Yorkshire Car Hire
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A few things about Yorkshire
- Yorkshire is the historically the UK’s largest county, before being broken up into North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and Humberside (also known as East Riding).
- Nicknamed ‘God’s Own County’ it’s perfect for leisurely driving, especially around its vast areas of unspoilt scenery such as the Yorkshire Dales and the Yorkshire Moors.
- In the London Olympics, Yorkshire was famed for its high proportion of successful athletes, winning a large amount of medals for the U.K. Athletes included Jessica Ennis from Sheffield (heptathlon), the Brownlea bothers Jonthan and Alistair from Leeds (triathlon), Nicola Adams from Sheffield (boxing), Ed Clancy from Huddersfield (velodrome).
- In fact, if Yorkshire was a country, it would be higher in the Olympic medal table than South Africa, Japan and Australia !
- Yorkshire covers almost 100 miles of the east coast of England with numerous seaside towns and beaches including Scarborough, Whitby, Briddlington and Filey.
- A combined population of over 5 millioin people and some of the UK's largest towns and cities are in Yorkshire, including Leeds (3rd largest city in the UK), Sheffield, York, Wakefield, Bradford, Huddersfield, Halifax, Barnsley and Hull.
- The Tour De France has visited Yorkshire twice in recent years.
Airports & Access: the main airports servicing Yorkshire are Leeds Bradford Airport (LBA) and Doncaster Sheffield Airport (DSA, formerly Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield). Also, Teeside International Airport is just to the north of Yorkshire proper, in Darlington, County Durham. Leeds Bradford Airport is signposted all around the area ̶ access is via the M1 and M62 motorways and by the A1. You can get to Doncaster Sheffield Airport from the north or south via the A1 or M18, from the west via the M62 and from the east by the M180. Doncaster Sheffield has flights to and from many European destinations, but also to far-flung places like Mexico, Africa, and Barbados!
Famous Yorkshire: The county has produced some famous names in a number of industries, sciences, and the arts. Harry Brearly (Sheffield) was the inventor of stainless steel, Captain James Cook (the sailor who ‘discovered’ Australia for Europeans) was born in Marton, Middlesbrough (formerly Yorkshire, now Teesside), Helen Sharman was the first British astronaut and hailed from Sheffield, as you’re driving around take a moment to think of Percy Shaw (Halifax), the inventor of cat’s eyes reflective road markers, William Bradford (Austerfield) was one of the original Pilgrim Fathers who left England for the US in 1620, and Guy Fawkes, famous for the Gunpowder Plot which targeted Parliament in 1605, came from York.
Guide to Yorkshire
About Yorkshire: this county is rich in history, with Romans, Celts, Angles, and Norse Vikings having all inhabited the area over the centuries. In 866 AD it was christened the capital of a new Viking city around Jorvik, which later became York. Yorkshire was the only truly Viking kingdom on mainland Britain, lasting for around 100 years. Subsequently, the Danelaw was a large area that upheld Viking laws and customs, and which stretched from Strathclyde in modern Scotland to London in the South, and included York. Richard III (of the Shakespeare play) was the last Yorkist king before the War of the Roses, a struggle for royal succession in 15th Century England.
In Yorkshire, cricket, rugby league, football, and horse racing are the most popular sports. The oldest horse race in the UK is here (the Kiplingcotes Derby, first run in 1519) and Yorkshire is recognised as the home of club football, with Sheffield United founded in 1857. Rugby League was founded in Huddersfield in 1895, and Yorkshire Cricket Club is the most decorated club, with more championship wins than any other county. In the UK everyone has heard of Yorkshire Pudding, a savoury pastry usually eaten with roast beef, but other firsts in the area include ginger beer (first made here the 18th Century), liquorice sweets, and a calorific empire of chocolate and confectionery factories ̶ Rowntree’s, Terry’s, and Thorntons. Let’s not forget the beer ̶ brewing has been done here since at least the 12th Century, and Yorkshire’s most famous drink is probably Bitter, a zesty, smooth, bold ale that’s perfect in a pint!
Yorkshire has produced too many writers to properly list: W.H. Auden, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Alan Bennett, the Brontë Sisters, Roger Hargreaves (of the Mr. Men books), and Ted Hughes all feature prominently in Yorkshire’s list of literary sons and daughters. The county has also produced many world-famous actors, including Sean Bean, Dame Judi Dench, Sir Ben Kingsley, Michael Palin, Sir Patrick Stewart, and many others.
Yorkshire is famous for its breath-taking scenery ̶ the view from Sutton Bank near Thirsk was described as ‘the finest view in England’ by James Heriot, local vet and well-known author. The North York Moors National Park, Yorkshire Dales National Park, and part of the Peak District National Park are among the many natural beauty spots of the area. The highest mountain in the county is Mickle Fell at 2,585 feet, or 788 metres above sea level, while the Howardian Hills and Nidderdale are designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Cliffs and Vampires
Yorkshire has stunning seaside scenery too – Flamborough Head, Spurn Point and the coastal North York Moors are Heritage Coast areas. There are cliffs in Whitby, Filey and Flamborough Head and Whitby Abbey provided Dracula author Bram Stoker inspiration after he stayed here in 1890. Yorkshire even has beaches too ̶ Scarborough is the UK’s oldest seaside resort (dating back to the 17th Century), while Whitby Harbour has been voted the UK’s best beach.
Called ‘forces’ in the local area, there are a number of waterfalls in Yorkshire. High Force is perhaps the most famous, where the River Tees drops 22 metres (72 feet) over the Whin Sill, an unusual rock protrusion. Slightly higher is Hardraw Force near Wensleydale (of the cheese fame) at 30 metres (98 feet), although High Force has a greater volume of water.
Things to do in Yorkshire
When the ladies (and man) of the writing dynasty the Brontës arrived in 1821 in Haworth, the village most connected with them, it was a fetid industrial town. Thankfully it is now a beautifully preserved village perched high on Haworth Moor, full of tiny boutiques and steep, cobbled streets. Start your tour at the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth, Keighley, West Yorkshire. Adult tickets are £9.50 and children’s tickets are just £4. They have group tours, VIP tours, and there are guides in many languages inside. Head South from Keighley on the A629 and follow the brown Tourist Information signs.
There are so many options for walkers in Yorkshire – nature walks, archaeology walks, moorlands, valleys and crags to explore – little wonder that the Yorkshire Dales National Park receives 3 million visitors annually on its 2,500+ kilometres of trails and paths. The North York Moors National Park is slightly smaller (it’s still 550 mi2!) but just as inviting, with downloadable maps, guided tours, and so much more.
York Minster is the cathedral of York and one of the largest in Northern Europe. Completed in 1472 after centuries of construction (although the site has been in use as a place of worship since the 7th Century), this absolutely majestic cathedral is dedicated to St. Peter and has features such as the Great East Window, the largest structure of stained glass in the world. Take the 1-hour guided tour or a tower walk so you can ascend the 275 heady steps to the top.
Eating out in Yorkshire
There are so many dining options in Yorkshire, as it’s such a large and varied area. Nevertheless, we’ve picked out some top places to eat out in Yorkshire below.
The Shibden Mill Inn in Halifax has a reputation as one of the best hotel and restaurants in the area. It’s multi-award winning, and was voted Yorkshire’s favourite pub two years running. In 2019 it was included in the prestigious Estrella Damm list of top 50 gastropubs in the UK.
On the edge of the Yorkshire Dales in the quaint village of Sedbergh is the award-winning Black Bull Inn. Combining modern British flavours with subtle Asian influences (the Head Chef has German-Japanese ancestry) it also featured in the top 50 UK gastropubs list (of Estrella Damm fame). Formerly a 17th Century coaching inn, it blends traditional pub features like roaring fires and wooden floors in communal areas with ultra-modern styles in its hotel rooms (three of which are dog-friendly!).
Delectable drinking dens
Described as ‘Sheffield’s favourite night time snug’, Gatsby’s is open until 3AM and boasts the city’s largest selections of liquors, with locally sourced produce and an emphasis on house-made ingredients. It has a large beer garden, and currently they’re offering the Hip Hop Bottomless Brunch, with two courses, a side, and bottomless drinks for just £23.40.
Classic pub grub
Finally we have the Beck & Call, a traditional, family-friendly gastropub in a lovely leafy suburb of North Leeds. They have traditional pub food, gastropub classics (all made in-house) and mouth-watering snacks like their famous Scotch Eggs. The Sunday roast (a traditional British dish) is well-known as being one of the best in Leeds.
Transport in Yorkshire
The main airports servicing Yorkshire are Leeds Bradford Airport (LBA) and Doncaster Sheffield Airport (DSA, formerly Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield). You’ll see prominent signs for Leeds Bradford Airport throughout the area, and you can access it via the M1 and M62 motorways and the A1. Meanwhile, you can reach Doncaster Sheffield Airport from the north or south from the A1 or M18, from the west by the M62, and from the east via the M180.
Furthermore, there are several large airports within an approximate 2-hour driving radius: Manchester Airport (MAN) is 61 miles (100 km) from Yorkshire (depending on which part, obviously), Newcastle (NCL) is 78 miles (125 km) away, and Liverpool (LPL) is just over 80 miles, making all of these larger airports quite accessible.
Yorkshire is well served by various railways.
Grand Central Rail offers three trains daily between London and Bradford, as well as other locations within Yorkshire, while Northern Rail runs services across the north, including direct access to the North York Moors, Yorkshire Dales, the Peak District and the coast.
The Settle-Carlisle line is famous as one of the world’s most scenic railway routes, spanning deep valleys and towering limestone peaks, not to mention that Victorian engineering marvel, the 24-arch Ribblehead viaduct. Other heritage train lines include the North Yorkshire Moors Railway (featuring steam or heritage diesel engines), and the Wensleydale Railway goes through 16 miles of stunning scenery to the Yorkshire Dales National Park and Bolton Castle.
Driving Around Yorkshire
In order to fully enjoy driving around Yorkshire, we’ve included some tips to keep you mobile and free of traffic (even sheep traffic).
If you like to avoid driving in city traffic, why not use Park and Ride? Drop your car in the secure car park, jump on the bus or train and be whisked into the town/city centre in comfort, without any of the hassle of finding a space and paying for a parking ticket. Leeds, Sheffield, York, Scarborough (seasonal), Doncaster and Whitby all have Park and Ride systems, popular with tourists and commuters alike.
Yorkshire has rain all year round (although not constantly, of course) so follow these simple tips to stay safe on the roads.
Keep your headlights on (dipped, not full-beam), even during the day. In some studies this has been shown to reduce accidents by 15% in normal weather, and by much more in very wet weather.
Double the space between your car and the vehicle in front of it in wet weather and don’t drive in water that is more than 10 cm (4 inches) deep.
Aquaplaning happens when water forms a cushioned surface between your tyres and the ground. While it can happen at speeds as low as 30 mph (50 kph), it’s most likely after 54 mph. And once you hit 70 mph (110 kph), your car will rarely touch the ground at all, so please don’t speed in rainy weather and take extra care on motorways!
The usual checks are always advisable before winter driving, so please follow standard motoring guidelines and check local weather conditions.
- There’s so much relaxing yet awe-inspiring driving in Yorkshire ̶ here are a few favourite trips:
- Known locally as Buttertubs Pass, the high, winding road from Hawes to Thwaite offers superb views of the Yorkshire Dales countryside and formed part of the route of the 2014 Tour de France.
- Meanwhile, the Stainforth to Malham road is a narrow, steep road in the Yorkshire Dales which ends in the picturesque village of Malham – don’t forget to visit Malham Cove while you’re there.
- Alternatively, Long Causeway is a classic Yorkshire drive which takes you from Keld to Langthwaite and offers views of some of the county’s highest peaks. This 13-mile (20 km) drive takes you past the famous Tan Hill Inn, the UK’s highest pub, and is often surprisingly empty of traffic despite its popularity.
- Whitby to Hutton-le-Hole via Smith’s Lane provides breath-taking views of the North Yorkshire Moors national park. Be careful of the sheep in Hutton-le-Hole, which roam freely throughout the village, including on the roads!
- The scenic Yorkshire coast may be best enjoyed on the winding Whitby to Scarborough road via the beautiful village of Robin Hood’s Bay.
Hiring a car is the best way for visitors to get around this vast and beautiful area of England, a Toyota Aygo or similar (mini size) starts from just £7 a day, an economy sized car from just £9 a day, while a Ford Kuga or similar (intermediate size) starts from about £12 a day and a premium-size car comes in at upwards of around £20 a day. These prices are calculated daily, subject to change and generally the further in advance you can book, the larger the discount. Rent a car with Enjoy Car Hire and you can explore the idyllic Yorkshire countryside knowing that you’re in good hands.
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