The largest of England’s counties, Yorkshire boasts an array of thriving cities, romantic unspoilt countryside and world-famous cuisine, all while maintaining a strong and unified cultural identity.

First-time visitors to God’s Own County will be spoilt for choice, with one destination topping the next. To help plan a trip to Yorkshire, here are six of her best towns and cities to explore.

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Beautiful Cartwright Hall in Bradford.

Bradford

Home to a plethora of secrets to uncover from understated Victorian heritage at the celebrated site of Saltaire to the country’s finest curry houses which awarded the city the title of Capital of Curry, the Saxon city of Broad Ford”, better known today as Bradford, sits at the feet of the Pennines close to Yorkshire Dales, and is the world’s first UNESCO City of Film.

Whether you spend your day at the National Media Museum, or admiring art at Cartwright Hall or the Salts Mill, be sure to end the day in the pursuit of real-ale on Bradford’s Ale Trail.

Got an extra day to kill? Seek out the small village of Haworth, a 25-minute drive west of Bradford, which was famously home to the Brontë sisters.

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Cherry trees in bloom, Harrogate.

Harrogate

Tea fanatics would do well to head to Harrogate, aka the home of Yorkshire Tea. By far the best place to enjoy a pot of proper Yorkshire tea is Bettys, but be prepared to queue: this iconic tea room is always busy.

A trip to Harrogate’s Turkish baths to try contemporary treatments in original Victorian surroundings is another must. Harrogate’s spa town status is celebrated at The Royal Pump Room Museum, where visitors can learn of the water’s many medicinal uses. Finish the day by splurging at the stylish shops in the cobbled Montpellier Quarter.

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Castle Hill as seen from Lockwood Cemetary. Photo by Tim Green.

Huddersfield

The birthplace of the late Prime Minister Harold Wilson, Huddersfield is having a moment. Huddersfield Town FC is finally back among the best, but there’s more to this West Yorkshire town than football. The colourful market town is also regarded as the birthplace of rugby league – the game was devised in the town’s George Hotel.

Sport aside, you’ve got award-winning Victorian architecture, beautiful parks and the ancient Castle Hill monument – all of which help make Huddersfield a real Northern gem.

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Millennium Square, Sheffield. 

Sheffield

The Steel City – as Sheffield is famously known – has had a makeover and emerged as a thriving northern city that’s chock full of world-class museums and galleries. Favourites include the Millennium Gallery, a vibrant venue that has regularly changing art exhibitions, and Kelham Island Museum which tells the city’s industrial story.

When you’ve had your fill of museums, amble away an afternoon in Sheffield Antiques Quarter bursting with tempting treasures. Then escape the crowds at the Botanical Gardens which were originally developed to act as lungs of the city”.

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The stunning Wakefield Cathedral.

Wakefield

The Hepworth Wakefield tends to dominate the headlines, having beaten the Tate Modern to be crowned the UK’s Museum of the Year in 2017. And rightly so: The Hepworth, named after renowned sculptor Barbara Hepworth and housed in a David Chipperfield-designed building, boasts an exceptionally curated calendar.

But Wakefield isn’t just about art: take a tour of Wakefield Cathedral to hear the history of this spectacular place of worship, before delving deeper into Wakefield’s heritage as you journey 140m underground at the National Coal Mining Museum for England.

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The Shambles in York, England.

York

If you visit just one city in Yorkshire, make it York. With its iconic gothic cathedral — take a bow York Minster — a myriad of museums, restaurants and pubs, it’s easy to lose yourself in the labyrinth-like cobbled streets and atmospheric alleyways of York.

Its rich history and a proud heritage are woven into virtually every brick and beam in the walled city, which can be seen throughout the Roman remains or archaeological site turned attraction, Jorvik.

One of the lesser known attractions, York’s Chocolate Story is one that should not the missed. While other Northern cities made their mark in manufacturing steel, wool or cotton, York made her wealth from chocolate. Learn the art of making the sweet treat or discover where Terry’s dreamed of chocolate orange and where Rowntree developed Kit Kat, Aero, Smarties, Rolo and the Quality Streets brand long before Fruit Pastels.

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