I was delighted to get back on my UK travels on Friday night with an overdue return to a town that ought to be twinned with Florence at the very least.
Stunning as the Grand Canyon is, it’s no match to the view of Calderdale to your right as escape Leeds on the M62 to Manchester.
Brighouse itself is a bit workaday, but it’s a fully formed town with a market place, pound shops, black pudding (top) and giant mills overlooking the Calder and Hebble Navigation.
I worked with a nice lady from Brighouse called Zoe a decade ago who sang the praises of her hometown so much I stayed up there, being thrilled to run across the Brass Band rehearsing Christmas Carols in a hut (in September).
As part of my commitment to educate you musically, here’s an extract from a No.2 hit featuring the town’s most famous musical export*
You’ll see from the OS map above that the town is ringed by hills, and the walk through Southowram into Halifax FC is one of the great approaches to a football match, getting rid of at least 300 of the calories in a meat pie at The Shay.
I used to stay at the Waterfront Lodge for £20. Sadly such bargains are a thing of the past; it cost me £31 to stay in Halifax (though you don’t get woken up by ducks in the morning there).
There’s some robust shops, but I’d call Brighouse “Down-to-earth with a flourish” ; a continental feel means you get high quality delis and top Italian food at the Waterfront.
Nothing appears to have changed since my last visit at the turn of the decade (apart from the roads being dug up for gas works), the shops still sell essentials,
the recent GBG Ship still looks appealing despite the Erdinger sign,
and the Richard Oastler is still one of the most beautiful Wetherspoons in the country,
But Brighouse central is down to one Guide entry and (drum roll)..
It’s a new micropub. By the Market. Called the Market Tavern.
Actually, it’s a pub. Just a small one. With proper bench seating and beer mats
OK, a bit chintzy in places, but the locals like it, and Mrs RM would do too.
I received a great welcome from the young barman. Not in that “Welcome to our micropub !!!! Is this your first visit !!!” way. Just in a “Morning” and “Thanks Pal” sort of way.
Everyone was “Pal“. Perhaps the folk here were slightly older than your typical micro, more a village pub crowd, and the talk was all of funerals. Always a good sign (if you get my point).
The beer was your typical West Riding selection (See: Wakefield), presented in the typical West Riding fashion, cool and with a proper head. Elland Ebenezer at £3 a pint a good NBSS 3.5.
Top loos, and excellent reading material too.
As I left, the locals were watching cat videos on their phones. As Mudgie will know, that’s the mark of a true pub.
As Danny would say, The Good Will Out.
*Oh sorry, wrong clip.