Still space for fans in Yorkshire’s Tour de France host cities as room race runs on

Graphic: Graeme Bandeira
Graphic: Graeme Bandeira
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Grand Depart accommodation across the county is at a premium after it emerged the vast majority of hotel rooms available on July 5 and 6 have been booked.

But with a fortnight to go hoteliers and tourism chiefs are keen to stress that there are still pockets of availability left.

Leeds Hotels and Venues Association (LHVA), which comprises of 35 hotels with 6,000 bedrooms, claims 90 per cent of hotels in the city are fully-booked while the rest are selling rooms fast, while all nine hotels within the Destination Harrogate group have been fully booked since February.

York Hoteliers’ Association has stated there are limited spaces in its 2,000 rooms although most have now been snapped up, while Hospitality Sheffield has reported booking out around three quarters of rooms at its 22 hotels.

Bed and breakfasts along the route have also been in high demand and residents privately letting their homes are attempting to cash in.

Many are using buy and sell website www.gumtree.com to let out their own homes, with one two-bed terraced house in Holmfirth that has views of the stage two climb up Holme Moss listed at £10,000 for three days of Grand Depart action.

Gordon Jackson, chair of LHVA and general manager at Thorpe Park Hotel, in Colton, said: “I would say 90 per cent of the hotels are full and 10 per cent look as though they’re going to be full, but there are still rooms left.

“The fact that the city has and will prove it can put on this size of international event all bodes well for the future in terms of the profile of Leeds as a sporting city that is absolutely ready and waiting to take on more events.”

He said Thorpe Park is not alone in hosting one or more Tour teams during the Grand Depart, while people involved in putting on the event and foreign journalists contributed to an initial flurry of bookings after it was announced Le Tour would come to the region over 18 months ago. A steady stream of bookings since has led to many hotels reaching capacity with weeks and months to spare.

Sheffield Metropolitan Hotel manager Ian Slater, who is chair of Hospitality Sheffield, added: “I think the scale of the whole thing when it comes will still take a lot of people by surprise, it’s a great advertisement for Yorkshire.”

Destination Harrogate chair Dave Ritson, who is general manager at the Old Swan, in Harrogate, added: “It’s always worth ringing around for last minute rooms – you might find one or two in the last few weeks at the larger hotels.”

The Caravanning and Camping Club has also reported a 258 per cent increase in the number of advanced bookings from July 5 to 7 on club sites close to the stage one and two routes in Yorkshire and many other spectators are taking advantage of the numerous pop-up campsites being set up around the county.

Gary Verity, chief executive of tourism agency Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “The feedback we are getting is that many places are fully booked or close to capacity due to the high demand and number of people we’re expecting to watch Yorkshire’s Grand Depart. There are however still pockets of availability, so it’s not too late for people still wanting to come, but the message is act fast.”

The agency has been running a Twitter campaign for people to promote or find accommodation for the Tour weekend by using #tdfstay every Thursday between 7pm and 8pm.