Yorkshire, God’s Own Country

Ah, Yorkshire. What a marvellous county. Despite what you may have heard, it’s not all flat caps, whippets, pie and peas, puddings and Geoffrey Boycott! Yorkshire is a county replete with wonders. The local people, affectionately known as Tykes (they often refer to non-Yorkshire folk as non-Tykes) will quite happily wax lyrical about their home county and its bounty of natural beauty and thriving towns. You just need to look to the likes of Harrogate and neighbouring market town Knaresborough to evidence the fine state of life in Yorkshire today, with both towns thriving and local businesses doing a great trade.

Of course, Yorkshire wouldn’t be Yorkshire without its city namesake York – a beautiful old city with roots dating back to medieval times and beyond (there have been amazing Viking period excavations here), which boasts an impressive wall around it and an abundance of historic buildings, including the magnificent 13th century Gothic cathedral – York Minster and the infamous Monk Bar Gate. It’s also known for its thriving pub life, with so many pubs it is said you can visit a different one every day for a whole year! Many tourists flock to this jewel on the mighty Ouse and it also boasts an esteemed university, which itself occupies some magnificent 15th century buildings in the city.

The city of steel, Sheffield is perhaps Yorkshire’s most important city in industrial terms and is also home to a thriving and well reputed university. Located in the south of Yorkshire, Sheffield is also notable for its abundance of green spaces in the form of many parks and a beautiful botanical gardens. It really is a complete city. Sheffield, as well as its rich industrial heritage and present is also a gateway to the Peak District, which despite being mainly part of Derbyshire also has beautiful tendrils that drift into Yorkshire, providing some stunning walking and hiking opportunities.

North of Sheffield and just south of Harrogate is Leeds. Leeds is another incredibly important city located in Yorkshire and is a bustling city noted for its good shopping opportunities – including the enormous indoor and outdoor Kirkgate market -, football team, university and after the industrial revolution was a very important mill town. Leeds is actually England’s second most important financial centre after London, providing many jobs largely thanks to the 30 plus national and international banks based in the city. It’s also the third most important manufacturing city in the country.

You cannot mention Yorkshire without paying tribute to the peace, tranquillity and special atmosphere of the Yorkshire Dales. Boasting unbelievable scenery, stunning old castles and abbeys and an intangibly tranquil atmosphere the Dales incorporates several Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and you can see wild heather moorland, valleys, dry stone walling and some beautiful little villages boasting cosy country pubs as well as pristine rivers if you fancy a spot of fishing. The Dales really have to be experienced to be loved and once you’ve been you will want to return again and again, which sums up Yorkshire nicely.