If you’re visiting North Yorkshire, there are so many attractions and places to visit within a short drive from our White Rose Holiday Park in Thirsk, making it the ideal base to explore the rich heritage and culture of Yorkshire.
From the beautiful walks around the North Yorkshire Moors and the White Horse of Kilburn to the World of James Herriot in Thirsk and the Jorvik Viking Centre in York, there is much to see and do! With over 100 recognised attractions close to Thirsk, there’s maybe too much to choose from, so we have gathered our top ten things to see and do near Thirsk for you.
1. The World Of James Herriot
For many people, Thirsk is James Herriot’s town, as the rural market town is closely associated with the famous vet and author of All Creatures Great And Small, and was the inspiration for the fiction town of Darrowby in his novels and the subsequent TV show.
Take the opportunity to visit the 1940s and experience the life and times of the famous vet. The attraction is based on his original surgery, and you can experience his living quarters, interact with sets from the TV series, and explore various veterinary artefacts.
2. Thirsk Birds of Prey Centre
Sticking with creatures great and small, the Thirsk Birds of Prey Centre, at Sion Hill Hall, was established to protect endangered birds of prey and allow the public to see and experience these beautiful and rare birds. Witness eagles soaring above your head, owls swooping past, and even vultures flying past with the three incredible flying displays held each day.
Between displays, the birds are all on display for visitors to see, with information about their conversational needs and skilled handlers to explain why the birds hunt and fly as they do. Why not upgrade to a falconry experience day, starting from £30.
3. Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal Water Garden, Ripon
The whole family will enjoy a day out at the iconic 12th century Abbey ruins and Cistercian corn mill, which has also been designated a World Heritage Site.
Explore the elegant water gardens with their mirror-like pods, surrounded by statues and follies, then find a spot to enjoy a picnic by the riverside, and keep your eyes peeled for the three different kinds of deer that roam by the riverside paths.
You can learn all about the Abbey, and visit the Porter’s Lodge to see how it would have looked Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 1530s. There is a play area for kids, as well as family events held throughout the year, as well as a restaurant and tea rooms.
4. White Horse of Kilburn
The White Horse of Kilburn is the largest white horse in Britain, found on the south-south-west face of Roulston Scar. It was designed by Victorian businessman Thomas Taylor in 1857, after seeing the famous chalk hill figures in the south of England.
At 314 feet long and 228 feet high, 20 people can first into the grass island that makes up the horse’s eye – although walking on the horse is strongly discouraged!
Unlike the horses in southern England, which are cut into the chalk hill, the limestone of Kilburn is the wrong colour, and after cutting the shape of the horse, a team of 31 men deposited over six tonnes of lime onto the greyish rock to create the white colour. These days, chalk chippings from the Yorkshire Wolds are used.
Fun fact: The White Horse was covered up during World War II to prevent it from becoming a handy target for German bombers.
5. Mouseman Visitor Centre
If you’re interested in heritage crafts, then take a trip to the Mouseman Visitor Centre in Kilburn, near the famous White Horse. Born in 1876, Robert Thompson, the son of a wheelwright and joiner, decided to realise his dream of revitalising the spirit of craftsmanship in English Oak.
Each item that was created was hand-carved with the famous ‘Mouse’ icon, which become synonymous with high quality and a mark of dedication and craftsmanship.
The Mouseman Visitor Centre has recently reopened after a massive refurbishment of the Joiners and Blacksmiths shops and the adjacent cottage, which now contains three rooms set out with Thompson’s very own furniture, carved by his very hands.
There are displays of Thompson’s ‘pre-mouse’ work in the Old Joiners Shop, which tells the tale of the Mouseman story. You can also explore the surrounding gardens which provide stunning views, as well as St Mary’s Church and ’T’Café’ for lunch and afternoon tea.
6. Jorvik Viking Centre
The Jorvik Viking Centre in York is a world-famous, award-winning museum that recreates the sights, smells and sounds of life during the 10th century in the historic North Yorkshire city.
In the centre, you can find perfectly preserved remains of Viking York, aka Jorvik, all preserved in wet mud, and a series of tableaux depict the markets, streets, and many other aspects of the daily life of the era, including the popular latrine scene!
A theme park-style ‘dark ride’ will convey you through scenes where you can see animatronic Viking townsfolk, from tradesmen to shopkeepers, and even a man using a rather rough-and-ready outdoor toilet. From there you can visit a recreation of an archaeological dig site, and discover how scientists interpret the evidence they unearthed.
7. Kiplin Hall & Gardens
Kiplin Hall and Gardens, found between Northallerton and Richmond, has over 90 acres of incredibly stunning gardens and grounds to explore, as well as an award-winning tea room in which to relax and recharge and enjoy food where many of the ingredients have been grown in Kiplin’s Walled Garden.
Kiplin Hall, a Jacobean house built in 1620, has been home to four different and fascinating families connected by blood or marriage over the past 4 centuries, and the ancestral home is filled with furniture, art, and objects that belonged to the families who resided there.
Visitors can discover the history of the ever-evolving gardens in the Green Museum, and there are various activities for children around the hall and gardens, including outdoor play areas.
8. Thirsk Market
Thirsk’s market charter was granted in 1145, and today the market is held on Mondays and Saturdays every week in the traditional cobbled Market Place. Visitors can find a wide range of offerings, such as fresh, local produce from friendly local stallholders.
Enjoy the proud tradition of one of England’s oldest outdoor markets, as well as the friendly atmosphere. Visitors can find a variety of stalls selling everything from fruit and vegetables, candles, and computer games to health food, clothing and hardware.
9. North Yorkshire Moor Railway
Visit one of the world’s greatest heritage railway experiences for a thrilling day out with the family, as you embark on a trip on one of the steam or heritage diesel trains and experience 24 miles of incredible Yorkshire scenery.
A stop at Pickering station is a must, as you can explore this 1930s themed station that will transport you back to the steam era, and you can explore the gift shop or enjoy afternoon tea. Harry Potter fans will want to visit Goathland Station, which was transformed into Hogsmeade Station in the first of the blockbuster films.
10. Thirsk Racecourse
There are six amazing racecourses close to White Rose Holiday Park, and the history of horse racing in Thirsk goes back to the 1700s when Sutton Bank became the site of one of England’s first official racecourses.
Thirsk Racecourse, which opened in 1923, has long been a popular venue for racegoers, and there are various events held throughout the year.
White Rose Holiday Park has a wide range of facilities, including a swimming pool, a pub, and a laundrette, and is the perfect place for exploring all that this beautiful region has to offer. Why not take a look at our holiday cottages that can sleep up to six people, some of which even include a hot tub, ideal for soaking in after a long day of exploring North Yorkshire!
Visit our website today for more information, availability, and booking!