Yorkshire is England’s largest county, and its borders have undergone several alterations during the past three decades. The county is now officially divided into North, South, West and East Yorkshire; the latter includes most of the former modern county of Humberside, which was never fully accepted by its inhabitants.

Roughly speaking, Yorkshire can be divided into the agricultural north and the industrial south, with many exceptions.

The county’s landscapes are superb; the most distinctive features are the uplands, which include the Pennines, the North York Moors and the Yorkshire Dales.

In the centre of the county is the Vale of York, a broad plain, and the pastoral Derwent Valley; there are also dramatic coastal landscapes to the east.

Yorkshire is renowned for its sport, particularly fishing, shooting, cricket and racing.

The county has an abundance of good building stone; brick is also common, but timber-framed buildings are rare.

Property is slightly cheaper than in the South, but the proximity of major conurbations such as Leeds-Bradford, and good transport links, ensure that prices are buoyant.

The most sought-after areas in which to live are within commuting distance of Leeds, the area round Castle Howard, north of York, and around Harrogate.

Major towns

York, Sheffield, Doncaster, Rotherham, Leeds, Bradford, Halifax, Huddersfield, Wakefield, Barnsley, Hull, Ripon, Bridlington, Harrogate, Scarborough, Whitby.

Transport links

Train: King’s Cross to York 2hr; King’s Cross to Sheffield 2hr 20min; King’s Cross to Leeds 2hr 25min; King’s Cross to Hull 2hr 30min.

Car: York is 193 miles from London, via the A1 and A1(M); Sheffield, 165 miles, via the M1; Hull, 210 miles, via the M1, M18 and M62; Leeds, 185 miles, via the M1.

Public schools

Ampleforth College, York (01439 766000). Boys only, age range 8-18, day and boarding. www.ampleforthcollege.york.sch.uk/

Aysgarth School, Bedale (01677 450240). Boys only, age range 8-13, day and boarding. www.aysgarthschool.co.uk/

Harrogate Ladies’ College (01423 504543). Girls only, age range 10-18, day and boarding. www.hlc.org.uk/

Hull High School (01482 657106). Girls, age range 3-18, also boys, 4-11; day. www.hullhighschool.co.uk/

Leeds Girls’ High School (0113 274 4000). Girls only, age range 3-19, day. www.lghs.org/

Leeds Grammar School (0113 243 3417). Boys only, age range 4-18, day. www.leedsgrammar.com/

Queen Margaret’s School, York (01904 728261). Girls only, age range 11-18, day and boarding. www.queenmargarets.org.uk/

St Peter’s School, York (01904 623213). Co-educational, age range 8-18, day and boarding. www.st-peters.york.sch.uk/

Scarborough College (01723 360620). Co-educational, age range 11-18, day and boarding. Associated preparatory school. www.scarboroughcoll.co.uk/

Sedbergh School (01539 620535). Co-educational, age range 8-18, boarding. www.sedberghschool.org/

Sheffield High School (0114 222 0374). Girls only, age range 4-18, day. www.sheffieldhighschool.org.uk/

Leisure

Golfcourses: Ganton, Scarborough (01944 710329); Hallamshire, Sheffield (0114 230 1007); Alwoodley, Leeds (0113 268 1680); Garforth, Leeds (0113 286 2021); Moor Allerton, Leeds (0113 266 1154); Moortown, Leeds (0113 268 6521); Sand Moor, Leeds (0113 268 1685).

Hunts: the Bedale, the Middleton, the Zetland, the West of Yore, the Badsworth, the Holderness, the Derwent, the York and Ainsty North, the York and Ainsty South.

Yachting clubs: the Royal Yorkshire, Old Carthusian, Whitby, Scarborough and West Stockwith.

Fishing: rivers Don, Wharfe, Ouse, Ure and Driffield Beck.