|Out & About|
OUT AND ABOUT
Whilst there are some excellent websites showing the huge volume and variety of activities and attractions in North Yorkshire we thought it would be handy to give a glimpse of what is available in the immediate area and highlight those our guests have particularly enjoyed. There is also a section for main attractions within about one hours travel for those from abroad or the southern counties. Where we can we have put in links so you can have a closer look.
We are surrounded by the beautiful countryside of Wensleydale and are very close to Swaledale, Nidderdale, Teesdale and all the little Dales. The North Yorkshire Moors are only half an hour away and even the Lake District is within easy striking distance. Natural beauty abounds and we have waterfalls and geographical features a plenty. It is possible to stay here for a week and have a different experience everyday and we are happy to make suggestions and help you put an itinerary together if you have not planned one in advance.
WITHIN HALF HOUR
Castles, abbeys, and historic market towns
Within twenty minutes we have several castles abbeys, and historic market towns.
Richmond has a Norman stone castle and a huge cobbled Market Place in an enviable setting above the river.
Easby Abbey is just outside the town and a lovely walk along the river.
Middleham has a Castle (12thC) home of Richard II.
Bedale, Leyburn, Northallerton and Thirsk are picturesque market towns with local markets and farmers markets held on regular dates. These are great places to find and buy local produce and we are happy to keep chilled items in our fridge for you until you go home.
Northallerton is the county town of North Yorkshire and the biggest shopping centre in the area. It also has a railway station from where you can access Thirsk, York, Leeds, and Newcastle.
Bolton Castle was home to Mary Queen of Scots (she really did reside here albeit unwillingly. If you visit, look through the side gate into the courtyard and imagine, even with it full of people and activity, how your heart would sink if you knew this was to be your prison). Having said that, today it is stunning with great views to show why the location was chosen – little chance of a sneak attach here - but these days the fantastic tea rooms with homemade and locally produced goodies is probably of more use.
Jervaulx Abbey is privately owned (and very quiet) but the ruins are extensive and an honesty box with a printed guide will allow you admission. If the café is open when you visit then pop in for a cup of tea and take a look at the brilliant model of how the Abbey used to look before the walls came down.
There are quite a few smaller castles such as Hornby Castle and Snape Castle, the former home of Katherine Parr. These are not open to the public but Hornby is set in lovely parkland and home to the Bedale Hunt Point to Point which must be one of the most stunning settings for racing in the country as the course runs uphill towards the castle on the skyline.
The Chapel at Snape is open to the public and is an interesting visit.
Local village churches are well worth a visit and most are open.
Walking, cycling, motorbike riding and driving
This is one of the most beautiful places in the country. Best bet is to get an OS map and set off. We have some walking books, routes and maps you can look at and there are walks to suit everyone. And we can help you dry out your gear if you are unfortunate with the weather!
The minor roads are narrow and quiet for cycling and its possible to go long distances without touching a main road. There are blue cycle routes close by.
The larger roads are the best in the country for riding motorbikes and driving. We regularly have visitors with classic cars and we are perfectly placed for Buttertubs to the West and the North Yorkshire Moors to the East.
We are blessed with at least 5 Breweries within 10 miles. Black Sheep Brewery and Theakstones Brewery at Masham, Wensleydale Brewery at Bellerby, Hambleton Brewery at Melmerby, Richmond Station Brewery at Richmond, all producing distinctive real ales – There are tours available at some of the bigger ones and the Bistro at the Black Sheep Brewery has a good reputation for food.
The Georgian Theatre at Richmond is a must to have a look round- they do a great guided tour or see a performance. There is a full spectrum of events, plays, operas and talks. It’s a tiny place and beautifully restored.
For the cinema The Station by the river at Richmond has two brand new cinema screens. Each holds only a few hundred people and you can take a drink in from the bar! The Station (formerly a railway station) is worth a visit itself, there is a restaurant and café as well as local food producers and a rather good ice cream parlour.
In the summer there are often open air productions at some of the English Heritage sites and stately homes in the area.
Things to do
Thorpe Perrow Arboretum, great for a wander round - they also have powered chairs for disabled or elderly. The autumn Fungus Forays and other such events are great fun and informative The Falconry displays are excellent; its also possible to do a Hawk Walk- where you get your own bird of prey to take out around the estate and fly. We have had guests describe this as an amazing experience.
The Forbidden Corner has one loads of awards and is great for the child in all of us. There is a limitation on numbers so you must ring them or call at the Tourist Office in Leyburn to book a place in advance.
Lightwater Valley - amusement park has some spectacular rides
Wensleydale Railway run a regular service between Leeming Bar and Redmire with steam trains in the summer. Christmas specials and Thomas the Tank Engine appear annually.
Middleham is home to several large racing stables and gallops up on the side of the dale. The location is probably due to the number of racecourses in Yorkshire and Cleveland.
After a visit to the castle have a coffee in the main square and watch the many racehorses walking, jogging or skittering their way to and from the gallops. If you like horses you will love seeing them as they are breathtakingly beautiful. If you want to take an even closer look at the horses and how they are kept then the open day at the stables on Good Friday every year is a must. Buses run into Middleham from parking in the surrounding towns with tours of the stables, talks and transport to the outlying yards plus the chance to stroke some of those lovely creatures. Informative, fun, horsey bliss.
Elmfield House is central for race meetings in Yorkshire at Catterick, Ripon, Thirsk, York, Wetherby, Redcar, Sedgefield, Pontefract are all within an hour or so.
WITHIN ONE HOUR
If you have come a long way, you may wish to venture further afield:
York (easier to drive to Northallerton jump on the train 20min right into the centre of York) fantastic all times of the year – York Minster, The Shambles, museums, Fairfax House, open air markets, Yorvik Centre and shopping, of course.
Leeds; lots of big city stuff and accessibly by train if you wish. The Royal Armouries is brilliant and, if you like shopping, the Victoria Quarter and Corn Exchange have some great independent shops.
Wharfedale : Skipton, Ilkley and the infamous Cow and Calf Rock above it on the moor.
Harrogate: – lovely genteel spa town with more good shops and Betty’s Tea Room and home to RHS Harlow Carr.
Newcastle and Hadrians Wall
East Coast: Whitby just over an hours steady drive and The Lake District a similar distance to the west.
Eating out and eating well in North Yorkshire is not a problem. I say to guests that as you are in North Yorkshire you are unlikely to be under-catered. We have many great pubs, restaurants and tea rooms in the area and we are happy to discuss these with you and show you sample menus.
If you are visiting Harrogate, Harlow Carr, Ilkely, York or Northallerton then you have to make a visit to Betty’s Tea Room the home of the Fat Rascal and other goodies.
Every year in May Leyburn hosts the Dales Festival of Food which is a must for the foodies amongst you.
Whatever you do with your day you can be certain of a warm welcome back at Elmfield House.