There is a lovely picnic spot close to the stone bridge in Thirsk.
Park at the main visitor carpark (Marage Rd off the A61) and it is at the back there; there is a WC at the car park and picnic benches and bins at the picnic area.
You are right by the river with lots of birds twittering about, trees and flowers at there are various footpaths leading off if you wanted to investigate further.
Over (I mean width wise, not length wise) Mill Bridge is the site of the old Mill, a notice board about the area and new planting.
Not having a car in Thirsk, we still wanted to see some of the beautiful Yorkshire countryside so got our taxi driver, Mike, to take us up to Sutton Bank National Park, about 10 miles east of Thirsk. There is a nice small visitor’s center there and of course the obligatory (and welcome) tea room.
We took a pleasant 3 mile (roundtrip) walk along the escarpment to the White Horse at Kilburn. It is a huge chalk figure cut into the hillside in the mid 19th century by people from the village of Kilburn. It is over 220 feet high and over 300 feet long. To our disappointment, even after taking the 150 steep steps down we were unable to get much of a view at all. You need to be further away than that. However, it was a pleasant walk and had some great views over the Yorkshire moors. When he picked us up, Mike said if he had known we were going to walk down the stairs he could have picked us up in the village of Kilburn and we would have gotten a much better view. I suggest this alternative if you want to see the horse.
There is lots of info available at the visitors’ center which is open daily except in January and February when it only opens weekends.
I realized while visiting Thirsk to see the Herriot Center that James Herriot and his wonderful writings and subsequent TV series are not very familiar to the younger generation. It made me all the more grateful that his former home and surgery have been preserved. The Center occupies the place where he lived and practiced on a small unpretentious street in little Thirsk. It includes the living quarters of the family and much of the veterinary equipment as well as the original Austin 7 used in the TV series which I found particularly charming. The Center also includes recreations of some of the sets used in the TV series so it is like walking into Alf Wight’s (James Herriot’s real name) life.
They also offer a lot of hands on and interesting activities for kids at the center as well as programs for school groups both in the center and outreach visits to schools.
The center is open April-October from 10:00 am to 5:00 p.m. and November-March 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. Prices: Adult £5.75, Concession £4.50, Children (5 - 15 years) £4.00, Under 5's Free, Family (two adults, two children) £16.25
You can't go to Yorkshire and not experience the moors and if like me you haven't got a car you can take day trips out via the Moorsbus.
This service works something like the hop on hop off system found in big cities. There are about 8 different routes to choose from and each one takes you to selected villages throughout the district.
You will be picked up and dropped off at the carpark in the Thirsk market place. They start at about 9am and you arrive back around 4pm so it really makes for a full day out.
This worked well for me until one driver told me the wrong pickup place in one of the more remote villages resulting in me missing the next bus! I was stranded for quite a while trying to find a way back...which I did eventually but it really spoilt my day.
It was interesting to find out though that apparently if anyone does get stranded like that the company has a policy to come an pick you up from wherever you are.
I usually try to include libraries in my tips as they can be very useful sources of local information.
As well as that you can usually get good internet access for a reasonalbe price.
At this library the internet only cost something like a pound an hour so I spent a nice portion of the afternoon catching up with friends and family back home.
Lets face it, most who venture into Thirsk do so because of Britain's famous vet..James Herriot...so a visit to the 'World of James Herriot' is a must.
This museum is dedicated to Alf Wight the author of those wonderful novels and the real 'James Herriot'. The museum is situated in Alf's home which is a grade two listed house.
Alf died in 1995 and the Hampleton District Council bought the old surgery and restored it.
A visit takes you back to the 1940's. It is full of old veterinay memorabelia and equipment etc. The old car that was depicted in the series is also on display as well as film sets from the programme.
Cost is 5.50 pounds for adults and 3.90 pounds for children. Allow a good hour or so to wander around the house and outbuildings.
At the James Herriot museum you can test your strength at pulling a calf (more for the little kids, but who are we kidding), find a horse's sore tooth, and relive why so many of us wanted to grow up and be just like Mr. Herriot (or Tristan for those of you crazier types).