By James Moore
Taking place between the 1st and 3rd of May, the Tour de Yorkshire was a staggering success, the utterly new and refreshing racing event drawing one and a half million people as spectators whilst simultaneously showcasing the county to countless viewers hailing from 150 countries across the globe. The race, one of cycling’s newest international races that has its beginnings in the 2014 Tour de France Grand Départ, when Yorkshire first fell in love with cycling as a sport and millions flocked from every corner of the United Kingdom to be part of the historic moment.
The new Tour is so much more than a celebration of cycling, however. It is emblematic of the spirit of Yorkshire, that try-anything-once, outdoors-loving, utterly welcoming feeling that is known far and wide as indicative of the region and its people. If the Tour has peaked your interest in the county, read on! There’s plenty to see, do and experience in god’s own county!
Leeds, one of the largest cities in Yorkshire and home to some 1.7 million people, is the point at which 2014’s Grand Départ took place, and as such is arguably the conception point of the new Tour. Leeds Town Hall, The Grand and the West Yorkshire Playhouse are all renowned for their cultural offerings, and the city is similarly blessed with a plethora of galleries and museums for visitors to pore over. Nightlife is Leeds’ purview though; awash with electrifying bars and nightclubs, a country-leading shopping scene and even a swanky casino, we’d suggest having at least one night out in the city, although it might be a good idea to get some practice in online at an online gaming site such as Uptown Aces if your casino skills aren’t too fresh!
Another wonderful destination for the Yorkshire-bound traveller is York, the historical capitol of the region and a city that was, for centuries, England’s second city. This rich historic background has blessed York with a staggering wealth of archaeological, cultural and architectural treasures, the most gleaming of which is York Minster, one of the largest Medieval Cathedrals in Northern Europe. This towering, intricate structure took almost two hundred years to build across the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and simply must be seen to be believed. The city is surrounded by ancient fortifications, some of which date back to the Roman era, and all of which can be strolled across, giving visitors a unique insight in to the city’s heritage. After all that sightseeing, make sure to your whistle in one (or five!) of York’s excellent pubs, bars and inns. Legend says that within the city limits there are more than one could visit in an entire year!
The beauty of Yorkshire is truly in the countryside that stretches between the main cities, though. The Yorkshire Dales, North York Moors, dramatic East Yorkshire coastline and the picturesque farmlands that roll across the county; this is the real Yorkshire, and the best way to see it all is – you guessed it – by bike!