Huddersfield has it all, whether you prefer theatrical performances or the more earthy delights of sporting endeavour. The town also has some awe-inspiring concert venues if music is more your thing.
Entertainment in Huddersfield
With some big name patrons supporting Huddersfield’s theatrical scene, it’s no wonder it’s been thriving in recent years, with the Lawrence Batley Theatre drawing audiences from across the region.
Housed in a magnificent building which was originally a Methodist chapel built in 1819, the present-day Lawrence Batley Theatre dates back only to mid-1990s. It was first converted into an arts centre in 1973, but after a troubled decade and a half, it wasn't until 1989 that it was saved from further deterioration by the Kirklees Theatre Trust. Named after Lawrence Batley, a local businessman and philanthropist, the theatre offers a wide range of drama, comedy, dance and other performances.It regularly hosts shows by regional companies Northern Broadsides and Opera North and is also home to its own resident touring professional company Chol Theatre.
For architectural splendour, look no further than Huddersfield Town Hall. Designed by John H. Abbey and dating back to the 1870s, it has an eye-catching Willis organ as its centrepiece and its ornate interior offers a magnificent backdrop for its performances. The hall seats up to 1,200 people and specialises more in music concerts than theatre, but comedy fans will find some real treats on offer, with big names such as Sarah Millican and Chris Ramsey performing there.
Live music in Huddersfield
Rugby league and football battle for domination of the sporting scene in Huddersfield, with the town’s two biggest clubs sharing its much-admired John Smith’s Stadium.
For 90 years, Huddersfield Town fans were mostly left to reflect on past glories. It was in the 1920s that they became the first English club to win three consecutive league titles under the legendary Herbert Chapman - a hat-trick he later went on to repeat as manager of Arsenal. After the Second World War though, Huddersfield underwent a gradual decline, with their only major silverware since then coming in the form of the Second Division title in 1969–70, which saw them back in the top flight for two seasons, and the Fourth Division title in 1979–80.
Despite their lack of success, however, some very famous players have worn their blue and white stripes, including Denis Law and England World Cup winner Ray Wilson, while Bill Shankly also managed them before he went onto greater things at Liverpool. In 1994, the Terriers, as they're nicknamed, moved from their traditional Leeds Road home to the new purpose-built ground that's now known as the John Smith's Stadium. And in May 2017, they rekindled some of their former glory days when they beat Reading on penalties at Wembley in the Championship play-off final earn promotion to the Premier League for the first time.
Huddersfield Giants can rightly claim to be the rugby league club with the richest vein of history running through it because it was here in Huddersfield that the sport was first born. It was in 1895 at the George Hotel that 21 clubs from Lancashire and Yorkshire agreed to split from the Rugby Football Union and form their own organisation which in 1922 this became the Rugby Football League. If you want to see the Giants in action, you'll need to head to the 24,735-capacity John Smith's Stadium, slightly out of town but only a 20-minute stroll from our Huddersfield Central Hotel.
The Giants only adopted their new moniker in the mid-1990s and many fans still fondly know them by the old nickname Fartown inspired their old ground. The club's most glorious years were certainly in the dim and distant past - they have seven league titles and six Challenge Cups to their credit, but the most recent was in 1961-62. However, they have enjoyed some more recent success, notably in 2013 when they won the League Leaders’ Shield. Whatever the result, the team are guaranteed vociferous support from their famous "Cowbell Army" fans.
If you’re a cricket fan, you could do worse than catch a game in the Huddersfield Cricket League if you happen to be visiting the area during the season. It’s a historic league which dates back to 1891 and is proud of its record of having produced players who’ve gone on to play first class and Test Cricket. These include Wilfred Rhodes, Allan Lamb, Darren Gough, Ryan Sidebottom and Ajmal Shahzad to mention just a few.
From opera and string quartets to disco and classic rock, you can find live music to suit every taste in Huddersfield - and many of the town’s venues are housed in stunning Victorian buildings.
The first of which is Huddersfield Town Hall. From tribute acts to everyone from Pink Floyd and Queen to George Michael and the Bee Gees to original performers such as Shalamar and Elkie Brooks, there's something for just about every taste. And the venue also stages events as part of the popular Kirklees Concert Season in association with Opera North and Classic FM, including orchestral and organ seasons. With a capacity of 1,200 seated amid imposing Victorian grandeur, it’s certainly a memorable venue to visit.
Friday night is band night at the Rock Café. Every style of music is catered for, from ska, reggae and mod to modern and contemporary rock. If you’ve brought your dancing shoes, the venue also stages club events catering for genres such as soul, Motown and 70s disco. And while you’re there, it’s a good place to get something to eat, with the emphasis on American-style diner options such as burgers and hot dogs with a few Yorkshire specialities like Whitby scampi thrown in.
St. Paul's Hall is a former Victorian church which is now a 400-seater venue for a wide range of classical concerts including string quartets and piano trios. It's easy to find on the University of Huddersfield campus close to the town centre and regularly stages events by the famous Huddersfield Music Society, which has been celebrating its centenary.
For an authentic blues experience, catch one of the live music events run by the Marsh Blues Club, which hosts some big name performers at the Huddersfield Ukrainian Club to the west of the town centre, a short drive from our Huddersfield West hotel.
The club also runs other events such as beer and cider festivals in conjunction with the real ale campaign group CAMRA.