This spring, just before Easter, Jake turned 30. Obviously I couldn’t let that occasion go unmarked, so I booked a family weekend away to Hebden Bridge. We’d never been to the little town in the Calder Vally before, but had heard all about it. Full of eco cafés, fair trade shops and only one middle-sized chain supermarket (and even that’s a co-op), it sounded right up our street!
I looked around for hotels in January, so a good few months before we went, and somehow managed to book and keep the secret all the way until April. Definitely a first for me! We stayed at Moyles B&B, which I fell in love with on first sight. Their booking form made it look like there wasn’t any space for a family of three, but a quick email to the hotel solved the problem. We booked a double room with canal view and stayed for two nights. At £171 for the whole weekend, with a delicious vegan breakfast included, I don’t think we paid too much for three (well, 2.5) people! Moyles were very accommodating to vegan diets, with several options of dairy-free milk, non-dairy spread for toast, vegan porridge, jam for toast and really good coffee. We were well-fuelled for our outdoor adventures!
We weren’t totally overwhelmed by the vegan offerings in the restaurants and cafés – we didn’t manage to find any vegan cake, for instance, and veggie chili isn’t something I’d pay for in a restaurant. However, we were only there for two days, and we might have uncovered some gems had we been there for longer! Because we didn’t get to eat out very much, we frequented Hebden Bridge’s shops a lot, and found some true gems. We especially liked Saker Wholefoods, which sells lots of vegan snacks, as well as being an amazing bakery.
With snacks purchased and stashed in my bag, we spent almost the whole of Saturday walking along the canal. It goes on and on and on, and on a sunny day, it’s just gorgeous. The canal is lined with boats and picturesque buildings, and the path is perfect for walking – flat, even and not a muddy puddle in sight. The only thing that isn’t great is the Canada Geese – they’re really used to being fed by passers-by and therefore really aggressive. PSA: don’t feed wild animals. Less annoyingly, there are plenty of locks around Hebden Bridge, and we even got to watch a few boats pass through – free toddler entertainment!
More generally, we found Hebden Bridge to be a fantastically family-friendly place. The playground is one of the nicest I’ve ever seen, and there a young children in every establishment, meaning no one gets annoyed by spontaneous tantrums. Other than going for walks, there are plenty of family-friendly activities on offer, including a cinema and pottery painting.
We had a really good time visiting Hebden Bridge, and we’re planning to go again when Isla’s a bit bigger so we can take full advantage of the area’s hiking potential. Have you ever been? If so, let me know about any recommendations you have in the comments!