An arts and cultural festival to showcase Yorkshire to the world in the final countdown to the Tour de France has been awarded £1m in funding.

It will be the first time in the prestigious race’s 110-year history that such a festival has been held.

The Arts & Cultural Festival will start at the end of March next year.

It will highlight Yorkshire as a ‘creative county’ in the 100-day countdown to the start of the Tour.

The festival has been awarded £1m by Arts Council England and further match funding is being sought to make the event a reality.

The Tour’s Grand Départ will come through Calderdale and Kirklees on day two, July 6, 2014.

Coming from York the riders will head into the region through Hebden Bridge and Cragg Vale passing through Ripponden, Elland, Ainley Top and Huddersfield before heading off to Lockwood, Honley and Holmfirth.

Click here to see our animated route map for our area

The biggest spectacle will be the climb up Holme Moss .

Regional director of Arts Council England Cluny Macpherson said the organisation was delighted to support the festival and added: “It will showcase all that is great about Yorkshire arts and culture as well as providing an opportunity for specially commissioned work.

“Building excitement across the region in the run up to the Tour de France, I can’t think of a better way to mark the historic occasion of the Grand Départ taking place in Yorkshire.”

Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said an ambitious programme of events was planned.

He added: “It will be a fantastic opportunity for the whole county to share in the excitement and interest that will be building in the run up to the Tour helping to put Yorkshire on the map for millions of people months before the riders arrive.”

The search is now under way for a festival director to spearhead the organisation.

David Lascelles, the Earl of Harewood, a BAFTA award winning television and film producer, will chair the steering group which, in conjunction with the festival director, will determine the programme.

Robin Tuddenham, director of communities for Calderdale Council, will be the local authority lead for the project.

Anyone with ideas and suggestions for the festival should go to to register.

An official festival launch is planned for later this year.