We’re excited to celebrate Yorkshire Day on 1st August. It’s the biggest county in the UK and, as a business with Yorkshire roots, we must say we really do love the region and the events that happen here.
Whilst we know many events have had to be cancelled or postponed this year, we can’t wait to see them come back stronger than ever in the months and years to come!
That’s why we’re rounding up just some our fave Yorkshire events, awarding each one ‘best in class’ for its contribution to our county’s events scene…
The annual music event, Leeds Festival, draws in crowds of over 100,000 over the weekend and has attracted big headliners such as Kings of Leon, Panic! At The Disco, Foo Fighters and many more.
If you haven’t heard of this one, well, the clue’s in the name. The Great Yorkshire Show attracts over 130,000 people over three days. Though agriculture is the main focus of the event, there’s plenty of food, shopping and live entertainment to enjoy too.
Yorkshire is the home of the Brontë family, Simon Armitage, Alan Bennett and many more iconic writers, poets and playwrights. So the fantastic Ilkley Literature Festival gets our vote for one of the best literary events in the country. It was launched by W.H.Auden in 1973 and has since gone on to welcome some of the most famous writers in modern history. The festival showcases over 250 events in a variety of locations within Ilkley and beyond, making it a truly immersive and innovative literature festival.
The Harrogate Flower Show musn’t be missed! The horticultural show happens biannually, both in spring and autumn, and welcomes almost 100,000 visitors and 1,000 exhibitors each year. Considering the Chelsea Flower Show is attended by 157,000 visitors we must say we’re proud of the Harrogate Flower Show’s achievements.
Choosing just one festive event was a tough task. We’re big fans of Christmassy extravaganzas and smaller, more intimate festive celebrations happening throughout the county. But York’s Christmas festival, St Nicholas Fair, is an award-winning festive spectacular. It’s got everything you need to get into the spirit of the season, including plenty of mulled wine stalls to keep your fingers toasty warm. It brings over £57million into the city each year and over 350,000 visitors – we’d call that a major success.
The Yorkshire Dales Food and Drink Festival often welcomes a stellar line-up of guests such as Mary Berry and the Hairy Bikers – plus over 200 exhibitors! The weekend’s festivities take place in Skipton each summer, with foody demonstrations happening each day as well as a programme of live entertainment.
Yes, Yorkshire does host a series of marathons and sporting events each year… but our award for the best race simply has to go to the iconic Great Knaresborough Bed Race. Described as “part fancy dress pageant and part gruelling time trial”, the race has been happening in the North Yorkshire town since 1966. 90 teams of six runners and a passenger decorate their beds for a ‘best dressed’ competition, before setting off on a challenging race through the town. It is, of course, a fantastic community event but it does also raise money for charity with totals rising to around £100,000 some years.
Yorkshire is well known for its culture and creativity. Leeds International Film Festival is a firm favourite of the region. It’s the largest film festival in England, not including London. It showcases hundreds of films from around the world each year. There’s something for everyone, ranging from special previews and short films through to forgotten gems and new genres.
The Dark Skies Festival simply has to get a mention. The North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales National Park Authorities have collaborated since 2016 to develop a programme of events celebrating Yorkshire’s natural beauty. From stargazing through to guided tours and walks there’s no better opportunity to look up at the stars.
Millions of people line the streets across the region to watch the annual Tour De Yorkshire. The free event is a relatively new addition to the Yorkshire calendar, having started in 2015 following the 2014 Tour de France visit. The event generates over £60million each year for the Yorkshire economy, and beautifully showcases Yorkshire’s stunning countryside!
Love hot air balloons? Did you know there’s a whole weekend event dedicated to them? Step forward the York Balloon Fiesta. The skies of York will be filled with hot air balloons, while the grounds of York Racecourse will be filled with funfairs, food stalls and entertainment tents.
The Haworth 1940s weekend is a nostalgic celebration of the 40s. Displays of military vehicles, collectable stalls and much more makes for a fantastic day out. Plus, it’s a great excuse to dress up and enjoy singing and dancing along to 40s music.
The biannual festival in Whitby brings together Steampunk aesthetic fans for a creative celebration of all things Steampunk, alternative and Gothic! Love the style of the Victorian era? It’s an unmissable chance to dress up and meet like-minded individuals. It also showcases Yorkshire’s eclectic style and varied events.
Years Old Yorkshire
We may no longer celebrate these characterful Yorkshire events, but that doesn’t mean we should forget about them! For example, did you know ferret-legging was a popular Yorkshire event that originated in Yorkshire many years ago? There are also dedicated sheep days, rhubarb festivals and plenty more!