Things to See and Do Nearby to Rievaulx Abbey
Rievaulx Abbey is a great day-trip, but there are a lot of fun and exciting things close to the abbey that will entertain the entire family. There are an abundance of historical sights to see and explore, including:
Helmsley Castle is 3.7 km from the abbey, and there is a walk from the abbey to the castle ruins. Built with wood in 1120, the 900-year-old castle is majestic in every sense. Much of the castle has been turned into ruin, but there are two main features that remain: a 100 feet western wall and a deep double ditch. The southern western block still exists, and the roof remains.
The castle was mostly demolished after a civil war siege. On the castle grounds is a beautiful walled garden that has splashes of purple, white, yellow and green flowers. Spread over 5-acres, the garden once grew vegetables fruits and flowers for Duncombe Park, but it was abandoned and left derelict. Volunteers helped revive the gardens, which are now lush with vegetation and flowers, while also housing many fruit trees.
World of James Herriot
James Herriot’s museum covers the life and work of author James Herriot. The museum is just 15km from the abbey. When entering the restored home, visitors will be returned to the past with a restored 1940s home. The Original Austin 7 car, fully restored, is a sight to see.
Herriot, a veterinarian and writer, wrote a series of books which would be turned into a television show called All Creatures Great and Small. The Austin 7 car on display is the original seen in the series, and the living quarter and sets from the series have been recreated in the home.
Just 10.7km from the abbey is another beautiful country home called Nunnington Hall. The hall is part of the National Trust, and is located in North Yorkshire. The oldest parts of the home date back to the time of William Parr, who died in 1571.
A modest entrance greets visitors, with the stone hall also having a porch.
The dining room inside of the home is the second room most visitors enter, and its furniture dates to the 1920s. A dark turquoise color was used for the room, which was a smoking room for Colonel Fife. Pictures and paintings fill the home as well as ceramics, furniture and metal work dating back centuries.
Museums and Parks
Museums and parks are nearby that offer outdoor fun for the entire family. The most notable places nearby are:
National Centre for Birds of Prey
The National Centre for Birds of Prey is in Duncombe Park, and it’s the perfect place to visit for bird watching. Finalist for the White Rose Awards 2016, the centre maintains breeding programs and 300 acres of woodland to explore.
Ryedale Folk Museum
Capture a glimpse of the past at the Ryedale Folk Museum. The museum has been a relic of the past for over 50 years, and recreates rural life in the Iron Age through the 1950s. the open air museum comprises several historic buildings, and includes:
• Tractors and agricultural vehicles
• Recreated storefronts
• Period beds and cots
There is a lot to see and do at the folk museum.
Sutton Bank National Park Centre
The Sutton Bank National Park provides spectacular views and endless possibilities. Kid-friendly trails are everywhere as well as bike hire and cycling trails. A tearoom and picnic area can be found at the park as well as toilets and free Wi-Fi. Entry is free, and there is a wildlife viewing area that allows guests to watch and take photographs of the park’s abundant wildlife. The view from Sutton Bank is a must-see and is considered one of the finest views in England.
Restaurants and Pubs
Helmsley is filled with good food and drink. There are many places to sit down and eat, including:
• Cocoa Tree: A rustic experience, Cocoa Tree is a beautiful place to sit and eat with stonework and vibrant flowers everywhere. The ideal place to sit for dessert, enjoy tea, cappuccino, cake and biscuits in the coffee room among countless other delicacies.
• Scotts of Helmsley: Scotts of Helmsley is a quaint place to sit down and enjoy traditional cuisine. Great service and good food, Scotts offers delightful fish and chips at a great price.
• Porters Coffee Shop: Porters is a must-visit coffee shop located on Bridge Street. The shop comes to life at night with its beautiful décor, and visitors can enjoy spectacular views as well as outside seating when dining.
There are dozens of places to sit down and eat or enjoy tea and coffee in town. A few other destinations that deserve mention are:
• Black Swan Tearoom
• Beadlam Grange Farmshop and Tearoom
There is a tearoom present in Rievaulx Abbey if you want to grab a quick bite to eat.