We just got back from a weekend in the north. I always forget how much colder it is up there! This time we were blessed with rain and snow and we were both already full of a cold – but we didn’t let that ruin our plan to tick off another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Saltaire in West Yorkshire, with my Mum and Dad along for the ride.
I cannot emphasise how cold it was when we arrived so first stop was the café inside Salt’s Mill, Salt’s Diner (named for Sir Titus Salt, the founder of Saltaire). After a warming round of hot drinks and a quick browse of the amazingly-tempting bookshop, we wrapped up again and headed out on the heritage trail.
You can get a trail guide and map from the gift shop (where I picked up a little pot of local lanolin for my poor cold-chapped nose), but it’s just a walk around the historic village and we essentially made up our own version after getting distracted by all the gorgeous cobbled side streets.
Saltaire was granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 2001: it’s a perfectly-preserved industrial Victorian model village, built between 1851-76. Titus Salt chose his textile mill’s site because it was well-connected and the surrounding village was built with the workers’ health in mind: Bradford was busy and unhealthy but in Saltaire allotments were provided so employees could grow their own food and even the direction of the wind was considered, with houses located away from the smoke blowing out of the mill.
The height of the houses in relation to the width of the cobbled roads allows for maximum daylight, and the streets are named after Salt’s children and the town’s architects. If it all sounds too idyllic consider the fact the town was tee-total before wishing you’d lived here (of course, booze is allowed now and we did have a cheeky peek in the window of an estate agent – which was pleasantly surprising)!
We timed our next pit-stop perfectly, watching the snow come down as we enjoyed toasted sandwiches, soup, hot drinks and cakes at Jeanette’s Cakery, a little retro-themed find fully deserving of it’s TripAdvisor certificate of excellence.
After winding our way back to Salt’s Mill we admired the beautiful designer homewares shop (so much delicious Eames…) and some work by a local artist you may’ve heard of called David Hockney(!), who is currently exhibiting ‘paintings’ he created on an iPad. The mill only closed in the 1980s but has been so well cared-for and its huge windows and original features mean it hasn’t lost its character. Saltaire, you’re reet champion.