Yorkshire is the second best place to visit in 2021 – in the world.

That’s according to the elite travel guide Condé Nast Traveller which ranked God’s Own Country above places like the Amazon rainforest, Kimberley in the Australian Outback and Sussex, obviously.

The White Rose County also sent packing the backpackers delight of Vietnam, the eco-paradise of Costa Rica and the Finnish capital of Helsinki.

The Best Holiday Destinations for 2021 aims to offer the traveller something unique, relatively undiscovered and authentic, be it unconquered wildernesses, smaller cultural centres or simply places you won’t have previously considered.

Top of the chart was the Balkan state of Slovenia which grabbed the number one spot with its foodie offerings and quiet alpine beauty.

Next came God’s Own County, followed by the Portuguese Atlantic town of Melides, the United Arab Emirates and the unspoilt Canary Island of El Hierro, which is a far cry from Tenerife.

Here’s the full list:

  1. Slovenia
  2. Yorkshire
  3. Melides, Portugal
  4. United Arab Emirates
  5. El Hierro, Canary Islands
  6. Kimberley, Australia
  7. Accra, Ghana
  8. Amazon Rainforest
  9. Helsinki, Finland
  10. Dominican Republic
  11. Sussex
  12. The Berkshires, USA
  13. Vietnam
  14. Oaxaca City, Mexico
  15. Shetland
  16. Costa Rica
  17. Guyana
  18. Charleston, USA
  19. Pulau Merah, Java, Indonesia
  20. South Africa
  21. Chania, Crete, Greece

Condé Nast travel writer Lizzie Pook praises Yorkshire not just for its scenery and history but its ability to reinvent itself as a cultural epicentre.

She writes: “As well as being a (rather large) land of brooding moors and moody coastlines, Yorkshire has long been an important arty enclave, with its renowned sculpture triangle and a long love affair with heritage artists such as Henry Moore, David Hockney and Barbara Hepworth.

“But beyond the famous names, a real grassroots arts resurgence is underway in God’s Own County. Crumbling old mill sites, converted churches and arboretums are being repurposed, regenerated and filled with studios, artisanal shops and restaurants.”

Sites in Holmfirth, Leeds and Wakefield get a mention.

Pook writes: “Holmbridge Mill – a redeveloped textile mill in pretty Holmfirth – is developing a new studio space for lease to local sculptors, painters and illustrators.

“Creative takeovers are also planned for Left Bank Leeds, a lofty-ceilinged converted Grade II-listed church, and London-based gallerist Johnny Messum recently set up a new outpost in Harrogate, while Leeds’ multi-million bid for an international cultural festival in 2023 means focus is firmly set on the county’s ever-evolving artistic credentials.

“But it’s the highly anticipated, who-knows-when-it-will-happen, development of Bretton Hall at Yorkshire Sculpture Park that has everyone in a tizzy. Overseen by art juggernauts Hauser & Wirth, the hotel project will add to their pioneering galleries in Hong Kong, London, New York, Somerset and beyond. If the sumptuous arts-and-crafts vibe of the dazzling Fife Arms in Braemar is anything to go by, this is sure to put Yorkshire on the international map.”

Seven (slightly silly) reasons why Yorkshire is better than the Amazon and the Aussie Outback

1. There are no dangerous creatures in Yorkshire.

A goliath bird-eating spider, one of the Amazon's scariest residents. It's the size of a dinner plate but actually harmless to humans
A goliath bird-eating spider, one of the Amazon’s scariest residents. It’s the size of a dinner plate but actually harmless to humans

In the Amazon, there are piranhas, spiders the size of dinner plates and giant snakes that could eat you for breakfast.

You can take your pick of deadly snakes and spiders in Australia, including the deadliest of all: the eastern brown snake and the funnel-web spider.

The greatest animal danger you face in Yorkshire is being butted by a sheep.

2. The climate is bearable

Yes, it’s often wet and grey in Yorkshire but compare that to 80% humidity and an average daily high of 32°C in the Amazon. Yuck.

The Australian Outback is ludicrously hot with daily highs in the high 30s and low 40s. It’s also dry as a bone so you’ll be constantly drinking water and sweating.

3. The language

Você fala Português? Nope. Portuguese is the main language in the Amazon although the indigenous folk have their own languages which are completely different. Good luck asking the natives what they’d recommend for a headache.

In Australia, they speak a ‘variety’ of English based on the language of convicts from London and Ireland during the 19th century. ‘Nuff said.

In Yorkshire, however, we have our own lovely variant of English with words to confuse and enchant many a tourist. Spogs, anyone?

4. Size

Everywhere is a long way away in the Outback
Everywhere is a long way away in the Outback

Yorkshire is Britain’s biggest county by a long chalk but it’s minuscule compared to the Amazon or the Outback. Everywhere in Yorkshire is within driving distance; you can drive from southernmost Sheffield to Redcar at the northeast end in a couple of hours. Everywhere in the Amazon and the Outback is hundreds of miles apart.

5. Other people

Other than your travelling companions you’re not going to have many people to talk to on your journey through the Amazon or Outback which is fine if solitude is what you’re after.

Yorkshire folk, despite their reputation for dourness, are friendly folk and they’ll happily talk to you about the weather, sport or whatever they fancy talking about.

If avoiding other humans might be your intention there are endless acres of Yorkshire countryside where you won’t see a soul unless it’s a sunny bank holiday.

6. The food

Eating in the Amazon isn’t bad so long as you like fish and you can catch it yourself.

Aussie bush tucker is OK too although there’s only so much kangaroo and crocodile a person can eat.

Yorkshire is no longer a place where people eat tripe in vinegar. We now have one of the greatest and most varied food offerings in Britain from the best pies, curries and ales in the world to Michelin starred restaurants.

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7. Beer

Australians love beer but beer for most Australians is weak, fizzy lager. While there’s a booming Aussie craft beer industry you may not be able to find it in the Outback.

Brazilian beer is even blander. Then there’s a native Amazonian ‘beer’ called ‘cauim’ where boiled manioc root is chewed and spat into a pot where it is cooked and fermented. The resulting drink ‘is opaque and dense like wine dregs and tastes like sour milk’.

Yorkshire has been an ale capital for centuries with some of the world’s best breweries crammed into a relatively small area. It also has a huge craft beer sector. Bottoms up.

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