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Blog of the Week: Don't forget what's on your doorstep

Part of the attraction of travelling is being far away from where you live, says our featured blogger, Shing, but sometimes we forget to explore on our doorstep

Shing on her doorstep

After living in Yorkshire for more than 20 years, it has only been in the last couple of years that I’ve started to love living here. Before that, I thought London was the epicentre of the universe and the only place I belonged. Now I’m open to call anywhere my home and to contradict my former self – I think Yorkshire is a beautiful place to reside.

A part of appreciating what’s on your doorstep is looking at it with new eyes; learn its history, unearth the beaten path, and look for its quirky features. Take, for example, my humble abode – Bradford. Hailed Britain’s fattest city on numerous occasions, it has a prevalent cultural divide between white and Asian cultures, and in terms of the city’s aesthetic qualities, many of the buildings appear black as a result from Britain’s industrial revolution.

Although black isn’t usually the colour of success, for Bradford this was a time when the city thrived as an international city in the Industrial Age, far more than Leeds (now considered the ‘Knightsbridge of the north’). Walking through the centre of Bradford and looking at many of its architecturally rich, yet unkempt, buildings is therefore not without its charm when placed in a socio-historical context. Furthermore, with a little imagination you can be bought back in time when its economy flourished from its textile industry. Imagination being the key word there.

Bradford is like Socrates – not too easy on the eye, but a source of endless history (I’m sure a better analogy could be made, but you get the gist!).

Bradford was named the first UNESCO City of Film in 2009, beating Los Angeles, Cannes and Venice. Its reputation is confirmed by several cultural-rich institutions including the National Media Museum, the Alhambra theatre, Bradford film festival, the invention of the Cieroscope, and notable names such as Slumdog Millionaire screenwriter Simon Beaufoy, who hails from the city.

Bradford is also home to the world famous artist David Hockney. I’m sure he doesn’t need any introduction, but just in case he’s not on your radar, his work can be seen in many international galleries from the London’s Tate Modern to the lesser known Salts Mills in Saltaire, Bradford. Amusingly, when Hockney was first asked to paint The Queen he declined on the basis that he was too busy painting her country!

In 2011 Bradford was named the UK’s Curry Capital. And it’s about time, because for decades people have been enjoying an aroma of authentic, curry dishes available on any major street (and residential). My favourite place, based solely on the food, is Karachi – one meal in there and you’ll become a regular patron.

In a society where we are constantly looking into the future for something new, Bradford is an exception where looking into the past is to find something new. All you need to do is look up to discover the opulence that Bradford once had.

ShingThe Culture Map | Shing

"My blog is where people who love to travel and seek culture can connect. I don’t claim to be Little Miss Culture, I just want to help motivate people to look outside of the ‘package holiday’ and find the things that are worth searching for."

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