Situated on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, and bordering Leeds, two thirds of the district is classified as rural, making Bradford one of the UK's residential hotspots. Towns and vilalges such as Haworth, Shipley and Bingley in Airedale and Ilkley in Wharfedale are attractive residential areas, set in rural surroundings, offering the best in relaxed living and outdoor activities.
As well as the natural beauty of the surrounding area, the city has a rich cultural heritage with two renowned theatres, the Alhambra and St George's Hall. Both theatres have full programmes including touring West End productions, comedies and musical events. The National Media Museum is also based in Bradford. It is one of the most popular museums outside London, and it offers exciting interactive exhibits and hosts a number of international film festivals.
It's not just the commercial and cultural sectors that are prospering in Bradford. The new Westfield Bradford shopping centre will help to transform the retail offering in the city. With Leeds only 15 minutes away by train and Manchester less than an hour, Bradford is ideally situated for both commercial and leisure activities.
The district is also an attractive tourist destination, containing Saltaire (a World Heritage Site) and Haworth (home of the Bronte Sisters). The city centre contains a large number of original Victorian buildings particularly in Little Germany. In fact Bradford has more listed buildings per square mile than any other UK city outside London. The city was historically a centre for wool merchants, but has had a diverse history which has seen many different types of business operating successfully from within the district over the years.
- Bradford is the third largest economy in the Yorkshire & Humber region, producing 9% of the region’s total wealth.
- Bradford has a large and relatively young population. With a population of 506,800 Bradford is the fourth largest metropolitan district in England, and the fifth largest in the UK. 22% of the population is under 16 years old compared with 19% nationally.
- Population projections for Bradford forecast growth of 5,600 people per year to 2033, the fourth largest increase of all English local authority districts after Leeds, Birmingham and Bristol.
- Bradford is home to a number of major UK businesses with recognised brands operating on a national and international scale including Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc, Yorkshire Building Society, Banco Santander and Hallmark Cards Plc.
- A strong manufacturing sector accounts for 13.4% of all employees compared to 9.5% in Great Britain as a whole. In 2007 the value of manufacturing output was £1.6 billion, 22% of the district’s total GVA.
- Knowledge based businesses such as financial and professional services account for 17.7% of all businesses in the district.
- Bradford experienced the highest growth in self-employment of any city in the UK over the five years to September 2009. Despite recent falls it is the only Yorkshire city listed in the top five across the UK for self-employment growth with 1,099 new businesses opened in the first half of 2010 according to the business start-up service Yoodoo.biz.