Visitors from across the world come to Holmfirth in search of Nora Batty and her wrinkled stockings, but there’s more to this pretty town than its links with Last of the Summer Wine. Buildings with a past, independent shops, a micro-brewery, fair-trade status and an events calendar packed to the rafters are all waiting to be discovered in this corner of the South Pennines.
Know what the locals know…
Holmfirth often featured on early 20th century films as the backdrop for James Bamforth’s moving pictures. He was known as the “King of the Lantern Slides” before abandoning film-making for postcard production. Bamforth & Co were creators of saucy seaside postcards, despite being miles from the coast! You can see examples of these postcards in Holmfirth Library.
Holmfirth used to have its own resident tiger, which lived in someone’s back garden and was part of the community for 10 years. (This is not made up.)
Holmfirth is home to Rowan, producers of patterns and yarns. See their website for information about courses and workshops.
Take a peek at the old gaol, known as Ow’d Towser, hidden round the back of the Daisy Lane cobbles. While you’re there, pop into Daisy Lane Books.
Look out for signs of Holmfirth’s textile heritage, like ‘wuzzing’ holes in the doorsteps of some houses. They were made by sticks holding baskets of wet wool which were spun – or wuzzed – dry. And the weavers’ cottages down the cobbled streets of Bunker’s Hill and Rattle Row have got wonderful mullioned windows.
Hop on the Summerwine magic bus! Follow in the doddery footsteps of the three famous friends, Compo, Foggy and Clegg on one of Colin Frost’s Last of the Summer Wine tours.
For vintage of a different kind, visit Holmfirth Vineyard and see the 7000 vines clinging to the steep hillsides. Tours and tastings are available.
Get festive. Holmfirth is host to festivals celebrating the arts, folk, film and food. Former cinema The Picturedrome is now a renowned gig venue – you never know you who might see.
Have a good mooch around the independent shops and cafes. We like Lost and Found, an emporium of treasures old and new; Imagine, full of toys for all ages and J W Kaye, a traditional purveyor of ironmongery. Work by local artists is on display at Willow Tree Gallery. The Nook is a great place for a pint of extremely local ale.
For more information and ideas on where to stay:
There’s lots of local information on the Holmfirth website www.holmfirthevents.co.uk or you can pop into Holmfirth Tourist Information Centre where the staff are always happy to help.