We Visit: Haworth at Christmastime

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By Rosemary Crampton

Photos by Stephen Hogg

Once home to the famous Brontë sisters, Haworth is a community steeped in tradition – particularly at Christmas when its cobbled streets are decked with twinkling lights and trees and its residents come together for a host of festive celebrations inspired by yester-year.

Perched on the edge of the Pennine moors, the West Yorkshire village is a popular tourist destination, thanks in part to novelists Emily, Anne and Charlotte Brontë, who lived and worked there during the mid-nineteenth century.

Today, families can take a tour of their former home, the Parsonage, walk on the moors that inspired Wuthering Heights, or call into one of historic Main Street’s independent gift shops and tea rooms for homemade cake or present buying.

With every weekend devoted to festive events and celebrations, December is an ideal time to visit.

Haworth has held popular Christmas weekends for over two decades, establishing some unique traditions of its own along the way. For years, a ceremony known as ‘Scroggling the Holly’ marked the beginning of the festive season; children in Victorian costume paraded up Main Street, before a ‘Holly Queen’ was crowned on the steps of the Parish Church.

While the village’s children are temporarily hanging-up their Scroggling costumes this year, there will still be plenty of Christmas events to enjoy.

Back for the fifth year, the annual Steampunk Weekend returns on 24th to 26th November. Celebrating the Victorian-inspired science fiction genre, it will feature everything from themed fashion and music stalls to ‘tea duelling’, a burlesque night to a masquerade ball.

Steeped in magic, the festive fun will continue on 2nd and 3rd December when Haworth’s Central Park plays host to a Christmas market. With over 30 stalls and a festive bar to explore, the weekend also sees a Winter Wonderland, children’s activities and entertainment in the form of live music and a pop-up theatre.

Lighting up the starry skies, the Torchlight Weekend returns on 9th and 10th December; with live music, dancing and family activities, the annual event culminates at dusk with an atmospheric torchlit carol procession up Main Street.

Hark! The herald drummers drum with the Brass Band weekend on 16th and 17th November, with several brass bands marching through the village performing seasonal favourites.

Retelling the birth of Christmas, Haworth’s annual Nativity Weekend takes place on 23rd and 24th December. Join Mary, Joseph and their faithful donkey as they set off from Main Street’s Christmas tree and travel up the cobbled hill in search of a resting place

Organised by a new Christmas in Haworth committee, this year’s calendar of events will also feature a festive ceilidh and pop-up theatrics from the Haworth Mummers.

Known for both sisters and steam, Haworth’s Keighley and Worth Valley railway an authentically preserved steam railway, will be running special Christmas services complete with carols and mince pies.

And with many local traders set to don period costume for the festivities, visitors can enjoy a taste of Christmas past in this historic West Yorkshire village.

 

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