STEP inside and you could be forgiven for thinking you had arrived at a European destination.

Such scenes are reminiscent of the plazas in places you see having popped on a plane as part of a city break, but we are fortunate enough to have a similar location almost on our doorsteps.

The Piece Hall is an icon, a lasting legacy epitomising the industrial heritage of Halifax. For many it is the jewel in the town's crown.

Visitors can take a peek at its importance and the prominent part it played during this area's textile heyday - the nearby city of Bradford was at one time known as the wool capital of the world - through the interactive heritage spaces located around the landings surrounding this impressive space.

They help to tell the tale of the Piece Hall Story; how this fine building, of architectural and historical importance opened for business as a Cloth Hall in 1779.

Sauntering around the balconies, neatly arranged around the beautiful plaza which was sympathetically transformed during a multi-million pound project, you can imagine the trading of cloth in the rooms, now predominantly occupied by independent traders selling everything from beautiful and ornately carved slices of soap to collectibles and curios, books and bags and everything in between.

This eclectic mix of modern and even vintage and antique pieces provide the perfect place to find something a little different from the mass marketed norm.

Since its inception, The Piece Hall hasn't strayed far from its original purpose - people continue to trade their products for others to purchase.

However, like many venues, The Piece Hall has evolved over time to make it as relevant now as it was then. Today it is combining commerce and culture - the aforementioned plaza providing a wonderful stage to entertain.

And while there is always plenty going on throughout the year, this imposing venue really does come alive at this time of year.

Our visit, during the throes of the Christmas festivities, demonstrated the popularity of The Piece Hall as a place offering something for everyone.

With CHRISTMAS spelled out along one of the balconies over-looking the illuminated Christmas tree and the circus-style Spiegeltent, the festive spirit was certainly very much alive.

While our attentions are focused on winter at this time of year - the Apres-themed destinations, the Alpine Tipi and wooden chalet-style cabins serving refreshments added to the ambiance.

Close by an ice cream parlour was serving memories of summer when iced desserts were a welcome relief to keep cool when the heat was on.

Dipping in and out of the doors along the balconies leads visitors on a journey of discovery - literally.

Heritage spaces provide the opportunity to learn more about the history of this intriguing place, apparently the most ambitious and prestigious of its type and one of the country's most outstanding Georgian buildings.

There are creative spaces too - rooms where you can really let your imagination run wild through workshops offering plenty of opportunities to get crafty, learn a new skill and showcase your creative flair.

For those who relish learning something new, then the Circus School is definitely for you! This family-friendly circus workshop within the Spiegeltent, a spectacular circular structure from the Netherlands, runs from 9am until 11.30am today (December 29) and tomorrow (December 30) giving visitors the opportunity to try tight wire balancing, plate spinning and juggling along with other circus skills.

Mindful of celebrating the New Year in style, the culmination to the Christmas season at The Piece Hall is an outdoor Courtyard Party to welcome in 2019 on New Year's Eve featuring live music, party pop-ups and some special performances.

Expect plenty of laughter too with the comedy club special featuring four of the very best stand-up comedians from the UK comedy circuit including Daliso Chaponda, Scott Bennett, Katie Mulgrew and Dan Nightingale.

Interestingly, according to history The Piece Hall opened its doors for the first time on New Year's Day - Friday January 1 1779 - certainly a legacy worth celebrating....

Worth mentioning that local rockers, Embrace, will be performing 'The Good Will Out Hometown Anniversary Show' at The Piece Hall on June 28 2019.

The homecoming show is a celebration of their debut platinum-selling album "The Good Will Out" released in 1998.

The Piece Hall is located in Blackledge, Halifax, HX1 1RE. Call 01422 525217; email: or visit