Every person born in Yorkshire will tell you that the largest county in England is ‘Gods own country’. When we move away, for family or business reasons, we still pine for its ‘broad acres’. Even the cities and large towns have a character of their own and the rolling hills and the picturesque dales are never far away.
As a child, I lived on a housing estate situated equidistant from the centre of the city of Leeds and the market town of Otley, in Wharfedale. A working farm was just a few hundred yards up the road. Summers were spent ‘helping with the harvest’. Fresh eggs and milk were collected from the farmhouse door. It was more country than city living!
In the days before a holiday abroad was considered a necessity, weekends were spent exploring the Yorkshire Dales and the North Yorkshire Moors. The annual two weeks holiday included a week in a boarding house in either Scarborough or Bridlington. Days were spent digging castles in the sand, playing cricket on the beach and swimming in the ‘inviting’ North Sea. This routine continued whatever the weather – rain or shine!
A career in advertising beckoned and I found myself promoting the joys of Scarborough and the Yorkshire coast to a wider audience. This led to the formation of the Yorkshire Tourist Association whose mission was to promote the county and its many attractions. My job was to compile and edit the information provided into a comprehensive brochure of all that was best in the county. As a result, I became something of an expert on the subject.
My career in marketing has involved travel all over the world but I have always taken the opportunity to promote the county of my birth to anyone who would listen.
Many decades later, the farmhouse near my old home is now a gastro pub and the farm land has been gobbled up by detached houses, but Otley and the Dales beyond remain just as beautiful as they were when I was growing up. On a recent trip to Scarborough and the Yorkshire Coast, the towns visited seemed virtually unchanged from my childhood memories. Children were still enjoying the same beach games that I had participated in all those years ago. On the seafront, the amusement arcades were still catering for the ‘fair weather’ crowds, with souvenir shops, candy floss and fish and chips to take out.
The changes were noticeable behind the seafront façade. There were still plenty of bed & breakfast places but many of the aging hotels, that symbolised the great Victorian holiday, had been upgraded. Fine dining restaurants abound and theatres and other cultural activities sat alongside bingo halls and cinemas.
In recent years, I have developed cultural and heritage tourism packages under the banner ‘On the Trail of the Tudors’. Geographically these have involved packages in the South and Midlands of England but the draw of my beloved Yorkshire was overpowering. This year I decided to holiday at home and visit the Yorkshire and the Dales as a tourist. My visit included cities, towns, visitor centres, castles, garden, monasteries, country houses and mind blowing scenery. As a result, Ambient Tours, a division of my company Ambient Events Limited is now developing four Yorkshire tour packages to enable our customers to enjoy the Yorkshire experience.
These will be available shortly for bookings in autumn 2012 and spring 2013. Each package will be of 4 days and three night’s duration.