10 World Class Sporting Venues
Yorkshire and sport are synonymous with each other, referenced by the world class teams that call the county their home and the Olympic medal tables consistently showing Yorkshire (if classed as their own country) would finish higher than some sizeable nations!
So it will come as no surprise that Yorkshire plays host to some of the top venues in the country that have helped to forge some of the world's greatest athletes in a range of sports and disciplines. That, and Yorkshire grit of course.
North Marine Road, Scarborough
Cricket has been played in Scarborough since 1849, but it was 1863 when the seaside town’s cricket heritage truly began, as the tenancy of Jackson’s Field on North Marine Road was obtained.
Yorkshire has played here since 1878 with the first County Championship game held here in 1896, where Leicestershire were defeated by Yorkshire by 162 runs.
North Marine Road is the only regular venue for cricket other than Headingley Stadium and as such, is home to one of the most historic sporting events in the world, the Welcome to Yorkshire Scarborough Cricket Festival.
Over the years this fantastic venue, with exceptional views and unique atmosphere, has played host to some of the world’s best cricketers including one Viv Richards who hit the only ODI century at the venue back in 1976.
Recently undergoing a £45 million development, the Emerald Headingley Stadium is one of the best sporting venues in Yorkshire and, with Leeds Rhinos, Yorkshire County Cricket Club and Yorkshire Carnegie all calling the ground their home, it is steeped in history.
It was the first of the aforementioned teams, then called Leeds St Johns that built the stadium in 1889 as a rugby league venue; with the cricket ground opening a year later when Leeds CC played Scarborough CC.
The following years saw a host of great sporting events held at the venue including the Rugby League World Cup Final in 1970 and The Ashes series in 1981. 2019 saw the stadium welcome ICC World Cup games and has an Ashes game being played here later this year too.
A venue at the heart of the community, Ponds Forge International Sports Centre in Sheffield has been a world class arena for swimming, diving and many other sporting events since 1991.
First opened for the World Student Games, the venue offers fantastic sporting facilities and attracts more than 1.3 million visitors a year and has an Olympic swimming pool and a deep diving pool making it the choice of some of the top divers in the GB diving squad.
With seating for 2600 spectators, the International Sports Hall is the largest and most flexible events space in the whole of Sheffield.
With a capacity of 37,890 and home to some of the best football fans in the world, the home of Leeds United football club is a true sporting venue and the 14th largest football stadium in England.
Over the years, the pitch has been graced by some of the world’s greatest players across a range of sports and competitions including FA Cup Semi-Final matches, England football international fixtures, and both rugby league and rugby union world cup fixtures.
The pitch itself here is of real wondrous design with an under-soil heating system, great drainage and its own wells that allow the club to draw on its own supply of water if needed.
The stadium also lends itself well to other mass-attended events including concerts and has played host to shows from Queen, U2 and the, Leeds-based but internationally known, Kaiser Chiefs.
The KCOM Stadium, located next to Victorian Park in Hull, is the first stadium complex in the UK to be set in a parkland setting and manages 34.2 acres of land. The complex itself includes the stadium, a sports arena, two multi-use all weather pitches and a learning zone run by Hull College.
The venue plays host to two top sports teams in the form of Hull City Football Club and Hull FC rugby league club, making it the largest rugby league stadium in England.
As with Elland Road, KCOM Stadium has played host to international football and rugby league fixtures as well as concerts that have big names attributed to them such as Sir Elton John, Bon Jovi and The Who amongst many others.
Since 1880, the Ilkley Lawn Tennis & Squash Club has served the local community and the modern-day club allows members to benefit from a range of fantastic facilities set in a picturesque location.
The facilities, set next to the river in the Wharfe Valley offering panoramic views across Ilkley’s famous moorland, are second to none and offer indoor and outdoor tennis courts, squash courts and a top of the range fitness centre.
Since 2015, the club has hosted its own tournament and the Ilkley Trophy is a world-class event that attracts elite international players and is played on the external grass courts.
The trophy, having just celebrated its fifth edition earlier this year is perfect for fans, friends and families alike to enjoy a professional event in the county.
Yorkshire has proudly staged the prestigious Ryder Cup on three separate occasions at three of the county’s finest courses, Moortown, Lindrick and Ganton.
It’s the latter that the focus is on here though.
This course, in the Vale of Pickering between York and Scarborough, ranks among the best of Britain’s inland courses and has played host to many amateur and professional tournaments.
To play this challenging Championship Course, players are required to have a current handicap certificate which is understandable looking at the prestige of said course.
Following the staging of the Walker Cup, Ganton joined The Honorable Company of Edinburgh Golfers and Royal Birkdale as the only clubs to have also staged the prestigious Curtis Cup and Ryder Cup.
The World Snooker Championship is the leading snooker tournament and was first held in 1927, fast forward 50 years and the event found its forever home in Sheffield at The Crucible Theatre – or at least until 2027 after a recent deal.
The venue has long been lauded for creating such a feeling of excitement around snooker’s greatest event and has also hosted other indoor sports at a high level in the form of table tennis and squash.
Yorkshire is home to nine fantastic racecourses and with jumps and flat action across the county, the Sport of Kings has never been more accessible.
The courses can be found in Beverley, Catterick, Doncaster, Pontefract, Redcar, Ripon, Thirsk, Wetherby and York and throughout the year host 180 days of racing between them.
Two of the most prestigious events are held in Doncaster and York.
The St Leger Festival held at Doncaster in September plays host to the World’s Oldest Classic race having been inaugurated in 1776 by Anthony St Leger, an army officer and politician that lived in the area.
York’s Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival features the racecourse’s oldest, richest, fastest and most famous races. Taking place in August, the Wednesday of racing sees the running of the Juddmonte International – the richest race of the season that was ranked number one of all thoroughbred horse races in the world between 2012 and 2014.
The Saturday, and final day of the festival, sees the Ebor run – having taken place since 1840 York’s oldest and most famous race has generated many tales and excitement galore.
Although this area of Harrogate may not fit the bill of a traditional sporting venue, it has seen some enthralling victories and memorable moments happen on its surrounding streets.
In 2014, this was the iconic finish of stage one of the Tour de France Grand Départ. A stage which saw home favourite Mark Cavendish crash out metres from the line and top sprinter Marcel Kittel take the stage win and with it, the yellow jersey.
Fast forward three years and world class cycling came back to the same finish line, as stage two of the Tour de Yorkshire saw Otley-born Lizzie Deignan take the overall victory in the women's race and Nacer Bouhanni take the stage win in emphatic style.
This September, this same finish line will welcome the world's greatest cyclists across nine world class days of cycling as the UCI Road World Championships and the Yorkshire 2019 Para-Cycling International head to Harrogate.