Just a few minutes away from Abbots Green is the beautiful market town of Thirsk. With a history going back at least 1,500 years, it has numerous beautiful features and attractions. To help you make the most of being close to this great community, we have created the Visitor’s Guide to Thirsk.

Want to know more? Read on…


Independent shops in Thirsk

Thirsk boasts some outstanding independent businesses, selling clothes, jewellery, home furnishings, toys and much more. These are just a few of our favourites.

If you’re a book lover, you could lose a lot of time in the White Rose Book Café, its shelves are filled with everything from local history books to the latest bestsellers. There are regular events for children and adults, and you’ll find a wonderful cafe at the back of the ground floor.

Kristina’s is a charming craft and gift shop, with something to suit just about every taste. There are also opportunities to try crafts yourself in regular workshops – particularly fun if you have children or grandchildren to entertain! If you’re not the creative type, there are plenty of ready-made options to take home or give to friends, including lots of fair trade items.

Every good market town should have a decent butcher, and Thirsk certainly does, in fact it has three! Johnson’s has been trading for almost 200 years and still offers great choice. You’ll find everything here from day-to-day meat to more unusual choices for a special occasion. There’s even a butchery school if you fancy learning how the experts prepare meat.


Things to do in Thirsk

The twice-weekly markets are one of the best aspects of Thirsk life. Every Monday and Saturday, the space around the marketplace is filled with stalls selling everything from fruit and vegetables to gifts, clothes and much more. Make sure you take the time to browse the stalls while you’re at Abbots Green.

The Ritz Cinema is known far beyond Thirsk itself, offering a mix of box office hits and more unusual screenings. It is more than a century old and is now run by a committed team of volunteers, who maintain its traditional feel and warm welcome. You can even hire the whole place out for special occasions!

One of Thirsk’s best-known attractions is the World of James Herriot, celebrating the famed local vet whose books were based on his experiences as a vet from the practice in Kirkgate. The museum – based in the same building – has memorabilia from the author’s life, as well as looking at the wider historical context, including life in 1940s Yorkshire and the role of the rural vet.

If a day at the races is more your style, you’re in luck: Thirsk Racecourse has regular meets throughout spring and summer. As well as beautiful surroundings and a fun day out, the racecourse offers options for hospitality – and there’s a traditional Ladies’ Day in September for those who like to dress up, too.


Places to eat in Thirsk

A good pub lunch and a local pint are two things you won’t struggle to find here. From The Black Bull, The Three Tuns, The Blacksmith Arms and The Darrowby Inn lining the market place, to the numerous pubs lining the side streets, there is an abundance of choice.

One of the most popular places to eat and drink in Thirsk is the Golden Fleece. Part of a small chain, it boasts good quality food and drink, as well as function rooms for special occasions. If you have friends visiting who prefer their own space, it also has 26 comfortable en-suite bedrooms.

There are also plenty of cafes to choose from. We love Yorks of Thirsk, with its home-made sandwiches, soups and hot meals, as well as The Pantry – try its afternoon tea, complete with home-made cakes. Nearby, at Upstairs Downstairs, you’ll find a charming cafe with a deli selling local cheeses, meats, chutneys and more.  And don’t forget The Old Barn Coffee Shop which is at Abbots Green; open to the public, the Old Barn provides a delightful place to enjoy coffee, cakes and many other treats in a countryside setting.

Thirsk is a wonderful place to visit and just four miles from the front gates of Abbots Green – you can even catch a bus into town from right outside. If you’re looking for something in particular not covered above in the Visitor’s Guide to Thirsk, our team will be happy to give you the benefit of their local knowledge!

Visit the main YHL Parks Website