Mouseman Visitor Centre

The Mouseman Visitor Centre is dedicated to the story of Robert Thompson, born in 1876 and who made his life’s work to the crafting of carving in English oak and producing some of the finest furniture styled on the designs of 17th century England.

The Mouseman Visitor Centre enables visitors to experience what life must have been like for Robert growing up in the late 19th century as part of a thriving village community. His original workshop was converted to create the centre that includes a café and gift shop.

“We as poor as church mice” is said to be the phrase used by one of his craftsmen when he was carving a church screen onto which Robert then carved a mouse and thus his trademark was created as a mark of quality and craftsmanship. It’s now the famous “Mousey Thompson’ symbol known around the world found on every item crafted by Robert Thompsons.

Moving through the visitor centre, guests see the amazing story and journey through rooms set in the 1930’s full of Robert Thompson’s personal furniture signed with early examples of the carved mouse symbol. It’s a story from humble beginnings to furniture legend. There’s an audio-visual display explainer and afterwards a visit to the gift shop will offer opportunities to purchase handcrafted items to take home including smaller items such as Cheeseboards, Bookends, Cow Stools and Coffee Tables.

After all that, the Mouseman ‘T’ Café and Tea rooms serve Yorkshire Tea, home baked cakes and other delicious treats served either on the terrace or inside seated on the ‘Mousey Thompson’ tables and chairs made right here.

Mouseman Visitor Centre, Kilburn, York, North Yorkshire YO61 4AH

Tel: +44(0)1347869100

By Road
From Thirsk take the A170 Scarborough road, turn right after two miles and follow the road to Kilburn. Turn right at the T-junction in Kilburn village. The workshop, viewing gallery, showroom, toilets and car park are on your left. Whilst the Mouseman Visitor Centre, T Café and Gift Shop are on the right-hand side of the road, 30 metres from the T-junction.

By Train
Thirsk is our closest mainline station, situated seven miles from Kilburn Village. You will then need to take a 15 minute taxi ride to our premises situated in the centre or Kilburn Village.

By Plane
We have two airports both within a 40km radius of Kilburn:
Durham Tees Valley Airport
Leeds Bradford International Airport

Thirsk Museum

Thirsk Museum is the house where Thomas Lord, founder of Lord’s Cricket Ground, was born in 1755. The museum, which is free to visit, is just across from the World of James Herriot on Kirkgate and tells the history of Thirsk and the surrounding area in excellent detail. It was established in 1975 and is run entirely by volunteers.

The emblem of the Drover has been adopted as the official emblem of Thirsk Museum. This is taken from the unique milestone at Ingramgate where the road from the east crosses with the ancient drove road from Scotland to York. The drover has a stout stick in one hand and pot of ale in the other.

Thomas Lord as a young man moved to London and as well as becoming a useful cricketer he also prospered as a wine merchant. He was a cricketer with the White Conduit Club, which did not have a ground of its own and the club commissioned Lord to find a suitable site. He first leased land for the club near Dorset Square where the club, renamed the Marylebone Cricket Club, played its first match in 1787. The club moved twice, eventually settling at its present location in St John’s Wood in 1814. In the Thomas Lord Room at the museum, there is a copy of his only known surviving signature, a portrait that was presented by the MCC and other Yorkshire Cricket memorabilia connected with Yorkshire players.

Thirsk Museum is full of fascinating local facts, historical reference pieces and peculiarities. One of these is The Busby Stoop Chair which has been in the museum since 1978 after the landlord of the Busby Stoop Inn wanted it to be removed from his inn out of harm’s way after a spate of accidents connected with people who had been sitting on the chair. The story is told at the Museum of Thomas Busby who in 1702 murdered his father-in-law Daniel Auty and was condemned to death by hanging after which his corpse was suspended in chains from a gibbet at the lonely crossroads where the inn stood. His The chair at the inn gained a sinister reputation as linked to the haunting of the inn by Thomas Busby. Since moving to the Museum, it has not been sat on since.

The Farming Heritage Room evokes farming life in the 1930s and 1940s, the time when James Herriot began his life as a veterinary surgeon, and displays blacksmiths and agricultural engineering, butter and cheese-making in the area known as the Vale of Mowbray.

The Cottage Kitchen with cast-iron range, linen hanging above to air and stone sink is where the 19th century housewife spent her time washing, cleaning and cooking. A variety of household utensils including an early washing machine and a heavy mangle are on display.

The Office has examples from the 19th and early 20th centuries and the Music Shop has 78rpm records and musical instruments from the 1920s and 30s; and Lace has a variety of styles of lace-making examples.

The Edwardian Sitting Room and the Victorian Bedroom have displays and explainers about these periods and the Reynolds Room, named after Bernard Reynolds who converted it, has coins, jewellery and ceramics found locally by archaeologists including the remains of the ‘Saxon Giant’ that was found in an ancient burial ground nearby.

Services: Besides conserving, documenting and displaying items of historical interest, we provide a range of services:

  • We offer advice on the identification and dating of objects.
  • We have access to regional record offices and reference libraries for historical research.
  • We are home to the Thirsk & District Museum Society, which organises a popular series of talks in the spring and autumn months.

Schools: Thirsk Museum offers guided tours for groups of up to thirty at a time. The collection provides material for work at various levels on local and social history. Information packs or worksheets can be provided. Many of the exhibits can be safely handled as they are on open display and we strive to have close ties with local schools. Visit during normal opening hours, and on Thursdays or in the evenings by prior arrangement. Schools can combine a trip to the Museum with a tour of the World of James Herriot and a study of St Mary’s Parish Church. Parking for coaches and a picnic site are both within easy walking distance.

Thirsk Museum, 14-16 Kirkgate, Thirsk, North Yorkshire Y07 1PQ

Tel: 01845 527707 | E-mail:

Admission: Adults and children: Free (donations greatly appreciated). Special rates apply to group visits involving guided tours, please contact us for details.

Opening Times for 2020 - Our normal opening times are:
Monday to Saturday, 10.00am to 4.00pm
(last admissions 3.30pm). Closed Sundays.

Accessibility: There is a ramped entrance to the ground floor but narrow stairs limit access for wheelchair users. A ‘virtual tour’ of the Museum on DVD can be viewed in the reception. Guide dogs are welcome.

Group Visits: Groups and school parties of up to 30 can be accommodated (both during and outside normal opening times) by prior arrangement. Guided tours are available on request.

How to Find Us: Thirsk Museum is in Kirkgate, a short distance from the Market Place and close to St Mary’s Church and the World of James Herriot.


Morndyke near Thirsk is one of Herriot Country’s long-standing family businesses owned by the Phillips family for over 100 years, Morndyke was originally a clay quarry that now offers luxury glamping, farmhouse self-catering, a farm experience and fabulous fishing lake three miles from the centre of Thirsk and the World of James Herriot.

When you just need some 'you time', away from the hustle and bustle and daily grind, Morndyke offers the perfect child-free retreat and the location is ideal for exploring Herriot Country.

Morndyke Shepherds Huts are fully equipped with a luxurious double bed and single bunk above, as well as a log burning stove, mini kitchen and comfy, sheepskin-lined chair. A host of extra luxury items provide the finishing touches, including Bronte by Moon blankets and cushions, Emma Bridgewater mugs, and Duck Island bathroom products. Outside there is a firepit, a table and a barbecue on the private patio where relaxation is assured and with a selection of books, films and games for any rainy days. Watch the sun set and barbecue for dinner as you enjoy a complementary glass of wine.

Morndyke farmhouse annexe includes a small kitchen with breakfast bar, kitted out with Emma Bridgewater crockery and kitchenware, a microwave, toaster, kettle, dishwasher, fridge and cooker and a full range of utensils, cutlery and cookware. It has French windows opening onto a patio with a fire pit, a table and chairs and beyond is the old English garden that leads to the old brick garden shed where there’s a free-range hen run tucked away in the corner. It’s quality and luxury in a farmhouse setting.

The Hambleton Hills can be viewed over the farmland stretching for miles. You’ll see the occasional roe deer and buzzards soaring above you.

Morndayke Lake is a two-acre lake that is stocked with mirror & common carp, barbel, roach, green and golden tench and chub as well as eels and an array of water birds, has been beautifully maintained and run by the Phillips’ family since it was first opened. Morndyke Lake is aerated through the night in summer to oxygenate the water, the lake sustains a vast number of fish that range in size from 3lb roach to 28lb carp. There are 27 platforms (pegs) to fish from, all of which can be accessed easily from the path around the lake.


Morndyke House, Brickyard Farm, Busby Stoop, Thirsk, YO7 4EH

Tel: 01845 587544 Mobile: 07785 763738


Recently recognised by Visit England as providing ‘Service Excellence’, the site has been granted the once-in-a-lifetime ROSE award, alongside its long-standing Gold Award.

Morndyke is a child-free site, but dogs (or other pets within reason!) are more than welcome. The site is open all year round.

Bookings for the Morndyke Shepherds' Huts require a minimum stay of two nights and operate as adult only accommodation (age 18+). Morndyke Shepherds' Huts is a dog friendly glamping site so please bring your four-legged family member along.

Morndyke Shepherds' Huts have a strict no smoking policy.

Thirsk Birds of Prey Centre

Thirsk Birds of Prey Centre at Sion Hill Hall sets high standards of conservation whilst sharing the experience of the beautiful birds of prey with visitors. It is an experience enjoyed by many people throughout the year and importantly shows you where in the world each type of bird in each aviary comes from with maps of the world with certain countries highlighted.

Imagine the soaring of an eagle above your head or if you have ever dreamed of seeing owls sweeping past or ducking and diving as vultures fly by then this is the place for you!

Three times a day, a fabulous flying display with different birds is held and afterwards a handling session allowing visitors the chance to get close and personal plus plenty of photo-opportunities in between as all the beautiful birds are on display.  

The learning experience continues with presentations about the history of birds of prey including how they were very much protected in the Middle Ages through to the threats of modern agriculture, the widespread use of toxic chemicals and other threats which caused major damage to the native raptor population. You’ll learn how raising public awareness of the needs and habitats of birds through centres such as Thirsk Birds of Prey Centre you can all play a part in assisting the preservation of these fine creatures to enrich the lives of future generations.

Thirsk Birds of Prey, Sion Hill Hall, Kirby Wiske, Thirsk, North Yorkshire, YO7 4EU

Telephone: +44 (0) 1845 587522  E-mail:

Family Flying Encounter

This experience is for two adults and two children* to come along as a family and fly a selection of our friendly feathered friends in our flying arena for one hour, you will get to meet and fly at least five different birds including Owls, Kestrels and Hawks and Buzzards. Your experience will finish in time for you to be able to watch one of amazing flying displays and look around our fantastic birds of prey collection. This Experience also allows includes your general admittance into the centre so you can watch the three different flying displays if you wish. * Children Age restrictions apply (8 to 16 years old) Please note that the experience days all need to be pre-booked by calling 01845 587522 during the centre opening hours.

The Old Barn Coffee Shop

The Old Barn Coffee Shop is and part of York House and Abbots Green Holiday Park at Balk just outside Thirsk in the heart of Herriot Country just four miles from the World of James Herriot.

Winner of the Customer Service Team of the Year award in the annual Flavours of Herriot Award 2019, the Old Barn Coffee Shop offers a delicious range of meals throughout the day including a hearty all-day Yorkshire breakfast, a wholesome lunch choice and afternoon tea that includes homemade cakes, with gluten and dairy-free options and a fabulous choice of Italian blend coffees, Yorkshire Tea and a fine selection of cold drinks including Fentiman’s  Lemonade and Shmoo milkshakes.

Open to everyone and especially a favourite with holiday park guests, the Old Barn Coffee Shop is popular with walkers, cyclists and there’s a dedicated indoor area for customers with pets. Nothing beats sitting in the tranquil patio area with an indulgent Brymor ice cream or a frozen yoghurt that is especially popular with our four-legged friends. James Herriot would have been quite at home at the Old Barn Coffee Shop.

There’s a mezzanine area indoors that can be booked for private functions and meetings and a games room for the family plus plenty of seating inside and outside. A large car park in front of the main building is mainly flat and ensures there is ample space for all comers.

Access to the Old Barn Coffee Shop is level and accessible toilets are located within the building and there is a concrete ramp leading to the games room with access to the coffee shop.

Old Barn Coffee Shop, at the Entrance to York House Holiday Park, Balk, Thirsk YO7 2AQ

Tel: 01845 597495


The Old Barn Coffee Shop is primarily accessed by road with good access from the A19 and A170. The area is popular with cyclists and walkers (bike racks are available at the front of the coffee shop). Thirsk train station is 5 miles away from the park and has many links to main line services from Newcastle, Leeds, York, Manchester and London. We can provide our guests with numbers of several taxi firms that operate in the Thirsk areas, some of whom have adapted transport for the disabled.

World of James Herriot

Step inside… The World of James Herriot...

Like millions worldwide, you’ve probably read his books or watched All Creatures Great and Small, or maybe you’ve heard of James Herriot on the TV series The Yorkshire Vet. Well why not come and see where James Herriot, the world’s most famous vet, lived, worked and wrote his incredibly successful series of books based on his experiences as a young North Yorkshire vet.

Walk through his fully-restored 1940s home and surgery in Thirsk; travel back in time to what life was like when James was practicing. See the car he drove, step into the TV set, try your hand at being a vet and even experience what it was like to hide in a World War 2 air raid shelter, plus so much more including interactive games for Herriot fans of all ages. A visit to the World of James Herriot is something you will never forget.

In 2020 a new series of All Ceatures Great and Small is on Channel 5 TV that will bring the Herriot Country stories to a whole new generation of viewers and a visit to the World of James Herriot is the best place to start on your journey through Herriot Country.

World of James Herriot Ltd, 23 Kirkgate, Thirsk, North Yorkshire,YO7 1PL
Tel: 01845 524234

Location: The World of James Herriot is a short walk from the Thirsk town centre. 23 Kirkgate, Thirsk, North Yorkshire, YO7 1PL.

By Bus: Our bus travel partners are Reliance (Route 30). Regular York to Thirsk timetable (Monday to Saturday).

By Rail: Our rail travel partners are Grand Central. Regular London to Sunderland route (seven days a week). You may require a taxi from Thirsk Railway Station to World of James Herriot in Thirsk town centre (around 1.5 miles). Contact our taxi partners Chapman’s Taxis, Thirsk, North Yorkshire YO7 1FH. Tel: 01845 609957

By Road: Thirsk is just off the A19 and close to the A1(M). Save YO7 1PL in your sat nav. There are a number of nearby car parking sites in Thirsk town centre.

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