A VIRTUAL reality centre in Bradford city centre has seen "amazing" support and growth despite opening during the pandemic. 

VR City, based in the old Boyes building on North Parade, is now planning to up its offering with new technology as footfall rises. 

It comes as Bradford has been revealed as one of the top 20 cities for budding business owners in an index to help entrepreneurs work out where to set up shop.

Hasan Khan, owner of VR City, said: “We planned to open in March 2020 when lockdown first hit and unfortunately had to delay by almost two years. 

"When we were finally able to open the level of support from local people was amazing and it has been so rewarding to see people of all ages, backgrounds and personalities enjoying and immersing themselves in our gaming experiences. 

“We were inspired to open VR City after visiting Japan a few years ago, when we recognised that the popularity of high tech arcades was growing - we felt Bradford was the perfect place for us to thrive as a virtual reality business.”

Leanne Holmes, project officer for the Bradford Business Improvement District, said: "It's great to see that local tourism is flourishing in Bradford and supporting the growth of small businesses. 

"Clearly, residents are looking to their doorsteps for entertainment and attractions this year, which is no surprise as the city is absolutely brimming with hidden gem attractions just waiting to be discovered.”

She added: “It’s incredible to see our district continue to sparkle despite the challenges faced in the last two years.

"The partners of Sparkling Bradford are keen to support independent businesses during these difficult times and we’re urging businesses across the district to sign up to the Sparkling Bradford initiative, where they’ll receive support as well as a business toolkit to aid marketing activity.” 

The Sparkling Bradford campaign has also put the spotlight on other independent businesses in the district. 

These include the Time Trapped escape room on Hustlergate; the People Powered Press in Saltaire, which is the largest letterpress printing press in the world; Hartleys Auctioneers and Clip 'n Climb in Ilkley, plus Cobbles and Clay at the top of Main Street in Haworth.

Sparkling Bradford aims to boost the visitor economy by showcasing the visitor experience on offer across Bradford.

For more details about what's on offer in all corners of the district, visit www.sparklingbradford.info.