Hebden Bridge in Calderdale, West Yorkshire. Made up of mills, chimneys, hills, valleys and... more mills.
A charming little market town that is steeped in history and situated 8 miles west of Halifax. Known over its many established years as 'Heopa Denu' (Anglo Saxon for 'Bramble Valley'), 'Trouser Town' (due to its clothing manufacturing throughout the 19th century) and more recently as 'the UK's lesbian capital' (on account of its LGBTQ-friendly vibe).
This picturesque location was the backdrop for BBC's Happy Valley and the second of Hannah and Mark's short breaks for 2020.
If there's anything positive to take away from this year, it's the renewed appreciation for your own country and the beautiful places that reside within it. Whilst lockdown has left us dreaming of far-flung destinations, exploring more of the British Isles will also be a resolution for 2021 and beyond.
With the South Coast being a more obvious choice for a Great British summer staycation, perhaps you've never considered Yorkshire? Well, we can certainly say that we were captivated by the beauty of the Calder Valley.
Read on for our top recommendations for accommodation, places to eat and things to do on a 3-day break or long weekend.
WHERE TO STAY
We were very impressed with yet another Airbnb booking. This time it was an amazing duplex apartment complete with a roof terrace boasting gorgeous views of the River Hebden and surrounding countryside (the photo above shows the splendid sight that we were greeted with each morning).
Take a closer look at the accommodation here: https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/14955880
THINGS TO DO
If you've read our Coulson Macleod travel blogs before, you will have heard about Hannah's penchant for itineraries that are thrillingly packed to the brim. From canalside walks to historic mills, there's plenty for outdoorsy folk to enjoy here. Notable sites include the Grade-II listed town hall, The Picture House (one for cinema lovers) and the Creative Quarter.
During the 1970s and 1980s, the town featured an influx of creative-types; photographers, artists, poets, musicians & writers.
Which, in turn, perhaps contributed to Hebden Bridge being awarded the prestigious title of 'fourth quirkiest place in the world' by British Airways. For any literary buffs, Sylvia Plath's final resting place is in neighbouring Heptonstall - located in the second graveyard of St Thomas the Apostle Church.
The renowned Hebden Bridge Arts Festival takes place throughout June and July: https://www.hebdenbridgeartsfestival.co.uk
Fancy buying a pair of traditional wooden clogs? Believe it or not, there's actually a clog factory in the local village of Mytholmroyd.
Take a look at their opening times here: http://www.clogs.co.uk/visit%20the%20clog%20factory.htm
GO ON A SCENIC DRIVE
Cragg Vale was part of the 2014 Tour de France and is the longest continuous uphill climb for cyclists in the UK. For everyone else, it's a lovely drive with great views across the moorlands at the top. It rises 968 feet across a distance of 5 and a half miles.
Get more information here: https://cyclinguphill.com/cragg-vale-hill-climb/
TAKE A WALK
In all seasons, you can enjoy the prettiest river walk through a wooded valley. A remarkable National Trust site - the mill walk at Hardcastle Craggs is full of historic buildings and idyllic tumbling streams. If you visit in late Spring, you'll be treated to a blanket of bluebells across the woodland floor. This circular walk can be very steep and uneven in places but is well worth it.
Download a trail map here: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hardcastle-crags/trails/hardcastle-crags-woodland-wildlife-walk
PLACES TO EAT
After your long stroll in the countryside, take a short drive for some food at The Top Brink Inn - situated in nearby Todmorden. A traditional family-owned pub with beautiful views across the rolling hills. Their own recipe Cumberland sausage with mustard mash was delicious.
One of our favourite meals was at Engine in Sowerby Bridge. A social dining restaurant envisaged by chef Mark Kemp and front-of-house Wil Akroyd. With mouth-watering creations such as beef brisket burgers, naacos (naan bread tacos) and their own 'Engine Mess' - a combination of chocolate brownie, sticky toffee pudding, vanilla ice cream, dulce de leche and peanut chantilly.
We wish we could eat here every night! Be sure to book in advance as they get incredibly busy.
If you have time to spare, we'd also highly recommend taking a trip to Halifax. Here you'll find the striking Piece Hall (shown above). An extravagant and rather Roman-looking building that was constructed in the 18th century. Originally used as a Cloth Hall for local merchants to sell woollen cloth pieces. It was restored in 2017 following a £19 million redevelopment project and is now full of wonderful boutique shops.
We'd also highly recommend a visit to Dean Clough - a vast group of 19th century factories and mills that were once home to one of the world's largest producers of carpets. Nowadays, the site is mostly comprised of skilled tradespeople and other small businesses but you'll also find a fantastic art collection here.
After all the sight-seeing, for a bite to eat, head to the Trading Rooms. We had an amazing lunch here and they also have an ice cream parlour. Browse the menu: https://tradingroomshalifax.co.uk/
For more tourist information, head to the 'Welcome to Yorkshire' website: https://www.yorkshire.com/
Please feel free to post your recommendations for West Yorkshire in the comments below.