Things to do in Hebden Bridge

Hebden Bridge (Heptenbryge) is a market town located in West Yorkshire, England. Originally a mill town known for its clothing manufacturing, Hebden Bridge was also an attractive spot for artists and New Age communities enthraled by the gorgeous countryside and affordable housing prices. While Hebden bridge might seem small with a population of just 4500, there’s plenty to do and see in this quaint town. Hebden Bridge belongs to the Hebden Royd town council and civil parish, Hebden Bridges prides itself for being progressive too, well known as an LGTB-friendly town and home to the Trades Club, a well-recognised music venue ad socialist members club. Hebden Bridge was named by British Airway’s High Life magazine as ‘one of the world’s funkiest towns’, and the greatest town in Europe.

How might you come to visit Hebden Bridge and what are the things to do in this small market town?

Hardcastle Crags

Hebden Bridge is in the Calder Valley and crossed by River Calder and Hebden Beck. Follow the path along the Hebden Beck and visit the wooded valley that takes you right to the Hardcastle crags via the Gibson Mill Waterfall. Hardcastle Crags is a National Trust spot in the South Pennines with more than 400 acres of unspoilt woodland.

There are over 15 miles of footpaths to explore, making it an ideal walking and hiking destination. It takes just 5 minutes by car from the centre of Hebden Bridge or a 30 minutes walk.

Entrance to the Hardcastle Crags is free but there is paid parking on site. If you are a National Trust member, then the parking is free of charge.

Hebden Bridge Hardcastle Crags

Gibson Mill

At the heart of the Hardcastle Crags, you’ll find the historic Gibson Mill, home to the Weaving Shed Cafe. Gibson Mill is a 19th-century cotton mill, saved by the National Trust in 1950. It’s a sustainable place, entirely off the grid. Around 10 years ago, Gibson Mill became self-sufficient as its energy is generated onsite and the water supply comes directly from the natural spring water in the Hardcastle Crags. Gibson Mill is often rented as a sustainable wedding venue for nature-loving couples.

Within the mill, you’ll find two exhibitions as well as the Weaving Shed cafe, ideal for tasty British treats and souvenirs.

Gibson Mill in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire

Hebden Bridge Loop

Walking enthusiast, rejoice! Take the Hebden Bridge Loop that brings visitors into Hebden Bridge town centre and through the ancient village of Heptonstall. The loop is 6 km long and it’s on a well-defined path. It’s waymarked and signposted.

Hebden Bridge was originally a crossing point for various trails, which makes sense why several countryside trails meet in Hebden Bridge. The walk will take you on a canal towpath, steep wood-sided valley, upland pastures and will offer dramatic vista points.

Hebden Bridge mill surrounded by trees in the middle of the winter

Hebden Bridge Town Centre Trail

Hebden Bridge sure is a walking paradise as it’s has yet another lovely trail in store for you. Head over to the Hebden Bridge information centre and grab the booklet which shows you how to enjoy the route with 11 marked stop points.

The Town Centre Trail is an easy ¾ mile (1.2 km) walk which can be completed in about an hour. Not only you’ll get to learn more about the town, but you’ll get to keep the brochure with the map, illustrations and pictures as a souvenir from Hebden Bridge.

People taking the hebden bridge town centre trail

Trades Club

As previously mentioned, Trades Club is a socialist members’ co-operative pub that depends on its members and its memberships. In fact, it’s so cool, that the members literally own this club. Trades club is a nationally recognised music venue known for its liberal and creative image.

The full price for the membership is around £25 for a whole year. On top of the membership fee, there are tickets for several shows which take place every single month. Keep your eyes peeled for special screenings and touring bands. Everyone from Patti Smith to The Fall has played here, with tickets selling out within seconds. But there’s even more about this cool club in Hebden Bridge. They have a varied roster of delicious food, also clubs for chess enthusiasts, guitar groups and circus skills groups. An ever-changing and evolving club that every UK town needs.

Shopping in Hebden Bridge

Hebden Bridge’s vibrant streets are overflowing with independent shops. If you love small boutiques, cute charity shops all in terraced stone houses, then you’re in luck as Hebden Bridge is the place for you. Visit the Afghan rug shop, the only place outside of Afghanistan that sells authentic and pure Afghan rugs and kilims. The rugs are ethically sourced, handmade and handpicked from Northern Afghanistan.

Shop in Spirals, a Hebden Bridge staple that sells ethical products and original art by local artists. Go upstairs to see their Art Room and pick a local souvenir for your home.

Head over to the market street and pick up a new hat from Hat Therapy or shop vintage from Retro. Only on Market Street, you’ll find the majority of quaint gift shops such as Sweet Pea, Earth Spirit or Totally Awesome. There are plenty more clothes stores, and of course, indie shops selling countryside attire.

People walking and shopping in Hebden Bridge at the many indie boutiques

Hebden Bridge Town Hall

Marvel at the Hebden Bridge town hall and adjoining fire station, a Grade 2 listed building dating back to 1897. The town hall is really proud that it receives no grant funding and it generates all its income through trading. There’s much pride around the building too as it was transformed from a barely used establishment into a community centre and creative enterprise. It houses a range of offices, a cafe, and one of the largest event venues in the Calder Valley.

Have food in Hebden Bridge

For such a small town it’s incredible to see such a variety of restaurants with so many different cuisines. From Turkish, through Italian to delicious burgers and falafel options, you are spoiled for choice. Grab a traditional Pad Thai from Rim Nam Thai or indulge in the best Turkish platter from the Olive Branch.

For afternoon tea, head over to Watergate Tea Rooms and finish off the day with a glass of wine from the Nelsons Wine Bar. Veggie friends are not forgotten. Head over to Leila’s Kitchen for a fully veg menu or try the delicious Tibetan Kitchen.

A quaint little restaurant with outdoor seating in Hebden Bridge

Buy a Hebden Bridge Local Gin

Purchase a delicious gin made right in the heart of Hebden Bridge. This is the perfect souvenir or gift for gin enthusiasts who appreciate a gin that’s 100% natural, made with fresh fruit and Yorkshire Spring Water. The bottles look pretty great too, with the label showing a cute illustration of how great Hebden Bridge really looks like with its iconic old bridge.

The signature Hebden Bridge Gin won the Silver Medal at the World Gin Awards in 2022. Something to be proud of, for sure. Prices start from £5.75 per 5cl. To get yours, head over to the Craggies Farm Shop or Chapter 17 on Market Street in Hebden Bridge.

Inviting cocktail bar in Hebden Bridge Town centre

Enjoy a traditional pub meal

After a long afternoon spent walking in the countryside, nothing beats a hearty traditional English meal in a proper country pub. The Stubbing Wharf pub is a towpath pub with outdoor seating located just a few minutes walk away from Market Street. The menu at the Stubbing Wharf pub includes traditional pies, fish and chips, steaks and sandwiches. Enjoy a refreshing pint of ale on the side. That’s the English life everyone loves!

For an alternative, head over to The Hare & Hounds a Victorian inn set alongside English rolling fields. The Hare & Hounds is just West of Hebden Bridge, around 30 minutes walk from Market Street. Treat yourself to a lovely traditional meal and your own Yorkshire pudding. Visit on a warm day and enjoy the stunning vista points from its garden.

Quaint street with restaurants and gift shops in Hebden Bridge

Take a Hebden Bridge cruise

Treat yourself to a relaxing and scenic cruise alongside the Rochdale canal, right in the heart of the Calder Valley. Book your cruise and take a moment to appreciate the tranquillity of your surroundings. Want something special? Hebden Bridge cruises cater for a variety of parties including afternoon teas or Sunday lunch while cruising along the canal.

Better yet, you can rent a canal boat for a celebration cruise and enjoy much of the Hebden Bridge’s nature from a new perspective.

The gorgeous canals under the old stone bridge in Hebden Bridge

Pennine Way

Hebden Bridge is a Pennine town in the heart of West Yorkshire’s Bronte Country. If you decide to hike all or at least part of the Pennine Way (a 268 miles long trail) just know that it crosses Hebden Bridge, making it the ideal place to stop overnight. Alternatively, you can start your trail from Hebden Bridge towards Edale, the south starting point of the trail or towards Kirk Yetholm, in Scotland.

Bring good waterproofs and walking shoes perfect for long hikes in the unpredictable, often wet British weather.

Calder Holmes Park

Get your family and head over to the Calder Holmes park, a green open space with an outdoor gym and a skateboard park.

You’ll be able to access a variety of events year-round and one of the most notable ones being the Hebden Bridge Handmade Parade. The Hebden Bridge Handmade Parade is a magical and exciting event full of painting, carnival masters, musicians, stilt walkers and performers. It takes place over three weeks with workshops and is open to anyone who loves making costumes and wants to create giant puppets. More activities were added to the festivals to raise the morale of the locals after the Boxing Day floods that devastated the area in 2015.

Rochdale canal

Take a long and beautiful walk along the Rochdale canal, completed in 1804. across the Pennines from Manchester to Sowerby Bridge in West Yorkshire. The Rochdale canal is classed as a wide canal because its locks are wide enough to allow vessels on it. It has a total of 91 locks. Many come to boat on the Rochdale canal and one of the main interesting things about it, is that it climbs high over the Pennine moors rather than tunnelling through them. This means extraordinary landscapes and scenery.

If it’s walking you prefer, you can hike for miles on end alongside the Rochdale canal. the best and easiest route is the towpath that goes through the Pennines, taking you into the heart of the English hills.

The Hebden Bridge Picture House

The cinema The Hebden Bridge Picture House is one of the last remaining council-owned cinemas in Britain. Local residents love it and put a lot of love into restoring it to its former glory. It’s a Grade II listed building and it makes for a cosy spot for watching the latest releases or a beloved old favourite film.

It has one screen with over 500 seats and one kiosk serving hot and cold drinks, cake, popcorn, sweets and snacks. It first opened its doors in 1921 and in 2012 was transferred to Hebden Royd Town Council. Ever since it has been upgraded and improved on, now featuring installations for digital projections. Check what’s on and get your ticket.

Heptonstall museum

Heptonstall museum is located just 25 minutes walk from Market Street in Hebden Bridge. The Heptonstall Museum is in the centre of the ancient village of Heptonstall, in the Old Grammar School Building at Church Yard Bottom. Many people come to Heptonstall to see Sylvia Plath’s grave, at the Church of St Thomas the Apostle. Sylvia Plath is an American author who received the 1982 Pulitzer Prize for poetry, which made Sylvia Plath the first to receive the honour posthumously.

Stoodley Pike

Visit the Stoodley Pike located just four miles south of the town and soars over the upper Calder Valley. Stoodley Pike Monument was designed by local architect James Green and was completed at the end of the Crimean War.

Position yourself in Hebden Bridge for a few nights and take day trips to the surrounding towns. With so many walking paths, it’s easy to see why nature lovers are constantly trying to score a house in Hebden Bridge. It sure is a desirable location.

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Cory Varga – Cory Varga is a licensed travel agent and published travel writer. Her main expertise is writing about Japan, where she happily lives with her husband.
Cory published her first book on Japanese customs and manners because she’s obsessed with everything Japan and wants to share more about the local customs with the rest of the world.
While Cory has visited hundreds of destinations and has lived in 7 different countries, Japan remains her favorite place to live and write about. Cory is multilingual.


One response to “Things to do in Hebden Bridge”

  1. Stephen Bedford Avatar
    Stephen Bedford

    I’m on my way .Stephen.

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