You might think that the smaller towns in the north of England are unable to compete with the bigger cities when it comes to providing exciting and engaging things to do with your family, but you would be wrong! This unassuming West Yorkshire town has an impressive selection of very affordable family activities that are definitely some of the best things to do in Halifax.
1. Cycle along the towpath of Rochdale Canal
Looking for fun things to do in Halifax, the UK? Go cycling along Rochdale Canal! It connects Yorkshire with Manchester and was once a water highway for transporting goods between the towns of the north. Although no longer in use for industrial purposes, the towpath makes a fantastic cycleway. It is predominantly flat, easy riding, making it perfect for a family outing. You can take a short ride for a few miles before turning back, or if you have older children and are feeling energetic, ride the entire 33 miles (53 km) to Manchester. Starting at Sowerby Bridge, 3 miles (4.8 km) from Halifax town center, the canal passes through many picturesque villages and towns where you can stop for refreshments, saving you the hassle of carrying your own.
Website: Rochdale Canal
2. Visit the Piece Hall for a unique shopping experience
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
Built as a trading hall, and a demonstration of the wealth the textile industry of Yorkshire was famous for, this impressive building opened its doors for business in 1779. Now the only remaining 18th-century Cloth Hall, the Piece Hall is one of the most unique shopping destinations in the UK. Newly refurbished, with a large selection of boutique stores and artisan galleries, there are hours of retail therapy to be found here. If shopping is not your favorite thing, don’t be put off – there are always different events on, from free craft workshops for children to music and circus performances and open air cinema screenings in the huge public square. Events change regularly and are often free, so if you find yourself asking “What can you do in Halifax?”, just head to the Piece Hall!
The Piece Hall
Address: Blackledge | Halifax, Halifax HX1 1RE, England
Website: The Piece Hall
3. Explore Shibden Hall and gardens
An intriguing mix of architectural styles dating back to 1420, Shibden Hall is one of the best Halifax attractions. It offers visitors a peek into the lives of the people who lived and worked here. Knowledgeable staff will guide you around the house pointing out some unusual attractions like the secret ‘hidden’ painting. Outside, you’ll find a huge 18th-century aisled barn with a collection of carriages used through the centuries, and several displays showing the essential crafts of the day like blacksmithing, wheel and barrel making, and saddle making. The house is set in fantastically restored gardens which give way to the estate parklands and exploring these grounds is an adventure in itself with mini golf, a children’s play area, miniature railway, and boating lake available for you to enjoy.
Address: Lister’s Road, Halifax HX3 6XG, England
Website: Shibden Hall
4. Find a jungle in Manor Heath Park
Visit Manor Heath Park and find some converted glass houses which turn the cool climate of northern England into a tropical paradise! With a huge variety of plants, including some vicious looking carnivorous ones, you and your children will also find that this enclosed jungle is home to quite a few creatures as well! Keep your eyes open and see if you can spot the beautiful butterflies, tiny quails, terrapins, and fish as you make your way through the garden. After your jungle experience, be sure to explore the rest of this award winning park. There is a beautiful walled demonstration garden displaying England’s various gardening techniques, a sunken garden, and a children’s play area. When you have finished discovering all the park has to offer, find a welcome cup of tea and slice of cake in the Flutter Bites Cafe.
Manor Heath Park Jungle Experience
Address: Manor Heath Rd, Halifax HX3 0EB, UK
Website: Manor Heath Park Jungle Experience
5. Eureka! The national children’s museum
Not sure what to do in Halifax with your kids? If you are visiting Halifax with younger children, this is a wonderful day out. Aimed at children aged up to 11, there are nearly 400 interactive exhibits to keep them amused. The museum is organized into 6 different galleries, which are separated into age groups. The under 5’s can explore a sound garden, make and do in the creativity space, and discover the creatures of the desert in the desert display, while older children can learn about the human body in the all about me display, discover new technology in the spark gallery, or find their dream job in the child-sized town. Your admission ticket will give you access for an entire year, so if you live nearby that is a definite bonus!
Eureka! The national children’s museum
Address: Discovery Road, Halifax HX1 2NE
6. Have an adventure in Another World
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
Finding a day out that is exciting for the whole family, especially if you have children of varying ages, can be tricky, but Another World Adventure Center does a brilliant job of keeping everyone happy. With a vast range of activities available in all kinds of weather, it makes no difference if your children are 2 or 22, there is something here for everyone. Try grass sledding, have a mini war with paintball slingshots, roll down a hill in a giant bubble, play your own version of ‘The Hunger Games’ with tag archery, build a go-cart with your kids and race it down the hill – the list goes on and there are all kinds of modifications to allow your smaller ones to enjoy the fun. With no need to book (although you can if you’d like), it makes a great spontaneous day out.
Another World Adventure Center
Address: Moss Farm, Ogden, Halifax, West Yorkshire, HX2 8YB
Website: Another World Adventure Center
7. Discover orienteering at Ogden Water Reserve
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
The Ogden Water Reserve is a nature lover’s paradise and the perfect place for a more laid back day out. There are several waterside and woodland walking paths, lots of picnicking tables, and bird life galore to spot, but if you are looking for a little more of a challenge, you can try one of the three permanent orienteering courses that have been mapped out. Children will love practicing their navigation skills to find the marked control points. Maps are available from the information center for 1.5 GBP (1.95 USD), making it a very affordable family outing! Don’t forget to pick up some duck food so you can feed the water birds when you are done!
Ogden Water Reserve
Address: Ogden Lane, off A629 Keighley Road, Halifax HX2 8YA, England
Website: Ogden Water Reserve
8. Take a family photo outside Wainhouse Tower
An impressive landmark in Halifax’s skyline, Wainhouse Tower is known as the tallest folly in the world. That distinction alone makes it worth the trip for a nice family photo. This ornamental building was meant to be a chimney in the late 19th century but was never actually used for that purpose. If you’re not afraid of heights, you can definitely pay to climb all 403 steps when the structure is open. Those who prefer to keep their feet on the ground can save themselves the trip since there are many vantage points in Halifax where you can get a good angle of the folly.
Address: 9 Wakefield Gate, Halifax HX3 0HB, United Kingdom
Opening hours: 10am - 5:30pm (daily)
9. Pay a visit to Bankfield Museum
If you’re a fan of visiting historic houses, Bankfield Museum should definitely make it to your itinerary. Located in the picturesque and well-groomed Akroyd Park, the collection housed inside tells the rich history of Halifax. From costumes and jewelry to paintings and photography, there’s plenty to see here. Not only is the museum easily accessible from the town center but the admission is also free.
Address: Akroyd Park, Boothtown Rd, Halifax HX3 6HG, United Kingdom
Website: Bankfield Museum
Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 10am - 4pm (closed on Sun & Mon)
Come and visit
Whether you have very young children or a tribe of rambunctious teenagers, Halifax has a surprisingly affordable range of fantastic family-friendly activities, making it the perfect destination if you are looking for some family fun! Be sure to bookmark this list of things to do in Halifax, the UK for your next visit.
Get Trip101 in your inbox
You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101
*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.