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] By 2015, the value of tourism was in excess of £7 billion.[2]

Before 1974 Yorkshire was England's largest county, comprising around 6,000 square miles (16,000 km2). After Local Government reorganisation in 1974,[3] 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.[4] 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 and Doncaster Sheffield Airport serve 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 and 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[5] 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[6] 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. In the 2017 Condé Nast Traveler survey of readers, York rated 12th among The 15 Best Cities in the UK for visitors.[7]

A 2014 report, based on 2012 data,[8] stated that the city receives 6.9 million visitors annually; they contribute £564 million to the economy and support over 19,000 jobs.[9]

Morris dancers York 8667
Morris dancers entertain tourists on a York street corner near The Shambles

Leeds is Yorkshire's largest city based on resident population.[10] Attractions include Roundhay Park, Leeds City Museum, Leeds Art Gallery and the Henry Moore Institute. In the 2017 Condé Nast Traveler survey, Leeds rated sixth.[7]

Sheffield is Yorkshire's second largest city based on resident population.[6] 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[6] is home to the National Media Museum, which was the third most visited tourist attraction in Yorkshire in 2008.[5]

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.[6] 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:

  • White Scar Cave, Ingleton: The Longest Show Cave in England and the UK.
  • Xscape, Castleford: Artificial ski area, climbing zone and skate park.
  • The Deep Aquarium, Hull: Aquarium that houses 40 sharks and over 3,500 fish.
  • Sewerby Hall and Gardens, Bridlington: Grade II listed stately home with extensive gardens situated on the Yorkshire coast.

See also


  1. ^ a b Yorkshire Tourism Board (2008). "Key facts and figures" Archived 2010-07-19 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Economy". Retrieved 9 November 2017.
  3. ^ Office for National Statistics (2010), "Local Government Restructuring" Archived 2010-10-18 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Yorkshire DMS (2009), "Yorkshire Accommodation Stock" Archived 2010-07-19 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ a b York City Council (2005), "Tourism on the up in York"
  6. ^ a b c d Yorkshire Tourism Board (2008), Yorkshire Visitor Attraction Monitor and Visit Britain Annual Attraction Report Archived 2010-07-21 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ a b Traveller, Condé Nast. "The best cities in the UK". Retrieved 27 June 2018.
  8. ^ "Tourists spend more than £600m". BBC News. 11 February 2014. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
  9. ^ "Report" (PDF). VisitYork. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
  10. ^ Yorkshire Tourist Board (2008), "2008 Population Estimates" Archived 2010-07-21 at the Wayback Machine

External links


Airtours is a British tour operator specialising in package holidays throughout Europe, as well as in parts of North America and the Caribbean.

British Resort Inspection Agency

The British Resort Inspection Agency (B.R.I.A) based in Northamptonshire surveys resorts, holiday homes and hotels throughout Great Britain.

The Agency was formed in 2003, set up by partnerships of former English Tourism Council workers and Government Fund Members and has already rated "several hundred public accommodation environments in 30 counties" spread throughout Great Britain.

Capital Region Tourism

Capital Region Tourism is a tourism partnership in Wales which aims to promote tourism in the Cardiff Capital Region. CRT is based at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff in the Penylan area of Cardiff.Cardiff is the most popular area in Wales for tourists, with 11.7 million visitors in 2006., and provides 8,400 full-time jobs in the sector.

Confederation of Tourism and Hospitality

The Confederation of Tourism & Hospitality (CTH) is a qualification-awarding and membership body for the tourism, hospitality and culinary industry in the UK.

First Choice (travel firm)

First Choice is a UK-based travel operator brand and subsidiary of TUI Group.

Great Rail Journeys

Great Rail Journeys, based in York, United Kingdom, is a tour operator that offers escorted worldwide rail tour holidays. The company is Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) and Air Travel Organisers' Licensing (ATOL)-bonded and is a member of the Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO).

Horizon Travel

Horizon Travel or the Horizon Holiday Group was a British package holiday company no longer in existence, but was one of the first ventures into the package holiday market.

Kiss Flights

Kiss Flights was a charter, seat only tour operator which ceased trading on 17 August 2010. Kiss Flights was a trading name for Flight Options Ltd, based in London. The company sold flights to Spain (mainland and Canary Islands), Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Portugal and Turkey.

Les Routiers

Les Routiers is a company that provides travel guide books for eating out and hotels.

List of National Trust properties in Northern Ireland

National Trust properties in Northern Ireland is a list of National Trust properties in Northern Ireland.

List of museums in the United Kingdom

For details of museums in the United Kingdom, see:

List of museums in England

List of museums in Northern Ireland

List of museums in Scotland

List of museums in Wales

Martin Randall Travel

Martin Randall Travel is a cultural tour operator in Britain. It specialises in small group tours and classical music festivals.


ScotlandWhisky, also known as the Scotch Whisky Tourism Initiative, was launched in 2003 by Jim Wallace MSP, the then Deputy First Minister of Scotland, and Ian Good, Chairman of the Scotch Whisky Association. The project is a partnership between the public and private sectors, with the aim of exploring where the tourism and Scotch whisky industries can work together to realize mutual commercial benefits. It is financed by the Scotch Whisky Association, The Scotch Whisky Experience, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, and VisitScotland.


Super Break is a British holiday company based in York which has specialised in UK and European short breaks for over 30 years, including theatre breaks, rail packages and concerts at the O2 Arena in London.

Tourism Partnership North Wales

Tourism Partnership North Wales (TPNW) is the Regional Tourism Partnership (RTP) serving North Wales. Visit Wales, and part of the National Assembly for Wales initiated the formation of 4 RTPs across Wales to receive devolved resources and responsibilities for many aspects of tourism, marketing and development.

Tourism in Leeds

Leeds in West Yorkshire, England is a tourist destination. It has received several accolades in the field of tourism; including being voted by Condé Nast Traveler magazine Readers' Awards as the "UK's favourite city" in 2004, "Best English city to visit outside London" in 2005, "Visitor city of the year" by The Good Britain Guide in 2005 and was described as a great place to visit by Rough Guide in 2008.

In the 2017 Condé Nast Traveler survey of readers, Leeds rated 6th among The 15 Best Cities in the UK for visitors. Lonely Planet named Leeds as one of the top 10 cities to visit in 2017.


Traveleyes is the world’s first commercial international air tour operator (as distinct from a charity) that specialises in serving blind as well as sighted travellers. Established in 2005 by founder and director Amar Latif, the company is based in Leeds, West Yorkshire.


VisitEngland is the official tourist board for England.

Before 1999 it was known as the English Tourist Board and between 1999 and 2009 as the English Tourism Council. In 2003, it merged with the British Tourist Authority to form VisitBritain before re-launching as a separate corporate body in 2009. VisitEngland's stated mission is to "build England's tourism product, raise Britain’s profile worldwide, increase the volume and value of tourism exports and develop England and Britain’s visitor economy".

Welcome to Yorkshire

Welcome to Yorkshire (WTY) is the official tourism agency for the traditional county of Yorkshire, the UK's largest county, promoting Yorkshire tourism both nationally and internationally. It was formerly known as the Yorkshire Tourist Board until 2009, but underwent a rebranding: a new Welcome to Yorkshire brand, a new website, the launching of various new marketing campaigns and a move to the present site in Leeds, West Yorkshire. The stated aim of the organisation is: 'to grow the county’s visitor economy'. The Chief Executive from 2008 until his resignation in March 2019 was Sir Gary Verity.

Nations and regions
Industry bodies
Tourist Destinations

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