The second stage of Le Tour has been described as ‘The Past, the Present and the Future”.
Beginning at historic York it speeds past some of Englands most beautiful and challenging terrain ending in the modern industrial city of Sheffield. For those following the race in its second stage, here is a suggestion of some of the places you might like to visit along the way.
Beginning with York as the historic backdrop to the second stage, the cobbled streets of one of England’s oldest cities will be transformed into a race track for the world’s cycling elite. After a long day trying to catch a glimpse of Wiggins, a good plate of food can be found at Old Siam, a local favourite Thai restaurant just out of the town centre. If you’re looking for a quick bite to eat away from the crowds, De Clares has two artisan sandwich shops down cobbled alleys where you can escape the madness.
The historic Spa town of Knaresborough is the next stop, situated on the river with a historic castle and caves nearby it is a popular tourist hotspot and has plenty of antique shops for passers-through to browse.
Passing through Silsden and under the impressive shadow of Bolton Abbey, the next town that riders will pass is the small town of Keighley home to the Worth Valley Light Railway made famous in the 1970s series ‘The Railway Children’. In need of sustenance the end of the day? Moghuls Indian restaurant has been serving some of the best Indian food in Yorkshire for over 30 years.
Next, and its onto the expanse of open countryside and moors that we know as ‘Bronte country’, and the village of Haworth where the Bronte sisters famously lived and wrote their most celebrated works. The wild moors of the Bronte’s literary landscapes will provide the perfect backdrop as cyclists approach the steep sided wooded valley of Cragg Vale, one of the courses toughest climbs. Those wishing to observe some of the most exciting parts of the route will find a relaxing refuge in the Hinchcliffe Arms, a country restaurant and bar nearby.
Sitting in the centre of the Pennines the medieval town of Hebden Bridge is one of the most picturesque in the region. After the bikes race over the namesake bridge in the centre of the town visitors can enjoy a traditional Ale in the historic riverside hotel and restaurant, the White Lion.
After passing through the whimsically named town of Elland, the route heads through the large market town of Huddersfield. Situated exactly halfway between Leeds and Manchester, the town is full of rich Victorian architecture and the perfect place for race goers to explore. La Cachelle, a long- standing bistro in the town, is decorated with Gallic décor and has some of the best French cuisine in Yorkshire.
Onto the Holme Valley, where the race passes through Holmfirth, a small town on the edge of the Peak district. This is the closest spot to Holme Moss, the famously steep peak which will form the most challenging part of the second stage of Le Tour. If the name seems familiar its because this famous town is best known as the location of hit series ‘Last of the Summer Wine’. Those wanting a glass of the summer wine would be well advised to visit Brambles bar and café, serving up gourmet foods, real ales and fine wine in a relaxed upmarket setting.
Descending towards the finish line, the industrial city of Sheffield will come into view,.The definition of ‘modernity’ in Yorkshire, the city has become increasingly cosmopolitan in recent years. Its rich cultural quarter of the city has much to be explored in the form of world class theatres, such as The Crucible and The Showroom, Sheffield’s art house cinema.
In a celebratory mood at the end of the second stage? Silversmith’s restaurant and bar has a reputation which preceeds it. Re-launched by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay last year it is one of the places to see and be seen in Sheffield. Those with more modest homely tastes might want to sample some real ale in the Devonshire, a large real ale pub in the city centre. Green is a bar with a slightly alternative concept, giving customers the chance to have a go on golf simulators, whist the trendy cocktail bar SOYO is a relaxing, distinguished place to have a nightcap. For those who really are keen to dance until dawn, Sheffield’s coolest boutique nightclub, Forward, is resident to some the country’s best DJs.