A cobbled world of contrasts. From the moment you arrive in York you’re met with a wonderful mixture of the old and new. Exquisite architecture, a gothic cathedral and maze of cobbled streets packed with independent shops and high street favourites. Take in the thrill and excitement of the chase at the city’s magnificent racecourse, walk the beautifully preserved medieval walls (the longest in England at 3.4km long) and indulge in some of the finest food in Yorkshire at places like The Star Inn the City and the renowned Bettys Tea Room.
The exact origin of the Yorkshire pudding is unclear. The first recorded recipe appears in a book from 1737 and is titled ‘a recipe for dripping pudding’. Ten years later similar instructions were published in The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy by Hannah Glasse. She’d renamed it Yorkshire Pudding and the name has stuck. Whatever the origin, the batter is better in Yorkshire.
The kettle is always on in Yorkshire, and the brew is always Yorkshire Tea. Founded almost 130 years ago, in 2009 The Prince of Wales granted Yorkshire Tea the Royal Warrant of Appointment, and it’s been supplying Clarence House for over five years. Other famous fans include Russell Crowe, Noel Gallagher, Madonna, Alan Carr and One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson.
Yorkshire is home to the largest number of Michelin-Starred restaurants in England outside London. The Box Tree in Ilkley, The Old Vicarage in Sheffield, The Yorke Arms near Harrogate, The Black Swan at Oldstead and The Pipe and Glass in South Dalton are proof that Yorkshire knows about food.
Take a trip through a Viking village, experience Victorian industry or even venture into a nuclear bunker. Yorkshire is packed with fascinating museums to visit. There are six national museums here, including The National Railway Museum, Eureka! The National Children’s Museum and The National Media Museum. Other highlights include the Jorvik Viking Centre, Brontë Parsonage Museum and the Royal Armouries Museum.
From Dracula’s arrival at Whitby, under the gaze of the gothic abbey, to the brooding moorlands of Wuthering Heights, some of literature’s most memorable scenes are set here. Herriot Country, the area around Thirsk, Bedale, Northallerton and Great Ayton, is where veterinary surgeon and writer James Herriot lived, worked and based his books. Visit his former home and surgery in Thirsk, see the car he drove, step into the TV set, try your hand at being a vet and even experience what it was like to hide in a World War II air raid shelter.
There’s nothing like reaching a spectacular viewpoint on a walk, stopping to catch your breath and drinking in the view. Yorkshire offers so many opportunities to do this. A few of our favourite views include that from Sutton Bank in the North York Moors, home to Yorkshire Gliding Club (read our feature in our men’s section), and scenes featuring Yorkshire’s impressive collection of abbeys. The stepping stones across the River Wharfe, with the historic ruins of Bolton Abbey in the background, the steps down from Whitby Abbey which overlook the harbour, the breathtaking landscape of Fountains Abbey and the beautiful gothic ruin of Byland Abbey.
Another legendary export, Yorkshire’s Rhubarb Triangle is nine-square-miles of space between Wakefield, Morely and Rothwell. Yorkshire is famous for producing forced rhubarb which is essentially rhubarb grown in the dark. It is a technique that was discovered following a happy accident in the early 19th century which revealed this process produced better quality shoots. By the late 19th century, a nightly rhubarb express was delivering as much as 200 tons a day from here to the London markets and onto Europe during the short three-month season.
The county is dotted with some of the finest sculpture in the country. A dedicated Sculpture Triangle comprising four venues (The Hepworth Wakefield, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Leeds Art Gallery and The Henry Moore Institute) covers 20 miles and features the work of some 200 artists. It’s hoped Yorkshire will become the European Capital for sculpture. Striking pieces, like Yorkshire-born sculptor Thomas Houseago’s yet to be titled Large Walking Figure, recently unveiled outside Leeds Art Gallery, and Henry Moore’s semi-abstract bronze works at the Henry Moore Institute, lend Yorkshire a unique dimension.
It seems like only yesterday when Yorkshire’s Olympic athletes lifted the county to 12th in the London 2012 medal table, if it had been regarded as an independent country (as it should be, some would say). The county finished the games with seven golds, two silvers and three bronzes. Gold post boxes popped up across Yorkshire honouring the likes of Jessica Ennis, Alistair Brownlee and Nicola Adams, reminding everyone of Yorkshire’s sporting prowess.