The Keighley & Worth Valley Railway was opened in 1867 at a time when Keighley was booming during the Industrial revolution. Keighley’s Victorian past can be seen in the many impressive Victorian buildings found throughout the town. Take a stroll up Cavendish Street with its striking Victorian terraces (once main shopping area) or visit the first Carnegie Library in England opened in 1904.Make the most of a visit to Keighley and visit some of Brontë Country’s most popular attractions. Admire the Edwardian breakfast room and exhibits at Cliffe Castle, see buses being restored at the Keighley Bus Museum and step back in time at East Riddlesden Hall, a 17th century manor house with gardens.
East Riddlesden Hall offers visitors a taste of a typical West Yorkshire manor house. Going into the Hall feels like walking through someone’s home; it has a cosy lived-in feeling, and creates a relaxing atmosphere where visitors can feel at ease examining the exquisite embroideries and blackwork, oak furniture and pewter.
The Hall is valued for the sense of peace and tranquillity that is experienced on turning through the gate off the busy Bradford Road. The arresting first impression is of a silhouetted, blackened, stone, gabled house, viewed across the reflecting waters of the pond and framed by mature beech and sycamore trees. The impact is accentuated by the blank-eyed stare of the ruined Starkie Wing, which is aged by industrial grime. The large barns are reminders of the site’s former use as an agricultural estate covering 1,200 acres of Riddlesden.
This award winning house offers you a lot to discover and explore. It is more than a historic house and barn; there are an array of beautiful gardens surrounding the property, from a wild garden to formal gardens and herb border. From the car park you can explore the fields and stunning Riverside Walk, a perfect place to stretch your legs or walk the dog. Facilities for visitors include a playground for youngsters, a bird hide and apiary, and you can also indulge yourself in the gift shop and newly refurbished Tearoom.
Cliffe Castle Museum was originally the spectacular mansion of Victorian textile millionaire, Henry Isaac Butterfield. It stands in attractive landscaped grounds with greenhouses, café, aviaries and a children’s‚ play area.
The house is now a large museum with a wide variety of displays. These include an array of glittering minerals, local rocks and fossils (including a 2m long fossil newt!), mounted birds and animals, lavish Victorian reception rooms with furniture from the Victoria and Albert Museum, rare William Morris stained glass, costume , toys and domestic items and galleries devoted to the history of Keighley. Following a year of restoration August 2013 saw the unveiling of the Bracewell Smith Hall a spectacular recreation of the museum’s 1950s art gallery designed by Royal Academy President Sir Albert Richardson. Learning activities and events take place throughout the year in the InSight room. Groups of all kinds can be catered for, from schools to senior citizens, and activities can be tailored to your needs.
In addition there is the park situated next to Cliffe Castle Museum. The excellent facilities, including cafe, childrens’ play area and aviary make Cliffe Castle Park a great day out for all ages.
Visitors to the Castle should be aware that the surrounding park is to be the subject of a major Heritage Lottery Funded restoration scheme. Work has begun and will include the reinstatement of original glasshouses, water features, the creation of a new café and animal houses and improved landscaping. The museum remains open whilst the work takes place however there will be some reduction in car parking.
Near the station is Cavendish Street where you will find lots of independent shops and some of Keighley’s most impressive buildings. Shop at Airedale Shopping Centre for other high street names.
Eating & drinking
Keighley has a good choice of pubs and restaurants. If you like your food hot why not eat out at one of Keighley’s curry houses? Shimla Spice, was recently nominated to Bradford’s Curry Capital team and the Balti House and Azeem’s are popular with locals and visitors alike. For a taste of Italy try Amici or for Chinese visit Alfie’s. For a quick drink or a night out there are several pubs in Keighley including the The Boltmakers, the Albert Hotel and the Lord Rodney.