The area is steeped in history, music, culture and art and there are numerous attractions such as the Cistercian Abbeys of Byland, Fountains, Jervaulx and Rievaulx and a host of Historic Houses, Castle Howard, Harewood House, Benningbrough Hall and Newby Hall to name but a few. There are several Racecourses close by including York, Thirsk, Ripon and Catterick and the Walled City of York with its Roman and Viking origins is just 20 miles away. Here you will find galleries, museums, exhibitions, theatres and the famous mediaeval Shambles. The genteel spa town of Harrogate, renowned for its Turkish Baths, Antique Shops, Floral Displays and the R.H.S. Harlow Carr Gardens can be reached in only 30 minutes; and don’t forget the famous Betty’s Café Tea Rooms! Our local market town of Thirsk (6 miles) has many useful amenities, such as swimming pool, Catholic and Anglican churches, Zillah Bell Art Gallery, museums, including the Herriot Museum and an excellent Tourist Office. The chief glory of the historic city of Ripon (6 miles) is the Cathedral church of St Peter and St Wilfrid, with its fine Saxon crypt and mediaeval woodcarvings. The choir sings services daily in term time and the Cathedral also hosts numerous concerts and recitals throughout the year. On the spacious Market Place the Hornblower continues the ancient tradition of setting the watch nightly at 9 pm and there is a large market each Thursday. The city boasts a good range of attractive specialist shops as well as pubs, cafés, restaurants and tearooms to suit all tastes and pockets. A little further afield are the towns of Newcastle and Durham, the latter renowned for its beautiful Romanesque 11th century cathedral, cloisters and ancient history. Newcastle is dynamic, great for shopping and theatre lovers will appreciate both the Sage and Theatre Royal which present a diverse range of performances. Music abounds in North Yorkshire ranging from amateur performances of the finest quality to outstanding performances from nationally and internationally acclaimed musicians. Well worth investigating are the numerous festivals bringing a range of music and musicians to appreciative audiences. Among these are the Swaledale Festival, Harrogate Summer Festival, York Early Music Festival, Northern Aldborough Festival and the Ryedale Festival. Nearby Ripon is a good centre for music with the Cathedral Concert Society www.riponconcerts.co.uk, St Cecilia Orchestra, www.st-cecilia.org.uk, (also lists other musical events in the area) and Ripon Cathedral www.riponcathedral.org.uk all worth a look. Walking For those wishing to sample the great outdoors you could not wish for a more central starting point with dozens of wonderful walks but a short drive away, in the Dales, Moors, Hambleton and Howardian Hills, to suit all abilities, and the East Coast and the Pennines just a little further. As keen walkers ourselves we are more than happy to offer recommendations and for those wishing a longer visit we could help you plan an itinerary to suit your personal interests. Maps and documentation are available to our guests.