on offer doesn’t stop there. Every taste is catered for, and the local craft beer scene is blossoming into something that could well become an attraction in its own right, with the region currently home to 96 microbreweries – the highest concentration in the country!

Bradford also has an excellent array of nocturnal pleasures for its local night owls. Live music can be found at places such as The Live Room and Disco Joe’s. As with any other British city, pubs and clubs are easily found and there are also plenty of upmarket bars on offer too. Naturally, for a UNESCO City of Film, cinema features heavily here and theatre, too, is well represented.

With one of the north’s premier theatre venues, the stunning Alhambra Theatre, the city also plays host to a range of theatre and live performances. From touring West End shows to comedy gigs, and ballet to music concerts. There is also a range of art galleries and museums in the area too for those that like the slower paced cultural activities.


Updated for Summer 2019 - A Guide to Property Investment in Bradford Aspen Woolf

Why invest in Bradford – housing

House prices and yields

Bradford’s Little Germany postcode is even one of the UK’s top 10 destinations for buy-to-let and currently offers yields of over 9% – the third best in the UK.

Additionally, house prices are some of the least expensive in the country, priced at 5.6 times the national average salary, compared to 7 times for the national average house prices.

With the growing development of the Northern Powerhouse, the city looks set for a continued period of growth, making now a great time to consider investing in Bradford.


Updated for Summer 2019 - A Guide to Property Investment in Bradford Aspen Woolf

Top reasons for investing in Bradford

So why invest in Bradford?

We believe that Bradford is one of the most upcoming areas in the United Kingdom, and the work that is being done by both the local government and outside investors reflects our sentiments. We have already gone over the regeneration projects in operation throughout the city and believe that all of these initiatives will stand Bradford in good stead as we move towards 2020.

Property prices are extremely attractive in the city, with averages working out to be much lower than other parts of the UK. This presents investors with a unique opportunity to take advantage of some extraordinarily good deals in the area, generating rental yields of up to 9%.
The arrival of the Northern Powerhouse Rail and nearby HS2 is nothing short of revolutionary for Bradford, and by creating a network that connects major locations in the UK, Bradford will be brought in line with the other Northern Powerhouse cities.

The city’s close proximity to Leeds is also of benefit to anyone looking to invest in property, as Bradford is now being viewed as a viable alternative for those who need to commute into the neighbouring city’s fast expanding financial district. These young professionals will also take heart from the fact that Bradford has some great schools and an abundance of amazing countryside right on their doorstep.

It’s certainly worth remembering that the population is the youngest in the country as large proportion are residents and young professionals. As we discussed earlier, this creates a demand ready for investors to capitalise on.

So, if you are looking to move into the property market, we strongly advise you to do nothing until you have explored all that Bradford has to offer. This is a British city that is still offering fantastic value to anyone who wishes to either begin or expand their own property portfolio.

Here at Aspen Woolf, we have a choice of properties ready for your investment. Why not have a look at our Bradford options.

14 Reasons We Love Bradford

Bradford Town Hall

Valentines is right around the corner, and we thought what better way to spend it than celebrating with these 14 reasons we love Bradford.

Bradford may not be the city that comes to everyone’s mind first as the greatest place in the UK, but those of us who were born and raised there, or discovered it later in life, know it has a surprising amount to offer.

From its fantastic mix of fabulously famous food to its often referenced green spaces and culture – here’s 14 reasons why Bradford deserves our love this Valentine.


14 Reasons We Love Bradford Aspen Woolf

1. Bradford Invented School Dinners

Thank Bradford for rainbow sponge and lumpy custard – the UK’s first state-funded meals were served up at a Bradford primary school in 1906 in response to children collapsing from hunger.

However, the struggle to get this incredible movement into place was real, and the first meals were actually illegally given out. The initiative to give free school lunches was soon rolled out nationally under the Provision of School Meals Act.

Thankfully 38 years later it was finally made a legal requirement to provide free school meals nationally in 1944 by The Education Act. Had it not been for Bradford’s pioneering efforts in proving that undernourished or hungry children had trouble learning we might still be sitting in class with our tummies rumbling and minds elsewhere’s.

14 Reasons We Love Bradford Aspen Woolf

2. Diverse Culture

Bradford is diverse in relation to its people, place and experiences: a rich mix of nationalities, ethnicities, gender, ages, physical abilities, economic status and faiths.

As a former textile capital of the world Bradford has a long history of immigration through the ages – and has become enriched as one of the north’s most culturally and ethnically diverse cities as a result.

Bradford is also base to a number of Asian culture and arts organisations, and in the summertime the city hosts an annual Mela (which is believed to be one of the largest events of its kind in Europe) – as well as the World Curry Festival!

14 Reasons We Love Bradford Aspen Woolf

3. Curry Capital of the World

Mmm, all this talk of food is making us hungry, speaking of food… Yup, Bradford is a city synonymous with first-class curry, which is why it’s been crowned Curry Capital of the UK five years in a row! The only city to have ever done it!

With its well earned reputation for some of the finest Asian food in the UK the city has well over 100 ‘curry houses’ and some of the best Asian restaurants in Yorkshire.

14 Reasons We Love Bradford Aspen Woolf

4. Westfield and an Underground Retail Complex

Clearly on the up, Bradford just got its very own Westfield owned shopping centre called The Broadway and boy is it lush!

But if that isn’t enough, there’s something else Bradfordians can get really excited about. It’s recently rediscovered network of subterranean tunnels underneath the City Hall is going to be transformed into a shopping and leisure area right in the centre called Sunbridge Wells. Now that we can’t wait to see!

14 Reasons We Love Bradford Aspen Woolf

5. Relaxed City Centre Living

This brings us to the actual city centre. Bradford city centre is arguably one of the most relaxing places to escape from the stresses and strains of working in the office. The city boasts some of the most exclusive parks and gardens, among them is The Mughal Water Garden – an interpretation of the infamous Shalamar Gardens at Lahore . Also worth mentioning are Bowling, Heathcote, Horton and Lund Parks.

14 Reasons We Love Bradford Aspen Woolf

6. Britain’s Grandest Waterstone’s

A truly gorgeous gem of a bookshop, housed in Bradford’s Victorian Gothic Wool Exchange building.

Bradford’s former Wool Exchange was once the epicentre of the world’s worsted trade, but now houses one of the somewhat posher branches of Waterstone’s. Michael Palin once quipped that it made the Sistine Chapel look like Grimsby bus station. A bit farfetched perhaps, but it is a gorgeous building none-the-less.

14 Reasons We Love Bradford Aspen Woolf

7. Nominated European City of Culture in 2008

Inspired by a rich and diverse cultural history the City of Bradford in the heart of West Yorkshire’s Bronte Country put forward a bid to be considered for the title of European City of Culture back in 2008.

Although not making it to the final shortlist, Bradford’s thriving arts scene and its diverse multicultural influences have made the city a worthy contender for the culture title. We still love you Bradford!

14 Reasons We Love Bradford Aspen Woolf

8. Two UNESCO Sites

Although it might not have won European City of Culture back in 2008, it’s still home to not just one, but TWO UNESCO sites.

Bradford is the world’s first UNESCO City of Film! This permanent title bestows international recognition on Bradford as a world centre for film because of the city’s rich film heritage, its inspirational movie locations and its many celebrations of the moving image through the city’s film festivals, filmed related events and unique approach to learning about film and learning with film.

Saltaire is the second UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bradford thanks to its preservation as a Victorian industrial village. Mill owner Sir Titus Salt built the village for his workers and today Saltaire attracts millions of visitors to its magnificent architecture and attractions.

14 Reasons We Love Bradford Aspen Woolf

9. Wool Capital of the World

In 1901 Bradford was a globally-renowned name for textiles, an industry that powered Bradford’s fortunes and drew business in from literally all over the world.

Bradford has a rich and fascinating history from Roman remains to Victorian grandeur. With a long industrial heritage, Bradford is proud to have once been the wool capital of the world. It was so great that “They used to say there were more Rolls Royce’s in Bradford than anywhere else in the country.”

14 Reasons We Love Bradford Aspen Woolf

10. Little Germany

Happen to know anyone in Bradford called Schmitt? That might be because, once upon a time, Bradford was THE place to be.

By the late 1850s German merchants were flocking to Bradford after hearing that the Yorkshire city was the ultimate destination for anyone who was a textile mover and shaker. After settling in, the Germans spent a great deal of money constructing their ornate Italianate and Gothic buildings.

So what legacy did the great merchants leave behind? Today what’s left of these unique buildings form a collection of 85 buildings constructed between 1855 and 1890, of which 55 are listed because of their architectural and historical importance. The German merchants from way back would be happy to know that the area now called ‘Little Germany’ is still one of Bradford’s busiest commercial areas, housing over 110 businesses and organisations and 3000 workers. Bradford Chamber of Commerce has also relocated here and the area attracts around 100,000 visitors each year!

14 Reasons We Love Bradford Aspen Woolf

11. Sixth largest city in the country

Boasting a vibrant, young multi-cultural population it may come as a surprise to some that Bradford is actually Britain’s sixth largest city in terms of population. Nowadays with all the investment put into the city it is once again finding itself becoming more and more popular.

14 Reasons We Love Bradford Aspen Woolf

12. Third in Quality of Life

Perhaps another surprise for many, but another reason we love Bradford. Families in Bradford have one of the highest qualities of living in the country!

The annual report by MoneySuperMarket on the Quality of Living Index in 2014 put Bradford high up on their list. The index assessed the UK’s 12 largest cities on a range of key economic indicators. Bradford came in third, beating even major cities like Manchester and London!

14 Reasons We Love Bradford Aspen Woolf

13. Brontë Parsonage

If you are fans of the Brontë sisters (or indeed classic literature) then a visit to the Brontë Parsonage is a must. The Parsonage was home to the Brontë family from 1820 and is now a beautifully preserved museum.

After learning a bit about their life at the Parsonage you can then take a walk on to the unspoilt moorlands and experience the inspirational spots where the sisters wrote. Discover the Brontë Bridge, the ruins of Top Withens (said to be the inspiration for Wuthering Heights), and the Brontë Falls.

14 Reasons We Love Bradford Aspen Woolf

14. Brontë Sisters

And lastly… how can you even mention the moorlands or The Parsonage without mentioning the famous Brontë sisters.

Anne’s ‘Agnes Grey’ and Charlotte’s ‘Jane Eyre’ were published in 1847. Charlotte’s ‘Jane Eyre’ was the first to know success, while Emily’s ‘Wuthering Heights’, Anne’s ‘The Tenant of Wildfell Hall’ and other works were later to be accepted as masterpieces of literature.

Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë’s only novel – is widely considered one of the greatest works of fiction ever written, and arguably so! It was a novel so powerful it inspired numerous movies as well as the iconic Kate Bush to write her 1978 instant number one hit sharing the same name.


So there you have it, the 14 reasons we love Bradford. Where else can you enjoy two UNESCO sites, two moorlands, and amazing food? All combined with the former home of literary greats, alongside a city full with a rich and varied mix of cultures and languages. This Valentine we want to spend with you, Bradford!

“You know that I could as soon forget you as my existence!”
– Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights.


If you liked this article, then we think you would enjoy our 11 Facts about Leeds as well.