Things To Do in Thirsk: A Local's Guide to the Best of the Best

8 months ago   •   9 min read

By More Yorkshire
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Things To Do In Thirsk

In the scenic landscape of North Yorkshire lies Thirsk, a picturesque market town brimming with English charm. If you're wondering about things to do in Thirsk, rest assured, its rich history and stunning environs offer a myriad of attractions for visitors of all persuasions.

The cobbled pathways and enduring allure of Thirsk invite exploration. Delve into thrilling horse races at Thirsk Racecourse or immerse yourself in local art amidst serene gardens. The expansive countryside beckons with scenic walks, exhilarating bike routes, and horse trekking adventures.

Families can revel in the delights of Monk Park Farm, offering immersive farm experiences that charm both young and old. Whether you're on a fleeting visit or an extended stay, Thirsk promises a plethora of unforgettable experiences. Cherish the memories you'll undoubtedly craft in this enchanting town.


Attractions in Thirsk

Thirsk Museum

Thirsk Museum is a fascinating place to visit, featuring exhibits on local history and art. You'll gain insights about the town's heritage while enjoying various displays on its past. If you're keen on museums, Thirsk Museum is definitely worth your time.

Ritz Cinema

For a touch of entertainment and culture, pay a visit to the Ritz Cinema. This historic venue offers a mix of mainstream movies and art-house films for every taste. In addition to its captivating interior, the Ritz provides a cosy environment to enjoy during your time in Thirsk.

Yorkshire Gliding Club

Calling all thrill-seekers: the Yorkshire Gliding Club offers an exciting opportunity to experience the thrill of gliding. Here, you can take to the skies and admire the beauty of the surrounding countryside while enjoying a unique and exhilarating adventure.

Sutton Park

Image Source: Instagram – @sutton_park_yorkshire

If you enjoy exploring historical sites and impressive architecture, Sutton Park is an excellent choice. This elegant Georgian house offers a glimpse into the past with beautifully maintained gardens and interiors. Your visit to Sutton Park promises stylish decor and a tranquil atmosphere.

Mount Grace Priory

Set amidst serene woodlands, Mount Grace Priory is a well-preserved, medieval Carthusian monastery. You'll be in awe of the beautiful stonework and timeless church ruins, making it a must-see during your visit to Thirsk.

Sion Hill Hall

Image Source: historichouses.org

Another gem of Thirsk's rich history is Sion Hill Hall, home to the Thirsk Birds of Prey Centre. With its stunning architecture, captivating bird exhibitions, and picturesque grounds, Sion Hill Hall provides an enjoyable day out for the whole family.

Byland Abbey

Discover the impressive ruins of Byland Abbey, a grand monument offering insights into the lives of Cistercian monks. Explore the remains of abbot's lodgings, refectories, and chapter houses, as you appreciate the peaceful surroundings and stunning countryside views.

Shandy Hall

Image Source: laurencesternetrust.org.uk

Located in nearby Coxwold, Shandy Hall is the former home of 18th-century writer Laurence Sterne. This charming Grade I-listed building is now a museum housing Sterne's work and other literary memorabilia. Book lovers and history enthusiasts will find Shandy Hall a delightful visit.


Activities and Experiences

Thirsk offers a variety of outdoor activities and experiences for everyone to enjoy, from exhilarating outdoor adventures to leisurely walks in nature.

Yorkshire Outdoors

At Yorkshire Outdoors, you can engage in an array of activities that will get your adrenaline pumping. Discover the excitement of quad biking, 4x4 off-road driving, and clay pigeon shooting. This is the perfect destination for those seeking adventure and an enjoyable day out in the picturesque Yorkshire countryside.

Boltby Trekking Centre

Boltby Trekking Centre allows you to explore the stunning landscapes of the North York Moors on horseback. No matter what your riding experience or confidence level, their friendly and professional coaches will guide you through scenic trails and unforgettable experiences. With well-trained horses and tranquil surroundings, it's an ideal activity for nature lovers and equestrians alike.


Wildlife and Nature

Sutton Bank National Park

Sutton Bank National Park offers a variety of outdoor activities for nature and wildlife enthusiasts. With its diverse landscape, you can explore various habitats that support a wide range of birds, animals, and other wildlife. Take a leisurely stroll along the well-maintained pathways, and immerse yourself in the surrounding beauty while enjoying breathtaking views from the park's many lookouts. Don't miss out on visiting the lakes, as they provide a serene environment where you can unwind and watch the local birdlife.

Boltby Forest

Image Source: dogfriendlydestinations.com

Boltby Forest is an enchanting woodland area that allows you to take in the natural environment whilst discovering an array of wildlife. As you walk along the trails, keep your eyes peeled for birds, animals, and even the occasional pony. The forest also offers a prime location for birdwatching, thanks to its diverse range of habitats, including trees, shrubs, and open clearings.

Monk Park Farm Animals

Monk Park Farm provides a charming destination for animal enthusiasts, where you can interact with a variety of cute and cuddly species. Children and adults alike will enjoy the chance to feed and pet goats, sheep, and other friendly farm animals. With a pleasant atmosphere and lots of furry friends to meet, Monk Park Farm is a must-visit attraction for those looking to embrace Thirsk's rural charms.


Eateries and Cafes

Thirsk's Market Place Cafes

When you visit Thirsk's Market Place, you'll find an array of delightful cafés. Stop by White Horse Cafe for a lovely cuppa and a delicious cake. This family-friendly establishment is well-known for its quality offerings. If you're in the mood for a scrumptious sandwich, Upstairs Downstairs Tearooms Deli & Sandwich Bar is the place to be. With gluten-free and vegetarian options, it's perfect for a satisfying lunch.

Not to be missed is The Pantry, another cosy café worth your time. Pop in for breakfast, brunch, or a light lunch, and indulge in their selection of sweet treats and cakes.

Pub Dining

Image Source: pubandbar.com

The Black Bull is in the perfect location in the centre of Thirsk. There is ample parking on the front with plenty to see and do close to the pub.

For a more robust dining experience, Thirsk has several pubs that serve delectable dishes. The Carlton Inn boasts a diverse menu, offering traditional British food alongside global cuisine. The downstairs pub offers local ales, premium spirits, and classic cocktails, while the upstairs World Kitchen Restaurant caters to your taste buds with an eclectic selection of dishes.

The Greyhound at Bagby offers an exceptional dining experience. Here, you can savour mouthwatering Turkish dishes in addition to British staples. The Dog and Gun Knayton is yet another excellent choice, with a varied menu and warm, welcoming atmosphere.

Another noteworthy option is the Old Oak Tree. A short distance away, this lovely pub promises a delightful meal in a relaxed setting.

While exploring Thirsk and its surroundings, don't forget to step into some of the local bookshops. You'll be sure to find a delightful read to accompany your culinary adventures.


Visitor Information and Reviews

When planning your visit to Thirsk, it's essential to gather information from a variety of sources. One of the best places to start is by visiting a visitor centre, where you can find helpful staff members who can provide local knowledge and recommendations.

In addition to in-person advice, online resources like TripAdvisor can be invaluable. Here, you can find reviews and ratings posted by travellers who have previously visited Thirsk's attractions. By reading their experiences, you can gain a better understanding of what to expect during your visit and tailor your itinerary to suit your preferences.

Thirsk boasts an array of activities, with its popularity seemingly centred around cultural and theme tours, sightseeing, day trips, excursions, and private custom tours. Keep in mind that, as you browse through various user reviews on TripAdvisor, popularity can be subjective; what may be appealing to one traveller might not necessarily be to another. Thus, make sure to consider your own interests and preferences when selecting activities and experiences.

To ensure a seamless experience, it's often advised to book your chosen tours and experiences in advance. This can be particularly helpful during peak travel seasons when availability for popular attractions might be limited. Moreover, booking ahead of time allows you to explore various offerings, compare prices, and read reviews from fellow travellers to make an informed decision.

In summary, heading to a visitor centre, exploring online resources like TripAdvisor, and considering the reviews and ratings from fellow travellers is crucial for planning the perfect Thirsk getaway. By incorporating these approaches, you can make the most of your visit to this charming North Yorkshire town, tailored to your personal preferences.


Speciality and Gift Shops

When visiting Thirsk, be sure to explore its charming gift and speciality shops. As you wander through the streets, you'll find a range of unique and delightful gift options that cater to various tastes and interests.

One particular point of interest is the local knitted poppies. These handmade crafts represent not only a beautiful symbol of support for war veterans but also a personal and thoughtful gift for your friends and family. Keep an eye out for these poppies in the artisan shops as they make a lovely addition to any collection.

With a number of shops offering budget-friendly items as well as selections suitable for a rainy day, Thirsk gift and speciality shops provide entertainment and shopping opportunities for all. Whether you're in search of an artsy souvenir or a fun toy for the kids, these stores are sure to provide a memorable and enjoyable experience.

To further enrich your trip to Thirsk, you might opt to visit some of the area's art galleries and flea markets. These venues present an excellent opportunity to find unique gifts while also gaining insights into the local culture and art scene. Additionally, the variety of shops and markets are likely to pique your interest and let you make the most of your time spent in this quaint town.


Frequently Asked Questions

What are the top attractions in Thirsk?

Thirsk offers several attractions for visitors to explore. The World of James Herriot, located at 23 Kirkgate, allows you to step into the famous Skeldale House and discover the life and works of author Alf Wight. The Ritz Cinema is another popular place to catch a film in a historic setting. Outdoor enthusiasts can visit the White Horse of Kilburn at Sutton Bank and enjoy beautiful views. Sion Hill Hall in Kirby Wiske and Monk Park Farm Visitor Centre in Bagby are also worth a visit.

Where are the best places to eat in Thirsk?

Thirsk boasts several cafés and restaurants, serving cuisine to suit every taste. Be sure to check out various local eateries and ask locals or consult online reviews to discover popular and acclaimed dining spots. As options may change over time, it is best to explore and find the latest culinary hotspots.

What outdoor activities are available near Thirsk?

Outdoor activities are plentiful in and around Thirsk. You can try off-roading at Yorkshire 4x4 in Felixkirk or dive into gliding at the Yorkshire Gliding Club in Sutton Bank. Exploring the nearby North York Moors offers numerous opportunities for hiking, cycling, and enjoying the stunning scenery.

What events are happening in Thirsk?

Thirsk hosts events throughout the year, including country shows, farmer's markets, and racing at the Thirsk Racecourse. Local websites and the Thirsk Tourist Information Centre are excellent resources to keep you up-to-date on current and upcoming events.

What day does the Thirsk market take place?

The Thirsk market takes place every Monday and Saturday in the Market Place. Offering a range of stalls, the market is a great opportunity to shop for local produce and handmade items. Keep in mind that schedules may change, so it is best to confirm with local sources before attending.

Thirsk has numerous pubs with warm atmospheres and a great selection of drinks. Be sure to explore the town and ask locals for their recommendations. Online reviews and guides may also be useful to find the best pubs in Thirsk. Enjoy responsibly and make the most of your time experiencing the local hospitality.

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