Saltaire Village and the Upcoming Saltaire Festival

December 16, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Saltaire is one of my favourite places, both to visit and to photograph (see my land/seascape gallery for some images of Saltaire). For those who don't know, Saltaire is a village in the Aire valley, built by Sir Titus Salt (hence the name) in 1851. Salt had previously been Mayor of Bradford, when he used his position to campaign for better living conditions. Salt built Saltaire village to house the workers at his woollen mill, which sits at the bottom of the village, and conditions for people in the village were much better than for those living in the city. Salt and his wife Caroline had eleven children and many of the village streets are named after them. Saltaire is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Mill is today a gallery, housing many works by Bradford born artist David Hockney. The mill also contains a restaurant, cafe and shops and is well worth a visit. The village has numerous great pubs and cafe's and many independent shops, including a great bookshop on the outskirts of the village. Fanny's Ale house is my favourite pub there and is a real old fashioned boozer, with wooden floors and wood burning stoves in the winter. Its serves both local and Belgian beers, has a great juke box and is a lovely place to while away a few hours. The newly refurbished Hop (formerly the Tramshed) is also worth a visit for their wood fired pizzas and Ossett Brewery beers. 

The canal and river run by the bottom of the village. You can take barge trips on the canal and if you cross the bridge over the river, you'll find Roberts Park, which often hosts free live music from its bandstand. The park is beautiful and a great place for a summer picnic There is also a children's play area and a skate park.

If you head through the park and cross the road at the back, there is a pathway leading to the Shipley Glen Tramway. The tramway opened in 1895 and is currently run by volunteers (as such, it has limited running times, so its worth checking before a visit). I've fond memories of travelling on this tramway as a child and still enjoy it today. It takes you up the hill to Shipley Glen, which is a lovely place to walk and feel like you are in the countryside. The tramway will only remain open if people use it, and I really hope it does.

Saltaire is great to visit at any time, but particularly when the festival is on. This year's festival begins on Saturday. There are too many events to talk about here, so I'm just going to highlight my favourites. The first is the Saltaire Brewery beer festival, which has a ticketed event on the Friday and a non-ticketed day on Saturday. Its £5 entry and you get a festival glass and a pint of beer in with the ticket price. There are around 40 different British beers to try (I probably wont manage all of them!) along with ciders and American keg beers. There's usually some really interesting stuff and I'm hoping they will have made some of their Cherry Stout for me to try!

On Sunday 14th, there is a 'Tapas, Salsa and Sangria' event at Don't Tell Titus, so named because Salt didn't allow beer houses in the village. Don't Tell Titus is a nice bar and restaurant; the food is usually great there so this is an event worth going to. Don't Tell Titus are also doing a wine and food tasting and a beer and food matching event. There are various pop up cinema events throughout the festival in numerous locations, showing Wes Anderson films, including Fantastic Mr Fox and The Life Aquatic, a must for any Anderson fans. 

There are numerous family events and many pop up events in people's homes, a rare chance to see inside the village houses. The highlight of the festival, however, (for foodies like me, anyway) is the continental market. I can't make it this year and I'm gutted. Although it's probably a good thing for my bank balance, as its easy to spend a fortune sampling all the amazing food... The market is mainly on Exhibition Road, but there were stall in Robert's Park too last year, so don't miss them. In addition to food, there are usually stalls selling arts and craft items and its a great place to pick up gifts. For those organised people, its a good place to begin your Christmas shopping.

The festival is run entirely by volunteers, so if you can spare some time, check out their website to see how you can help make the the event a success.

For more information about the specific events, or to find out about volunteering, please see the festival website

Sadly, I can't make many events this year, but I will be going to some of them with my camera and will hopefully get some great images.


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