Things to do in Halifax, UK

Things to do in Halifax, UK
Things to do in Halifax, UK

You may have recently seen the BBC Drama Gentlemen Jack, and wanted to know more information about visiting Shibden Hall, and Halifax! Could you be looking for a short weekend away? In our post, we highlight the things to do in Halifax, UK including Shibden Hall, where Anne Lister once lived.

Our main draw to Halifax was the recent television drama about a pioneering woman who lived at Shibden Hall. That’s right we are talking about the TV drama Gentleman Jack, if you haven’t seen it, we would recommend it as a must watch. But we are not here to write solely about Anne Lister and Shibden Hall, we also visited some historic sites in the town centre, here are just some of the things to see and do in Halifax, UK.

Shibden Hall in all its glory. This was the residence of Anne Lister.
Shibden Hall in Halifax, UK

Facts

Halifax is located in West Yorkshire, and is an industrial town producing wool, carpets, machine tools and beer. Halifax PLC started operations as a building society in the town in about 1853, but in more recent years, it forms part of the Lloyds banking group.

You may have heard of Quality Street, Rolo, and Toffee Crisp sweets, these are all produced by John Mackintosh in Halifax.

Things to do

Our love of Halifax will always be Shibden Hall, but we can’t exclude all the other things there are to do in Halifax such as:

The Piece Hall

Cost: Free

The Piece Hall was opened in 1779, and was built as a cloth hall, for handloom weavers to sell their woolen cloth pieces that they had recently produced. There are 315 separate rooms arranged in a square surrounding a courtyard.

Since opening, it has since had millions of pounds put into it, to transform the last surviving cloth hall into restaurants, cafes and bars. The Piece Hall is open daily, and has different events held here regularly in the courtyard.

It is quite easy to just wander around the lovely little shops, cafes, and restaurants for hours on end, admiring its beauty. The events held in the courtyard are a great way, to bring family and friends into town for a day out.

Shibden Hall

Cost: £8 per person

Shibden Hall is a grade 2 listed building in the outskirts of Halifax West Yorkshire, and has been modernised over the years by its residents. The most notable resident at Shibden Hall was Anne Lister. She inherited the house when her uncle passed away. The last Lister who own Shibden hall passed the house onto Halifax Corporation in about 1933, which opened it as a museum.

This is Shibden Hall and its grounds in Halifax
Shibden Hall and its grounds in Halifax

The museum provides more information about the history surrounding Shibden Hall and its previous owners. The house provides an insight into how life would have been to live here, with its single glazed windows, and a fire place in each room on the ground floor. Some of the interior design has been modernised over the years, this is not evident until one of the panels of the walls are pulled back, detailing the original wall beneath. When Anne Lister inherited the property, she made some big and some small alterations. The biggest alteration being the library, which was built at the side of the property. Anne Lister died before seeing the finished product.

Many of the scenes in Gentleman Jack were filmed inside Shibden Hall, all the rooms on the ground floor were used, and the stair case also feature in some of the scenes. All scenes in Anne Lister’s bedroom, were shot in a studio, as her bedroom was too small to get cast and the film crew in. You may notice how small and compact her bedroom is, and understand why her bedroom was a studio shot. Prior to entering Anne Lister’s bedroom, there is a display cabinet, with her will and some documents to look over. The will giving her life partner, Ann Walker, a lifelong interest and residence at Shibden Hall.

Some extracts from Anne Lister's diary
Some extracts from Anne Lister’s Diary

We are now patiently waiting for series two of Gentleman Jack to be shot at Shibden Hall, and for this to be televised next year.

Shibden Park

Cost: Free

The grounds surrounding Shibden Hall, are now a public park, with a boating lake, miniature railway, and a café.

This is a great place for a day out for families during the warmer months. You can hire a boat and paddle around the lake, or take a short trip on a train. There are paths surrounding the park, to take a leisurely stroll, and to see the vast scenery surrounding Shibden Hall and the Park.

The café in Shibden Park has an array of dishes, one that does stand out is the Yorkshire Pudding wrap filled with pulled pork. Yorkshire pudding is normally accompanied with a roast dinner and originates from the Yorkshire region of England, so this was different in so many ways, and quite pleasant, although it isn’t the healthiest of dishes.

Getting around

Halifax is located in the north of England, with regular public transport to get you in and around Halifax. Here are just some of the ways:

Car

Travelling by car will be the easiest and most convenient way to get to Halifax. There are a number of motor ways that lead towards Halifax, depending on where you are travelling from, and parking in and around Halifax is relatively cheap. Parking at Shibden Hall is a maximum of £1.50 for over 2 hours parking.

Train

The main train station is Halifax, which is on the Northern Train line or the Grand Central. There are many direct trains to Halifax within the northern regions of England. If you are visiting from London or other southern parts of the UK, you will need to take a train to London, and either catch a direct train to Halifax via Grand Central network, or take a train to a major city such as Leeds, before taking a Northern Line train to Halifax.

Night life

It is important to socialise whilst travelling, and what a better way than to go out for a few drinks to a bar or pub. We found this little LGBT club located on Princess Street in Halifax called The Village. The Village is quite small, with a bar and a small dancing area with some tables and chairs.

The interior of The Village in Halifax. This is the only LGBT bar in Halifax
The Village, the only LGBT bar in Halifax

It is open from Thursday to Saturday from 6pm to 2am, and Sunday 6pm until 11pm, the earlier you arrive the quieter the club will be, and the staff are so friendly and welcoming, that we got to know them whilst having a few drinks.

The venue has various shows and events on regularly, from drag, DJ’s, and karaoke to entertain their visitors.

The Village in Halifax
The Village in Halifax

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