When Yorkshire was named Europe’s Leading Destination at the 2013 World Travel Awards (yes, really), it was recognition of a region with a huge amount to offer tourists. Its blend of buzzing cities and picture-perfect dales also saw it appear on Lonely Planet’s annual Best of Travel list. And on a short break into LeedsBradfordAirport from GlasgowAirport, you can see what all the fuss is about.
Few cities in the country have enjoyed such a recent boom as fast-growing Leeds, where a wave of fresh bars, stores and creativity has seen it become somewhere synonymous with everything from designer shopping to new music. Its ‘Knightsbridge of the North’ tag comes thanks to its excellent potential for retail therapy – check out the independent stores at the Corn Exchange (Call Lane) – while for traditionalists the old spirit of the city lives on at great pubs like Whitelock’s Ale House (Turks Head Yard).
Discover the dales
Yorkshire wasn’t selected at random to be the starting point for 2014’s Tour de France – the region happens to be home to some of England’s finest countryside. The rolling NorthYorkMoorsNational Park and the hilly YorkshireDalesNational Park are cases in point. But there’s more to both than being pretty places to cycle – they attract hikers, horse-riders, fell-runners, climbers and cavers, among others.
Visit the Vikings
In York, the region boasts one of the UK’s most beautiful cities. The 13th-century York Minster (Deangate) is one of Europe’s largest Gothic cathedrals, making for a striking set-piece attraction, and the city centre is still an atmospheric warren of medieval lanes. If you really want to step back in time, however, the Jorvik Viking Centre (Coppergate) gives rich insight into life as it was a millennium ago. For history-hungry kids, it’s perfect.