Discovering Bradford Broadway at Christmas

Despite the fact that Bradford is less than 40 minutes drive from Leeds, my only experience of Bradford town centre was, until recently, a university open day back when I was 17. It just didn’t even hit my radar until I was invited to #SparklingBradford, a press day for the Christmas lights switch on in Bradford Broadway.

And I was pleasantly surprised. I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but what I really didn’t expect was a fairly glossy and shiny new shopping centre slap bang in the middle of the city. And it’s a nice shopping centre. It’s clearly been heavily invested in and with that comes pretty much every highstreet shop and chain restaurant going. Would I go out of my way to go there and shop? Probably not when I have Leeds on my doorstep. If I was going to see something at the Alhambra theatre or heading to the Media Museum however, I’d absolutely make a detour to The Broadway as it has everything you need but with the feel of somewhere that’s opened fairly recently.

As part of the afternoon I had in Bradford, I was treated to a complimentary meal at Zizzi with my gal Kellie who I took along with me. As I’ve recently re-joined Slimming World, I went for a healthier option at Zizzi and had the hanging chicken kebab which came with veg and potatoes (I counted this as 12 syns as I wasn’t sure about oil/dressing) and followed it with two scoops of sorbet (3 syns). Though I was conscious of my decisions, both courses were absolutely delicious and I definitely didn’t feel like I’d missed out – they’re both choices I’d make again regardless of dietary requirements! Kellie had the carbonara followed by the ruby cheesecake, both of which were also incredible.

After dinner, and a quick detour via New Look, we headed to Marks and Spencer which is where Wes Nelson from Love Island was hiding out before doing his meet and greet. He was a little late so we had a rushed hello and a photo before he headed off to meet hoards of screaming teenage girls – some of which had queued for over two hours to meet him.

The afternoon ended with performances from the LMA Choir (who were on The X Factor this year) and Rebecca Ferguson before the lights switch on. We did a countdown, took boomerangs of the lights coming on and sang our hearts out to All I Want for Christmas is You. It really showed the spirit of the city that so many people came out to watch the switch on and there was a really lovely atmosphere in The Broadway.

I was definitely surprised and impressed by how much Bradford has developed as a city centre since the last time I visited and I had the best time getting involved in the festivities. There is loads going on as part of Sparkling Bradford in and around the city centre throughout the lead up to Christmas so if you’re from the area, definitely check out the itinerary.

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