It’s easy to forget about the amazing things we all have on our doorsteps. Well Yorkshire might not be quite on my doorstep – it’s the other end of the country – but in the grand scheme it is close so me and my husband took a few days to explore it. We based ourselves in Thirsk, picking it as an easy access point to both North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales national parks.
The county is strewn with ruined abbeys and time spent exploring them will guide you through the tumultuous Middle Ages. Romantic Fountains Abbey with a river running through it is the most famous but there is plenty to reward you at many others. Mount Grace Priory, above, still has the monks’ cells intact with one recreated as it would once have been. Privately owned Jervaulx Abbey is overgrown with flowers and vines and while that is a concern for its long term upkeep, it does make for an exciting exploration.
Many of Yorkshire’s monks were well accomplished brewers so in homage we detoured to the town of Bedale which was holding its annual beer festival. A thick crowd was thronging to the bar and it was great to see so many people making the most of this mini beer fest. My 5 tokens from the door got me 5 halves which I enjoyed under the shade of an oak tree. The beer was standard – English ales – but an event like this doesn’t call for outlandish IPAs. Yorkshire’s brewing tradition is as strong as it has ever been and it’s wonderful to think this tipple has been enjoyed here for hundreds of years.