If you’re looking for your next staycation destination, I’d suggest Haworth – a charming, oldy-worldy village in West Yorkshire. I visited Haworth, which is most famous as the home of the Bronte sister writers, a lot as a kid and I went back for the first time in years last weekend, enjoying it just as much as I did when I was little. Here’s why…
My mum Felicity Newbold, who you’ll know as the author of Sins of the Family, studied her degree when I was young. She covered the Bronte sisters for her dissertation and started travelling out to Haworth for research purposes. She was soon charmed by this quaint village, with its cobbled streets, boutique shops and breath-takingly wild moors, so she decided to take me and my brother Nicky there for holidays. We quickly fell in love with the village too and we ended up making some of our best childhood memories there.
It’s my mum who brought me back to Haworth. She decided that the family should re-visit the village for her 60th birthday, which fell on 13th February. So last Saturday, I travelled out there, ready to delve into my past. Haworth is kind of remote, but you can get there fairly easily. You can get a train to the town of Keighley, which is nearby and then catch a 15 minute bus to the bottom of Haworth Main Street. When I arrived, I found that as far as Haworth is concerned, some things changed but others stayed the same.
Back to Haworth
I felt surreal, as I stepped off that bus and walked up the Main Street. Some of my old haunts were still there like Mrs Beighton’s Sweet Shop, a Victorian throwback which specialises in traditional confectionary. They still sell some very tasty treats, at pretty reasonable prices! You’ll be glad to learn that I resisted temptation, as I’m on that whole two year health kick thing! Other sites from my childhood however, like the 19th Century apothecary which was a famous haunt for the one Bronte brother, had vanished.
I had some time to kill, so I wandered around. I strolled past some amazing boutiques selling vintage clothes and furniture, showing that you can buy some pretty cool clothes in Haworth. Then I went up to the village Church, a grand, sumptuously decorated building with glorious stain glass art, but I decided to give the nearby Bronte Museum, which is dedicated to Haworth’s most famous family, a miss. It serves as a great window into rural 19th Century life, but it isn’t free, so I decided to swerve it. Instead, I sat and enjoyed a reasonably priced, delicious americano at Villette, one of the amazing cafes which dot the village.
Afterwards, my family arrived and we went to our hotel – the Old Silent Inn. Based in the stark, but impressive moors just a few miles outside Haworth, this is a classic Yorkshire bed & breakfast, complete with roaring fires, pub-esque furnishings and hearty grub. I should note that there was a mix-up with my room, but the landlord more than made it up for it. He gave me a free pint and knocked the bill down, which was really kind of him. I absolutely recommend the Old Silent Inn, but there are plenty of other fine hotels, ranging from family B&Bs to upmarket inns, located across the Haworth area too.
We got changed, then grabbed a taxi to the Old Hall in Haworth for dinner. This quaint, yet lively establishment does good pub grub at fairly reasonable prices. I had the burger, which was scrumptious and my family were also satisfied with their dishes. We then did a little pub crawl, drinking in great watering holes like The Black Bull at the top of Main Street. It had a lively atmosphere, with good company, great drinks and interesting live music. You’re sure to find a welcoming crowd on a night out in Haworth too!
We then decided to call it a night, heading back to the Old Silent Inn, where we found a warm, friendly reception, for a night cap. I have to give a special shout out to Nicky’s girlfriend Laura here. At this point in the night, she presented mum with a home-made birthday cake. It was perfectly suited to mum’s personality, as it’s icing resembled a woman reading a book while sitting against a tree in a field. The icing on that cake was so good, that none of us wanted to eat it, so we could spend more time looking at it!
The family then went to bed, woke up, ate a traditional English breakfast and we finally came to the end of our trip. We took one last stop first, however, by checking out Scartop Pine – which is well worth a visit. It’s the most unique furniture store I’ve ever seen. Based just a few miles outside of Haworth this establishment, which lies in a manor house, boasts rooms-upon-rooms worth of both stylish and quirky pieces. I so want to outfit my future living room with Scartop Pine products! They also do a pretty mean chocolate cake at their cafe, which I was allowed to enjoy, because it’s a weekend. Thank god lol!
Looking back on my weekend it’s easy to see why I recommend that you try Haworth for your next staycation. The village may be small, but it has so much to see and do, as well as a friendly community that’ll welcome you with open arms. What more do you need?