Herriot Country

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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Thirsk Museum is full of fascinating local facts, historical reference pieces and peculiarities.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: info@thirskmuseum.org

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.

Bank Villa Masham

Bank Villa Masham is a gorgeous Grade II listed Georgian Guest House that includes a delicious home cooked 'Yorkshire breakfast' when you stay in one of the five individually furnished and decorated bedrooms.

Masham (pronounced as Mass’em) is a lovely market town that is a perfect base for discovering this charming part of Herriot Country and is home to two of Yorkshire’s famous breweries, Theakston and Black Sheep with their unbeatable beers. Discover the creative side of Masham when you visit no less than five galleries, great cafes, traditional fish and chips, fine dining and pub grub. Masham has annual highlight events that keep everyone entertained including Usually the third full weekend of July, Masham Steam Engine and Fair Organ Rally which has been taking place for over 50 years; The White Bear Midsummer Beer Festival (usually mid-June) and Black Swan, Fearby’s Yorkshire Festival of Ales (usually end of July); also in July, The Burn Valley Run is a one of the most scenic and demanding half marathons in England and at the end of September, Masham Sheep Fair weekend celebrates Masham’s sheep trading heritage.

Bank Villa’s unique accommodation is, clean, homely and welcoming with comfortable beds dressed with quality linen and self-adjustable heating so you can set your own comfort levels. There’s also a hot drinks station which is cleaned and refreshed after breakfast or on request as is fresh milk flask when required. Quality bathroom toiletries are accompanied by soft towels, bath sheets and dressing gowns plus a hairdryer.

Three types of room are available at Bank Villa. The first floor newly renovated (March 2019) Morris suite has been decorated in homage to William Morris, pioneer of the arts and crafts movement. This features a superking width bed which can be separated into a twin and there’s a walk-in wardrobe, seating area and ensuite dual head shower.

The second floor Superking room has a large comfortable bed can be super-king double or a twin bed arrangement, a dressing table and ensuite shower room.

The premier double ensuite room has a Standard double bed with an additional day bed.
The additional single cabin bed means that this room can be set as a double room or twin room for a couple, a twin room for sharing adults, or as triple room for a family or three sharing adults. It has a walk-in shower.

Your breakfast choice is full of local goodness as you select from the cereal, yoghurt, mixed fruit, preserves and a true Yorkshire cooked breakfast options that includes dry cured bacon and home-made black pudding (all from award-winning Beavers' butchers in Masham), eggs (from Wensleydale Eggs free range hens), Cumberland sausage, Heinz baked beans and a hash brown plus roast tomatoes and mushrooms most of which has travelled less than 5 miles from field to plate. Vegetarian options include vegetarian sausages and/or patties made at Beavers butchers and other items plus our coffee is Coffee Care’s award-winning Three Peaks blend from nearby Skipton and naturally, Yorkshire Tea!  

Truly cycle friendly accommodation, Bank Villa has six lockable storage units available for cycles, cleaning facilities and custom (be-spoke) on request breakfasts. As we are on the route for the 2014 Tour de France Grand Depart, 2019 UCI Championships and annual Tour de Yorkshire routes, you will be riding in the wind of those professionals that have passed by in the past and will no doubt be back in future.

Bank Villa, The Avenue, Masham HG4 4DB

Tel: 01765 689605 | ​Mobile: 07427 064497

Email: stay@bankvilla.com

Nearest Railway Stations are Northallerton and Thirsk 13 miles. If arriving by train, you might need to book a taxi - it is best to do this in advance.
Nearest airport is Leeds/Bradford 33 miles. We are also only about an hour from Tees Valley Airport and one and a half hours from Newcastle Airport.
The 159 bus from Ripon/Richmond stops in Masham.

If you would like to discuss your room requirements or have any questions about any of our facilities, please do give Natalie a call on 07427 064497 or email on stay@bankvilla.com.

The Jonas Centre

The Jonas Centre, deep in Herriot Country’s Wensleydale at Redmire near Leyburn, is a haven for escapees from the fast pace of modern life and where families of all ages, groups and individuals can enjoy the tranquil beauty of the Yorkshire Dales.

First opened in 1996, the Jonas Centre is in a stunning location and provides accommodation in twelve Scandinavian styled self-catering log cabins that include a refrigerator, full sized electric cooker, toaster, kettle, microwave oven and ample crockery, cutlery and kitchen utensils. Storage heating plus small electric heaters keep you warm on cooler evenings and there’s a colour TV and wi-fi in each cabin plus wi-fi around the site. Bathrooms in standard and classic cabins include bath and shower and Premier cabins have shower only.

The Granary Barn provides a central meeting and dining area for up to 80 people and is ideally suited for group gatherings and as a focus for special interest groups, anniversary celebrations, family gatherings, reunion weekends, team-building breaks, walking weekends and business events. The main meeting area is an open plan multi-purpose meeting room, measuring 36ft x 18ft. In suitable weather conditions this can also provide access to a hard-standing reception area and enclosed lawn ideal for picnics and barbecues.

The Granary Barn has a fully equipped catering kitchen and on the upper floor there are two separate lounges, often used as additional meeting rooms in a more relaxed and informal environment. Each is equipped with TV & DVD and each lounge can accommodate around 15 people. Here you will also find reception and shop.

James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small might have been designed for The Jonas Centre as there have always been animals on the site and has been home to donkeys, alpacas and a turkey called Gerry! Currently there is Sally the Shetland Pony, (born in 1982); Billie the pygmy goat, (born in 2008); Martini & Cinzano the geese, Prudence the Kune Kune Pig, born in 2009, and various ducks and chickens. Educational sessions are held about the animals and there are opportunities to help the staff to feed the ducks and chickens their breakfast.

The Jonas Centre, Redmire, Leyburn, North Yorkshire, DL8 4EW

Tel: 01969 624900 | Email: stay@jonascentre.org

“The Jonas Centre is operated by The Jonas Trust, a Christian charity registered as 1049167 with the Charity Commission.”

Guests: We see people as the priority and desire to treat our guests with friendliness, respect and courtesy. 
We endeavour to outline clearly in literature and on websites the standards and services that guests can expect to find. 
We aim to show transparent honesty and openness in our dealings with guests that includes:
- a clear pricing structure that highlights any "extras" or cancellation charges
- a booking process that has reasonable terms and conditions and is administered efficiently. We strive towards high standards of hygiene, safety, maintenance and access in accordance with current legal requirements. 
We aim to deal speedily and responsibly with any concerns or complaints that arise. 

Staff and volunteers: Click here to meet The Jonas Centre team.
We commit ourselves to providing effective and appropriate training for our staff and volunteers that values them as a vital part of the organisation. 

We endeavour to ensure that all staff and volunteers understand and comply with current legislation that applies to all areas of their responsibility. 
We endeavour to provide opportunities for our staff and volunteers that will develop them and not simply equip them for the demands of their current role. 



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

Email: tricia-phillips@hotmail.com

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.

Woodlands Farm

Woodlands Farm at Thimbleby near Northallerton is rated Five Star (Gold Award) by the AA and the AA Friendliest B&B of the Year 2019-2020 and has a Silver Award from Green Tourism. Woodlands Farm is run by Paul and Amy Callin (husband and wife team) with the help of their two young daughters, Chloe and Bella.

All rooms are furnished with locally crafted English oak furniture made by Beaver Furniture and Robert Thompson’s 'Mouseman' and all are en-suite, with their own private entrance. All rooms have fresh milk in the fridge/mini bar and as Woodhouse Farm is fully licensed a selection of wines is also included.

Amy is a professionally trained chef (at Leiths School of Food and Wine in London and Bettys Cookery School as a Chef/Tutor for nine years (part of the Bettys Cafe Tearoom business) prepares award-winning breakfasts and uses good quality locally-sourced ingredients. ‘My Kitchen’ opened in September 2019 and is open to resident and non-residential guests in the Farmhouse Kitchen. Specialising in local cuisine using hands-on techniques the Cookery Experiences run during Autumn to Spring and includes the provenance of the food and support for local businesses. The Cookery Experiences also include talks and tastings by local producers and for guests are an interesting culinary experience, which, dovetail neatly with visiting Herriot Country and the many locations of these producers who in previous generations would have been James Herriot’s clients.

Since opening Woodlands Farm in 2014, there have been some fantastic reviews from guests about breakfast following feedback from guests the food offering has been gradually grown so that you can now pre-order packed lunches, whether it’s to take with you on a walk along The Cleveland Way or the Coast to Coast or to enjoy in your room.  Yorkshire Platters and Yorkshire Cheeseboards (pre-ordered), are a great accompaniment to a bottle of wine from  wine list! 

On Woodlands Farm, electric car owners will be pleased to note that there are electric car chargers (Tesla and Universal) and guests will meet the resident ponies in the Stable Yard whilst during check-in enjoy homemade cake and Yorkshire tea with a warm Yorkshire welcome from the husband and wife team.

Woodlands Farm, Thimbleby, Northallerton, North Yorkshire DL6 3PY

Tel: 01609 883524
Email: info@woodlandsfarmthimbleby.com

Woodlands Farm operates a strict non-smoking policy in all rooms and in certain outdoor areas such as the Stable Yard.  We are sorry but we no longer accept pets except assistance dogs in The Ainsty Suite.

Check-in is between 4pm-6pm and check-out is by 10:30am.  We can be flexible with timings if agreed in advance (preferably on booking).  A late check-in/check-out fee may be charged at our discretion.

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: info@falconrycentre.co.uk

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.

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