The world and his granny have been waiting for the start of the 2014 Tour De France as for the first time in the event’s history the race will begin in our neck of the woods.
The Tour De France has been featured in the South of the UK a number of times but we are fortunate enough to have the race take place on the beautiful roadways around our region.
Day 1 of the Grand Depart leaves the beautiful and cosmopolitan City of Leeds on July 5th ahead of the riders 190km gruelling ride to the spa town of Harrogate on the first leg. Taking in the towns and villages along this beautiful journey of 190km before Day 2 sets off from York on Sunday 6th July.
Some of the Towns and Villages are:
Ilkley – Its magnificent countryside and the Cow and Calf rocks makes this area a must for rock climbers across the UK.
Skipton – a 900 year old castle and historic (yet painful for the cyclists I would have thought) cobbled High Street.
West Tanfield – this lovely village features a mention in the Doomsday book and houses one of the UK’s oldest and prettiest buildings – the 13th century church of St Nicholas and the Marmion Tower, a 15th century gatehouse of special historical significance because of its architecture.
Harewood – home to the stunning Harewood House, built in the mid 1700’s the house and grounds are holding a full on family entertainment spectacular. As the official ‘Ceremonial Start’ of the TDF, the Yorkshire Festival of Cycling has a HUGE programme of events including live music, theatre, the indomitable Red Arrows display team and there is even an army assault course and go-karting.
Middleham – The area records show that the first settlements were of the Roman Empire in 69AD. The building of Middleham Castle was started in 1190 and the town has many historical buildings dotted around the town including a medieval cross topped with a celtic cross. Well worth a visit.
Aysgarth – A beautiful village within the Yorkshire Dales National Park which again featured in the Doomsday Book of 1086 which essentially was an audit and a census of all the landowners, their property, land and livestock figures as commissioned by William the Conqueror. Aysgarth Falls and the stepping-stones in the River Ure were the location of the filming for the movie ‘Robin Hood – Prince of Thieves’ with Kevin Costner.
Kettlewell – an absolutely charming little village which is quintessentially ‘British’ offering visitors stunning views, picturesque terraces and quiet country lanes. This gorgeous place was also the location for the filming of ‘Calendar Girls’ a film about the fundraising efforts of the local Womens Institute and their decision to create a ‘nude’ calendar to raise funds for a soca for the hospice to be dedicated to one of the members husband’s who had passed away from non-hodgkin lymphoma.
There are of course spectator hubs all the way along the route where you can join with family and friends to make a full weekend of it with camp sites, large screens showing the race as it winds along the countryside of Yorkshire and food concessions. Details of all of these can be found online.