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Welcome to Herriot country. As well as being a traditional Yorkshire market town, Thirsk was also the home of renowned vet, James Herriot. Boasting the spectacular backdrops of the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors, it's no wonder this much-loved author was so inspired living and working here.
World of James Herriot Based in his original surgery, this interactive museum is a fascinating insight into the life of James Herriot.
Thirsk Racecourse Young or old, there’s nothing quite like a day of shouting yourself hoarse as you cheer on a winner.
Thirsk was renamed as "Darrowby" in the James Herriot books.
The Ritz Cinema in Sowerby dates back to 1912 and is one of Britain's oldest operating cinemas.
If you enjoy a pint or two, Thirsk is a great place to have a pub crawl thanks to all the friendly publicans. Cheers!
Once referred to as 'God's Country', Thirsk is a truly stunning part of the world. The epitome of a rural market town, its medieval cobbled market square, original frontage shops and historic coaching inns have an enduring charm that still enchant visitors today. It's as timeless as the good old Yorkshire welcome that's waiting to greet you.
With the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors on its front and back doorsteps, Thirsk nestles in between some truly extraordinary countryside. Rolling hills run into spectacular limestone valleys, where historic castles and ancient abbeys whisper secrets about times gone by. So put your best foot forward from your cottage, tent or B&B and get ready to start exploring.
As the birthplace of Thomas Lord, founder of Lord's Cricket Ground, and spiritual home of author James Herriot, Thirsk is a Yorkshire legend. Today, the World of James Herriot is an award winning museum and visitor centre which attracts lovers of BBC's All Creatures Great and Small from all around the world. Quite an achievement for a small market town in the Vale of York.
You won't have to walk far to discover one of this country's favourite attractions; the World of James Herriot. Anyone who's ever seen All Creatures Great and Small will jump at the chance to leap back in time to the 1940s and experience the life and times of this popular vet. Based in his original surgery, you can interact with TV sets, see what his living quarters would have been like and inspect veterinary artefacts old and new.
Fancy a day at the races? Then gee-up for a day at Thirsk Racecourse. Set almost entirely against a background of open countryside, you'll enjoy magnificent views of the North York Moors in between cheering on your flat race winner. And depending on how flush you're feeling, you can choose anything from a cheap day out in the Family Ring to that big event feel in the Members' Enclosure.
Whether you're celebrating a big win, or just in the mood for a swift half (or two!), why not trot over to one of Thirsk's great coaching inns. By the 18th century, the town had become an important coaching stop and many of its historic inns still exist today. Two of the oldest are the grade II listed Three Tuns and The Golden Fleece, which still sports its original Georgian coaching clock.
As well as the traditional regional fare of Yorkshire pudding, pork pies and Yorkshire curd tart, Herriot Country serves up some tasty dishes from around the world too. So whether you're fuelling up for the day ahead, or winding down from a day of sightseeing, you'll find plenty of cafes, country inns and restaurants that fit the bill.
Veggies and meat eaters alike will notice the difference when they eat out here. That's because local farmers specialise in producing high quality regional foods using traditional methods. And because many pubs and restaurants source products from local suppliers, you can literally taste the difference. Why not stock up on local cheeses, sausages and ice creams from the farmers markets before you go home!
This is your chance to sample another Yorkshire speciality - beer. A refreshing pint of an award winning ale from the Black Sheep Brewery and Theakston Brewery is never far away. So seek out a Herriot Country inn, settle down in front of a roaring fire or a stunning beer garden view and take a well deserved break.
Little animal lovers will be in their element in Herriot Country. The World of James Herriot museum and visitor centre is just a hop and a skip from Thirsk's cobbled marketplace and will keep young visitors amused with its farm and veterinary delights. Or see the falcons, eagles and owls swoop at the Falconry UK Bird of Prey & Conservation Centre. Dare you try the ultimate hands on experience?
There's the chance for some swooping and diving fun of the human kind too. Just a few miles outside of Thirsk lies Yorkshire Outdoors and an adrenalin-filled day of fun. There's quad biking, 4x4 off road driving, Segway and even clay pigeon shooting. Many activities are suitable for children aged 6 and over, so there are thrills and spills in store for the whole family here.
On a warm summer's day, there's nothing quite like getting back to basics and enjoying time in nature's own playground. So why not pack up a picnic and take the kids out to the North York Moors National Park. There are ancient castles to discover, woodlands to explore and pebbles to skim - and who can resist riding a pony out from Boltby Trekking Centre and into the beautiful wilds.
Some fascinating examples of Thirsk's heritage extend out from its bustling medieval marketplace. Starting in this cobbled centre, set your watch by the eye catching town clock then step back in time as you wander around its shops with their original frontages. Set your compass north for the World of James Herriot museum and spectacular 15th century St Mary's Church, east to the timeless Cod Beck and west to the historic racecourse.
A slice of sporting history lies inside the walls of Thirsk Museum. Occupying the former house of Thomas Lord, the founder of Lord's Cricket Ground, its exhibits shed a fascinating light on local life and history, cricket memorabilia, costumes and toys. You'll also spy the bones of an ancient Saxon giant and discover the sinister reputation of the Busby Stoop Chair (and why no one now sits on it).
Having celebrated more birthdays than most modern cinema-goer, Thirsk's Ritz Cinema is a must-see attraction. Now showing today's most popular films, one of Britain's oldest cinemas has certainly moved with the times since it began life as a Mechanic's Institute in the middle of the 19th century. This is a rare opportunity to see some modern movie action in a genuine period setting.
Thirsk's medieval market square is the setting for a variety of speciality stores and cafes that cater for locals and visitors alike. Window shopping will take on a whole new meaning as you wander around, as many shops still have their original frontages. If you're here on a Monday or Saturday, don't miss the chance to check out the wares at the open-air market.
This is the place to escape those oh-so familiar High Street chains and shopping malls. Thirsk has a wealth of smaller, more independent stores that befit an old fashioned market town of its size. Of course you'll find plenty of hole in the wall cash machines but beyond that, you'll enjoy the more local sights, sounds and smells of bakers, butchers and flower shops that are dotted all around.
Just when you think you've seen all Thirsk has to offer, think again. They may just look like small alleyways, but you might be surprised what those little side streets have to offer. So get exploring Thirsk's nooks and crannies and you'll be rewarded with another world of teashops, clothes shops and furniture sellers that you never knew were there.
Birds of Prey
Meet fur and feathered friends as you feed the ducks, ride a pony and handle birds of prey.
Thirsk’s favourite sons
Immerse yourself in the life and times of Thirsk’s favourite sons; James Herriot and Thomas Lord.
From trees to tables, follow the furniture trail and discover the region’s talented craftspeople.
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