Bradford Car Hire

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The city of Bradford is located in West Yorkshire, England, in the foothills of the Pennines. It’s 15km from Leeds and the third largest city in the Yorkshire and Humber region after Leeds and Sheffield, with a population of almost 540,000.

The city’s wool trade attracted many immigrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh during the 20th century, who greatly enriched its cultural tapestry. It's now a modern multicultural city which has been named curry capital of Britain six times, while the culture and arts of the Indian subcontinent are celebrated annually in the Bradford Mela festival, usually held either in June or July. Further attractions in Bradford include the industrial heritage site Saltaire and the National Science and Media Museum, but there's also shopping, cool cafes, bustling bars, lively nightclubs and a sports scene spearheaded by Bradford City AFC football club. Bradford was recently named Britain’s most improved place to live and work study by PwC and Demos, so this is the ideal time to visit!

Currently in Bradford you can hire a compact Ford Focus for just £15.92 a day, a roomy Kia Optima costs just £28.38 a day and a seven seater Volkswagen Touran ̶ perfect for family road trips on the rolling Yorkshire moors ̶ is only £37.38 per day at the time of writing. Hire a car with Enjoy and Bradford and its environs are ripe for exploration, but first, here’s a bit more about this brilliant city:

  • About Bradford: this proud Yorkshire city and its surrounding area offer visitors a unique mixture of industrial heritage, diverse culture and stunning scenery. This was once the wool capital of the world, where pioneering industrialist and philanthropist Sir Titus Salt built a textile business on a global scale while introducing reforms that improved the living conditions of his workers and his Saltaire industrial village which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There's awesome history and architecture around every corner, such as Bradford’s Cathedral and impressive Bolling Hall, and old meets new as Victorian museums host cutting edge artists and contemporary street festivals thrive in the shadows of Edwardian buildings. Bradford was also the first city in the world to be declared a UNESCO City of Film, due to its silver screen heritage and iconic movie locations, and this is the birthplace of the celebrated artist David Hockney ̶ many of his masterworks can be seen at Cartwright Hall. Bradford's packed cultural calendar includes the Saltaire festival, the Bradford family Film Festival and the Ilkley Literature Festival (the nearby village of Haworth is the home of the Brontë Literary dynasty).
  • Bradford was first known as ‘Broad Ford’ during the Saxon era and by the Middle Ages it had become a small conurbation centred on Ivegate, Westgate, and Kirkgate. There was an uprising against the Norman conquest here in 1070AD which was brutally suppressed, but the town rebuilt over the next two centuries thanks to the development of the wool trade. The town’s fortunes declined again because of disruptions to industry during the English Civil War but after William and Mary took the throne in 1689, things took a turn for the better. The emergence of manufacturing in the early 18th century kickstarted Bradford's boom time, when new turnpike roads and canals further enhanced its trading infrastructure. By the mid-19th century the city was the world’s wool capital, with a population of 100,000 people and a sophisticated manufacturing and engineering sector.

    The city expanded rapidly during the 19th century and the town centre was beautified by the addition of grand new Victorian buildings, many of which still stand today. Bradford gained city status in 1897 and became a metropolitan district in 1974. The textile industry has declined but the city still boasts banking, export, financial, chemical, printing, and engineering sectors, as well as thriving media, creative and high technology industries.

  • Airports and access: Leeds Bradford airport (LBA) is around 14 kilometres from Bradford City centre and under 11 kilometres from Leeds City centre. It’s the main air hub for Bradford, Leeds and the entire Yorkshire region. LBA partners with many international carriers and connects Bradford with a wide range of domestic destinations, as well as international locations including Amsterdam, Barcelona, Paris. Ibiza, Dublin, Alicante and Warsaw.
  • Driving around Bradford: locals commonly refer to Yorkshire as ‘God’s Own Country’ and when you drive around its rolling moors and verdant valleys, you’ll understand why. Here are a couple of brilliant road trips from your Bradford base:
  • If you're a bibliophile, you have to take the half hour journey northwest from Bradford along the B6144 road to Brontë country in Haworth. The Brontë Parsonage is the family’s former home and it's now a magnificent museum where you can see the dining table where sisters Charlotte, Emily and Anne wrote their world-famous novels and a nearby churchyard where most of the family members are buried. The charming cobbled streets of Haworth itself are also worth exploring and the village is full of charming coffee shops and independent boutiques.

    Drive around 45 minutes northeast of Bradford along the A658 and you reach Harrogate, another spellbinding Yorkshire town which is perpetually popular with tourists. The hamlets, villages and towns around Harrogate, the city of Ripon and the Nidderdale area of outstanding natural beauty offered captivating views around every corner, but don't forget to stop for refreshments at Bettys Cafe Tea Rooms ̶ this Harrogate institution has been serving exquisite tea and cakes since 1919.

  • Famous Bradford: the city has its fair share of famous citizens, including artist David Hockney, singer Zayn Malik, playwright and novelist JB Priestley, cricketer Jonny Bairstow, physicist Edward Victor Appleton, singer Kiki Dee, actor Timothy West, TV presenter Anita Rani, footballer Fabian Delph, singer Kimberley Walsh and musician Tim Booth.

Guide to Bradford

Bradford is a melting pot of cultures and history where you’ll find plenty of inspiring activities and attractions that spice up your life.

Culture

Bradford is chock-full of cultural attractions. For starters, the Bradford Literature Festival has been running since 2014 and has previously showcased local luminary AA Dhand, as well as major stars Gary Younge, Jeanette Winterson and Carole Ann Duffy. Alternatively, the Common Wealth Theatre has been supported by prominent poet Kate Tempest and consistently stages productions that interrogate global socio-political narratives from fascinating angles. For something a little different, try the One in 12 club, an anarchist venue nestled in a cobbled alleyway in the city centre. Famous in the punk counterculture, this is a unique hotspot for edgy music and radical politics.

Shopping

If you like supporting independent shops, Bradford’s North Parade will be right up your street. This bustling collaborative community of local bars and retailers is a brilliant place to spend a few hours browsing for bargains and people watching while you enjoying a relaxing drink. Do stop at the Record Cafe, a wonderfully eccentric emporium which is part independent record shop, part charcuterie counter and part craft beer bar. Here you can enjoy a delicious draught beer, pick up some artisan cheese and meat and then dig in the crates for rare vinyl ̶ genius!

Nightlife

There are bars and clubs in Bradford to suit every taste, so arranging an enjoyable night out is child's play. The Fighting Cock at Preston street is a terrific traditional pub where you can choose from a selection of draught beers and tuck into traditional bar food like pie and peas. Alternatively, The Brick Box in the middle of Ivegate is a cosy and inclusive independent arts bar where you can mix and mingle with locals and visitors alike while enjoying the unique artworks which adorn the walls, dancing to live music and enjoy live poetry readings.

What to do in Bradford

From unique museums to UNESCO heritage sites, Bradford offers diverse and dynamic activities by the dozen.

UNESCO industrial village

Saltaire was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2001 and takes its name from the River Aire which runs through the village and its founder the industrialist Sir Titus Salt. Concerned about issues such as pollution and overcrowding, Sir Titus decided to move his business and employees from the city into the countryside and hired local architects Richard Mawson and Henry Lockwood to bring his progressive dream to reality. Work on the model industrial village started in 1851 and continued until 1876, with the entire complex designed in classical Italian renaissance style and crowned by the centrepiece Saltire United Reformed Church. Years ahead of his time, Sir Titus held a firm conviction that better living and working conditions would make his workforce happier, healthier and more productive, therefore the housing he provided them at Saltaire was extremely high quality and each home had its own water supply, gas lighting, outdoor privy, separate cooking and living spaces and several bedrooms. There are plenty of independent shops and restaurants around the village where you can refresh yourself and shop for gifts after absorbing its unique history.

Science and media magnet

The National Science and Media Museum is a must-see attraction for anyone fascinated in the interface between arts and technology in the worlds of TV, film and photography. It boasts seven floors of galleries with interactive exhibitions on subjects like video gaming, the internet, animation and the science behind colour and light. There are also three cinemas here, including the first IMAX screen in Europe.

Sporting pursuits

If you're a football fan you should grab the opportunity to see Bradford City AFC play at the Valley Parade while you're in town. Nicknamed the Bantams, this proud club was formed back in 1903 and currently plays in England's League Two. It maintains a fierce rivalry with neighbouring clubs Huddersfield Town And Leeds United, so any home game here against these competitors is a fiery affair indeed!

Eating out in Bradford

Bradford is Britain’s curry capital, so visiting here without tasting an authentic spicy dish would be unforgivable, but you’ll also find offerings from other global cultures as well as traditional Yorkshire fare.

Curry

Since Bradford is synonymous with curry and Indian cuisine, it's tough to pick a stand-out establishment from the city’s superb selection. However, 3 Singhs at Sticker Lane has earned its place in the higher echelons of Bradford curry culture and has a certificate of excellence from TripAdvisor to prove it. Try the keema matar, a delicious dish of minced lamb prepared with succulent peas, juicy tomatoes, fragrant onions and gorgeous garlic and ginger spice. Main courses range from £10-£20, which is a small price to pay for an outstanding Indian meal.

Traditional fare

If you're yearning for a traditional Yorkshire Sunday lunch, make a beeline for the Dog and Gun at Apperley Bridge. Here you can enjoy a freshly prepared carvery meal with chicken pork or beef and all the trimmings (including the mandatory Yorkshire puddings). Standard size servings cost £6.95 but few dishes on the menu exceed £12 pounds, which is fantastic value for money.

Veggie delights

If you're a vegetarian you're spoiled for choice at the Bread and Roses coffee shop in North Parade. This cosy, comfortable café serves artisan coffee, freshly made cakes, tasty sandwiches and soups and much more. If your timing is serendipitous you might end up popping in during one of the regular poetry or printmaking events held here.

Bradford Transport

Airports

Leeds-Bradford Airport (LBA) is just 14km from Bradford, so you can drive to your Bradford accommodation in just 20 minutes if traffic is light. Enjoy partners with a range of reliable car hire providers at LBA, including Alamo, Enterprise, Europcar, Keddy, and several trusted local suppliers.

Buses and trains

Two central train station serve the city ̶ Bradford Interchange and Bradford Foster Square ̶ these hubs connect to Manchester, London and beyond. There are also a number of smaller train stations serving Saltaire, Shipley, Keighley and other towns and villages in the wider Bradford area.

First Bus operates 17 regular routes in and around Bradford throughout weekdays and weekends, and the service is fairly efficient. You can find more information online or pop into Bradford Interchange for timetables (this is a bus and coach station as well as a rail hub).

Driving tips

You should always drive on the left in Bradford, as is the case throughout the UK. Speed limits are 70 mph (120 km/h) on motorways, 60 mph (100 km/h) on main roads, and 30 mph (50 km/h) or 20 mph (40 km/h) when you’re in busy areas.

Please carry your car hire documents and driving licence with you whenever you drive in Bradford.

Drink driving is strictly forbidden, as is using hand-held mobile phones.

In Bradford and across the United Kingdom, you and your passengers should always wear seatbelts.

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FAQs about car hire in Bradford

Most frequently asked questions about hiring a car in Bradford

A compact car like a Ford Focus costs £15.92 a day in Bradford and a Vauxhall Astra costs £32.34 per day.
You can hire a Toyota Aygo or similar for just £14.54 per day in Bradford depending on how far in advance you book.
You have to be 21 to hire a car in the UK and you must also have held your licence for over a year. Hiring larger/premium vehicles might mean stricter rules on age are applied, so please check.
No, not typically. Excess-free packages are standard for most car hire operators in Bradford and packages should have road-side assistance as well as 24-hour theft protection included.
This is usually fine  – extra drivers can be added as long as they hold a valid license and an additional daily fee is paid.
This depends on your plans
You should  inform your rental company promptly if you have an accident. In the unlikely event you have a serious accident in Coventry, call 999 immediately for emergency services.