Searching for day trips from Bradford that’ll get you out of the bustle of the city in minutes? Our favourite Bradford day trips will keep you occupied for months!
Bradford is a city known for urban grit–mill chimneys and grand Victorian structures that jut into the skyline. However, Bradford is also home to expansive greenspaces and countryside vistas, such as Ilkley Moor.
And just outside of Bradford are a plethora of amazing places to visit, whether you want to get out into nature or discover more urban centres of Yorkshire and beyond.
Leeds, Sheffield, Harrogate and even Manchester are all less than an hour’s drive from Bradford. If you’re willing to travel slightly further, you can relax on Scarborough Beach, explore the mountains of the Lake District or even board a train to London.
So, without further ado, here are our favourite day trips from Bradford to help you make the most of your getaway to West Yorkshire.
Guide to the Best Day Trips from Bradford
Whether you want to discover natural wonders, architectural gems or the lesser-known highlights of the Yorkshire region, these day trips from Bradford will prove unforgettable.
1. Leeds, West Yorkshire
Sharing a border with Bradford just to the east is the city of Leeds, the largest city in West Yorkshire. The two cities are so close that they share an airport (Leeds Bradford Airport) that connects the region to the rest of England and many parts of the world.
Leeds is brimming with amazing places to visit, from museums like the Royal Armouries and the Leeds City Museum to some of England’s most impressive stately homes such as Temple Newsam. For a day of shopping, head to the historic Corn Exchange, the ultra-modern Trinity Leeds or the Grade I listed Leeds Kirkgate Market, which is the largest of its kind in Europe.
Also one of the largest of its kind in Europe is Rounday Park, which spans an area of around 700 acres. Don’t forget to check out Tropical World while you’re here. To the northwest of the city, you’ll find the 12th-century ruins of Kirkstall Abbey, which is another amazing place to visit on a day trip from Bradford.
It usually takes around half an hour to drive from Bradford to Leeds. The train journey takes just 19 minutes. While you’re here, you might want to read about more things to do in West Yorkshire.
2. Harrogate, North Yorkshire
If you want to explore a former spa town on your day trip from Bradford, we highly recommend planning a day out in Harrogate, which is easily one of the best places to visit in North Yorkshire.
Harrogate’s Victorian and Georgian architecture alone makes a visit to this town more than worthwhile, and then there are incredible landmarks like the Turkish Baths, the Royal Hall and the Royal Pump Room Museum.
If you want to enjoy the outdoors in Harrogate, take a stroll around the Valley Gardens or the nearby RHS Garden Harlow Carr. For a spot of shopping, venture down Cold Bath Road and through the Montpellier Quarter. When you need to take a load off your feet, stop for afternoon tea at the iconic Bettys Café Tea Rooms. While you’re in Harrogate, we suggest nipping over to the historic market town of Knaresborough, which recently made it onto our list of England’s most interesting towns.
In typical traffic conditions, it only takes about 40 minutes to drive from Bradford to Harrogate. You can also get to Harrogate via railway by first heading to Leeds – the entire journey will take around an hour.
3. Manchester, Greater Manchester
Home to world-famous Premier League football clubs, museums galore and leisure outlets ranging from Michelin-starred restaurants to vast shopping complexes, Manchester is one of the most popular places to visit in North West England.
Manchester is also said to be where the Industrial Revolution kicked off, meaning it’s arguably the city that has made the most impact on the world. You can learn about Manchester’s history and heritage at museums such as the Science and Industry Museum, the People’s History Museum and the Manchester Museum.
Other top attractions in Manchester include Manchester Cathedral, the Printworks, Manchester Central Library, Old Trafford and the Victoria Baths. For outdoor activities, we recommend exploring Platt Fields Park, Alexandra Park and Heaton Park.
Depending on the traffic conditions, it’s possible to drive from Bradford to Manchester in around 55 minutes, though the journey can take over two hours during rush hour. You can also ride the train from the Bradford Interchange all the way to Manchester Victoria in under an hour.
If you fancy spending more than a day in North England’s most famous city, you might want to find out about the best things to do in Greater Manchester. There are also plenty of day trips from Manchester to amazing nearby places like Liverpool.
4. Yorkshire Dales, North Yorkshire
Want to explore one of England’s most picturesque national parks on one of your day trips from Bradford? The Yorkshire Dales National Park is about as good as it gets.
Because the Yorkshire Dales is a nature-lover’s paradise, the most popular activity here is hiking, and there are plenty of walks across the Yorkshire Dales that allow you to soak up the beauty of the region in all its glory.
The Yorkshire Dales is full of pretty villages that provide you with a place to rest and recharge after a day of hiking. Malham, Clapham and Burnsall are just some of our favourites. For a bit of history, explore the ruins of the 12th-century Bolton Abbey Estate. If you’re here for natural sights, visit Brimham Rocks or the Gordale Scar.
You can drive from Bradford to Ilkley on the southern tip of the Yorkshire Dales in under 30 minutes.
5. Sheffield, South Yorkshire
The largest city in South Yorkshire, Sheffield became one of the world’s largest steel-making centres following the 17th century. Nowadays, Sheffield might not be quite as in touch with its industrial roots, but it boasts a wealth of museums, historic landmarks and attractions that tell the story of the city’s legacy.
Some of the top-rated attractions in Sheffield include the Sheffield Botanical Gardens, the Sheffield Winter Garden, Weston Park Museum and the Millennium Gallery. Explore the large shopping centre of Meadowhall to shop until you drop. If you’re more interested in nature, Sheffield is right on the doorstep of the Peak District National Park.
To get to Sheffield from Bradford, it’s easiest to drive south along the M1 for about an hour. Alternatively, you can take the train in around an hour and 30 minutes.
While you’re in the area, you might want to discover more of South Yorkshire’s best days out. If you’re staying in the city for a few nights, you can escape the urban jungle by embarking on day trips from Sheffield. Nottingham, Lincoln and York are all just a short journey away.
6. York, North Yorkshire
For history lovers, there is perhaps no better place to visit in North Yorkshire than York, which has been a Roman settlement, a Viking capital, a Norman stronghold and a crucial city in the Battle of the Roses.
The easiest way to take a trip through the ages during your time in York is to walk along the medieval York City Walls. While you’re here, we recommend visiting famous attractions such as York Minster, the JORVIK Viking Centre, the National Railway Museum, the Shambles and the Museum Gardens – all of which can be squeezed into a one-day York travel itinerary.
York is the premier destination to get your fill of fascinating facts about Yorkshire. There are also plenty of amazing day trips from York for those who want to stay in the area for more than just a day out.
Depending on the traffic, it takes between one and two hours to drive from Bradford to York, and the train journey takes as little as 45 minutes.
7. RHS Garden Harlow Carr, North Yorkshire
RHS Garden Harlow Carr is comprised of streams, meadows, manicured gardens and woodland spread across 58 acres. It’s just a ten-minute drive away from the centre of Harrogate at the tip of the Yorkshire Dales.
At Harlow Carr, you can discover scented gardens, local agriculture, an alpine house, a lake, an arboretum and the stunning Limestock Rock Garden. After a few hours of walking, you can stop for a hot drink at Harlow Carr’s branch of Bettys Café Tea Rooms. There are also facilities for kids ranging from a log maze to treehouses and rope bridges, making RHS Garden Harlow Carr an excellent family day trip from Bradford.
It typically takes around 45 minutes to drive from Bradford to RHS Garden Harlow Carr. If you enjoy your time at Harlow Carr, you might want to explore more of England’s biggest and best gardens.
8. Nidderdale AONB, North Yorkshire
The Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is exactly what it says on the tin – absolutely beautiful.
This picturesque valley is renowned for its stunning natural scenery and postcard-perfect villages, making it an amazing place to escape the bustle of city life on day trips from Bradford. Due to its location in the Yorkshire Dales, Nidderdale is also one of the most popular day trips from Leeds.
We suggest following Nidderdale’s numerous walking and cycling trails to get a glimpse of the region’s natural highlights. If you only have time for one highlight, visit the otherworldly rock formations at Brimham Rocks. For insights into the area’s history, explore the Nidderdale Museum.
You can expect the drive from Bradford to Nidderdale to take between one and two hours. Public transport is possible, but the journey will take at least two and a half hours, making Nidderdale best explored by car on a day trip from Bradford.
9. Kirkstall Abbey, West Yorkshire
Kirkstall Abbey, located just outside of Leeds, is one of the best-preserved Cistercian monasteries in the UK.
The abbey was founded during the 12th century and remained a hub of religious activity until Henry VIII dissolved most of the monasteries throughout England.
Ticket prices at Kirkstall Abbey start at £5 per adult and £2.50 per child, and tickets provide unlimited access for an entire year. You can drive from Bradford to Kirkstall Abbey in around 20 minutes.
If you like architectural gems like Kirkstall Abbey, you might want to visit some of England’s best stately homes – many of which are located near Bradford. Alternatively, check out some of the most impressive castles in England that were built around the same time as Kirkstall Abbey.
10. North York Moors National Park, North Yorkshire
The North York Moors National Park is home to one of the UK’s biggest expanses of heather moorland, which makes it a stunning sight during the warmer months.
Besides countryside vistas, the North York Moors National Park boasts abbeys, stately homes, museums and a vibrant food and art scene.
If you want to soak up the most scenic views of the North York Moors, follow one of the park’s amazing National Trails, such as the Cleveland Way National Trail. To learn about the area’s history, browse the exhibits at the Ryedale Folk Museum. You can also simply find a spot to relax at one of the best picnic spots in England.
Public transport from Bradford to the North York Moors can be tricky and time-consuming, but you can drive the journey in just over an hour.
11. Peak District, Derbyshire
For an amazing outdoor day trip from Bradford, spend the day at the Peak District – another one of England’s best national parks.
Cycling trails are undoubtedly the main draw of the Peak District, which visitors follow to take in views of dramatic peaks, country vistas and a scattering of heritage sites and country houses.
Some of the most famous landmarks in the Peak District include Chatsworth Estate (one of the most exciting attractions in Derbyshire), the Heights of Abraham and the Castleton Caverns, though there are plenty more places to explore on a day out in the Peak District.
It takes around 45 minutes to drive south from Bradford to the northern tip of the Peak District National Park. Public transport is possible, but it’ll include at least two changes and take between two and three hours each way.
12. Lake District, Cumbria
Before we leave National Parks alone on our list of Bradford day trips, we simply need to give a quick mention to the natural wonders, museums and towns of the Lake District in Cumbria.
The Lake District is England’s most mountainous – and arguably, most stunning – region, home to quaint chocolate-box villages such as Ambleside, Keswick and Hawkshead.
During your stay in the Lake District, you can learn about the life and work of Beatrix Potter, sail on Lake Windermere, ride the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway, and so much more. Read our guide to the Lake District to make the most of your trip. While you’re here, you might want to find out about more things to do in Cumbria.
If you want a relaxing day out, you could always book into one of these amazing Lake Windermere spas to pass some wonderful time.
You can expect the car journey from Bradford to the Lake District to take at least one hour and 30 minutes – set off early to make the most of your day in this picturesque region.
13. Scarborough, North Yorkshire
If you want to visit one of England’s famous beaches on a day out from Bradford, your best bet is to drive over to Scarborough on the coast of North Yorkshire.
Besides the beach, Scarborough’s highlights include the ruins of Scarborough Castle, the Alpamare UK waterpark and the Scarborough Spa. We also recommend visiting SEA LIFE Scarborough to encounter penguins, turtles and other aquatic creatures. It’s one of our favourite places to visit on a rainy day in England. If you enjoy SEA LIFE, you’ll probably love England’s best zoos.
It’ll take a minimum of one hour and 40 minutes to drive from Bradford to Scarborough. The train journey takes roughly the same amount of time but includes at least one change.
More ideas for day trips from Bradford
As you can see, there are lots of places to visit on a day trip from Bradford, and there’s no need to drive for any more than an hour or so to reach somewhere unique and exciting. If you’re prepared to drive a little further for a day out from Bradford, you might want to set your sights on counties such as Herefordshire, Warwickshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire. You can even reach London in under three hours by train.
There are simply too many fantastic places to visit on a day out from Bradford to list in one article. If you think we’ve missed anything that deserves a mention, let us know in the comments below.
Quick list of best day trips from Bradford
- Leeds, West Yorkshire
- Harrogate, North Yorkshire
- Manchester, Greater Manchester
- Yorkshire Dales, North Yorkshire
- Sheffield, South Yorkshire
- York, North Yorkshire
- RHS Garden Harlow Carr, North Yorkshire
- Nidderdale AONB, North Yorkshire
- Kirkstall Abbey, West Yorkshire
- North York Moors National Park, North Yorkshire
- Peak District, Derbyshire
- Lake District, Cumbria
- Scarborough, North Yorkshire