Welcome to Yorkshire… Europe’s finest
Yorkshire folk have always been loud and proud when waxing lyrical about their home county and it looks as if the rest of the world is finally starting to sit up and listen. Yorkshire has just been voted Europe’s Leading Destination at the World Travel Awards 2013 in Antalya, Turkey beating Berlin, London and Madrid to the prestigious award at what is described as the “Oscars of the travel industry”.
Tourism in Yorkshire – the first location other than a country or major city to win the Leading Destination accolade in the award’s 17-year history – is worth £7 billion a year and employs 250,000 people. The award tops off an impressive 12 months for Yorkshire as they were also awarded the honour of hosting the 2014 Tour de France Grand Depart fighting off stiff opposition from Edinburgh, Florence, Barcelona, Berlin and Venice. The Tour de France starts in Leeds next July which is also where we begin our run down of Yorkshire’s Top 5 attractions.
Leeds is the third largest city in the UK and also one of the fastest growing. With a population of 750,000 the Lonely Planet travel guide describes Leeds as, “The glitzy embodiment of rediscovered northern self-confidence.” With fantastic shops, bars and restaurants as well as great transport links, Leeds is the ideal gateway to the region for visitors.
The Yorkshire Dales
The Yorkshire Dales National Park is an area of outstanding natural beauty covering 680 square miles/1,762 square kilometres. The scenery is breathtaking and the area boasts a wide range of wildlife habitats alongside its rich cultural heritage. A variety of outdoor pursuits can be enjoyed such as hiking, climbing, cycling and horse riding or for the less active there are pretty villages and small towns to be explored, each unique in character and each sure to offer a fine pint (or two) of local ale.
The ancient walled city of York has something for everyone. Steeped in history, York’s narrow, cobbled streets are packed with shops, cafes and museums. At the heart of the city is the awe-inspiring minster, probably the most beautiful gothic cathedral in the world. Around every corner is a traditional pub serving yet more local ales and hearty home cooked food: a pint overlooking the river is a must. Only 25 miles from Leeds, York should be on everyone’s Yorkshire itinerary.
Haworth and Brontë Country
A mecca for literature lovers, Haworth was the home of the Brontë sisters and the surrounding countryside was the inspiration for their literary classics including Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. The Brontë Parsonage Museum is well worth a visit and the picturesque village of Haworth, with its cobbled main street crammed with arts, crafts and second hand bookshops, is a charming place to explore with tea and cake the order of the day.
Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle
Yorkshire has a strong artistic heritage and the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle showcases the best of local talent. The triangle is made up of The Hepworth Wakefield, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP), Leeds Art Gallery and the Henry Moore Institute also in Leeds. The YSP is a stunning outdoor site covering 500 acres and the other galleries contain a wealth of world class sculpture making this area truly artistically unique.