Like many other West Yorkshire towns, Halifax found fortune and glory with the textile trade as far back as the 16th century. Its importance waned in the 1900s, but the previous century’s manufacturing boom left an important imprint: big Georgian townhouses, an ornate market, the architecturally magnificent Piece Hall and lots of good old-fashioned pubs. Filming location scouts have used the town on several occasions for both contemporary and period series. It’s a key production base for Channel 4’s Ackley Bridge and the BBC’s Gentleman Jack and Last Tango in Halifax.
Now filming its fourth series, school drama Ackley Bridge draws widely on central Halifax landmarks, including Halifax train and bus stations, the Westgate Arcade shopping mall, and Electric Bowl ten-pin bowling alley. You could easily stitch together a crawl of Halifax’s heritage pubs by following the filming crew, too. The Union Cross Hotel, Lantern, Gundog and Old Cock pubs have all featured in the TV show over its three series. The Old Cock has been an inn since around 1688 and in the 18th century it also doubled as a theatre. Eat at local curry house Ziggy’s Spice House and you might recognise that too.
Halifax’s venerable Harveys department store was used as a filming location in Last Tango in Halifax. Both Ackley Bridge and Last Tango in Halifax also filmed at the exquisitely decorated Halifax Borough Market, and Gentleman Jack used the cobbled town streets for dozens of scenes featuring the bombastic lesbian heiress Anne Lister. The real Anne Lister lived just outside Halifax at Shibden Hall, which is a must-visit if you’re in the area. Also don’t miss Halifax’s giant quadrangle Piece Hall, which holds festivals and events through the year.