Yorkshire is England’s most interesting region. A bold statement, no doubt, but they’d expect nothing less in God’s Own Country, as Yorkshire folk half-jokingly refer to where they’re from, a place so bloody huge that it’s divided into four separate counties: South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire and the East Riding of Yorkshire. The last of these is the only geographical hangover from the far-off days of the Danelaw, the 9th-century Viking-governed region that roughly covered the same territory when the notion of ‘England’ as we know it didn’t even exist.
So what is it about this place that’s so heaven-blessed? Well, the landscapes for one: from the dark moors and brooding hills that roll their way to the dramatic cliffs of the coast, Yorkshire has been walked on, climbed over, cycled through and written about for centuries.
Secondly, there’s the sheer breadth of history and place. In Yorkshire you can explore virtually every facet of the English experience – past and present – from the Middle Ages to today, in abbeys, castles, historic houses, medieval cities, industrial centres and urban playgrounds.
But the most compelling argument for Yorkshire’s greatness is the people themselves, the English epitome – and stereotype – of ‘them up north’. Proud, industrious, hard-living and terribly opinionated about all subjects great and small, Yorkshire folk can be tough nuts to crack but they’re a warm and welcoming bunch that don’t stand on ceremony and dispel all notions of the English as cool and distant.