Yorkshire, England’s Finest County?

02 Yorkshire

I have been challenged several times for neglecting to visit more places in the United Kingdom and so after many years avoiding UK travel opportunities we set off for a couple of days into neighbouring Yorkshire together with my sister Lindsay and her husband Mick .

It seemed appropriate to do so because they live in Gloucestershire in the south of England and confessed to me that they have never  visited England’s largest county.  After setting off we  passed from Lincolnshire, the second largest county, into Yorkshire across the stunning Humber Bridge which spans the estuary of the same name and which separates the two English heavy-weight counties.

At almost one and a half miles long the Humber Suspension Bridge is the seventh largest of its type in the World.  This statistic used to be even more impressive because when it was first opened in 1981, and for the next sixteen years, it was the longest single-span suspension bridge in the World and the distance by road between Hull and Grimsby was reduced by nearly fifty miles as a consequence of the construction and put the ferry company immediately out of business.

We were making our first stop at the Cathedral City of York which is somewhere that I have visited several times before.  This is me in 1980, I used to really like that jacket, it was reversible, burgundy and grey and I think the sleeves zipped out but I always preferred the burgundy!

York 1980

I don’t know why I keep going back to York because I would never include it in a top ten of favourite places in England.  It is touristy and busy and getting in and out in a car is really, really difficult because the old medieval road layout is completely unsuitable to cope with the volume of modern day traffic and there is almost always severe congestion.

And parking is at a premium and expensive.  Yes, there is Park and Ride but who wants to leave their car five miles out in a field and then crawl into the city on an overcrowded bus?  We found a car park near the centre and eventually paid a whopping £11 for two and a half hours parking.  If I was staying any longer I would have needed to arrange for a bank loan.  I couldn’t help but notice that there was defribillator placed conveniently next to the pay station.

Kim tells me that I am getting old and grumpy and that my expectation of fees and charges has been firmly left behind in about the year 2000, maybe even 1990,  but the plain fact is that I just find York expensive.  The Castle Museum costs £12, the Jorvik Centre £20 and York Minster (second largest Gothic Cathedral in Northern Europe after Cologne in Germany) is £11.50.  I really resent paying to visit a Cathedral, last week I went to Madrid and it was free.  Lots of Cathedrals charge these days, Westminster Abbey is a massive £22 which makes Lincoln look a bargain at only £8.  The most visited Cathedral in England is in Durham and that is free!


To be fair, I have to say that my favourite museum in York is the National Railway Museum which doesn’t charge an entry fee but spoils that with extortionate car parking charges.  I’ll tell you about the National Railway Museum in another post.

Another thing that I don’t like about York is, and this has to be said, it isn’t especially attractive.  Yes in the centre there are one or two well preserved medieval streets around The Shambles area but there is also an awful lot of ill conceived and inappropriate 1960s redevelopment from a time when town planners and architects were tearing down historic buildings and replacing them with concrete and steel.  These people who were responsible should be retrospectively tracked down and sent to prison.

York is a city for tourists…

York Souvenir Shop

In consideration of all of this negativity you won’t be surprised that I wasn’t too disappointed to drive out of York and make our way in a North-Easterly direction towards the North Yorkshire coast at Whitby.  I expect I will go back again, I always do.

North Yorkshire is a truly magnificent county and not far out of the city we were motoring through wonderful countryside, rolling hills and green fields, wild flowers and hedgerows and punctuated every so often with picturesque and delightful towns and villages.

I could stir up a hornet’s nest of debate here but I ask the question, is North Yorkshire England’s finest county in respect of scenery and countryside?

Blogging pals may disagree and offer their own nominations, Sue from Nan’s Farm would probably agree with me but Derrick would surely argue for Hampshire and the New Forest, Brian for Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds, Lois for Somerset and the West Country, Simon may make a strong case for Nottinghamshire and Sherwood Forest, my friend Richard would say Rutland and its reservoir, but no, for me, there is something wild, ragged and romantic about the North and I include here of course Northumberland and Cumbria, and it is my favourite.

My pal Dai Woosnam would have none of it and say Wales is the best (and he has a point) and Anabel would surely make a case for Scotland but I am talking here about only England.

After the Dales we crossed into the Moors, a wild and striking Emily Brontë and Kate Bush landscape of boulders, heather, peat and gorse, both remote and enchanting in equal measure.  I liked it.

Eventually the North Sea came into view, surprisingly blue and sparkling brightly in the afternoon sunshine and we made our way towards the busy town of Whitby.  First to the Abbey where English Heritage charge £9 to visit what can only be described as a ruin and is an admission charge which makes York Minster look reasonable.  So we skipped it and enjoyed an hour or so in the traditional seaside resort port which I swear has more fish and chip shops in one place than I have ever seen before and afterwards heading out and towards our overnight accommodation just a mile or so out of the town.


72 responses to “Yorkshire, England’s Finest County?

  1. Well I never knew that; Lincolnshire the second largest, I always thought of it as a pip squeak county.
    I watched a program the other evening on The Great Bridges of Great Britain, and the Humber Bridge was IT for this week. What a magnificent structure and piece of engineering that is, I was absolutely gripped, I like programs like that.
    I must admit I didn’t see much of Yorkshire when I was in England, but what I did see I enjoyed.
    London holds nothing for me now, Cockney though I am,
    I liked Devon Somerset and Cornwall but I do believe I like Yorkshire more, might be something to do with the beer and fish and chips and of course the Railway museum and the cathedral


    • Spot on Brian, the north has a lot more to offer than the south. I once worked in Southend and persuaded an Essex man to take a holiday in Yorkshire. Before he went he told me that he had never been because it was all coal mines and factories but when he came back he was a convert.


  2. Cathedrals should have free entry. I totally agree


  3. Wé visit price goes up.expensive yes…


  4. Andrew – you are spot on with your description and feelings about York. I have similar thoughts whenever I go there. Yorkshire is a great county though with so much variety.


  5. Yorkshire brings to mind all the books by James Herriot 😊


  6. Being a naive Australian searching for old stuff, I loved York, though I caught the train from Manchester so didn’t have to worry about the exorbitant parking fees. I agree about the amounts they ask for cathedrals and so I was surprised and delighted to wander into Chichester’s lovely cathedral for nothing. That was the only one, though. They could charge less and get more people through, surely. In two trips over, I still haven’t seen Westminster Abbey for that reason.


    • Hi Coral and thanks for stopping by. The issue for me about English Protestant Cathedrals is that they are so plain and dull. Much better to visit a Catholic Cathedral in Italy or Spain!


  7. Yorkshire – God’s own country, with such an endorsement there’s nothing more to be said!

    Andrew you missed out big time with the park and ride facilities in York, they are first class with not a field in sight. Purpose built free car parks with rest rooms and toilets and cheap return bus travel (ten minute intervals) to various points in the city. I’ve yet to travel on an over crowded one.

    I love York and drive over often (45 minutes away) it’s steeped in history, I feel it and soak it up, and each time I visit I learn something new. Like many other old cities there are parts that planners have ruined but I no longer notice those.

    I fell in love with York when one my daughters did her teacher training at St John’s University, until then I hardly ever visited. She stayed on and lived there for a few years and I became a regular visitor.

    Driving up and over the Dales is something I do a lot, I love the wide open spaces and I have yet to see anything quite as lovely, even on the bleakest of Yorkshire days.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Sue, thanks for stopping by. My issue with York is that it is just so greedy, it picks the pockets of its visitors.
      I agree with you about Yorkshire of course, I lived for a few months in Richmond and really loved it there!


  8. No, cathedrals in France (incl. Notre Dame) don’t charge for admission. Visiting museums and stately homes (chateaux) isn’t too expensive either. Whenever French friends visit UK they come back moaning about the cost of everything.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh, and Batters! Totally agree, far too American, we are adopting too many of their words and phrases and are now in danger of losing our Englishness or Britishness!
    Actresses are now Actors so yes, why not just call them batsmen!


  10. Perhaps we all favour what we know – within reason. Having grown up in Wimbledon I always thought Surrey the best county. After 19 years in Newark I could have batted for Nottinghamshire. Now in Hampshire you are correct in your assumption. My maternal grandfather was a Yorkshireman of few words – I think he spoke to me once. Geoff Boycott had a moaning rival in Nottingham’s own Rottweiler, Brian Moore. I am, incidentally, waiting for batsperson, or even Batwoman

    Liked by 2 people

  11. P.S. You make a good case for Yorkshire’s countryside; it must be 25 years since I was last in York. You deter me from returning

    Liked by 1 person

    • No Derrick, do not be deterred, take in the atmosphere of the history and enjoy.

      Most of the old shops, although obviously geared to tourists are more sympathetic to the history than the naff shop front image Andrew showed us.
      The Viking Centre in the middle of York is amazing and really worth the visit. There is also an open Roman dig and just outside York is a reconstructed Viking Village, I accompanied school trips and it was an interesting and fascinating day out!
      Drive into the Dales, take in the breath taking views and smell the fresh air free of traffic pollution and people.

      Oh I feel another Yorkshire blog coming on!

      Liked by 2 people

  12. I don’t know Yorkshire well enough to comment, but I agree about the museum charges.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Great post! Really enjoyed reading about Yorkshire. About scenery, I’m going to have to be loyal to my upbringing and make a case for Devon; rolling hills and fields, beaches, cliffs and coves and seasides. Holds its own in architecture and historical significant buildings.

    Mount Edgecombe and Looe alone are worth a daytrip and the photos!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Whitby is the place I would like to return to….

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Well, I would certainly make a case for parts of Scotland being exceptionally beautiful, but there are parts of England I love too. The north-east and Yorkshire made me so they would be top of my list. Also the Lakes, preferably out of season, but even in summer if you avoid the honeypots you can often lose the crowds. I haven’t been to Wales In over 30 years and, to my shame, I’ve never been to Northern Ireland so can’t comment on them. Certainly, the more blogs I read the more places in the British Isles go on my list of must visits!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I’ll be in the UK next year and was planning a few days in York, because I’ve never been. Now you’re making me reconsider.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Just one day in York? Really? Okay, back to the drawing board.


  18. There are many Australians who spend money on long trips by air to visit Europe and Asia and North America but they have never been outside Sydney or Melbourne and therefore know little about their own country. Anyway I’m stuck here now and really enjoy your visits to Europe and England. PS. do you do Scotland?


  19. York has terrible connotations for me, ever since a young friend of my son’s drowned there. A hideous ending. On a sunny day the walls and riverside can look appealing but I’ve also seen it after floods. Yes, let’s shout up for Durham, Andrew! 🙂 🙂


  20. What a beautiful abbey


  21. Never really fancied heading to Yorkshire, not entirely sure why. Personally, not a fan of tourist places so this hasn’t persuaded a visit to York. However, Halifax is tempting. After watching Gentleman Jack recently, the countryside looks stunning. Have you been?


  22. Pingback: Newark-on-Trent, The English Civil War and The Castle | Have Bag, Will Travel

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