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As anyone who has stayed at one of our holiday cottages there will know, the traditional market town of Thirsk is well placed in the Vale of Mowbray, lying between the twin delights of the Yorkshire Dales and the North Yorkshire Moors. The town has a long history as a trading centre and mail-coach posting stage, and today it still buzzes around its ancient central market place. Nowadays, Thirsk is famous for its racecourse, and also for its association with Alf Wright, creator of the James Herriot novels, whose former veterinary surgery in the town has now been turned into a popular tourist attraction, the World of James Herriot Centre.
Thirsk has a number of interesting shops, plenty of welcoming tearooms and cafes, and, predominantly around the old market place, a wide selection of traditional pubs. Most visitors make the World of James Herriot Centre their first stop, where the history of veterinary science in the earlier part of the last century is revealed, as well as the life and times of the author of the popular series, but the Thirsk Museum and the Zillah Gallery, dedicated to contemporary art, should not be overlooked. A day at the Races is the ultimate Thirsk experience, although there is much to entertain the visitor further afield.

A wealth of countryside will entice keen walkers and cyclists, with all that the Yorkshire Dales and North Yorks moors have to offer, while stately homes and visitor attractions are plentiful. York, with its famous walls and Minster, shopping and museums, including the National Railway Museum, is only a short drive away, as it Castle Howard, one of the country’s finest estate homes and gardens. Another property opening its doors to the public is Shandy Hall, at delightful Coxton, recently voted one of the best villages and most desirable places to live in the country, nestling beneath the moors between Thirsk and York. An eccentric country home, Shandy Hall was the home and gardens of an enlightened local parson-turned-author,  and makes for an interesting visit. On a grander scale, Sion Hill Hall at Kirby Wiske, about four miles from Thirsk, is widely considered one of the finest examples of a pre-Great War country house estate, with a fine collection of paintings, porcelain, and furniture.

For those holidaying with children, Monk Park Farm, just outside Thirsk, has animal feeding and petting, a children’s play area and tea rooms. Equally, Flamingo Land, at nearby Malton, with its twin attraction of roller coasters and adventure rides of all shapes and sizes, plus a full-size zoo complete with African lions and Siberian tigers, will keep children of all ages happy for the day. Ripon, with its shopping, castle and World Heritage Site Fountains Abbey and adjoining Studeley Royal Water Gardens, is just a short drive from Thirsk, while shopaholics need look no further than the retail super-complex at Lightwater Valley near Ripon.

To browse our selection of holiday cottages in Thirsk, please click here.

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