Reading Weeks are fabulous things. We’re given time off our intense series of lectures (read: six contact hours a week) to catch up on all the required reading, and to pen the perfect essays. So obviously, I’ve done the responsible third year thing, and gone home.
Pulling into Huddersfield train station is always such a relief. As wonderful as York is, it just doesn’t have the “proper Yorkshire” feel to it- not like the Hud does anyway. And although I’m only really an honorary Yorkshire lass (MCR girl through and through), living here for the past four (or is it five?) years has infatuated me. I love Huddersfield. Here’s a short, and by no means exhaustive, list of reasons why.
1. Festival of Light
Probably the best annual event in Yorkshire, The Festival of Light sees St Georges Square and the town centre filled with giant illuminated flowers, cranes dangling opera singers and harpists from the sky and marching bands parading through, emblazoned with lighting costumes and manic face-paint grins. There’s tonnes of food stalls showcasing Huddersfield’s best dining experiences (no, not you Jumbo’s) and street entertainers round every corner and on every building. If you can only visit HUD for one night, make it one of these. Really, really spectacular stuff.
2. The Bus Station
If you’ve ever spent more than half an hour in this infamous bus station- and trust me, I’ve spent an unhealthy portion of my life waiting for X6′s and 321′s that never showed up- then you’ll understand. The booming announcement voice that dutifully reminds you, every four minutes, not to walk in front of moving buses and/or smoke, the odd soundtrack featuring Westlife’s Xmas Hits and Classic FM, and most notably of all- the people.
The people of Huddersfield Bus Station are so ill-explained and so awe-inspiring, it’s hard for outsiders to understand. There’s the lady with a giant afro, complete with forks, cigarettes and small mammals living inside. There’s the woman in the baseball cap who swears at you for walking past. There’s the guy who wears swimshorts every time you see him, no matter what the weather’s like. To put it into a context we can all understand, here’s the top tweet generated from searching “Huddersfield Bus Station”
3. The Nightlife
A standard Wednesday night out in Hud compromises three essential factors:
1) We meet in Verve, where the barmen remember us from the days of drinking in our college lunch hour, and know our usual drink orders by memory (mine’s a jagerbomb, but with a full can of redbull and a straw). We then go to Parish once we stop caring what the booze tastes like, and the boys are longing for some heavy metal and a pool table.
2) I don’t know how Tokyo Huddersfield does it, but it could give Tokyo York a lesson or two. The top floor is ace for dancing like you know all the words to Azelia Banks’ 212, the middle floor is for if you are having a bit of a Beyonce moment (don’t pretend this doesn’t apply to you) and the bottom floor is for belting out all the words to whatever made the Libertines famous. There really is something for everyone, and if you can excuse the disgustingly sugary drinks and the kinda sticky seats, it’s a good night out guaranteed.
3. McDonalds. Wait for one of the boys to order a forty box of chicken nuggets and swoop in. Try to hide your Happy Meal from the taxi driver, cos he will be pissed if you get McFlurry all over the back seat.
4. The Views
Huddersfield is beautiful. Tiny cobbled streets, long winding hills and the ever presence of Castle Hill. In the snow, it’s to die for. Driving over the Penines and seeing Hud all lit up- easily my favourite view. I could gush all day about how damn pretty the place is but that’d get boring so here’s a picture of what it looks like in the pub garden of my local.
5. The Independent Shops
Pink Cadillac is the best place to go for clothes, the Oxfam books is the greatest charity shop of them all, and the Topshop stall on the Saturday market is basically where all my clothes are from. If you fancy a charity shop haul, get yourself to Holmfirth for the best second-hand collections, if you fancy a homemade lunch go to that courtyard-y place tucked away behind Halifax and pig out on all their amazing fresh food, if you fancy some chilled music and great coffee go to Coffee Evolution and laze away an entire day in their unbeatably comfy ambience. Check out Byram Arcade for cool vintage and new designers’ work, and if you’re not too busy after all of that shopping and eating, go see a local band at 1.22 or try the cocktails out in Zephyr or Vox. For a tiny town, we’ve got an awful lot going on.
I’ll leave my list at that. I could go on- I’ve not even mentioned the food festivals or the college rivalries or the camping opportunities- but I don’t want to spoil the surprises for the Huddersfield uninitiated amongst you. And for those who’ve been here longer than me, what did I miss?