12 Fun Facts About Yorkshire

There’s a reason why they call it God’s Own Country. Yorkshire has some of the most outstanding accolades of anywhere in the country, from the oldest visitor attractions to the highest pubs – and everything in between. If you need any other excuse to visit one of the best places on Earth, check out our list of fun facts about Yorkshire. 

1. Yorkshire is the largest county in the UK

Views of Yorkshire

Perhaps one of the best-known facts about Yorkshire, this one should come as no surprise. The UK’s largest county is actually divided into four separate counties: North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and the East Riding of Yorkshire.

If that wasn’t enough, these vast expanses are home to one-third of all the National Parks in England. God’s own country hosts the North York Moors, the Yorkshire Dales and the Peak District. These areas of outstanding natural beauty are just three of several visitor attractions in the area.

Looking to visit? Check out our guide to the best places to stay in Yorkshire.

2. Hungry? There are seven Michelin-starred restaurants in Yorkshire

A plate of Yorkshire Puddings

Proud Northerners will love to hold this over Londoners – there are seven Michelin-starred restaurants in Yorkshire, more than any other region outside the capital. Among them, you’ll find big names in the world of gastronomy including Tommy Banks, Shaun Rankin and Michael O’Hare.

Sample everything from traditional Yorkshire puddings on a Sunday roast to petite and inventive 12-course tasting menus. If you’re not sure what to choose, check out this list:

3. Yorkshire is home to world-class Olympians

One of our favourite fun facts about Yorkshire, this one’s great for sports lovers. Looking back to the 2012 Olympic Games held right here in the UK, we’ve got a few winners on the list. In fact, if Yorkshire was a country in its own right, it would have come 12th overall in the 2012 Olympic Medal Table.

In total, athletes from the county picked up seven gold, two silvers and three bronze medals. Big names included Jessica Ennis-Hill, Nicola Adams, Ed Clancy, Alistair Brownlee and Jonathan Brownlee.

4. The oldest pub in Britain is based in Yorkshire

There’s a fantastic pub culture in the Northeast, and this is by far one of the most interesting facts about Yorkshire! The UK’s oldest pub is based right here. The Bingley Arms, based in Bardsey, Leeds, dates back more than 1,000 years from when Vikings were conquering the country.

Pop in for a pint of Yorkshire ale or a bite of local cuisine – knowing you’re playing a part in the latest chapter of its history.

5. …while the highest pub in Britain is also in Yorkshire!

If you’re not afraid of heights, brace the altitude and head over to the Tan Hill Inn. This 17th-Century pub boasts the accolade of being the highest pub in Britain, built 1,732 feet above sea level. Book a dome and look out upon the Yorkshire Dales at this stunning restaurant and hotel.

You’ll find the Tan Hill Inn in Swaledale – the perfect pitstop for cyclists and walkers, including their four-legged friends.

6. Retail fanatics can shop ‘til they drop in Sheffield

Sheffield skyline

Got a few extra pounds that are burning a hole in your pocket? You’ll be spoilt for choice if you head down to South Yorkshire and visit Sheffield. The industrial city is home to Meadowhall, the largest shopping complex in Europe.

Here you’ll find 1.4 million sq ft of floor space with almost 290 stores, from your classic high street brands to independent boutiques. Whet your appetite with more than 50 places to eat or put your feet up at the centre’s on-site cinema.

7. There are two World Heritage sites in Yorkshire

Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire

If you’re looking for a little history and culture, be sure to head to Fountains Abbey and the Studley Royal Estate, two UNESCO World Heritage sites. Take a step back in time to the ruins of Fountains Abbey, which dates back to 1132.

Bring the camera and take in the sights of the area’s lush water gardens. To qualify as a UNESCO site, these areas need to demonstrate both natural beauty and human creative genius – putting them up there with such feats as the Great Wall of China. Make your way to Ripon and see it for yourself.

8. York Minster is the largest gothic cathedral in Northern Europe

York Minster

Up there with some of the best things to do in Yorkshire, York Minster is an absolute must. Presiding over the historic city of York since the 7th Century, the Minster is still a fully functional church with services every day. It’s also the largest gothic cathedral in Northern Europe and offers tours around the building, as well as the chance to scale the rooftops.

While you’re visiting, be sure to swing by the National Railway Museum or explore the shops on the world-famous York Shambles.

9. The world record for longest bunting was set in Yorkshire

We Brits love any excuse to get the bunting out – and the Tour de France is no exception. In 2014, the great cycle race was given a traditional Yorkshire welcome. Villagers in Cragg Vale made their best efforts to create a seven-mile stretch of bunting along the Tour de France route.

The bunting was made with curtains, tablecloths and even a butcher’s apron – with a whole lot of Yorkshire love.

10. Visit the UK’s oldest tourist attraction in Yorkshire

Head west en route to Harrogate and be sure to pop into the UK’s oldest tourist attraction. Mother Shipton’s Cave, based in Knaresborough, is said to be home to the world-famous prophetess. Here, you’ll find the Petrifying Well, which carries legends of how Mother Shipton would turn objects to stone.

This has been operating as a tourist attraction since 1630 – long before the days of TripAdvisor!

11. Yorkshire has a strong literary heritage

You may have heard of Brontë Country – just one of the hundreds of things that make Yorkshire famous. Based in Haworth, West Yorkshire, the sisters would collectively write literary masterpieces including Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. For those keen outdoor enthusiasts, take a hike along The Bronte Way, one of the best free attractions in Yorkshire.

That’s not all – Yorkshire was also home to famous names such as J.B. Priestley, Ted Hughes, Alan Bennett and Barbara Cartland. And if you’re into your theatre, it’s birthed big stars such as Dame Judi Dench, Sir Ben Kingsley, Sean Bean and Sir Patrick Stewart.

12. Take your pick of six national museums in Yorkshire

Railway Museum

From ancient history to feats of modern engineering, there is no end to the museums in Yorkshire. The county houses six national museums showcasing these incredible exhibits, including:

Have our fun facts about Yorkshire got you packing your bags ready to visit? Feel right at home without selection of holiday cottages in Yorkshire.