Relishing Yorkshire (but not Sheffield)

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There was a reference to local athletes clocking up the medals at the Olympics, and they must surely have had Jessica Ennis partly in mind.

But amid the glowing tributes to Yorkshire as the third top region in the world in the latest Lonely Planet guide, there was no specific reference to Sheffield.

Main cities? York and Leeds. Next summer’s Tour de France? Starting from Leeds. Retail ambition? Leeds (which must especially rankle in the light of Sheffield’s failed Sevenstone retail quarter).

So, to a large extent, it was a case of Sheffield and the rest of South Yorkshire basking in reflected glory as independent travel experts ranked Yorkshire only below Sikkim in India and The Kimberley in Australia among the top places in the world to visit next year.

In the Best in Travel 2014 publication, Lonely Planet says: “If the good people of Yorkshire were proud of their heritage before, the 2012 London Olympics only served to cement what they have always thought: that their county is better than – and really the best of – all the English counties.

“Recently this rough-around-the-edges gentleman of the north has kicked away the walking cane.

“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 is giving London a run for its money, and Yorkshire now has more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other county outside London.

“In 2014, this welcoming region of rugged moorlands, heritage homes and cosy pubs will be able to hold its head even higher when the Tour de France begins its grand départ from Leeds.”

A spokesperson for Welcome to Sheffield was surprised at the local omission: “There are many great places to visit right here in Sheffield. The Winter Garden, Millennium Gallery, Botanical Gardens, Kelham Island, to name a few.”

Meanwhile, it has to remembered, of course, that Sheffield has the Peak District on its doorstep.