Visit England is exactly what it says on the tin. It is the official tourist board for England and acts as the first sample of Englishness for potential visitors. Each year it awards the best tourist attractions in the country with five different categories – Welcome, Gold, Hidden Gem, Quality Food & Drink or Best Told Story. There are 86 attractions in the country highlighted by Visit England under these categories and a big chunk of them sit in Yorkshire. Thirteen in total are listed in God’s Own County which makes up an impressive 15% of the list. Here are some of our highlights:
Understandably, the North Yorkshire city of York features frequently. Home owners and regular visitors to York will always tell you that the city centre is constantly thriving with tourists wanting to sample some of York’s narrow streets and historic attractions.
But Visit England celebrates three of York’s museums in its Top Attraction’s list. The Jorvik Viking Centre and York Dungeon both feature in the Best Told Story category and rightly so. Both celebrate the history of the city and some of the most famous stories in the area which has recently included a “Return of the Vikings” exhibition at Jorvik and an exhibition on one of York’s most well-known sons, Guy Fawkes, at York Dungeon.
In the Hidden Gem category is the Richard III & Henry VII experience at Micklegate Bar which again looks to capture the story of medieval York under these monarchs.
Harrogate always features prominently in these lists but the two names mentioned aren’t the usual attractions that spring to mind when thinking of the North Yorkshire town but they are worthy entries. First, again in the Best Told Story category, is Ripley Castle and Gardens. Sitting north of Harrogate, Ripley Castle is much loved and really is a “remarkable piece of history”.
Second in Harrogate is RHS Harlow Carr Gardens. Another attraction that is much loved locally, Harlow Carr triumphs in the Gold category for all-round excellence. And as one of only four major Royal Horticultural Society gardens in England, Harlow Carr is a great visit – enough to convince the infamous Betty’s to open a tearoom there.
The city of Leeds features once on the list with the imposing and impressive ruins at Kirsktall Abbey included in the Welcome category. Kirkstall Abbey is free to explore and situated just outside the city centre means that it is easily accessible. It is also more than just abbey ruins with the gardens situated on the banks of the River Aire, the Abbey House Museum just across the road, a café and acting as the halfway point on the Kirkstall Abbey 10k Dash.
The National Children’s Museum – Eureka! – in Halifax also features on the list in the Welcome category.
Best of the Rest
Other Yorkshire attractions on the list and the category they featured for were:
Wilberforce House, Hull – Welcome
Captain Cook Memorial Museum, Whitby – Gold
Richmondshire Museum, Richmond – Hidden Gem
Green Howards Museum, Richmond – Hidden Gem
Spirit of Yorkshire Distillery, Hunmanby – Welcome
Yorkshire Wildlife Park, Doncaster – Welcome