15 Enthralling Facts About Yorkshire!
'Ey up! Pour yourself a Yorkshire Tea and get comfy, because you're about to learn all about Yorkshire!
Do you live in Yorkshire? Have you been to Yorkshire? Have you never even heard of Yorkshire? Whatever your level of expertise, these facts are for you! Yorkshire is a beautiful part of England - but do you know how big it is? Or which writers called it home? How about where you can visit a waterfall that literally turns things to stone? Read on - you're in for a treat! And stick around for more fun when you're done! You've learned a lot, so why not try our York quiz? Or learn some totally new facts - here are fifteen facts about the Arctic circle! Or maybe you'd prefer eleven facts about the River Thames?
1. It's the biggest county in the UK
Yorkshire is an amazing 2.9 MILLION acres big! It's actually divided into four smaller counties: North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and East Riding of Yorkshire. It's home to eight cities: Bradford, Doncaster, Kinston Upon Hull, Leeds, Ripon, Sheffield, Wakefield, and of course - York! Despite being so big, only about 5 and half million people live in Yorkshire. For comparison, almost 9 million people live in London!
2. It has 800 conservation areas
Yorkshire is known for its beautiful and striking landscapes, and it contains one-third of all national park space in the UK! Parts of the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales are in the county, but you'll also find the beautiful and atmospheric North Yorkshire Moors there. It's also home to some amazing wildlife, including hares, barn owls, black grouse, red kites, otters, and the majestic red squirrel! If you're outdoorsy, a trip to Yorkshire should be on your to-do list!
3. There are some unique pubs there!
Britain is a nation that loves pubs, and Yorkshire has some of the most interesting ones you can visit! Quite a few pubs claim to be the oldest pub in Britain, and the Bingley Arms is one of them! It claims to date from somewhere between AD 905 and AD 953, though the current building is from the 18th century. Historians think it probably isn't actually the oldest pub, but no one knows which pub can claim the title! Yorkshire is also home to Britain's highest pub, the Tan Hill Inn, which stands at 1,732 feet above sea level and will give you gorgeous views over the Yorkshire Dales. In 2009 people celebrating New Year's Eve were snowed in at the Tan Hill Inn for three days!
4. It's home to some awesome sports stars
If you're a footie fan, you'll love this - Yorkshire is home to the oldest football club in the world, Sheffield FC! It was founded in 1857 and has been going strong ever since. Yorkshire is also the birthplace of a lot of successful athletes, including Jessica Ennis-Hill, Nicola Adams and Ed Clancy. Here's an amazing fact - if Yorkshire was its own country, it would have come 12th at the 2012 Olympics! Yorkshire athletes won 7 gold, 2 silver and 3 bronze medals.
5. The Vikings landed there
Yorkshire is home to some awesome Viking history! Vikings were warriors from Scandinavia who travelled across the sea to conquer foreign lands. In the 9th century Vikings settled in Yorkshire for the first time - they had raided Britain before, but this marked their first time staying. Viking settlers adopted the Christian religion, and had a major influence on British culture, especially the art of stone carving. You can learn all about Yorkshire's Viking roots in the Jorvik visitor centre in York!
6. Some amazing writers are from Yorkshire
Yorkshire is also a literary hub, with lots of famous writers calling it home. The most famous are probably the Brontë sisters. These three women lived in the early Victorian era, and were famous poets and novelists. Charlotte Brontë's bet known novel is Jane Eyre, while Emily Brontë wrote Wuthering Heights and Anne Brontë wrote The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. As children, they used to spend time with their brother Branwell writing stories and making up imaginary kingdoms. Other famous Yorkshire writers include J.B. Priestley, Alan Bennett, Susan Hill, WH Auden, and Kate Atkinson. Lots of great stories are set on Yorkshire, too - Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden is a beautiful book, and the film is good too!
7. The food is great
And we're not just talking about Yorkshire pudding! Yorkshire is also home to Pontefract cakes (liquorice sweets), Wensleydale cheese, Yorkshire crab, lamb roast, fat rascal cakes, parkin, and of course Yorkshire tea! Betty's Tea Room is a Yorkshire institute, founded in 1919 and known for its posh afternoon teas. And, if you've got refined tastes, you'll be thrilled to know there are seven Michelin-starred restaurants in the county!
8. It was a BIG holiday destination
Back before commercial air travel was a thing, people used to go on holiday by train (or by boat, if they were very adventurous!). This meant that if you lived in the UK and could afford to go on holiday, you'd probably be doing it somewhere else in Britain! The fashionable place to go was the great British seaside, and the first seaside resort was in Scarborough, Yorkshire! In 1626 a woman named Elizabeth Farrow discovered an acidic spring in Scarborough, and the water was believed to have healing properties. Visitors started flocking to the town in 1660, and Scarborough soon grew into a holiday destination! Other towns followed suit, and seaside towns continued to be hugely popular in Britain up until the mid 20th century.
9. It played a big part in making Britain modern
The Industrial Revolution was when Britain led the world in changing from handmade to machine-made goods. It took place from the 1760s to the 1840s, and it was a time when enormous technological and social change happened. Yorkshire changed a lot in the 19th century, as it was a place where a lot of factories, mines, railways, mills and workshops were built. Sheffield was (and still is) famous for its steel industry, and you can visit the National Railway Museum and the National Coal Mining Museum in Yorkshire. Yorkshire was also the centre of workers' rights - the conditions for steel workers were particularly bad, and led to the forming of trade unions.
10. The Romans used to rule from Yorkshire!
The UK has a lot of Roman history, and for a very brief period, the Roman Empire used York as its homebase! Emperor Septimius Severus lived in York between 208 and 211 AD. You can still see some bits of Roman history in the city, like the Multangular Tower at the York Museum Gardens, which was one of four towers attached to the old Roman fortress. If you go to Yorkshire Museum, you can see four galleries worth of Roman treasures!
11. You can visit the UK's oldest tourist attraction in Yorkshire!
Mother Shipton's Cave in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, is the oldest registered tourist attraction in the UK - it's been hosting visitors since 1630! According to legend the cave is the birthplace of soothsayer and prophetess Ursula Southeil, aka Mother Shipton. The attraction includes a petrifying well, or "dropping well", which is a waterfall so rich in sulphate and carbonate that items held in the running water for a long time turn into stone!
12. The UK's biggest earthquake happened in Yorkshire!
Earthquakes aren't really a problem in the UK, but that doesn't mean they don't happen! Several hundred happen each year, but most are far too faint for us to feel. This was not the case in 1931, when a North Sea earthquake caused cliffs to crumble in Flamborough Head and chimneys to collapse in Hull, Beverley and Bridlingham (also, in London the head of a waxwork at Madame Tussaud fell off)! One woman reportedly died of a heart attack caused by the quake, but other than that there were no casualties and Britain hasn't experienced any earthquakes that strong since.
13. Maybe you'll see a vampire...
In Bram Stoker's famous 1897 novel Dracula, the vampire count arrives in Britain via a shipwreck near Whitby, and he's seen running up the steps to the ruined abbey in the ghastly form of a black dog. Some of the scariest scenes in the book take place in Whitby, including a terrifying attack on Lucy Westenra on a church bench. Bram Stoker stayed in Whitby and you can definitely tell he was inspired by the atmosphere in his spooky, atmospheric prose. Who knows, if you visit Whitby you might even see a vampire - if you're visiting during the biannual Whitby Goth Weekend, you're bound to!
14. You can visit a medieval street in York!
York is home to the Shambles, one of the oldest streets in Britain (though Lady Row in Goodramgate, also in York, is actually older). The Shambles is famous for its preserved medieval buildings that look wonky and whimsical! The name comes from its older name The Great Flesh Shambles, probably from the Anglo-Saxon word fleshammels, because it actually used to be a sort of open-air slaughterhouse, containing more than thirty butcher's shops at one point!
15. Yorkshire has a seriously special sweet shop
Yorkshire is home to the oldest sweet shop in Britain, in Pately Bridge, which has been in business since 1827. It used to hold the Guinness World Record for the oldest sweet shop in the world (and it still calls itself this), but Guinness later gave the title to Ichimonjiya Wasuke in Kyoto, Japan, which has been trading since 1000 AD! Still, never mind - who doesn't want to buy traditional candies and chocolates in a Victorian shop?