Rievaulx Abbey was once one of the wealthiest monasteries in medieval England. St Aelred, the abbey’s third abbot, described it as ‘everywhere peace, everywhere serenity’ and it still offers the same sense of escapism for a holiday today. In 1538, the abbey was dissolved by Henry VIII during the suppression of the monasteries and much of its contents stripped. For much of its later life, Rievaulx was seen as picturesque ruins and an increasingly popular visitor destination during the 18th century when the first attempts to preserve the ruins were made. Refectory Cottage is an ideal spot from which to explore the North York Moors. The Cleveland Way is on your doorstep and you can head into the city of York. Walk from the abbey to the nearby town of Helmsley and try the local craft beer or the award winning fish and chips.