Last Updated on October 27, 2020
If you are seeking inspiration for day trips in Yorkshire I highly recommend a visit to the village of Saltaire. Situated near Bradford in Yorkshire the village was created in the mid 19th century by Sir Titus Salt (to which he and the river Aire which run though it give it the name)
Titus Salt’s ideas were groundbreaking at the time. Built between 1851 and 1872 to provide his mill workers with decent housing and other amenities such as a hospital, school, and wash houses Salt believed in looking after his workers even in old age and sickness. He has subsequently been recognised as one of the greatest Victorian philanthropists. (Many businesses today could learn lessons from him)
Saltaire was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001 and recognised as ”one of the earliest, largest and best preserved nineteenth century ‘model villages’ anywhere in the world.” (Source – Discover Saltaire)
If you are planning a visit to the village you will find out everything you need to know in this guide.
What to do and see
The Heritage Trail in Saltaire
I recommend popping into the Visitor Information Centre when you arrive and pick up a map of the Heritage Trail. The trail takes you past points of interest as you stroll through the village. The official guide only costs a few ££’s and has lots of great information to read as you take the trail.
I highly recommend that you walk the trail. It is really interesting and you learn a lot about life for ordinary people in 19th century England. (Or those lucky enough to work for Salt as the lives of workers in other areas was not necessarily as good)
In the village you will also see lots of beautiful buildings built in the 19th century – from the huge Mill to the almshouses these buildings give a great insight into life in the 1800’s.
The village was designed by local architects Lockwood and Mason who designed houses far superior than was the norm for workers at that time (for example they had gas, water, separate kitchens and outside toilets and some even had gardens).
The Saltaire United Reformed Church designed by the pair is now a Grade 1 listed building.
It is also worth remembering that these houses are still lived in – as it states in the official trail booklet “Saltaire is a community and not a museum” so please respect their privacy.
Learn more – Beautiful towns and villages to visit in England
Explore Salt Mills
The Salt Mills were opened by Titus Salt in 1853 and some 3000 workers were producing up to 30,000 yards of cloth a day (Saltaire Trail).
In 1987 the now empty and silent mill was bought by Jonathan Silver, an entrepreneur who created the 1853 gallery. The gallery exhibits works by local artists including David Hockney who is from nearby Bradford. The Mill holds one of the largest collections of Hockneys in the world.
There is lots to see in the Mill including art by David Hockney, shops to peruse and a number of places to stop off for a drink, sandwich or a meal. (And the serviette in Salts Diner has the best logo ever – designed by Hockney!)
The Mill is open every day except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.
Plan your visit to Saltaire
How to get to Saltaire
We caught the train to Saltaire as it has its own station and I would highly recommend this option.
There are regular train services from Bradford and Leeds and the train station is opposite the mill! Easy!
There is limited parking in the village and using public transport is a more sustainable way to protect the local environment and lessens the impact of tourism on those who live in the village.
Saltaire is built next to the Leeds Liverpool Canal and is an excellent place for a stroll or a hike for those more serious walkers.
Where to stay in Saltaire
There are a variety of accommodation options in the area so why not stay for a night?
Enjoy your visit
If you are exploring the UK and visiting Yorkshire I recommend adding Saltaire into your itinerary even if it is only for a day trip. It features on my UK bucket list of 100 places to visit – check it out if you are looking for more travel inspiration!
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