Welcome to Bradford and Bingley

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Bradford and Bingley are two places in West Yorkshire in the North of England.

Whilst Bradford is quite a large city, Bingley is a smallish town on the outskirts of Bradford and on the A650 road leading out of Bradford in a north-westerly direction towards Keighley.

Bradford and Bingley are very well-known in Britain, because they lend their names to the former Bradford and Bingley Building Society, one of the best known financial institutions in the United Kingdom.

In December 2000, this was demutualised to form Bradford and Bingley Plc , a British bank with its Headquarters in the town of Bingley.

In 2008, partly due to the credit crunch, the bank was split in two; the mortgage book which was nationalised and the deposits and branch network which was sold to Abbey, which is owned by the Spanish Bank, Grupo Santander.

The earlier Bradford and Bingley Building Society had itself been formed in 1964 on the merger of the Bradford Equitable Building Society and the Bingley Permanent Building Society, which had both been established in 1851.

Of course, there is much more to Bradford and Bingley than just banking

Bradford is a large, very important, industrial city, with a large hard-working immigrant Asian population.

Its city centre is just 7 miles from the centre of Leeds to the east.

However, with urban spread, Leeds and Bradford, virtually form one built up conurbation.

The airport that serves them both is known as the busy Leeds Bradford International Airport, which is just north of Leeds, on the A658 towards the attractive market town of Harrogate.

There is very little Green Belt between the cities of Bradford and Leeds.

The city centres are connected by the very busy dual carriageway, the A647.

Bradford and Bingley, and Leeds further east, all lie to the north of the extremely hectic M62 motorway, connecting this Leeds - Bradford conurbation of West Yorkshire to the Greater Manchester conurbation, across the Pennines, in Lancashire.

The M606 connects Bradford to the M62. This latter trans-Pennine motorway can be subject to severe weather and heavy snowfalls in harsh winter periods, sometimes causing disruption and delays.

However, in good weather, this Pennine route is glorious.

It crosses an attractive, wild mountain and moorland region, greatly loved by the urban dwellers surrounding it, in both Lancashire and Yorkshire.

The Pennines and their several wild, empty moors, are the lungs of the industrial cities that surround them.

Four miles to the west of Bradford and Bingley, towards the Yorkshire Moors, are one of the most historic literary locations in the whole of Britain, not just the North of England.

This is the village of Haworth, home of the famed Bronte sisters, Emily, Charlotte and Anne, the most talented literary family in the history of England.

Charlotte Bronte wrote the world famous book "Wuthering Heights" of course. Her sister Anne Bronte ,wrote the classic "Jane Eyre".

Haworth, with its souvenir shops and fascinating Antiquarian book shops, is consequently, in Bronte Country and has great tourist attractions like the Bronte Parsonage Museum; Penistone Hall and the Bronte Weaving Shed.

It is a magnet for literary lovers from all over the world.

A real, "honey-pot" tourism location, like Stratford-upon-Avon.

Another famous landmark 4 miles to the north of Bingley, is Ilkley Moor, made famous in the Yorkshire dialect ditty,.....some would say Yorkshire anthem..... "On Ilkley Moor baht 'at" [On Ilkley Moor without a hat!].

Very few English folk, over about 40, have never heard this song being sung, particularly wherever Yorkshire folk celebrate some sporting victory.

Other tourism landmarks in the area are Ogden Water; the 1853 Gallery in Bingley and the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, north of Bingley.

This railway visits Oakworth Station, made famous by the 1970s film classic, "The Railway Children".

Bradford also has many fine museums and galleries.

They include Bradford Industrial Museum, where you can learn of Bradford's tremendous industrial past; the National Media Museum which holds film festivals; Cartwright Hall Art Gallery featuring colourful British and Asian art.

The Alhambra Theatre which features touring musicals, is well worth a visit too.

Harrogate, mentioned earlier, which is about 15 miles north-east of Bradford and Bingley is a town that is certainly worth a visit.

This North Yorkshire market town has very fine attractive stone buildings and exudes opulence.

It is a wonderful centre for exploring the famed, very beautiful, Yorkshire Dales National Park, with stunning natural scenery made famous in the well-loved long-running BBC TV series "Last of the Summer Wine".

Of course, there are plenty of hotels and guest houses in both Bradford and Bingley, a short car ride away from the Yorkshire Dales.

Furthermore, just 17 miles south of Bradford, across the M62, is another English scenic gem, the Peak District National Park.

The hills and rocky peaks of this national park offer a much different, more rugged, feast for the eyes, than the Yorkshire Dales.

So Bradford and Bingley are surrounded on all sides by some of the finest natural scenery in the UK.

They provide an excellent central base for visiting both the National Parks and the Bronte Sisters area around Haworth in the Pennines.

Just south of the M62 are the large Yorkshire towns of Huddersfield, Dewsbury and Wakefield, connected to the South of England by the M1 motorway, which carries on north along the eastern perimeter of Leeds.

Four miles south of Dewsbury is the National Coal Mining Museum for England, reflecting Yorkshire's fantastic contribution to the industrial past .... and present .... of the United Kingdom.

Then, just north of Dewsbury is the Yorkshire Mill Centre, reflecting another aspect of this important region's industrial heritage.

It was the mills and the coal-mines, and the hard-working sacrifice of the people of Yorkshire, that created the wealth to build the towns and cities of the Leeds-Bradford, West Yorkshire conurbation in the first place. That must never be forgotten!

Of course, those who worked hard also played hard!! This region and the towns and cities mentioned, are household names in the uncompromising, tough world of Rugby League.

In fact, this is a real Rugby League hotbed!!

Yet another famous Rugby League town, the old mill centre of Halifax, lies just 6 miles south-west of Bradford, so local sporting rivalry is intense, with several big-name rugby league teams located within a very few miles of one other, rather like the Rugby Union hotbed of the South Wales Valleys.

The hard physical environment of coal-mining spawned this tough, uncompromising sporting heritage in both industrial areas.

It enabled strong, physical men to let off steam on a Saturday afternoon, followed by a few pints relaxing with good ale.

The region surrounding Bradford and Bingley is an area well worth visiting, for a fascinating holiday!