Things To Do In Selby: Your Ultimate Guide to Experiencing the Town's Best Kept Secrets

3 months ago   •   10 min read

By More Yorkshire
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Things to Do in Selby

Selby, a charming market town in North Yorkshire, England, offers an intriguing mix of historical and cultural attractions for visitors.

Surrounded by a pastoral landscape, the town is renowned for its impressive abbey, well-preserved medieval buildings, and a variety of outdoor pursuits.

Visitors can expect a warm welcome as they explore the blend of heritage sites and modern leisure activities available throughout the area.

The centrepiece of Selby's attractions is undoubtedly the Selby Abbey, a historic church that dates back to the 11th century.

Boasting remarkable examples of medieval craftsmanship, the Abbey presents a living history lesson as well as a venue for regular worship and community events.

Beyond the Abbey, travellers can immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the region at locations such as the Barlow Nature Reserve, offering serene settings for birdwatching and tranquil walks.

For an engaging and educational experience, the town also hosts various venues that flaunt local history and creativity.

Part of Selby's appeal comes from its vibrant community events and theatre productions held at places like the Jorvik Theatre & Arts Centre.

Not just entertaining, these spaces provide an insight into the local cultural scene.

Whether a visitor is after a reflective day visiting historical sites or an active afternoon partaking in outdoor activities, Selby serves up a slice of Yorkshire life that caters to a wide array of interests.


Selby Abbey

Selby Abbey stands as a testament to the historical and architectural grandeur that beckons visitors to this small Yorkshire town.

Historical Significance

Selby Abbey, having been established in 1069, is steeped in history and has been a focal point for worship and community service for more than 900 years.

Its prominence as a historic site is evident through centuries of events, such as its survival of the 1906 fire and the subsequent restorations that have preserved its historical integrity.

Architectural Details

The Abbey's architecture is a spectacle to behold, showcasing elements from various periods, including Norman and Gothic styles.

Notably, it features intricate carvings by Thomas Strudwick, one of the Abbey's most notable craftspeople from the twentieth century.

The Strudwick Carvings include representations of animals and a king's head, adding to the decor of the stonework and providing unique visual interest.

Visitor Information

The Abbey is centrally located in Selby, less than 30 minutes from York, and is accessible via the M62, A1(M), and A19.

Although there is no public parking at the Abbey, visitors can utilise several car parks in proximity to the site.

TripAdvisor reviews often reflect the popularity of Selby Abbey, recognising it as amongst the top attractions due to its inspiring architecture and the vibrant worship community that it supports.


Culinary Delights in Selby

Image Source: exploreheartofyorkshire.co.uk

Selby boasts an array of culinary experiences that cater to diverse tastes, with a special emphasis on locally-sourced cheese and beer and high-quality dining options that deliver satisfying meals.

Local Cheese and Beer

Selby takes pride in its regional produce, notably cheese and beer, both of which are staples in the local cuisine.

Food enthusiasts can indulge in a variety of artisanal cheeses, each with a unique flavour profile that reflects the area's rich dairy-farming heritage.

Beer aficionados are equally well catered for with a selection of craft ales available. Check out the Jolly Sailor Brewery shop for a unique purchase.

These are brewed using traditional methods, often with a modern twist that will surely resonate with those keen to explore the subtleties of locally-made beverages.

  • Artisanal Cheeses:
    • Strong Cheddar
    • Creamy Brie
    • Pungent Stilton
  • Local Brews:
    • Selby Blonde
    • Barkston Bitter
    • Abbey Gold Lager

Quality Dining Experience

When it comes to dining, Selby offers a compelling menu of eating establishments, ranging from casual to fine dining.

Visitors have the option to select from a multitude of places that serve food made from high-quality ingredients, promising a delightful dining experience.

Menus cater to a wide range of user preferences with offerings that include traditional British fare to modern international dishes.

High-Quality Venues:

  • The Gourmet Bistro: Contemporary European menu
  • Riverbank Restaurant: Traditional English dishes with a modern twist

Price points across these eateries are generally reasonably priced, ensuring that excellent food can be appreciated without putting a strain on one's wallet.

Whether one is looking to grab a quick sandwich or sit down for a multi-course meal, the focus remains consistent: to provide patrons with fantastic service, ambience, and above all, a memorable meal.


Strolls and Walks

Image Source: exploreheartofyorkshire.co.uk

Selby offers a variety of scenic walks, perfect for those seeking a tranquil experience in nature.

From riverside ambles to explorations through the historic woodlands, visitors can enjoy picturesque views and wildlife sightings.

Riverside Walks

Selby provides delightful riverside walk opportunities for enthusiasts looking to enjoy peaceful surroundings along the water's edge.

The Selby Canal, for instance, forms a serene backdrop for a leisurely stroll, where one might spot swans gracefully navigating the calm waters.

Walkers can follow well-maintained paths and look forward to the changing scenes of boats and nature along the way.

Barff Woodland Adventure

For a more immersive natural experience, Barff Woodland awaits.

This ancient oak woodland invites walkers into a habitat rich with wildlife.

It's an excellent spot for those keen on bird-watching or simply relishing the tranquility beneath a lush canopy.

The woodland trails are accessible, winding through diverse landscapes and offering a chance to observe a variety of wildflowers especially vibrant in the springtime.


Art and Culture

Selby boasts a vibrant art and culture scene that caters to enthusiasts and the local community with a variety of engaging activities.

The town's offerings include venues for dramatic performances and studios where one can participate in artistic workshops, all designed to foster creativity and provide enriching experiences.

Drama and Theatre

Selby Town Hall is the epicentre for theatrical productions, showcasing a mix of music, comedy, and drama that attracts top-tier talent to its stage.

The hall frequently curates a programme that includes both local performers and touring acts, ensuring a steady stream of diverse and high-quality entertainment.

Also gracing the area is the Jorvik Theatre & Arts Centre, known for family-friendly pantomimes and professional productions, offering the community premium artistic engagements.

Artistic Workshops and Classes

Artisans and novices alike can find a sanctuary in Selby's creative studios, which offer workshops and classes for a broad spectrum of artistic endeavours.

These sessions provide hands-on experiences with materials such as paint, fostering both the artists' impressions and the skill sets of participants.

Varied workshops tailored to different age groups and skill levels enable the local community to immerse themselves in creative expression and learn from experienced artists.


Specialised Tours

Selby offers travellers a chance to immerse themselves in rich history and culture through specialised tours. These experiences, often praised by TripAdvisor members, provide unique perspectives on the area's heritage.

Historic Site Tours

Selby Abbey Tours: Travellers can join the free guided tours of Selby Abbey to discover its historical significance.

Guides share insights into the hidden gems and storied past of this ancient site.

The tours are designed to be accessible, with donations gratefully accepted to assist in the Abbey's preservation.

TripAdvisor data suggests these tours are a favourite among visitors seeking historical knowledge.

Towton Battlefield: History enthusiasts may opt for a guided tour of Towton Battlefield.

This site, pivotal in the Wars of the Roses, offers a detailed exploration of significant events.

Educated guides from the Towton Battlefield Society ensure an informative and memorable experience.

Cultural and Themed Excursions

Hazlewood Castle Quad Bike and Activity Centre: For a blend of adventure and local saga, the quad bike and activity centre at Hazlewood Castle offers themed excursions.

Participants enjoy the thrill of quad biking while engaging with the area's history, making it an exclusive and enjoyable learning opportunity.

Holy Trinity Church Tours: Those interested in ecclesiastical architecture and religious customs can tour the Holy Trinity Church in Barkston Ash.

The Victorian Parish Church is known for its modest stone construction and the way it comes to life during key celebrations like Easter and Harvest Festival.

Tours provide a more intimate look at the church's role in the local community.


Family-Friendly Attractions

Selby Park from above

Selby's family-friendly attractions offer a variety of interactive experiences for children and numerous wildlife and nature spots that are perfect for family outings.

These destinations provide both educational and recreational opportunities tailored to families looking to explore the natural beauty and engage in fun, child-friendly activities.

Interactive Experiences for Kids

At Selby Park, children can indulge in an array of outdoor activities.

The park features a dedicated children's play area with equipment suitable for all ages, ensuring that little ones can enjoy hours of entertainment.

For families who lead an active lifestyle, cycling paths provide the perfect opportunity to hop on a bike and explore the surrounding greenery together.

Wildlife and Nature Spots

Nature-loving families are drawn to spots such as Barlow Common Nature Reserve, where the diversity of local wildlife captivates both young and old.

Visitors can spot various species, including rabbits, ducks, squirrels, and pheasants, in their natural habitats.

Easy walking trails wind through the reserve, allowing families to take a leisurely stroll and observe these animals up close, fostering a greater appreciation for Britain's wildlife amongst children.


Shopping and Markets

Selby's shopping scene is a vibrant mix of independent stores and regular markets that adepts and tourists love.

The quaint streets around the Selby Abbey and the bustling High Street offer a delightful shopping experience, with a focus on artisanal products and regional specialities.

Unique Finds and Local Crafts

Selby fosters a close-knit local community of craftspeople, making it an ideal place to discover unique and handcrafted items.

Visitors have the opportunity to acquire miniature embroidery pieces, a charming reminder of the town's creative spirit.

For those interested in learning new skills, various classes are available, typically hosted by skilled local artisans.

  • Mollie Sharp’s Cheese & Deli: A haven for food enthusiasts seeking local Yorkshire produce.
  • Creative Crafts & Curios: Offers a range of handcrafted items representing Selby's artisan community.

Souvenir Shops

When it comes to bringing a piece of Selby back home, the town’s souvenir shops have plenty to choose from. Shoppers can select from a wide array of goods that capture the essence of this Yorkshire locale.

  • Heart of Yorkshire: A prime spot for souvenirs that celebrate Selby's rich history and heritage.
  • Local Markets: The weekly Monday market and regular farmers' markets are perfect for picking out local treats and handmade gifts.

Traveller Essentials

When visiting Selby, it is essential for travellers to secure convenient accommodation and understand the local transport and parking options to make the most of their stay.

Accommodation and Booking Tips

Travellers should consider securing their accommodation well in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons where demand could be high. Tripadvisor is a useful resource for finding well-reviewed places to stay. Here is a brief guide for booking:

  • Read Reviews: Check recent guest reviews on platforms like Tripadvisor for insights into cleanliness, service quality, and location.
  • Book Early: Aim to book your accommodation early to avoid limited availability or higher prices.
  • Consider Location: Choose a stay that is within walking distance of key attractions like Selby Abbey to save on transport.

Transport and Parking Info

Selby is accessible by various modes of transport, including its own train station which connects to larger cities. Here's how travellers can navigate parking and traffic:

  • Train Station:
    • Located near the town centre for easy access.
    • Connects to major cities, making it a convenient option.
  • Car Park and Parking:
    • Avoid Peak Traffic: Travellers driving should aim to avoid peak traffic times, especially during morning and evening rush hours.
    • Parking Costs: Parking fees may apply; check signage for payment methods and pricing.

Table of Local Car Parks in Selby:

Location Parking Spaces Notes
Micklegate 42 Close to Selby Abbey
Scott Road 100+ Large car park, often busy
Marketplace Limited Short stay, max 2 hours

Public Spaces and Relaxation

Selby offers an array of public spaces where visitors and residents can find tranquillity and respite amidst the hustle and bustle of daily life. These spaces are meticulously maintained, ensuring a litter-free environment that is both peaceful and inviting.

Parks and Gardens

Selby Park serves as an oasis of calm in the heart of the town. It boasts well-manicured flower beds and expansive green spaces that are perfect for leisurely strolls or picnics. The park also features a charming pavilion, offering a shaded retreat on sunny days. Visitors can enjoy the serene views of ornamental ponds, which add to the park's peaceful atmosphere.

  • Flower Beds: Bursting with colour and meticulously cared for, the flower beds are a highlight for gardening enthusiasts.
  • Ponds: Adding a sense of serenity, the ponds provide a habitat for local wildlife and are a peaceful spot for contemplation.

Quiet Retreats and Meditation Spots

For those seeking a quiet retreat for reflection or meditation, Selby offers several spots that are designed to be sanctuaries of peace. These areas are typically situated away from the main thoroughfares, providing a secluded space where one can unwind and recharge.

  • Meditation Spots: Tucked away in quiet corners of public gardens or parks, marked by their tranquillity.
  • Maintenance: Regular maintenance of these areas ensures they remain pristine and conducive to relaxation.

Frequently Asked Questions

The following addresses common enquiries tourists may have when planning a visit to Selby.

What are the top attractions to visit in Selby for first-time visitors?

For those new to Selby, Selby Abbey stands as a beacon of the town's heritage and architecture. This historical site has long been central to the region's identity.

Families can explore the local parks and enjoy boating on the Selby Canal. The town offers various walking trails suited for all ages.

Are there any cost-free attractions available in the vicinity of Selby?

Visitors can enjoy cost-free attractions such as the scenic walking paths in the countryside and the awe-inspiring views of Selby Abbey without an entrance fee.

Where can one find the best shopping experiences in Selby?

The town centre provides a variety of shops, from independent boutiques to well-known high street brands, catering to diverse shopping preferences.

Selby boasts several dining options ranging from cosy cafes offering traditional British fare to restaurants serving international cuisine.

What cultural sites and landmarks should one not miss in Selby?

Beyond Selby Abbey, visitors should visit the historic St Germain's Church.

They should also take a tour of the nearby stately homes and castles that dot the Yorkshire countryside.

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