Is Yorkshire England’s Most Important Sporting Location?

Jess Ennis (now Jess Ennis-Hill) after winning gold at the 2012 Olympics
Jess Ennis (now Jess Ennis-Hill) after winning gold at the 2012 Olympics | © Al King/ Flickr

Northern England Writer

England’s FIFA World Cup campaign saw the team crash out in the semis against Croatia in July 2018. However, for many, the fact that the youthful team even got that far in the first place was a pleasant underdog surprise. In Yorkshire, the achievements of Gareth Southgate’s squad were received especially well. After all, many of the team are from the area, with three alone hailing from Sheffield. That begs the question then, is Yorkshire the most important sporting region in England?

Let’s look at the facts: of the 23-man squad that Southgate took to Russia, six grew up in Yorkshire (for reference, that’s Fabian Delph, John Stones, Jamie Vardy, Danny Rose, Kyle Walker and Harry Maguire). In fact, more than half the squad come from wider northern England too. You could argue that this is mere coincidence, but Yorkshire was recently ratified by CONIFA as an official national football team (yes, really!). So it seems that the sporting prowess of the northern quartet of counties has been signed and sealed, at least where football’s concerned.

Harry Maguire playing for Hull City FC

And it’s not just on the football field where Yorkshiremen, women, and non-binary people excel. They also do pretty well at the Olympics, too. Back in 2012, the historic year when London hosted the games for the first time in over six decades, Yorkshire – were it a country – would have finished in 12th place, according to The Guardian. Not too shabby, even for what is admittedly one of the largest county conglomerates in the UK. Then, in 2016, when the games were hosted by Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Yorkshire put on a similarly impressive showing, although they did slide down the ranks somewhat to a hypothetical 17th place. Notably, that was still ahead of Canada, South Africa and New Zealand, reported The Yorkshire Post.

Jess Ennis (now Jess Ennis-Hill) after winning gold at the 2012 Olympics
Huddersfield Giants face off against the Warrington Wolves

Then you’ve got cricket. Just like rugby league, cricket is a cultural phenomenon in Yorkshire dating back to the mid-18th century. In fact, Yorkshire County Cricket Club is the most successful in British history, having won a grand total of 33 county championships over the years. While Yorkshire CCC’s most recent county championship title came in 2015 though, there has yet to be an era of Yorkshire cricket to rival that of the 1960s. Captained by Brian Close and with the talents of Fred Trueman and Phil Sharpe, amongst others, Yorkshire CCC was as good, if not better, than most Test nations at the time. They even won an unmatched hat-trick of county championships between 1966 and 1968.

Alistair Cook conflabs with a Yorkshire CCC teammate mid-match

So to answer that question posed way back at the beginning, is Yorkshire the most important sporting region in England? Well, the evidence certainly seems to suggest so.

landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article