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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.

The Saltaire notice board near the train station has lots of information about things to do in Saltaire
Saltaire information board

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.

Saltaire in Yorkshire

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.

A row of houses in Saltaire

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?

United Reform Church in Saltaire

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!

If you are interested in UNESCO World Heritage Sites you will find lots to visit in the UK including the city of Bath, Stonehenge, Blenheim Palace and the beautiful Lake District.

Other places of interest in Yorkshire include the city of York, the seaside town of Whitby, the Ingleton Waterfalls Trail and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Fountains Abbey and Sudley Water Park.

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This post may contain compensated links. Please read our disclosure for additional information. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

55 thoughts on “Things to do in Saltaire Yorkshire (helpful tips and guide)

  1. Katie says:

    Ok I will be honest, I had never heard of Saltaire before but it looks like such a cute little village! The brick homes and unified streets are so photogenic – I can’t help but fall in love with victorian villages like this. Love that you have included a book to read about Saltaire too!

  2. Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid says:

    Your post is perfectly timed because I’m reading Bill Bryson’s “Notes from a Small Island” where he travels around the UK and he too visited Saltaire. The book is quite hilarious and has me laughing out loud. I had never heard of Saltaire until I read the book and now, your blog post. I heard that Salt was quite the puritan and there were no pubs or alcohol in Saltaire but I guess a conservative lifestyle was a fair trade off for being well looked after for many of his workers. I was so excited to see David Hockney’s work in the museum, we just saw his exhibition in Melbourne and it was fabulous!

    • Tracy Collins says:

      I am reading the next book by Bryson The Road to Little Dribbling – also hilarious! Saltaire is a fantastic place to visit and the Hockney’s are a great bonus! He is from Bradford and I believe has a great relationship with Saltaire – he designed the napkin in the restaurant! I was too excited to use it lol! Even better as it has a sausage dog on it and we have one!

  3. Rhonda Albom says:

    I have not heard of Saltaire before today, although I have been to most of the other UNESCO sites on your list (Fountains Abbey being my favourite). Saltaire is charming. 30K yards of fabric a day sounds like quite a bit for the mid-1800s. Impressive.

  4. Jim ~ Reflections Enroute says:

    We will always find the UNESCO sites to visit whenever we go somewhere new. We haven’t been to Saltaire yet, but I love the idea of turning the old mill into an art gallery. Thanks for the inspiration; see you next week! #wkendtravelinspiration

  5. Ruth says:

    First time I hear about this village but it is incredible to see what Sir Titus Salt created for his employees. Like you mentioned, some modern day employers should take notice (sometimes feels like we are moving backwards on certain things). #MondayEscapes

  6. Sarah Christie says:

    It looks so incredible I would love to visit and it isn’t to far from us, I love all the beautiful historic buildings, and the history is so interesting, what a great man to take such care of his workers when so many didn’t. Thanks os much for linking up #MondayEscapes

  7. chickenruby says:

    I stumbled across Saltaire a few years a go when I stayed in a B&B in Bradford, I was surprised that people were still living in the houses and I really enjoyed exploring a couple of the charity shops and taking a walk along the canal

  8. Elizabeth (Wander Mum) says:

    Really interesting post! I’ve just reprimanded my hubby for never mentioning it to me (him being a Yorkshire man and all). I’ll have to check it out next time we head up north. Thanks for linking #citytripping

  9. Dave - Man Vs. Globe says:

    I love Saltaire – It is beautiful in summer when you can lounge in Robert’s Park and watch the cricket or drink by the river! I haven’t been for a while but this post is making me want to visit again (I live very close by in Leeds!) #citytripping

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