Graced by three stunning national parks, an excess of heritage sites and a spectacular coastline – Yorkshire is fondly known as ‘God’s Own Country.’
A historic county bigger than a fair few countries, Yorkshire dominates the northeast of England. Visitors flock here for the densely packed history, a vibrant spectrum of cultural riches and – most of all – for the breathtaking landscapes. Its three vast national parks – the Moors, the Dales and the Peaks – are thick with heather, haunting moorland, high peaks, green valleys and ancient woodland.
The wide-open spaces give way to a dramatic coastline where picturesque fishing villages and seaside resorts nestle in sheltered coves. The best way to explore the wilds of Yorkshire is on foot or two wheels, but there are also no fewer than seven heritage and steam railways that criss-cross the county’s scenic heartlands.
Meanwhile, the fashionable city of Leeds is a shoppers’ dream and a revitalised Sheffield brims with a cool, contemporary energy, nightlife and music scene.
History at every turn
The 2,000-year-old walled city of York is crammed with history; there’s barely enough space to contain all its Roman, Viking, Norman and medieval treasures. The countryside too is overrun with stunning castles, majestic stately homes and poignant remains of once-great abbeys, from gigantic Castle Howard to the abbeys of Whitby, Rievaulx and the must-visit UNESCO World Heritage Site of Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden.
Gritty industrial heritage also awaits visitors in the ‘Steel City’ of Sheffield, the National Coal Mining Museum for England and UNESCO-listed model village of Saltaire. Then to complete the picture, the Dales Countryside Museums brings rural traditions and history vividly to life.
A cultural feast
Yorkshire lends its inspirational landscapes to many of Britain’s best-loved books and films, from Dracula to Jane Eyre. The classic love story, Wuthering Heights, was set on the moody Yorkshire moors, which still make the heart beat faster today. The Brontë sisters lived and wrote all of their classic novels here, and 20th-century poets Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath also left their mark.
Unsurprisingly, filmmakers fall over themselves to shoot in Yorkshire, a backdrop to such hit films as The Full Monty, Calendar Girls, the Woman in Black and 1970s classic The Railway Children to name but a few. So it’s fitting that UNESCO City of Film Bradford is home to the National Media Museum. The thriving arts scene is also on show at the inspirational Hepworth Wakefield art gallery and the UK’s best outdoor art collection at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
A taste of Yorkshire
You’re in for a culinary treat too. Yorkshire has more Michelin-starred eateries than any county beyond London. Its rich specialities include spicy Indian fare in ‘Curry Capital’ Bradford; chocolate indulgence in York; and tangy cheese in Wensleydale. Alternatively, devour freshly caught fish and chips on the coast or tuck into a good old roast dinner piled high with Yorkshire puddings pretty much anywhere.
Liquid specialities include locally brewed beers best enjoyed in cosy country pubs, while traditional century-old teashops blend delicate tea combinations with trademark cakes and scones that will leave you with oh-so sweet memories of your trip.