23 March 2016, I’m in the audience at an all-singing-all-dancing “Inspiring Yorkshire” event at York’s Barbican. It’s purpose? To champion 2016 Yorkshire events and campaigns to promote tourism in God’s own county this year.
What are those 2016 Yorkshire events, I hear you cry? And can I go to them? You can indeed! Here’s a flavour of what you’ve got to look forward to if you visit the county during the spring and summer of 2016.
Cycling: Tour de Yorkshire, 29 & 30 April & 1 May 2016
Last year was the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire (TDY) built on the legacy of Yorkshire being the launching point for the Tour de France Grand Départ in 2014. The TDY attracted 1.5 million spectators last year. Yes, 1.5 million. You can be one of them, lining the three-stage race on 29 April, 30 April and 1 May this year.
Stage 1: Beverley to Settle, via towns including Tadcaster, Knaresborough, Pateley Bridge
Stage 2 (also the one-day women’s race route): Otley to Doncaster, via Harewood, Monk Fryston and more
Stage 3: Middlesbrough to Scarborough, via the North York Moors National Park, Whitby and Robin Hoods Bay
The women’s race has upped the ante this year; with cycling world champion Lizzie Armistead flying the Yorkshire flag through her home town of Otley.
Expect a party atmosphere, and numerous “Wiggo” (Bradley Wiggins, cycling God) facial hair parodies. And some very fast cyclists whizzing past.
Food and drink: Tour de grub de Yorkshire 2016
Ok, so I added “grub” in there with a bit of Yorkshire artistic licence! The good folks at Welcome to Yorkshire have pulled together their recommended eateries along the Tour de Yorkshire route.
I go along with their recommendation of The Beehive at Thorner; their French Wednesday evening dinner deal is an absolute winner. As for the rest; I need to go and sample them!
Arts: The Yorkshire Festival, 16th June – 3rd July 2016
The programme for this hasn’t been fully announced yet, but apparently there’ll be a Nile extravaganza on 18th June, as well a Big Disco dance-off where we all dance under a glitter ball on 1st July. Sounds like fun! Keep an eye on the Yorkshire Festival website for more details.
Other 2016 Yorkshire events
There are a gazillion other events going on in Yorkshire this spring and summer. Those above are ones I heard more about at the 23rd March Inspiring Yorkshire event. A few selected others include:
3rd April & 5 June 2016: Thunder Day at the Yorkshire Air Museum
21st-24th April 2016: The Harrogate Flower Show
10th July 2016: York Dragon Boat races
12th-14th July 2016: The Great Yorkshire Show, Harrogate
Getting to Yorkshire: Fly to (and from) Doncaster!
Doncaster isn’t exactly known as a tourism hotspot. Although with a Wildlife Park, a world-renowned horse-race (The St Leger) and some rather fine stately homes nearby, perhaps it should get more credit.
Airline FlyBe have seemingly seen the potential of this under-visited but well-connected part of Yorkshire, by announcing new flights to the slightly confusingly named Doncaster Sheffield Robin Hood airport.
Us Yorkshire folk may not want to escape God’s own county, but – if we do – Paris, Amsterdam and Berlin are just some of the destinations on offer. Returns to the latter can be found for less than £80 (guess where I’ll likely be going on a city break!)
Of course, the extra promotion of Doncaster Sheffield airport is also designed to encourage visitors to the region; as an alternative to Leeds Bradford airport.
My 2016 Yorkshire events
I’ll be checking out the new spa facilities at upmarket waterpark Alpamare – due to open in Scarborough; getting my Thunder on at the Yorkshire Air Museum on 5th June; and perhaps even dancing under a giant glitter disco ball on 1st July. I’ll also be finding out if Doncaster Sheffield Robin Hood airport can offer service and value as comprehensive as its name 🙂