Le Tourist guide to Yorkshire’s ‘quirky’ heritage

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FIRST-TIME visitors to Yorkshire are being pointed in the direction of Keighley and to Chapeltown in Leeds in a slightly quirky guide to the county’s heritage tourism sites.

Managers at the Heritage Lottery Fund have drawn up a ‘top 20’ guide to Yorkshire for those visiting for the Tour de France on July 5 and 6.

Banksy style graffiti  on the wall of a building in Haworth near Keighley

Banksy style graffiti on the wall of a building in Haworth near Keighley

And for those wanting to get off the obvious tourist trail, there is Chapeltown Road in Leeds, which has been the focus of a Lottery-funded project to make the most of the art deco architecture.

Over £800,000 of Lottery money was spent restoring Victorian and Edwardian buildings in the once run-down area.

Also featured is Little London in Leeds where visitors are urged to “listen closely to the stories of the people from cultures all over the world.”

An arts project in Little London received £50,000 to create a book and a resource pack reflecting the lives of those living on the 1950s council estate.

Artist Caryl Hallett

Artist Caryl Hallett

In Keighley, visitors are promised a treat following a Lottery-funded £2.7m “facelift”, with the guide urging: “Explore its stone-flagged town streets, wander the restore arcade and take in the charm of this revitalised centre.

Project officer Sue Oakley, of Bradford Council, said: “Keighley has a great deal of character and this is being revealed during the project, with many hidden features being discovered such as Victorian shop fronts, old signs and carvings.”

The list includes mainstream attractions - all of which have had Lottery money - including Harewood House in Leeds, York Minster, Harrogate’s Royal Hall, Greenhead Park in Huddersfield and Weston Park Museum, Sheffield.

A spokeswoman for the HLF said £219m had been invested by the fund within a three mile radius of Le Tour routes.

Fiona Spiers, head of the HLF in Yorkshire said the quirkier places were worth a detour.

“The Tour de France is hugely exciting for the UK and Yorkshire. We have so much to offer visitors and local communities and we want to ensure people take the opportunity to make the most of their time here for this amazing summer of sport by exploring some of the wonderful heritage on their doorstep.

“Some of the projects featured may not be on the main tourist route but are worth a detour to find out more about Yorkshire’s fascinating history, heritage and stories.”

Meanwhile, a Banksy-style street artist has been creating a stir with life-size stencils depicting famous folk on buildings across West and South Yorkshire. Bristol-based ‘Stewy’ depict David Hockney, Jarvis Cocker, Sylvia Plath and the Bronte sisters.

The work appeared on the Tour de France route with the blessing of building owners.