• Holidays & short breaks in the UK's most beautiful forests

Le Tour(ist) de Yorkshire

The World’s biggest annual sporting event rides into the UK’s largest county on 5th and 6th July 2014. Yes, Le Tour de France Grand Depart is in Yorkshire this year.

Le Tour de France is an incredibly exciting spectacle and Le Grand Depart in Yorkshire offers the perfect excuse to explore this most dramatic of counties. Forest Holidays has a locations in Yorkshire that offers a perfect base for the race, Keldy.

Over two days, the cyclists will ride through Yorkshire’s breath-taking countryside and into numerous picturesque towns and villages. Not that the cyclists will be stopping off to marvel at the scenery. But you can….

We don’t have the run down on riders and records but we can certainly give you a few tips about places to visit along the route. Think of this, then, as more about the tourist than the tour.

Stage 1 Leeds to Harrogate – the long way round

Leeds hosts the official start and, although Harrogate is only 15 miles away, the cyclists will be taking a rather more circuitous route, that falls just short of 100 miles. If you miss the start, how about picking the race up in the sweeping valley of Wensleydale. Try Leybourne, with its spectacular countryside views, or Middleham, sitting between two rivers and complete with its own castle. Further down the Valley is the brewing town of Masham and the cathedral city of Ripon. Wherever you choose to visit, the atmosphere will be buzzing with excitement and the attractions won’t be limited to the race.

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Stage 2 York to Sheffield – skirting Lancashire

Stage 2 is another gruelling (for the cyclists) stage which transforms a relatively straightforward 57 miles journey into a 125 mile tour of the Yorkshire/Lancashire border. Staying at Keldy, your closest point of le tour will be the start of Stage 2 in York on 6th July.

Tickets have all gone for the start inside Yorkshire Race Course but catch the peloton as it winds through the historic walled city, past the medieval castle and out into the Yorkshire countryside. This stage takes in Haworth, home of the famous Bronte family; Holmfirth, distinctly recognisable as the setting for Last of the Summer Wine; and then snakes across the wild and wondrous Peak District National Park. After spending the day watching the cyclists flash by and discovering some of Yorkshire’s finest gems, round things off by sinking into your Forest Holidays hot tub and planning the next day’s cycling inspired activities.

Did you know?

Many of the towns and villages on the route of Le Tour de Yorkshire have spectator hubs, where there will be big screens, lots of family friendly activities and a carnival atmosphere. Find out more about what’s on, here.

On your marks…

Your turn now! The last wheel has spun out of town and the dust has settled. Filled with the thrill of the chase and inspired by the yellow jersey, it’s time to get into the saddle and test your mettle. Hire your bikes from beside the Forest Retreat and escape for your own little tour de Keldy.

You may not quite master the speed and technique of the world’s elite, but then they, for their part, won’t have time to stop and admire the Yorkshire landscape whenever the mood takes them. So who is the real winner?

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5 facts about Le tour de France

  • Le Tour de France 2014 is a gruelling cycle race of 3656km (2271 miles) in 20 stages over 3 weeks
  • Le tour was begun in 1903 as a marketing ploy to sell copies of sports paper L’Auto
  • This year will be the 20th time the tour has started abroad and the 2nd time it had started in the UK
  • Rather fittingly, the first Brit to win a stage of  Le Tour de France was Yorkshire's Brian Robinson in 1958
  • Yorkshire Brewer Naylor's has launched a blonde ale called Saddle Sore to celebrate Le Grand Depart.