Tourism in Yorkshire & Humber is worth over £7 billion, which is more than the whole tourism expenditure in Ireland or Denmark.
The tourism industry employs around a quarter of a million people.
Trips to Yorkshire in 2009 totalled 216 million (up 10% on 2008). That’s equivalent to the total number of visitors to Walt Disney Attraction Theme Parks worldwide.
Yorkshire provides a choice of over 4,800 hotels, guesthouses, self-catering units and campsites with enough bed space to accommodate the entire population of France over the course of a single year.
Leeds, York and the coastal resort of Scarborough are in the top ten most visited English Towns by UK residents. (UKTS 2008).
York was voted as European Tourism City of the Year 2009.
The Shambles in York has been voted as Britain’s most picturesque street in the 2010 Google Street Awards.
The Humber Bridge is the longest single-span suspension bridge in the UK, second longest in Europe and the fifth longest in the world.
Bradford trumped Los Angeles, Cannes and Venice to achieve UNESCO City of Film status.
Leeds is one of the fastest growing cities in the UK with a population of 771, 000, generating a fifth of the region’s tourism economy.
Yorkshire & Humber have the largest concentration of food and drink businesses in the UK, contributing £1.7 billion to the regional economy.
Yorkshire is famous for its rhubarb, boasting some of the largest producers in the UK. Placed between Leeds, Wakefield and Bradford they have become known world-wide as the rhubarb triangle. Forced Yorkshire rhubarb gained EU protected status in 2010.
Yorkshire is home to over 80 real ale breweries producing almost a third of the UK’s beer, (Directory of UK Real Ale Breweries 2009) while Rotherham hosts the fourth largest beer festival in the country.
Kelham Island Tavern in Sheffield was voted best UK pub of the year in 2009. (CAMRA Society for Real Ale).
Yorkshire has the most ‘good quality rated restaurants’ in the Harden’s UK Restaurant Guide than any other region outside London, based on a sample of over 8,000 independent reviews. This represents the largest annual survey of restaurant goers in the UK. (Harden’s Guide 2008).
There are 6 Michelin Star restaurants in Yorkshire, more than any other region outside of London.
The Yorke Arms was given The Good Food Guide Readers’ Restaurant of the Year, North East award in 2009.
Harrogate’s Turkish Bath and Health Spa is one of only seven remaining 19th Century Turkish baths in the UK and has been luxuriously restored to the highest of standards, while Titanic Spa in South Yorkshire was the very first eco-spa in the country and has featured in The Independent’s Top 50 Spas of the World.
Meadowhall in Sheffield is Europe’s largest shopping and leisure complex with over 400,000 people through its doors every week.
“I’ve called Yorkshire the foodie county of Britain in the past and it seems to be in no danger of losing this title with a wealth of restaurants right across the board.” Elizabeth Carter, editor of The Good Food Guide
Scarborough is Britain’s first seaside resort and has been welcoming families for over 360 years.
Pately Bridge near Harrogate is home to England’s oldest sweet shop, established in 1827 and still open today, displaying over 200 jars of sweets from pear drops to lollipops.
Xscape in Castleford is the UK’s longest indoor real snow slope at 170 metres long with over 1500 tonnes of real snow as well as Europe’s tallest indoor ice-climbing wall.
Eureka! in Halifax is the UK’s very first national children’s museum.
The Great Outdoors
Yorkshire has nearly a third of the total area of National Parks in England (the North York Moors, most of the Yorkshire Dales and part of the Peak District) covering a fifth of the region’s land area. (nationalparks.gov.uk).
Yorkshire boasts two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) covering over 800 square kilometres of the region’s land area.
The UK’s first ever National Trail, the Pennine Way, runs through Yorkshire and continues all the way up to the Scottish Borders, totalling 268 miles long.
Around 17% of the Yorkshire region is designated green-belt land, compared to the average for England of 13%. Leeds, with greenbelt land covering over two thirds of its total area, and Sheffield, with a third of its area falling within the Peak District National Park, are two of the greenest cities in Europe.
The Yorkshire Dales is home to England’s largest single drop waterfall, Hardraw Force, a reputed 100 foot drop, as well as Britain’s highest pub, the Tan Hill Inn, at 1,732ft above sea level.
The highest point on the east coast of England is at Boulby, near Staithes in North Yorkshire, where the cliffs reach over 200 metres high.
Flamborough Head has the biggest underwater chalk reef in Europe, extending underwater for up to 6 km out to sea, while The Deep in Hull is home to Europe’s only grey reef sharks.
The St. Leger, held at Doncaster Racecourse, is the world’s oldest and longest classic horse race and is run over a total distance of 1 mile, 6 furlongs (1 furlong = 200 metres) and 132 yards.
Sheffield in South Yorkshire is recognized by FIFA and UEFA as the birth place of club football, with Sheffield FC being the oldest association football club in the world, formed in 1857.
The Sheffield Ski Village is one of Europe’s largest outdoor artificial ski resorts, with a third of a mile of alpine slopes.
Ponds forge Olympic size swimming pool is also home to Europe’s deepest diving pool, with an underwater viewing platform.
Yorkshire is home to six national museums; Royal Armouries, National Railway Museum, National Media Museum, National Coal Mining Museum, Eureka! Children’s Museum and National Fishing Heritage Museum.
The Bradford Mela, a multi-cultural celebration of food, art, crafts, music and dance, is the most important Asian festival outside Asia and one of the oldest and most established events of its kind, celebrating its 21st birthday in 2009.
The West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds stages more productions each year than any other theatre outside London.
David Hockney, considered one of the most influential British artists of the 20th Century, was born and raised in Bradford, and much of his work is now housed in Salts Mill, an art gallery and shopping complex which was once the largest industrial building in the world and now an official world heritage site – Saltaire.
Yorkshire’s heritage is one of the most heavily invested among the UK regions, having received over £332 million in Heritage Lottery funding since 1994.
Yorkshire has over 2,600 ancient monuments of national importance (14% of the England total), 800 conservation areas and 116 registered parks and gardens (each 8% of the England total). (Heritage Counts 2008).
Yorkshire is home to two UNESCO World Heritage sites, including Studley Royal in North Yorkshire, one of the first to be designated in the UK, and more recently Saltaire Village in West Yorkshire (World Heritage).
York Minster is the largest Gothic Cathedral in Northern Europe, took 252 years to build and contains 128 stained glass windows.
Mother Shipton’s Cave and Petrifying Well, in Knaresborough North Yorkshire, is the oldest registered visitor attraction in Britain, opening for the first time in 1630. (VisitBritain).
The North Yorkshire Moors Railway is the longest steam operated railway in the UK, with over 18 miles of track.
Standedge Tunnel in Huddersfield is the highest, longest and deepest canal tunnel in the country, at around 3¼ miles long.
The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway featured in the original film of The Railway Children.