Thursday, 22 March 2012

Guide to Living in Huddersfield

Located within the historic county boundaries of the West Riding of Yorkshire, Huddersfield is the tenth largest town in the UK and technically owned by its residents…well, sort of. In 1920 the Huddersfield Corporation bought what is now the town from the Ramsden Estate for the princely sum of £1.2m. And since then the local council has ‘assumed' control of the area.

Huddersfield has developed a reputation as one of the cultural hubs of the UK. Dubbed the Poetry Capital of Europe for its vast array of poetry publishers, magazines, and the writers who flocked there to work with them such as internationally acclaimed poet Simon Armitage, Huddersfield's reputation for creative excellence is deserved, as is the town's thriving café society that it has stimulated.

Huddersfield constantly features in those Top Ten lists that attempt to popularise various parts of the country for a variety of different things but whatever list you read, the fact remains that Huddersfield is an up and coming area that has a vibrant, social and cultural mix.

Getting around Huddersfield

Huddersfield's location alongside the M62 (about 3 miles away) and just a few miles from the M1 (about 10 miles away) make it easily accessible by car. First Huddersfield and Arriva Yorkshire run regular services along dedicated bus lanes into the town centre. Alternatively, the main train station is well connected with a number of local and regional routes.

Eating, drinking and shopping in Huddersfield

Huddersfield town centre has plenty to offer shoppers eager to part with their cash. Kingsgate Centre at the bottom of King Street has the typical collection of leading retailers with some notable exceptions including House of Fraser and Marks & Spencer. Whilst the Byram Arcade, close to the train station, is home to a number of small, independent retailers, selling clothes, books, gifts and music.

Elsewhere, Queensgate Market and Market Hall have over 350 stalls between them selling everything from food and jewelry to clothes and fabrics.

When it comes to food it is often said that Huddersfield's restaurants have something of a Jeckyl and Hyde personality. On the one side, the town boasts about its true Yorkshire roots, yet on the other side it is attempting to position itself as a true cosmopolitan town by offering a wide range of exotic, Oriental, Asian and European cuisines.

Restaurants and eateries are spread out throughout the town centre with a number of budget eateries close to the University and some very good options in nearby Marsden.

Huddersfield is also home to an increasing number of new, fashionable bars and pubs that seem to be opening up across the town as fast as you can say "Mine's a pint, please". Undoubtedly, this growth has been fuelled by demand from an expanding student population at the University and Kirklees College.

With a number of clubs in Huddersfield holding as few as 300 people to those that can cope with 1,000+ people in a night, there are certainly enough late night bars and clubs to ensure a grand night out. Again most of these are located in and around the main town centre.

There are over 200 listed buildings in the town that convey the cultural heritage of Huddersfield and entice you to share their experiences. But once you've ogled for a minute or two then a more productive way to spend some time would be to drop by Huddersfield Art Gallery, located on Princess Alexandra Walk in the centre, watch a performance at the Lawrence Batley Theatre or enjoy the latest Hollywood blockbuster at the Odeon opposite the football stadium – the only cinema in Huddersfield.

Sports-wise, Huddersfield has much to offer. There are fourteen leisure centres, a number of health and fitness clubs, gold clubs, swimming pools and a variety of other sporting and outdoor activities on offer. And the University of Huddersfield has a number of sports clubs and facilities that can be shared with the general public. The Students Union organises a number of sports clubs in the city, including martial arts, motorsports and athletics, but these are not all open to the public. Not forgetting Huddersfield Town football club who play at The Galpharm Stadium (formerly the Alfred McAlpine Stadium).

Main residential areas

Huddersfield Town Centre, Lockwood, Marsh, Newsome and Lindley are especially popular with young professionals and a significant number of students. And when completed, the Waterfront will inevitably be the most desirable location on the town, with a collection of modern apartments, cafes and restaurants clustered together.

Outside of the town centre, the areas of Golcar, Linthwaite, Marsden, Scapegoat Hill and Slaithwaite are equally as desirable locations to rent or buy.