Things to Do in Thirsk, Yorkshire

Things to Do in Thirsk, Yorkshire

Nestled within 'God's Country', Thirsk in North Yorkshire is a picture-perfect market town full of timeless charm and winsome aesthetics. Framed by lush countryside and lined with cobbled streets, its intriguing history and famous connections are rivalled only by the inspiring natural beauty of its surrounds – making it a great destination for year-round breaks. 

The town of Thirsk is over a thousand years old – though there has been a settlement on the site since 500BC – and its centuries are detailed through the old facades and historic buildings that still shoulder its roads, avenues and market square today. Famed for being where Thomas Lord was born, the founder of Lord's Cricket Ground, and the home of James Herriot, the author of All Creatures Great and Small, it’s a fascinating place full of history – with the story of its streets intertwined with the lives of those who’ve lived there. 

Needless to say, if you find yourself in Thirsk for a luxury break, you’ll discover ample to see and do. Spending time in the town itself is a pleasure, with lots of great shops, cafés, heritage sites and attractions all to be found within walking distance of each other. Of course, you can also answer the call of the wild and drift out of the town to either the Yorkshire Dales or the North York Moors. Two sprawling National Parks, these areas offer truly exceptional opportunities for exploration, with some of the most beautiful sights in the country.

The Top Things to Do in Thirsk, North Yorkshire

The World of James Herriot

The World of James Herriot is an award-winning visitor attraction in Thirsk, North Yorkshire. The fully-restored 1940s home and surgery of the best-selling author and vet, it invites fans to see what life really looked like for James. Among the collections are some of his books, car, and veterinary science exhibits.  

Zillah Bell Art Gallery

Over the last four decades, the Zillah Bell Gallery has gained a well-deserved reputation for its depth and breadth of artistic works. Displaying all kinds of contemporary art including paintings, prints, ceramics and more, its two floors and nine galleries provide space to showcase artists and inspire audiences. 

Monk Park Farm

Monk Park Farm is a seasonal, family-attraction in Thirsk, set amongst 84 acres of land. Home to hundreds of beautiful animals, the park invites animal-lovers to say hello to its wallabies and alpacas, pet its guinea pigs and rabbits, and, if you’re lucky, feed its lambs and baby goats. There’s also a 1-mile walk around the farm connecting its four feeding stations.

St Mary’s Church

The 15th Century St Mary's Church is one of Thirsk’s most famous attractions. Built on the site of a Norman Church, its attractive architecture has captured the eye of worshippers and onlookers alike for hundreds of years. Particularly striking are its pinnacles and spires, stony gargoyles and intricate stained-glass windows.

Sion Hill Hall

The rooms and gardens of Sion Hill Hall – one of the last Edwardian stately homes to be constructed in Yorkshire – are available for private viewing through guided tours. The estate is also home to the Thirsk Birds of Prey Centre, which provides hands-on flying experiences with incredible birds of prey including eagles and owls.

Hambleton Hills

Just a short drive from the market town of Thirsk are the Hambleton Hills, a range of hills on the edge of the North York Moors. One of the most admired locations here is probably Sutton Bank hill, loved for its far-reaching views over Lake Gormire, the Vale of York and the Vale of Mowbray – described by James Herriot as “the finest view in England”.

Thirsk Museum

The birthplace of Thomas Lord, the English professional cricketer and founder of Lord’s Cricket Ground, Thirsk Museum is a real time-trap. Among its exhibits are features about local life, Yorkshire industries, cricket history and period furniture, costumes and toys. There are even the bones a Saxon giant and a haunted chair!

Thirsk Racecourse

Thirsk’s history of horseracing goes back to the 1700s, when Sutton Bank became the site of one of England’s first official racecourses in 1740. These days, the modern Thirsk Racecourse, which opened in 1923, remains a popular thoroughbred horseracing venue and hosts a number of events throughout the year. 

Feeling inspired? Take a look at our luxury cottages in Thirsk here.

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