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Situated on the tip of the Moors, Bradford is a modern and vibrant city in West Yorkshire that has plenty of appeal to tourists. While once the wool capital of the world during the nineteenth century, the city is now a cosmopolitan haven with a large South Asian population and several art galleries and unique crafts shops. Using Bradford as a base, there are diverse day trips accessible by car, including to the historical city of Leeds.
Who to Book With
There are six car hire companies to choose from, with the two most centrally-located companies being Europcar and National – both of which are found on Nelson Street. Alternatively, Enterprise is located on Queen's Road. Those that wish to use a locally-based company can opt for Arrow Self Drive, Kwik Car Rental or Evolution. Most of the car hire companies in Bradford accept online bookings.
Best time to go
June, July and August are considered the best months to visit Bradford given that this is the period when the city enjoys its finest weather. As the majority of attractions are located indoors however, preferences on when to head to the city are down to tourists.
Need to Know Essentials
In order to pick up your rental car, you must bring the following:
- Full valid British or EU driving license and/or International Driving Permit
- Additional form of photo ID
- Valid credit card used to make the booking
- Printed confirmation of rental
Driving around Bradford is easy, although like in most cities traffic can build up around rush hours. Parking spaces are available both on the street and in multi-storey lots that are privately-run or are situated on the premises of shopping malls. Bradford is well-linked to other cities around Yorkshire and northern England.
The ideal way to navigate the city of Bradford is by car. A day away from being behind the wheel though can see visitors relying on a well-developed public transport system in addition to taxis. Other Yorkshire cities such as Leeds and Sheffield are easy to travel to but heading out into the moors or Yorkshire Dales really requires having a rental vehicle.
Bradford Forster Square and Bradford Interchange are the two main railway stations in Bradford. While those travelling from London, Manchester, York, Leeds and North Lancashire can travel directly to the city by rail, others will find their trip runs much smoother if they first head to Leeds and then transfer. Rail services to and from Bradford are mostly supplied by Northern Rail.
First is the supplier of bus transport in Bradford and makes it possible to travel around town, the suburbs and to other destinations in West Yorkshire or elsewhere in the county. Those that will use the bus on a regular basis may wish to look into purchasing a Metro Card, which costs around £21 per week. Additionally, the Bradford ‘freecitybus’ is an alternative option.
While there are taxi ranks around the city centre, residents mostly advise visitors to call private hire services and book transport in advance, if required. Bradford Town Taxis is the main operator here and its offices are located on Morley Street.
In Bradford, visitors can enjoy the National Media Museum (formerly the National Museum of Film, Photography and Television), home to the UK's first-ever IMAX screen. Alternatively, historians often head to the Bradford Industrial Museum to learn more about the city's involvement in the wool trade over the past few centuries. Those with spending money burning a hole in their pocket will most likely head to Darley Street, Kirkgate or Broadway for the best shopping. Art lovers often drive a short distance out of the town to the Salt Mill in Saltaire which hosts collections by David Hockney, Bradford's world-famous artist.
The Pennines - Located only a short drive from the centre of Bradford the Pennines offer fantastic views as well as a range of outdoor activities. As they separate Manchester and Yorkshire, those that wish to keep heading through these hills will eventually end up in the north's largest city.
Leeds - Like Bradford, Leeds is also located in West Yorkshire and is the largest city in its county. Visitors usually enjoy trips to the Royal Armouries, shopping in the Victoria Arcade or on Merrion Way, international cuisine that ranges from West Indian to Vietnamese, and great nightlife that mostly revolves around live music venues.
Todmorden - This is around half an hour from Bradford by car and is known for its natural beauty above all. This destination is one of few unspoiled market towns still left in the country and is also renowned for its fine restaurants.