Ee by gum: 6 common misconceptions about Yorkshire
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The historic county of Yorkshire is the biggest in the U.K., and certainly one of the most famous. However, its size, prominence and location smack bang in the middle of the U.K. does not mean that everybody knows the truths behind God’s own county.
I’m a Yorkshire lad born and bred and over the years, these are some of the most common assumptions I’ve heard about Yorkshire versus the reality you’ll find when you take your first trip up north.
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1. Yorkshire is one county
Even I fall foul of one of the greatest Yorkshire misconceptions. Yorkshire is, in fact, made up of four English counties. North Yorkshire (including Harrogate, York and the Dales), South Yorkshire (Sheffield and the Peak District), West Yorkshire (Leeds and Bradford) and East Riding of Yorkshire (Hull and Beverley).
Arm yourself with this knowledge for your next Zoom quiz.
2. The only tea in Yorkshire is Yorkshire Tea
Whilst a fan favourite, the leaves that Yorkshire Tea is made from are not actually grown in Yorkshire, but rather across various locations in India and Kenya. It gets its name because the leaves are blended by Taylors of Harrogate, in Harrogate of course — a gorgeous North Yorkshire spa town.
Not only is there a wider variety of tea available in Yorkshire, but there are also some incredible places to try it. Number one on my list is the sister company of Taylors, Bettys Tearooms. Bettys was founded in 1919 and has six locations across Yorkshire, but my favourite is the Harrogate cafe. Don’t miss the famous Yorkshire rarebit for lunch, and enjoy your cup of Bettys Tea Room Blend tea with a “fat rascal” — a plump and fruity scone.
3. You need to be at the seaside for good fish and chips
Yorkshire has some stunning coastlines, but some of the best fish and chips can be found in its landlocked cities, such as Leeds.
The Fisherman’s Wife, formerly known as Graveley’s, located by Leeds Kirkgate Market (the market where Marks & Spencers set up shop in 1884) has been in business for 60 years and serves up better fish and chips than you’ll find by the sea.
I remember a fish and chips reviewer who seems to have disappeared from the internet once saying that although it pains him to say it as a Mancunian, Leeds has some of the best fish and chips the entire country has to offer.
4. For nature, there’s only the Yorkshire Dales
I grew up 20 minutes from the edge of the Dales, and they are a big hitter. You simply can’t deny their beauty and allure. However, they are not the only national parks in Yorkshire. There are two more, equally stunning national parks.
Firstly, the North York Moors, which is particularly beautiful in August as the heather flowers create a sea of purple.
Secondly, a large chunk of the Peak District national park falls within the boundaries of Yorkshire.
Nidderdale and the Howardian Hills also fall within Yorkshire and are designated as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
5. It’s all a bit country-bumpkin backwards
Amongst the natural beauty of God’s own county, there are some world-class cities — like Leeds, Sheffield and York. You’ll find Michelin-starred restaurants like The Man Behind the Curtain in Leeds and The Star Inn at Harome, which is housed in a 14th-century building near Helmsley.
If you’re wanting to shop till you drop, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to set that credit card on fire. Leeds is actually known as the Knightsbridge of the North, partly because it was the first location of Harvey Nichols outside London. Leeds in particular also has a wild and varied nightlife, and there are cultural hotspots all over Yorkshire for doses of music, museums, art and theatre.
6. For power and royalty, it’s all about London
Yorkshire holds its own when it comes to power and royalty. York is a particularly historic hotspot and was the effective capital of England for a period around 700 years ago, during the reign of Edward I. Clifford’s Tower remains a relic of old, first built after the Norman conquest of York in 1068.
There is also strong Celtic, Roman, and Viking history throughout the region.
For a more modern essence of royalty, head to the biggest outpost of the Royal Armouries outside of London, which houses the most important national collection of arms and armour in the world in a huge West Yorkshire museum.
The royal connections don’t end there. Not far from Harrogate is stunning Harewood House, home to a relative of the Queen’s, the Earl of Harewood. Alongside the stately home and magnificent grounds, which you might recognise from Downton Abbey, you’ll find lakes, a farm experience and beautiful bird gardens with flamingos and penguins.
Yorkshire has a lot more to offer than you might think. Whether you’re after stunning countryside walks, centuries of history or Michelin-starred food, when the time is right, head up north and see for yourself!
Featured photo by Edwin Remsberg/VWPics/Universal Images Group/Getty Images