The main events in Yorkshire for 2014

The Tour de France looks set to be the highlight of Yorkshires year

The Tour de France looks set to be the highlight of Yorkshires year - Credit: Archant

The region has major events planned for 2014, as Jo Haywood discovers

As 2014 dawns, Yorkshire is waking up to the fact that it’s going to be a big year for the UK’s biggest county.

The Tour de France is the highlight most people will have circled on their calendar (in luminous yellow marker pen) but it is not the only event with pulling power on Yorkshire’s seemingly endless 2014 to-do list.

There’s also the Great Yorkshire Show, which comes hot on the heels of the Grand Départ, the start of the First World War commemorations and a scintillating host of exhibitions, shows and literature, film and food festivals

‘Yorkshire is, of course, the most wonderful county,’ said Nigel Pulling, chief executive of Yorkshire Agricultural Society, which organises the ever-popular Great Yorkshire Show. ‘And the 2014 calendar of events is going to be extra special.

‘The 2013 show was one of the best ever, with a super atmosphere, excellent visitor numbers and wonderful entertainment over the three days. Our aim for 2014 is to build on this and ensure that our reputation for excellence continues as we wave the flag not only for British farming and the countryside but for Yorkshire. Each year, visitors from around the world come to see the best of farming and the countryside at our show, but 2014 will be unique with the Tour de France coming to Harrogate too. This provides an ideal opportunity for visitors to see two great events all in the same week. And the benefits to the county will be huge – both economically and in terms of raising Yorkshire’s profile on the world stage.’

The county’s international profile has already been given a significant boost by independent travel expert Lonely Planet which recently named Yorkshire as one of the world’s top three must-visit destinations in 2014.

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‘Recently this rough-around-the-edges gentleman of the north has kicked away the walking cane,’ it said in its new Best in Travel 2014 guide. ‘Bradford has become the world’s first Unesco City of Film, fashion-thirsty Leeds has cut the ribbon on an ambitious retail development at a time when malls elsewhere in the UK are stalling, a new state-of-the-art gallery in Wakefield (The Hepworth) is giving London a run for its money, and Yorkshire now has more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other county outside London.’

Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle (YST), which includes the awarding-winning Hepworth Wakefield, continues to draw acclaim – and crowds – from around the world and is looking forward to another record-breaking year in 2014.

The Hepworth is hosting two of its largest international exhibitions to date. In February, visitors will be able to see the first UK retrospective by acclaimed American photographer Philip-Lorca diCorcia. And, in June, there will be an in-depth survey of work by Franz West, one of the most important and influential sculptors of the 20th and 21st centuries.

‘The YST continues to go from strength to strength and we have some ambitious projects on the horizon for the new year,’ said Simon Wallis, director of The Hepworth Wakefield. ‘We also welcome The Tetley, a wonderful addition to the Yorkshire art scene that will enhance the ambitious creative offer we have in the region.’

It sounds like we’re in for a game-changing 12 months in the county, but will it really live up to the hype?

‘No doubt about it – 2014 is Yorkshire’s year,’ said Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire. ‘The county has been named as one of the best regions to visit in the world this year by Lonely Planet and we are gearing up to welcome the biggest sporting event – the Tour de France – in July.

‘We hope that Grand Départ fans will extend their stay to enjoy the Great Yorkshire Show, which follows hot on the heels of the race and is the biggest and best agricultural show in England.

‘Everyone should be getting ready for an exciting year. Make no mistake, 2014 will be a year that goes down in Yorkshire’s history. The county’s profile has never been higher – this will be our year to shine.’

Key events for 2014

Jorvik Viking Festival, York: February 15th-23rd, 01904 615505,

Wakefield Festival of Food, Drink & Rhubarb: February 21st-23rd, 0845 601 8353;

Huddersfield Literature Festival: March 6th-16th, 01484 430228;

Grand Départ Cultural Festival: March 27th to July 6th, 0113 322 3500,

National Student Drama Festival, Scarborough: April 12th-18th, 020 703 9027,

Bradford International Film Festival: March 27th to April 6th, 0844 856 3797,

Whitby Gothic Weekend: April 25th-27th, 07970 704702;

Sheffield Doc/Fest: June 7th-12th, 0114 276 5141,

Grassington Festival: June 13th-28th, 01756 752691,

Tour de France: July 5th-6th, 0113 322 3500,

Great Yorkshire Show: July 8th-10th, 01423 541000,

York Early Music Festival: July 10th-19th, 01904 658338,

Knaresborough FEVA: August 8th-17th, 01423 866886,

Yorkshire Marathon: October 12th, 0113 826 7767,