2014 really is Yorkshires year. After getting global recognition when it was voted as one of the top places to visit in 2014 by the prestigious Lonely Planet, next month it will hit the world’s screens as the mighty Tour de France winds its way around its roads. As the race sets off for the Yorkshire Grand Depart, it is anticipated that the Tour de France will bring three million visitors to the area (source: Great British Trips).
With rugged moorlands, quaint village pubs and a thriving arts and culture scene Yorkshire shows off the best that the north of England has to offer and appeals to all types of tourists. It is difficult to pick out the best places in Yorkshire, which is so vast and has so many highlights, but here are three places that always rank well amongst visitors.
Ilkley is an old spa town that is just a convenient thirty minute train journey from Leeds. The town is nestled in between the hilly Wharfe Valley with green picturesque moorland either side of it just waiting to be explored. There are many great walks that can be taken right from the centre of the town that include some of the highlights of the moor such as White Wells, a spa bath built in the 1700s and the Cow and Calf rocks.
Down in the town there are delightful shops to potter around and pick up some local produce. When you are craving an afternoon pick me up, tea and cakes should not be missed at the wonderful Bettys Tea Rooms. When the sun is shining in the summer months, locals and visitors flock to the Lido for a refreshing dip and spectacular views of the moor. There is also a thriving restaurant scene in Ilkley with many great options including the Michelin starred Box Tree.
Home to York Minster, England’s largest medieval church and more miles of intact city walls than any other city in the country, York is still one of the most popular tourist attractions in the UK. The city of York has almost 2000 years of history and a stroll around its cobbled medieval streets will certainly make you feel like you have stepped back in time.
York isn’t all about remembering the past though and down by the river which flows through the centre of the city you can enjoy some riverside drinks in one of its cosmopolitan bars. York is also home to some fantastic museums, including the impressive Railway Museum and the family favourite Jorvic Viking Centre. Furthermore, the city can be a great base for exploring nearby areas. Day trips to the magnificent stately home Castle Howard and the picturesque seaside town of Whitby will enable you to explore Yorkshire further.
Saltaire, a picturesque village with UNESCO World Heritage status is one of the most culturally appealing places in Yorkshire .The village was created in 1853 as a home for the workforce of Salts Mill. The impressive Victorian Mill was owned by Sir Titus Salt, a Victorian philanthropist, and is still the focal point of the village. As well as the Mill and the quaint, traditional terraced houses, there is the incredible Victorian architecture visible at the Saltaire United Reformed Church, which was also built by Salt for his workers.
Nowadays Salts Mill is a great place to while away an afternoon with the David Hockney 1853 Gallery, various other art galleries and the fantastic Salts Diner, which serves delicious food, made from fresh regional produce. Ale lovers will not want to visit Yorkshire without sampling some of its local ales and there is perhaps no better place to do this then Fanny’s Ale House. After a few drinks it will probably time to get some food and Saltaire has some fantastic Indian restaurants where you can truly satisfy your belly.
Ilkley, York and Saltaire are three very different types of places in Yorkshire, each with their own appeals and charm. The region has so many other fantastic places to visit and things to do and it really is worth spending some time in this part of England to really appreciate why the locals have nicknamed it ‘God’s Own County.’