Para athlete Hannah Cockroft’s favourite things in Yorkshire

Hannah Cockroft

Hannah Cockroft - Credit: Archant

The Halifax-born athlete shares her top places for eat, shop and visit

Hannah Cockroft

Hannah Cockroft - Credit: British Athletics via Getty Imag

Something in Yorkshire that makes you smile:

It would have to be my two gold post-boxes from London 2012. Every time I drive past I can’t help but have a grin on my face. The games were just incredible to be a part of and definitely a stand out time in my career. I remember when I won gold and all of my neighbours were taking pictures of it, and yes, I’ve had my picture taken too!

A place you love to eat

There is a great place called Humble Pie’n’Mash in Whitby. It’s a little cottage that my mum found, you go in choose your pie from the menu of eight-ten flavours and it arrives with mash, peas and gravy and the best thing, it’s all homemade. It’s just so nice and not athlete food at all!

To take friends

Yorkshire Wildlife Park. I got to feed the giraffes a couple of years ago and I was just sold on the place. The animals and the staff are just amazing. Me and Mum have decided we are going for my birthday. Seeing things in the heart of the county that you just wouldn’t expect, who would’ve thought polar bears in Yorkshire?

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A childhood memory

Growing up sport was something I just didn’t do, I was a late starter. I did do dance lessons from the age of three - the girl who can’t really stand up wants to be a ballerina! Mum and dad went out and found Dance 4 All and every year we did a show at the Victoria Theatre in Halifax. I was always a step behind, couldn’t keep up but I loved it there and always felt happy. I was the first ever winner of the ‘Outstanding Achievement in Dance’ award. I stayed for seventeen years and only stopped going because I had to travel for races and couldn’t fit the lessons in but I still go back and watch shows.

A cultural go-to

As a Halifax girl, I have to say The Piece Hall. Whenever you tell people you’re from the town they used to mention the bank, now they mention this wonderful bit of history we have in the middle of our little town. It’s been renovated so brilliantly with the museum and all the quirky shops and lovely atmosphere. Jitterbug Jean is one of my favourites, I adore the clothes and of course Blondins for ice cream! I’m a patron and re-opened it a couple of years ago on Yorkshire Day by ringing the bell. That was special.

A Yorkshire view that inspires

The John Charles Centre for Sport in Leeds. They have a wheelchair racing club every Thursday, it’s where I used to train every week and it’s really where I got started. I remember when I got back from London 2012, the amount of new people whizzing around the track was very inspiring. If I’m having a day where the motivation maybe a bit lacking, it’s my place to go and everyone has a smile for you. It reminds me that what I do is a ridiculously fun way of making a living and if you’re not enjoying it, you’re not having fun. When you’re at the elite end of the sport it is a serious business but ultimately it’s fun.

A place for indulgence

I love afternoon tea and in Yorkshire we are totally spoilt for choice but one of my favourites is Wentbridge House near Pontefract. I’ve taken sponsors and friends for gorgeous meals and me and Mum love to indulge in some cake. Staff are brilliant and nothing is too much trouble.

More places for afternoon tea in Yorkshire here about teatime places

I’m never happier than when

I’m shopping! For accessibility The White Rose Centre in Beeston, Leeds makes for an easy day out. Everything is on the same level, there are lifts and plenty of shops. It’s great to have some retail therapy and I think through lockdown we’ve missed that. I love to wander round and spend money. I do think we have some amazing towns and cities in Yorkshire and if I’m with a friend, Leeds is great for retail.

Three words that sum up your best Yorkshire life:


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