As we all know, London isn’t the only city worth visiting in the UK. Bradford is packed with fun attractions and activities to do with your children, and the level of attraction – whether you’re a tourist or a local – is only going to increase as we get closer to Bradford’s time as the UK City of Culture, set to take place in 2025. Even today though, any couple or family can find free, fun things to do in Bradford if you know where to look. For instance you might be into museums, looking for a new favourite place to eat, looking to hear some great local music, or take in the local country air on a picturesque hike – Whatever you’re looking for in Bradford, LoyalFree is here to be your guide.
Today’s focus however is definitely the great range of children’s activities in Bradford, and how you can keep your little ones busy in the city. As always, check for more information on the respective website for each attraction on our list, as opening times and service availability may vary.
Dedicated Activity Spots
There are a few locations purpose-built for children’s activities in Bradford. We all know parenting is a treasure but sometimes you deserve a break, and these are all activities that take the kids out of your hands for a while. There is some surprisingly strong competition for your time and money, so we’ve whittled it down to the top 3 things to do.
LaserZone Bradford is an indoor laser tag venue, great for birthday parties but available to book and play in whenever. If your kids are into space and sci-fi, or even just like a run around, there are few more fun ways to do so.
There are a few indoor soft play areas in Bradford, including Funzy, Megaplay and Funsters. These are great for really young kids, as it’s almost impossible for them to hurt themselves while getting some good exercise. These tend to get booked out for events, especially during the festive season, but there tend to be a few days a week where you can buy tickets at the door – check their web page for details.
If your children are into gaming, Belong Bradford is worth a look. Belong Bradford is an indoor arcade and gaming cafe, with affordable game sessions that let kids play with cutting edge hardware. They also take party bookings.
If you have older children, don’t overlook the museums in Bradford. There are a wealth of great museums to seek out, and the gift of learning is one of the most precious ones a parent can give. If you want to expose your children to some culture and widen their thinking, then a trip to one of Bradford’s many museums is wholeheartedly recommended.
The Salts Mill has many great art exhibitions, and browsing through them is sure to inspire creative kids. Featuring a range of art including photography, there is sure to be something for everyone here. Salts Mill is especially good on wet days, as the giant building houses a cafe for food and some nice shops – allowing you to spend the whole day indoors.
There is great disabled access here too, so if you are with grandparents or other older people, or if you have a toddler and need to get your pram around, this is a leisurely activity the whole family can all take part in together.
For fans of Horrible Histories, Bolling Hall is a must-visit. The old manor house is now a museum featuring rooms made to look like those from throughout the building’s history, going all the way back to the 14th century. As Bradford was a key stronghold during the English Civil War there is a strong focus on that era of history, which can be interesting for adults too. Bolling Hall also features a ghost experience, if your kids are brave enough!
The National Science and Media Museum is a must-see, even for non-scientists. Media is part of everyone’s lives, and the science behind it is fascinating. This might not be somewhere to take babies or the very young, as there is a huge amount to explore which can be a lot of walking for little legs! But if your kids are reasonably independent and inquisitive, you owe it to them to take them to one of Bradford’s premier museums.
Some children want something more active though, and if so the Impression Gallery is the place to go. Attached to the library (letting the older ones get some quiet time), the Impression Gallery frequently runs art workshops that let your kids flex their creative muscles. Browsing their website quickly reveals an array of events and activities on offer.
Parks and Gardens
While it’s hard to recommend gardens for young people as destinations, they can be welcome breaks on sunnier days. Young kids need to run around and blow off some steam sometimes, and a sandwich lunch in a park with a little play in the grass can do wonders for everyone’s mood. Bradford has many parks, and many are right next to other activities in this list. If you need a sit down but your child is bursting to run around, check your map for the nearest park!
Other Children’s Activities in Bradford
If you’re in Bradford for a while, or you’re a local, you might be running low on new things to try. Don’t worry though! The Bradford community still has a wealth of adventure to find, and skills for your children to learn.
You could look into visiting your nearest swimming pool. Swimming is a sport but it’s also a life skill, and you’d be surprised how many parents don’t take their kids swimming. Swimming lessons are something easy to pass up, but open up some great adventure opportunities for your children as they grow older.
Ice skating is an arguably less valuable life-skill, but still a really fun sport to take part in. Bradford is lucky to have two competing ice rinks in the city centre, so you’re likely to have one within driving distance. They can get really busy around the Christmas and New Year holidays, so if you’re planning a trip then you might have to book ahead, but for the rest of the year you can pay entry at the door.
Ten-pin bowling is another family classic. There are a few bowling alleys around Bradford, and they always come with tasty kids menus and bargain entry prices. Many let adults grab a well-earned drink, too! They can encourage teamwork and competition, which are great for kids to learn. The Hollywood Bowl is this reviewer’s favourite, but you should always try to support your local lanes first.
If your child wants to try out a sport, chances are they can find an event running at one of the city’s leisure centres. These always come with good public transport links or at least car parks if you’re driving, so you will never have a problem getting there.
There is always the cinema too, but with the movie industry in dire straits it’s probably the worst time to plan a day around it. When your kids are old enough to choose a movie they want to see, though, it can be rewarding to take them and talk about it afterwards. Always pair a movie with a meal afterwards, so you can pick their brains about what they did and didn’t like. Then, next weekend, you can show them a film from your childhood that you think they’ll like. This can be a really rewarding way to connect with older kids, but the very young won’t get too much out of it.Hopefully this list of children’s activities in Bradford has helped inspire you to spend some quality time together as a family. There is nothing more beautiful than the smile on your child’s face, and if any one of these activities can make them content then everything else is worth it, right? Just be sure to eat a big breakfast before you leave, as kids need their nutrition before a big day out in Bradford!
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