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Local attractions get magic touch with festive events calendar

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Attractions across the Bradford district are jumping for joy after seeing a rise in visitors thanks to the return of the seasonal yuletide initiative.

Christmas events programme, Sparkling Bradford, was introduced last winter by key partners The Broadway Bradford, Bradford Council, Made in Bradford, Visit Bradford, The University of Bradford and the Bradford Business Improvement District (BID).

Celebrating its third successful campaign, the programme has rolled out an extraordinary line up of indoor and outdoor events and has seen the district open its doors to hundreds of people at numerous experiences. December continues to shine with an array of activities for all ages in the lead up to Christmas.

Local attractions who are partnered with Sparkling Bradford have noted the significant increase in visitors over the winter months.


In the run up to Christmas, Bradford Cathedral created a magical atmosphere with events including a Festival Musical Feast and the City Carol Service. Philip Lickley, communications, marketing and events officer, commented: “There has been a noticeable buzz around the city since the schedule started and it’s built a huge, exciting presence in the city. We’ve seen a considerable rise in footfall, and it’s great to see more faces, old and new, at our events. It has been amazing to see so many people involved in the Christmas trail card competition, one of which is at the Cathedral.”

As part of the programme, visitors are encouraged to take part in the festive trail which features large Christmas card displays, specially designed by Sand in Your Eye. Installed in six locations with a hidden letter on each card, entrants are asked to solve the anagram and hand in their entries at The Hub in the The Broadway. The winner will receive £200 in vouchers for The Broadway and will be announced on Friday 3 January. Each week, £50 will be given for the best selfie submitted on social media using the hashtag #SparklingBradfordSelfie.

As part of the December festivities, Saltaire’s Living Advent Calendar will be lighting up the town’s streets with illuminated windows until 1 January. Celebrating in the city, The Broadway has been keeping its doors open for late night shopping recently hosted the Grinch. Visitors are also invited to soak up the merry atmosphere with the Brass Band on 21 December at the shopping centre.

Ian Ward, general manager at The Broadway and chair of the BID, said: “Once again, we’re ecstatic with the success of this winter’s campaign. We’ve seen a fantastic amount of footfall over the past few months and we’ve firmly put Bradford on the map as a Christmas destination of the north. The initiative has been crucial in showing the country what Bradford has to offer and how up-and-coming the district is.”

Lucy Thornton, owner of Thornwood Alpacas in Oxenhope which has taken part in all three Sparkling Bradford campaigns, praised the programme: “The number of enquiries I’ve had since Sparkling Bradford began has been remarkable. We are a small business which previously relied on word of mouth, however since appearing in the events brochure and on the website, we have been selling out our Alpaca treks almost every weekend!”

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s executive member for Healthy People and Places, said: “It’s phenomenal to see people coming together to celebrate Christmas in the district. Sparkling Bradford has encouraged people to see what a dynamic, exciting and passionate place it is. There have been some great events and activities across the whole of our district including the incredibly popular Victorian Christmas Market at our Industrial Museum and the lovely Winter Wonderland event at Bolling Hall. There is still so much to see and do to celebrate Christmas and bring in the New Year, including events in our markets. There really is something for everyone and we’re excited to see what next year has in store.”

For more information follow #SparklingBradford and @VisitBradford on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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