Highlights of Hebden Bridge: A day out in a quirky yet beautiful village

6 April 2022

Hidden in the upper Calder Valley in West Yorkshire lays Hebden Bridge. While it’s home to only 4,500 people, this lovely village won Best Small Market Town at the Great British High Street Awards in 2016.

Also known as the Lesbian Capital of the UK, Hebden Bridge is a famously safe home for the LGTBQ+ community. This welcoming town had the highest percentage of lesbian residents in the UK in the early 2000s and has since kept its LGTBQ+-friendly reputation.

The welcoming, quirky and creative atmosphere of Hebden Bridge is unmatched by any surrounding village, and with the picturesque scenery and countless walking paths, it makes for the perfect day out.

Below, we’ll show you the best things to do in Hebden Bridge when visiting for the day.

Explore Hardcastle Crags

Just two miles outside of the centre of Hebden Bridge, you can find Hardcastle Crags. This wooded Pennine valley is owned by the National Trust and is one of the best places to enjoy the stunning scenery surrounding Hebden Bridge.

With more than 400 acres of land and 15 miles of footpaths, it’s the perfect spot to start your day in Hebden Bridge. It is free to enter and there are several parking places.

The name “Crags” refers to the stacks of millstone grit featured in the landscape. Apart from the beautiful scenery, Hardcastle Crags is also a perfect place to spot wildlife – including deer and rare birds.

Visit Gibson Mill

One of the highlights in Hardcastle Crags is Gibson Mill. This beautiful mill is over 200 years old and was one of the first mills of the Industrial Revolution. The water wheel was used to help produce cloth up until the end of the 1800s.

In the early 1900s, the mill turned into a place for rollerskating, dancing and relaxation. While it slipped into disuse after the Second World War, the National Trust blew new life into it when they purchased it in the 1950s.

Nowadays, Gibson Mill hosts a little cafe and two exhibitions. It’s a perfect stop during your walk – especially if you’re bringing a picnic blanket so sit next to the river.

Things to do near Hedben Bridge

Go canal cruising

Hebden Bridge’s surroundings are a treat to explore, and a unique way to do so is by boat. Since the Rochdale canal runs through the town, it’s possible to take a canal cruise.

The cruise takes around one and a half hour, and it’s the perfect way to learn more about the history of the town and surroundings while enjoying a delicious meal or afternoon tea.

Follow the town centre trail

While the scenery around the village makes it such an attractive day trip, Hebden Bridge itself is also worth exploring.

The best and most efficient way of doing this is by using the Town Centre Trail booklet. It includes a route with 11 marked points. In less than a mile, you'll be able to see all the best spots in Hebden Bridge.

The entire walk takes around 45 minutes and the booklet can be purchased from the Visitor's
Centre or the Book Case.

Shop in the countless independent stores

Having won the Best Small Market Town at the Great British High Street Awards in 2016, Hebden Bridge has a wonderfully unique shopping street. With tons of independent vendors, this street is like no other in the UK.

Some of the best stores to check out include:
● Totally Awesome: A speciality gift shop with the most unique items. From games, puzzles and skateboards to drones and kites, they have it all.
● Something Sweet: A traditional sweet shop with a huge selection of the best treats.
● Antique Centre: A centre with more than 35 individual dealers who specialise in certain antique items.
● Earth Spirit: Specialises in natural remedies and sell a variety of crystals and tarot cards.

Visit Heptonstall

If you're up for a little walk to see another hidden gem in West Yorkshire during your trip to Hebden Bridge, you can make your way over to Heptonstall.

This picturesque village is located less than a mile from Hebden Bridge, and the short walk towards it gives you spectacular views.

It's best to start your walk from the Old Bridge and walk towards The Buttress. From there, it's an easy, yet beautiful walk to Heptonstall.

A simple wander through the historic streets already makes it worth a visit, but you can also check out the museum or pay your respects at Sylvia Plath’s grave in Heptonstall.


Hebden Bridge makes for a perfect day trip from Manchester, Leeds or Harrogate. With a cosy and atmospheric town centre and beautiful surroundings, it should definitely be a place to consider visiting this year.

Things to do near Hedben Bridge