Top 3 Historical Days Out in West Yorkshire

Busy Lizzie @

When the pandemic halted global travel, we were forced to spend some time around our local community. Some of you may have discovered some hidden spots on your doorstep while out for your daily walk. Others may have known all about these treasures, but haven’t had a chance to visit up until lockdown hit.

I’m sharing my favourite historical sites dotted all around West Yorkshire, so any fellow local readers can enjoy a day out filled with splendid scenery and fun facts about our amazing local history. 

Kirkstall Abbey - Leeds

Kirkstall Abbey

It’s strange to see an 800 year old Cisterian monastery so close to a bustling city centre, which is what makes Kirkstall Abbey one of my favourite sites to visit. Take the one way self guided tour through the ruins and discover what each room (or pile of rubble) was used for. The site is open to the public because, unfortunately, it doesn’t have a roof. Which also means, if it starts to rain, you have nowhere to hide - trust me!
Outside of the ruins, you can enjoy a stroll along the riverside or a picnic in the park. All in all, a fantastic, free day out, packed full of fascinating history.

Saltaire village - Shipley 

The history of Saltaire village centres around the landmark that is Salts Mill, an old textile factory. When Salts Mill opened in 1853, it was the largest factory in the world with 3,000 workers and 1,200 looms producing 30,000 yards of cloth every day! If there’s one thing we LOVE to learn about at Hug at Home, it’s local textiles history! Read all about our family history here! A man named Titus Salt built the town, entirely from scratch, to house and sustain his textile workers. The Mill shut down in 1986, but the community history well and truly lives on. This picturesque village retains its distinctive character to this day, but the converted Salts Mill catapults Saltaire into the 21st century, with trendy eateries and independent shops to mooch around in. 

National Coal Mining Museum - Wakefield 

The National Coal Mining Museum based at Caphouse Colliery is home to the last deep coal mine left in England, which is what makes this historical site so special. Delve into Britain’s fascinating mining history and experience what life was really like working in the pits. My guess is - most likely not great! We’ll stick to making rugs, thank you! Unfortunately, underground tours are currently unable to go ahead due to government guidelines, but they hope to resume in July. There’s still so much you can experience above ground - and for free! Wander around the preserved Colliery buildings, take a self led tour around the museums and galleries and even meet the Pit Ponies! If you’re like me and love to natter to anyone and everyone, the charismatic former miners will be happy to tell you all about their gritty past! Keep the little ones (and furry friends) occupied for hours with the exciting Nature Trail, followed by a run around in the huge Adventure Playground - sorry, only kids allowed (so I was told)! After all that exercise, head to the cafe for a coffee and cake break. Or if you’re organised (unlike me!) you could pack a picnic to snack on in the designated picnic area. If you’re unsure of what to pack in your picnic, here’s what my basket typically looks like!

So what are you waiting for? Go check out your own local history!

Busy Lizzie x