Within the borders of the historic county of Yorkshire are areas which are widely considered to be among the greenest in England, due to the vast stretches of unspoiled countryside in the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors and to the open aspect of some of the major cities. Yorkshire has sometimes been nicknamed God's Own County.
Tourist attractions in Yorkshire
The city of York attracted 3.95 million visitors in 2004 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 are theNational 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.
Leeds is Yorkshire’s largest city based on resident population. Attractions include Roundhay Park, Leeds City Museum, Leeds Art Gallery and the Henry Moore Institute.
Sheffield is Yorkshire’s second largest city based on resident population. 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 is home to the National Media Museum, which was the third most visited tourist attraction in Yorkshire in 2008.
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. 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, toSpurn 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:
- 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.