Tourism in Yorkshire

Tourism in Yorkshire generates more than £6.3 billion per annum.[1] It accounts for 7.2% of Yorkshire's income and supports 11% of its total workforce, representing 243,000 jobs. During 2007 recorded 92 million day visitors and 12.8 million that stayed at least one night in the region.[1]

Before 1974 Yorkshire was England’s largest county, comprising around 6,000 square miles (16,000 km2). After Local Government reorganisation in 1974,[2] the county was split into three smaller regions, making North Yorkshire the UK’s biggest county covering 3,212 square miles (8,320 km2).

Places to stay

In the county of Yorkshire there is a choice of almost 4,800 hotels, guest houses, self-catering establishments and campsites.[3] It is distributed unevenly throughout the region with the greatest numbers of beds to be found in the Yorkshire Moors, Yorkshire Dales and around Harrogate. West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire account for the largest stock of serviced accommodation, but offer very little in the way of camping or caravan accommodation.

Getting around

Major Yorkshire cities such as York, Leeds, Hull and Sheffield can be reached from London in less than two hours by train. Leeds Bradford International Airport serves many destinations in Europe and Africa and the port of Hull offers services to major European ferry ports at Rotterdam and Zeebrugge.

Major road links include: the M62 from Hull to Manchester; the M1 from Leeds to London; the A1 & A1(M) which passes North to South through Yorkshire; the M18 which connects the M1, A1(M) and the M62, and the M180 which extends from the M18 to A180 at Grimsby.

Tourist attractions in Yorkshire

City attractions

The city of York attracted 3.95 million visitors in 2004[4] of which 24 per cent were from overseas. Visitors spent a total of £283.6 million in the city during 2004. The walled city of is the county capital of Yorkshire and was founded by the Romans in AD 71 on a fortified site at the confluence of the River Foss and River Ouse. The city skyline is dominated by the medieval Gothic style York Minster, and has a rich heritage and culture developed over 2,000 years. York’s top three tourist attractions[5] are the National Railway Museum, York Minster and the Jorvik Viking Centre. Other attractions include Merchant Adventurers' Hall, The Shambles, Clifford’s Tower and York’s smallest street Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate.

Leeds is Yorkshire’s largest city based on resident population.[6] Attractions include Roundhay Park, Leeds City Museum, Leeds Art Gallery and the Henry Moore Institute.

Sheffield is Yorkshire’s second largest city based on resident population.[5] Attractions include the Sheffield Winter Gardens which attracted 2.5 million visitors in 2008 making it the most visited tourist attraction in Yorkshire and placing it in the UK’s top 20 list of attractions.

Yorkshire’s third largest city of Bradford[5] is home to the National Media Museum, which was the third most visited tourist attraction in Yorkshire in 2008.[4]

Scarborough, Whitby and Bridlington are popular seaside towns located on the North Sea coast of Yorkshire and close to the picturesque Yorkshire Moors. All three towns have sandy beaches that attract many day trippers and holidaymakers during the summer months.

Major rural tourist attractions

Although North Yorkshire is the UK’s largest county in size it is the second lowest population density in England.[5] The Yorkshire Moors is an area of outstanding natural beauty designated as a National Park in 1952 and situated in the county of North Yorkshire. It contains one of the largest expanses of heather moorland in the UK.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park was established in 1954 and offers visitors outstanding scenery, a variety of wildlife and recreation options.

An area known as the 'Yorkshire Nature Triangle' comprises some of the county's most popular wildlife-watching locations and stretches from Bridlington in the north, to Spurn in the south eastern corner and across to the Vale of York. It includes popular sites like the RSPB's Bempton Cliffs, Spurn Point and more than 20 other nature reserves. Wildlife that draws many visitors to the area includes puffins, bitterns, whale-watching from Whitby, otters, avocets and red kites. The 2015 Easter Special edition of the Springwatch TV show was broadcast from the county's East Coast seabird colonies.

The moorland and the village of Haworth in Brontë Country are also popular tourist destinations owing to the work of the Brontë sisters.

Other major attractions

Other major tourist attractions in Yorkshire include:

See also


  1. 1 2 Yorkshire Tourism Board (2008). "Key facts and figures"
  2. Office for National Statistics (2010), "Local Government Restructuring"
  3. Yorkshire DMS (2009), "Yorkshire Accommodation Stock"
  4. 1 2 York City Council (2005), "Tourism on the up in York"
  5. 1 2 3 4 Yorkshire Tourism Board (2008), Yorkshire Visitor Attraction Monitor and Visit Britain Annual Attraction Report
  6. Yorkshire Tourist Board (2008), "2008 Population Estimates"

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