The Thirsk blog
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The Thirsk blog
Thirsk Hall Festival
By Peter. Last updated Wed 17 Aug 2022 at 10.02am.
Fri 19 Aug - The Marriage of Figaro
Thirsk Hall Festival kicks off with a semi-staged performance of the Mozart comedy classic. Directed by Sarah Helsby-Hughes of Heritage Opera and conducted by Benjamin Ellin with a chorus of singers from across the region.
St Mary’s Church, Thirsk, 7pm. Adults £15, under 16s £7.50.
Sat 20 Aug - Carnival Day
Doors open at 11am with under 16s free. Featuring performances throughout the day on the Poet’s Corner Stage, a Samba Parade at 3.30pm.
Food stalls, local businesses, charities, face painting, children’s rides, lawn games and much more.
Adults £4 (pre-booked), £5 on the door, U16s free, parking - £5 per vehicle (blue badge free parking but book in advance).
Please note that physical tickets are not being sent out, we just need your confirmation email and your name and number of tickets will be on the door.
Roald Dahl’s Little Red Riding Hood
12.30pm & 2pm, using words by Roald Dahl and music by Paul Patterson with Music Director Benjamin Ellin and storyteller Olivia Mulligan.
£3 per person, uner 2s free.
De Mowbray's Musicke
7pm. A journey through the worlds of folk music, from across the Tudor period up to traditional folk with Peter, Kate & friends from De Mowbray’s Musicke. Join in with some traditional dances. There will be food and drinks.
Adults £15, under16s £7.50.
Sun 21 Aug - Charlie Chaplin
3pm Film & Orchestra at Ritz Cinema, Westgate, Thirsk.
Charlie Chaplin’s ‘A Dog's Life’ and a selection of new short films by students of the acclaimed National Film and Television School will be accompanied by A 13-piece live orchestra, conducted by Benjamin Ellin.
Adults £10, under 16s £6.
Book all tickets online at
Kids go free on NYMR
By Peter. Last updated Wed 17 Aug 2022 at 9.33am.
For families enjoying fun-filled days out this Summer, the North York Moors Railway has announced that from Monday 8th August to Sunday 4th September kids can visit the award-winning attraction free of charge.
Children Tickets are valid for children aged 4-15 years old.
They will have plenty to talk to their friends about back at school, after taking in 24 miles of interesting scenery and even following in the footsteps of Harry Potter - the railway is a popular filming location, including Goathland doubling for the iconic Hogsmeade Station from Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone.
Thirsk Hall Festival
By Peter. Last updated Mon 6 Jun 2022 at 11.15am.
A Carnival, Mozart, Folk, Poetry, Samba and a live orchestra to film – the organisers of Thirsk Hall Festival are delighted to announce this year’s exciting performances.
Starting on Fri 19 Aug at St Mary’s Church (next to Thirsk Hall), Heritage Opera Director, Sarah Helsby-Hughes will direct Marriage of Figaro. Festival organiser Benjamin Ellin will conduct Mozart’s comedy classic, a unique production uniting leading professional singers and instrumentalists alongside a festival chorus from members of the local region.
On Sat 20 Aug there will be a Carnival themed day in the grounds at Thirsk Hall, free for under 16s. There will be live performances, fairground rides and food stalls. Two performances of Roald Dahl’s Little Red Riding Hood will take place in the Sculpture Garden’s newly renovated gallery and there will be Samba workshop and parade for everyone to join. In the evening, audiences will enjoy a journey through the world of folk music, from across the Tudor period up to traditional folk. There will be food & drink as well as a space to dance.
Closing the Festival on Sun 21 Aug at The Ritz Cinema, there will be Film & Orchestra – Charlie Chaplin’s ‘A Dogs Life’ and a selection of new short films by students of the acclaimed National Film and Television School will be accompanied by live 13-piece orchestra, conducted by Benjamin Ellin.
Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro: £15, Under 16s £7.50
Carnival Day: £5 on the door, £4 pre-ordered online, Under 16s FREE
Roald Dahl’s Little Red Riding Hood: £3, Under 2s FREE
Folk Evening: £15, Under 16s £7.50
Film & Orchestra: £10, Under 16s £5
A Brass Band from USA
By Peter. Last updated Wed 22 Jun 2022 at 8.42pm.
The Lake Wobegon® Brass Band, Minnesota USA promotes British brass band music throughout the Midwest of the United States.
On Tue 21 Jun a group of 49 of them visited the World of James Herriot in Thirsk and played next to the Alf Wight (James Herriot) statue in the gardens.
They were welcomed by Peter Wright, star of Channel 5’s The Yorkshire Vet. Peter told them about the history of the house and surgery and the part he played working with Alf Wight (James Herriot).
After the visit, they went on a tour of Thirsk town centre before departing for Newby Hall & Gardens where they were due to give an outdoor concert in the afternoon.
You can watch and hear the Lake Wobegon® Brass Band playing around the James Herriot statue at
A great family day out
By Peter. Last updated Fri 10 Jun 2022 at 2.37pm.
by Peter Rush,
Thirsk Tourist Information.
We travelled on the North York Moors Railway from Pickering to Whitby on the 12:00 Seaside Special. I was reminded of my first Seaside Special about 1952 from a Yorkshire mill town to Cleethorpes. Dad got the tickets and times and my parents and I were on the platform by the expected 9:08 departure time. Unfortunately the one-a-year Wakes Week train had left at 8:09 not 9:08. That's why I remember it, Dad was not popular with Mum!
This time the train departed on time, powered by engine number 65894, built in the Locomotive Works, Darlington 99 years ago in 1923.
Before departure, and after the 45 minute drive to Pickering from Thirsk, we had had a welcome snack in the tearoom at Pickering Station. I particularly enjoyed a locally made traditional curd tart.
Now see the next article
Pickering to Whitby
By Peter. Last updated Mon 6 Jun 2022 at 11.08am.
The first novelty on the North York Moors Railway for both our grown up children and grandchildren was the corridor along the side of the individual compartments. These were standard up to the 1960s.
I pointed out the Clickety-Clack sound as train wheels rolled over the rail joints. Continuously welded rail has eliminated this on modern main lines so you can no longer estimate the speed of the train as we used to do.
The volunteer ticket inspector checked our complementary ticket and gave the great news of a buffet car in the middle of the train - off went the youngsters!
Everyone knew that the station at Goathland became Hogsmeade Station in the first Harry Potter film and we were pleased to see it magnificently decorated for the Queen's 70th Jubilee. Some of us remember it as Aidensfield in the TV programme Heartbeat.
At Grosmont the steam engine was disconnected and heritage diesel engine The Isle of Mull built in 1965 was attached to take us on the Network Rail line for the rest of the way to Whitby.
Now see the next article
Whitby and back
By Peter. Last updated Fri 10 Jun 2022 at 12.01pm.
Arriving at nearly 2pm on the Seaside Special, we were ready to eat and on a neighbour's recommendation joined the queue at Trenchers. We shortly learned why this seafood restaurant is so popular, even at that time in the afternoon. Some of us had traditional fish and chips and my Whole-Crab Salad was simply exceptional.
Across the street in the harbour was the ship Endeavour, one of the two exact replicas in the world of the ship Captain Cook used to discover the world in the 18th century.
With over three hours in Whitby before the return journey there was time to enjoy the sea air, the slot machines, a walk in the sun (and wind) to the end of the harbour wall, ice-creams and then crabbing in the harbour for the kids.
The same diesel engine pulled us from Whitby to Grosmont but a different steam engine was connected for the final part of the journey down Newtondale to Pickering. The number 92134 was a mere youngster compared with our first, being built at Crewe Works in 1957.
We now appreciate the engineering expertise and dedication of the 1000+ volunteers and the staff of the North York Moors Railway. It is a charity and there's a lot involved in maintaining track, bridges and locomotives up to 100 years old.
What a great family day out! Book at
Thirsk Yarnbombers' Jubilee
By Peter. Last updated Sun 29 May 2022 at 4.58pm.
Flavours of Herriot Country
By Peter. Last updated Wed 25 May 2022 at 2.22pm.
High Paradise Farm on the moors near Thirsk has won the ‘Tea Room of the Year’ award.
Proving that Thirsk is the place to come, the ‘Afternoon Tea of the Year’ award was won by the Tea Time Café in Thirsk Market Place.
High Paradise Farm is a traditional 16th century moorland farmhouse smallholding located in the North York Moors with the wild moors behind and forestry to the front.
You can only access the tearoom by foot, bike or horse. The nearest car park is Sneck Yate at the top of Boltby Bank. The 1 mile road from the car park is free from cars, flat but a little bumpy. It is suitable for all ages and prams.
High Paradise Tea Room is open every Thu and Fri 11am - 4pm and every Sat and Sun 10am - 4pm. Also every Bank holiday Monday 10 - 4pm.
The Tea Time Café serves locally sourced food, homemade with expertise and passion. You can park free for an hour opposite the café in Thirsk Market Place. It is open Mon-Fri 8.30am - 3.30pm, Sat 8.30am - 4pm and Sun 9.30am - 3.00pm.
All Creatures interviews
By Peter. Last updated Fri 11 Feb 2022 at 10.07am.
Accompanying the showing of the new 'All Creatures Great and Small' in USA is a series of very interesting interviews with the cast. See:
Samuel West & Callum Woodhouse (Siegfried and Tristan Farnon)
Patricia Hodge (Mrs. Pumphrey).
James Herriot: PBS in USA
By Peter. Last updated Wed 5 Jan 2022 at 10.39am.
Season 2 begins Sunday, January 9, 2022, 9/8c on MASTERPIECE on PBS.
All Creatures Great and Small returns for an all-new season of heartfelt moments, friendship, and mischief! Transport yourself back to the Yorkshire Dales once again with James, Siegfried Farnon, Tristan Farnon, Helen Alderson, Mrs. Hall, and more.
After the events of the Season 1 finale, will James and Helen find their way together? Will James decide to call the Dales home? And can Siegfried and Tristan manage to work together without complete and utter disaster? More laughs, more love, and more animals (and yes, more Tricki Woo) await in Season 2!
More about James Herriot
A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
By Peter. Last updated Mon 13 Dec 2021 at 10.19am.
From the 31 volunteers who fund and run Thirsk's information centre.
If this is not your own copy you can sign up for the twice-monthly free emails at
With thanks to Thirsk Yarnbombers who keep us amused.
1925 steam engine on Sutton Bank
By Peter. Last updated Thu 2 Dec 2021 at 12.40pm.
Philip Ogden taking his steam traction engine ‘Firefly’ up Sutton Bank in 1986. This engine, number 4032 by Burrell was built in 1925, shortly before the company closed in the face of advancing technology. It has two gears, weighs 12 tons and produces 7 horse-power.
Phil Ogden was a pilot at the end of the 2nd World War, flying Lancasters and Wellingtons on the Berlin airlift. After the end of the war, he became a farmer at Burtrees, and then Quarry Hill just off the side of the A19 near Coxwold, on the way to York from Thirsk.
Over the course of many years he collected engines of all sorts, from traction engines, tractors, a Foden steam lorry, an American combine harvester, and up to 50 stationery engines, which he used to store in a barn. He also had a small scale steam railway locomotive which ran along a short elevated track in his garden.
I think that all his engines were kept in running order, and he used to run them once each month. He used to do nearly all the maintenance on them himself, including machining parts. He was one of the instigators behind the local traction engine rallies, and his wife Vivienne was secretary for many years. He used to take his engines some significant distances, at slow speeds of course, to show his traction engines at rallies.
At around 10 years old, I recall stoking the boiler on his blue Foden steam lorry, whilst he was operating the winch on the back to uproot a hedge on his farm.
He was also very keen on filming, much of which was of his engines, and some of which has now been transferred onto DVD.
David Hiles, nephew of Philip Ogden
Thirsk from the air
By Peter. Last updated Tue 19 Oct 2021 at 11.32am.
Raymond Ward from Reading visited Thirsk on a cold but glorious day and sent us this photo taken by his drone.
Charity Christmas Cards
By Peter. Last updated Tue 19 Oct 2021 at 11.27am.
Thirsk's information centre has Christmas cards available from about 30 charities.
Ritz Cinema, Thirsk, reopens
By Peter. Last updated Tue 19 Oct 2021 at 11.30am.
The Ritz is open again! Bring your mask, you must wear it whenever not seated.
Thirsk in the 1830s
By Peter. Last updated Mon 20 Sep 2021 at 10.55am.
Thirsk museum has received a photo of this painting from Philip Modiano of the Rev. Petit Society.
He is a researcher into the work of JL Petit (1801-68), an artist and architectural commentator whose work was unfortunately lost until the 1990s.
Philip recently found the picture by Petit of Thirsk and believes it would have been done in the late 1830s or early 1840s and says that Petit was invariably accurate in what he painted.
Research continues on Petit’s art, with completion of a book due early in 2022.
10th Anniversary celebration
By Peter. Last updated Thu 12 Aug 2021 at 9.37am.
Ten years ago the interior of the toilet block in Thirsk Market Place was demolished and converted into a modern information centre. James Herriot's son & daughter Jim and Rosie opened it in August 2011 and will re-open the centre on Mon 23 Aug at about 11am.
The building is leased by the district council rent-free to Thirsk Tourist Information. This not-for-profit company is owned jointly by about 30 volunteers and nobody is paid.
We have run the information centre for locals and visitors for ten years, closing only for Christmas weeks. During lockdowns volunteers answered queries remotely by redirection of the help line to their own phones.
We pay the considerable expenses, including building upkeep. Restaurants, accommodation providers, shops and service providers, in return for enhanced publicity, help with the costs through an annual £75 subscription.
Anyone can donate online at
Thirsk's new tea towel
By Peter. Last updated Wed 23 Jun 2021 at 12.50pm.
This tea towel is 100% cotton, washable, and made in England. It makes an ideal present, especially if you need to send by post.
It is now in stock at World of James Herriot, White Rose BookCafé and Thirsk's information centre.
You can also buy online from anywhere for delivery world-wide. See
Thirsk Sculpture Park
By Peter. Last updated Tue 22 Jun 2021 at 11.51am.
Thirsk Hall & Sculpture Park is located in the centre of Thirsk. It features an inaugural exhibition of Michael Lyons' monumental sculptures.
The park is a commercial venture covering over 20 acres of open parkland, woodland, formal and walled gardens offering a concise outdoor space for exhibiting museum quality sculptures in the open air.
In addition to Michael Lyons' work, this year the park will host a number of sculptures by internationally acclaimed artists Emily Young, Austin Wright, Gerald Laing, Geoffrey Clarke & Richard Hudson.
For the 2021 season it will also be hosting an exhibition of Norman Ackroyd CBE RA’s etchings of Thirsk Hall and surrounding grounds.
See a video of Thirsk Sculpture Park at
The Sculpture Park is open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays
11am–5pm until Sat 25 Sep. It will be closed for private events on 5-8 Aug and 2-4 Sep.
Entry cost is £5 per adult, £4 for concessions and under 16s go free.
You should pre-book timed tickets at www.thirskhall.com/sculpturepark
James Herriot filming in Thirsk
By Peter. Last updated Wed 2 Jun 2021 at 10.06am.
Pictures courtesy of Mo Penson
Filming of the second series of 'All Creatures Great and Small' started in March and on Mon 31 May Thirsk's Ritz Cinema was the centre of a scene starring Nicholas Ralph as James Herriot and Rachel Shenton as Helen Alderson.
Earlier in the day they both toured The World of James Herriot museum to see where their real life characters Alf Wight and Joan Wight (née Danbury) worked and lived. They were shown around by Alf & Joan's daughter Dr Rosie Page.
A bus to the Moors
By Peter. Last updated Fri 23 Jul 2021 at 1.07pm.
On Sundays there are three buses from Thirsk to Helmsley. They leave the Market Place at 10:46, 12:36 & 15:36 and travel via Coxwold, Byland Abbey & Ampleforth.
The Helmsley to Thirsk journeys start at 11:30, 14:30 & 16:25.
Other visitors to Thirsk, coming from Stockton, Yarm, Stokesley & Northallerton, can arrive by 10:46, returning at 17:10.
All those are just the M5 service. From Helmsley, Moorsbus travellers can take interconnecting services all over the Moors.
A Rover day ticket costs £9.50, child £4.50. English national concessionary passes are accepted. Timetables and maps for all 16 bus routes are at
World of James Herriot
By Peter. Last updated Mon 26 Apr 2021 at 7.49am.
Siegfried Farnon (Donald Sinclair), James Herriot (Alf Wight) and Tristan Farnon (Brian Sinclair)
The museum in Thirsk's famous vet's practice in Kirkgate reopens on Mon 17 May, revealing a new All Creatures Great and Small Exhibition.
All Creatures Great and Small was originally screened by the BBC for 12 years in the 1980’s and the new Channel 5 series is bringing a whole new audience to discover the timeless stories that Alf Wight (James Herriot) penned about life as a rural vet, making him the world’s most famous vet.
The new exhibition provides an additional updated dimension to the experience for visitors to the World of James Herriot, complementing its original exhibits, including the Channel 5 Yorkshire Vet exhibition.
Ian Ashton, managing director of World of James Herriot, said:
“The return of All Creatures Great and Small on Channel 5 has been a very welcome boost. We have been working very closely with the programme’s producers Playground and have provided many original artefacts from the World of James Herriot used in scenes in the TV series. Our new All Creatures Great and Small Exhibition will share more of the TV series with our visitors and includes video clips, costumes, scenic images of the locations and the actors in their characters”.
The second series of All Creatures Great and Small is currently being filmed and will air again on Channel 5 in the autumn. Patricia Hodge has been cast as Mrs. Pumphrey, the delightfully eccentric owner of the pampered Pekinese, Tricki Woo. Mrs. Pumphrey was played in the first series by the late Diana Rigg.
We don't have to stay at home!
By Peter. Last updated Fri 23 Apr 2021 at 11.52am.
We are now allowed to travel within England but can't stay overnight with friends and relatives away from home.
However from Mon 12 Apr one household can go to a self-contained holiday home for a much needed break away from the usual four walls.
Think about coming to Thirsk, home of James Herriot and the centre of beautiful countryside! The advice is:
– Plan and book ahead. If your plans change, remember to cancel in good time so your table or room doesn’t go to waste.
– Respect, protect and enjoy nature and the great outdoors.
– Avoid tourist hotspots and check out England’s hidden gems instead.
– Be kind to staff and locals, and support local independent businesses.
– Follow social distancing rules, wash your hands regularly and wear face coverings where necessary.
– Look out for the We’re Good to Go mark – it shows businesses that are operating in line with government COVID guidance.
Find holiday homes at
The Yarnbombers' tribute
By Peter. Last updated Fri 23 Apr 2021 at 11.53am.
Following Jasmine Harrison's record of the youngest woman to row solo across the Atlantic, the Thirsk Yarnbombers have been out in celebration.
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water...
By Peter. Last updated Sun 25 Apr 2021 at 1.51pm.
John Aston helps us identify wildlife on our local rivers. See all his articles at
Some people think that pike bite people, but the only time that could happen is if you were stupid enough to put your fingers in a pike’s mouth. Then there would indeed be blood, because pike can have over 500 teeth.
The Signal crayfish
Otter and mink have sharp teeth too, but you will never get close enough to find out. However one creature can give you a very painful nip, and there are hundreds of them living in the beck, even though you may never have seen one. The signal crayfish is an alien invader, originally from the USA, and it has been farmed here for the table since the seventies. It isn’t a fish at all, but a crustacean which looks like a miniature lobster, and in some cases not so very miniature at all. They can grow up to 20 cm long and are armed with strong claws – have a look at the picture of some claws I found on a local river bank. An otter had eaten the rest of the crayfish, just leaving the claws – try guessing how big the owner of the claws had been. Here’s a clue: the SIMMS logo on my bag is 10 x 2 cm.
Signals live under stones on the bed of the beck, and also in holes which they burrow into the bank. Look for a steep, muddy bank and just above the normal water level you can often see many holes created by crayfish. Their drilling habit is just one of the many problems they cause – in some places where infestation is severe, river banks have even collapsed.
The White Clawed crayfish
Signal crayfish eat the eggs of trout and other species and cause damage to the beck’s ecosystem by eating small invertebrates such as caddis and mayfly. Worse still, they carry a plague which is killing the population of our native crayfish. A few survive in the beck, but not for much longer I fear. How to tell them apart? At 10cm, and often much less, the native white clawed crayfish is much smaller than its American cousin, and also darker in appearance.
Is it all bad news then? Nature being ever resourceful, some creatures, especially otter and mink, thrive on crayfish, as do fish like chub, pike and perch. Signal crayfish also even eat individuals of thier own species, and there is evidence that removal of larger crayfish can actually increase numbers of smaller ones. What about eating them yourself? Not a good idea – you must have a special licence from the Environment Agency, as well as permission from landowners and fishing clubs – it’s much easier and cheaper to buy them in Tesco.
Thirsk & Sowerby history
By Peter. Last updated Fri 23 Apr 2021 at 11.55am.
The story of Thirsk & Sowerby is told by 15 history boards, connected by the Past and Present walk.
Recently the first three, on the site of Thirsk Castle, have been replaced by Thirsk Town Council in collaboration with Hambleton DC, Thirsk Tourist Information and English Heritage.
Thirsk's website has a lot of walks for download. You can also follow the Past and Present trail on your phone at
By Peter. Last updated Fri 23 Apr 2021 at 11.52am.
Robert Fuller, The Wildlife Artist
The podcast series of eight ‘Voices from Herriot Country’ podcasts is now complete.
You can listen to The Old Farmer (Chris Greensit), The Owl Lady (Rose Dawson), The butchers (Ray Ballard), The Russian fanbase (of James Herriot), The Carpet Man (Bill Calvert), The Child Actor (James Mason), The Rising Star (Imogen Clawson) and The Wildlife Artist (Robert Fuller).
Each interview is fascinating and brings out tales of past and contemporary Yorkshire life.
In the lastest addition, which completes the series, you can hear how Yorkshireman Robert Fuller uses a tunnel, complete with pull-through trolley, to access the hide from which he watches the birds, badgers and the other animals that he paints, photographs and films!
Listen to the whole series from
By Peter. Last updated Fri 23 Apr 2021 at 11.54am.
21-year old Jasmine Harrison from Thirsk is now the youngest solo woman to row across any ocean!
On her Facebook page it is reported that her finish went amazingly well and 'it was everything she could of wished for!' She would like everyone to know that she enjoyed her shower, looked at herself in the mirror for the first time in a while, discovered lots of bruises and demolished her beer and burger!
She set out from San Sebastian de La Gomera on 12 December 2020 as part of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge and successfully rowed the 2550 nautical miles (2934 miles) across the Atlantic Ocean, arriving in Nelson’s Dockyard, Antigua on 20 February 2021 with a time of 70 Days, 3 Hours and 48 Minutes and setting a new world record for being the youngest female to row solo across any ocean.
This lady deserves your support! Please help her charities by donating at
James Herriot on PBS in USA
By Peter. Last updated Fri 23 Apr 2021 at 11.51am.
The first series of Channel 5's 'All Creatures Great and Small' re-make has arrived in the USA. It starts in the US on Masterpiece PBS on Sun Jan 10 at 9pm ET.
Although the new series was filmed largely in Grassington, James Herriot (real name Alf Wight) lived and worked at Skeldale House, Kirkgate in Thirsk, about 35 miles away.
His veterinary surgery is now a museum to James Herriot and his life and times, see
On the webcam watch what is going on in Thirsk, Alf Wight's home town:
You can see Alf Wight's son Jim talking about his father and The World of James Herriot museum at
PBS has a James Herriot newsletter. If you sign up you’ll get a regular dose of all Darrowby’s delights, from the romance to the community to the animals! During the Season 1 broadcast, you’ll receive episode-related emails, as well as ongoing updates about the series, Season 2 and more!
Series 2 has been commissioned and will shoot on location this year, having become UK Channel 5's highest rated drama commission ever. 13-year-old Imogen Clawson plays Helen Alderson's sister Jenny in the new 'All Creatures Great and Small' and you can hear her talk about making the films at
Thorp Perrow Arboretum
By Peter. Last updated Wed 24 Jun 2020 at 11.21am.
Thorp Perrow’s Bird of Prey & Mammal Centre as well as the Arboretum are now open. There is no need to pre-book an entry ticket, just turn up.
They are open 7 days a week 10am to 5pm. The tearoom operates a take-away service with sandwiches, sausage baps, soups, cakes and hot & cold drinks. Toilet facilities are also available.
The playground will remain closed until restrictions are lifted, groups and guided walks are not allowed, and mobility scooters are not available for hire. Season Ticket holders have the option to freeze their membership for the two full months of April & May closure.
Share the beauty, fresh air and space of the Arboretum and Bird of Prey attraction at Thorp Perrow, Bedale DL8 2PS, 01677 425323
By Peter. Last updated Wed 24 Jun 2020 at 11.21am.
Fountains Abbey and the Water Garden near Ripon has opened again..
To open safely, they are limiting visitor numbers and you’ll need to book your visit in advance. Sadly, if you don't book, you’ll be turned away, even if you're a National Trust member.
Please arrive within your 30-minute timeslot. You’re then welcome to stay until closing time.
The parking at the visitor centre and the toilets are both open but the Studley Car Park is still closed.
Members can book for free, while non-members will need to pay when booking. If you’re a MAX card or Essential Companion card holder, or an English Heritage member please call 0344 2491 895 to book. Tickets are being released every Friday. Booking closes at 3pm the day before your visit.
Make your online booking at tinyurl.com/y8c5axq3
Voices from Herriot Country
By Peter. Last updated Fri 24 Jul 2020 at 4.19pm.
We hear from retired butcher Ray Ballard in the second episode of 'Voices from Herriot Country', a new podcast about Yorkshire characters 50 years after the first 'James Herriot' book about life as a rural vet was published. Alf Wight (his real name and based in Thirsk) soon became a bestselling phenomenon. There were two films based on his books, as well as the popular series, 'All Creatures Great and Small', remade for showing on Channel 5 soon.
Ray Ballard who knew Alf Wight and Donald Sinclair, James Herriot and Siegfried Farnon in the books. Ray also talks about one of his customers, Marjorie Warner, known to millions of readers and viewers as the delightful Mrs Pumphrey, who had an obese Pekingese dog called Tricki Woo.
Listen here on Apple Podcasts:
It's Spring in Thirsk
By Peter. Last updated Sat 14 Nov 2020 at 12.03pm.
Enjoy the countryside and our beautiful villages - this is Sowerby.
Thirsk and District in 1611
By Peter. Last updated Sat 14 Nov 2020 at 12.03pm.
This map is from 'The theatre of the empire of Great Britaine: presenting an exact geography of the kingdomes of England, Scotland, Ireland'. It is one of five known sets of proof maps prepared for John Speed's 'The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine', which was published in 1611/12.
On the map Thirsk is written 'Truske' and most of the local villages are ready recognisable. Click HERE for a higher resolution image or see the source at the Cambridge University Library; the full UK map is HERE.
Find your way in Thirsk
By Peter. Last updated Sat 14 Nov 2020 at 12.04pm.
At Thirsk's information centre we have 'Thirsk & Sowerby Street and District maps' at the price of a postcard - 30p - as well as the free Thirsk Guide.
If you are visiting for one or two hours the free Thirsk Guide is appropriate - it has a detailed plan of the town centre and shows local paths so you can plot a relaxing stroll.
The Thirsk Street Map enables longer stayers and residents to find almost any street, including in the recently built Sowerby Gateway. If new to the area it will help you find the Garden Centre, Auction Mart, Station and so on. Also included is a District map stretching from the A1(M) junction 49 to Cod Beck Reservoir above Osmotherley. On it you'll find The White Horse, The Mouseman, Shandy Hall and the interconnections between the myriad villages and hamlets.
The information centre is currently open 10am to 4pm Monday to Saturday.
Local Archaeology Open Day
By Peter. Last updated Wed 11 Jul 2018 at 11.16am.
You will have the chance at an open day to look over the the site of Northallerton’s former prison at an open day on Sat 14 Jul. Archaeologists have moved in to undertake final exploration at the site before redevelopment work begins.
York Archaeological Trust (YAT) is spending two weeks excavating an area close to the listed buildings and the old courthouse wall. It follows previous digs which uncovered the foundations of the old treadmill and kitchen chimney. They hope to open up the hoardings during this phase of digging so people can watch the work and YAT will be at the open day to talk to local people.
Plans for the site are currently on display at the Civic Centre in Northallerton – they include retail, restaurant, cinema, digital hub and public open space.
The open day is Sat 14 Jul from 11am to 3pm with last admission 2.30pm. Sturdy shoes are recommended. The excavation area will also be open for informal viewing on Thu and Fri – between 11am and noon and from 1 to 2pm.
Entrance and exit is from the Crosby Road side of the site, not from the original gatehouse.
MBE for Thirsk Man
By Denise. Last updated Wed 20 Jun 2018 at 9.15pm.
Bill Calvert, 66, from Thirsk, who has dedicated more than 45 years to serving the town and surrounding communities has been awarded an MBE for services to business, charity and the community.
Founding Calverts Carpets back in the early 1970s., Bill is still very much 'front of house' . He employs around 100 people in his shops throughout North Yorkshire and the North East.
Over his years in business, he has supported various voluntary groups, community projects and charitable causes throughout towns and villages in the Thirsk area, including the original Thirsk Festival (now revived and held in August each year), donating a piece of land for a public picnic area, helping with the regeneration of the volunteer run Ritz Cinema, Funding a police vehicle for North Yorkshire Police. Since 1986 he has supported his wife Sue in her fundraising efforts for Action Medical Research, which funds medical research for sick and severely disabled children.
Bill was amazed, but delighted to receive the award and says he is lucky to live and work in such a wonderful area.
Your free Thirsk Guide
By Peter. Last updated Tue 19 Jun 2018 at 1.58pm.
To find your way around 'the quaint market town of Thirsk' you need our free guide. The map clearly shows the paths, snickets and ginnels which permeate the town so that you can connect them together to make up your own short walk. It will help you find children's play areas and show you how to escape the built up area on foot in just a few minutes. Wheelchair and pushchair walkers can see how to explore within the town.
The Thirsk Guide is available free of charge from the information centre (small donation appreciated) and from many other places in and around the town.
If you are not yet in Thirsk send an addressed envelope (DL or A5 size) bearing a 1st or 2nd class stamp to Thirsk Tourist Information, 93A Market Place, Thirsk YO7 1EY. We will post the Thirsk Guide to you by return.
A walk around the Blue Plaques is also available (50p) and a longer trail to understand the history of Thirsk and how it became its present day self comes as a booklet (50p) and a downloadable free smartphone app.
Video of Tour de Yorkshire in Thirsk
By Peter. Last updated Sat 5 May 2018 at 5.45pm.
Christmas in Thirsk and the villages
By Peter. Last updated Tue 19 Dec 2017 at 10.58pm.
Last Sunday Thirsk RBL Band played at lunchtime in the Market Place and then in the evening for carols around the tree in Sutton-under-Whitestonecliffe.
On Monday they did the same in Carlton Miniott and this evening (Tuesday) the people of Sowerby came out in force to sing carols with the Band at Sowerby Tree (see picture).
That's not the end. On Friday the Band will be at the Church of All Saints, Nether Silton at 7pm and on Saturday leading carols on Sandhutton Village Green at 5pm.
In between you may come across them at Morrisons Boroughbridge, having already entertained customers of Tesco in Thirsk last week.
Thirsk Yarnbombers in London
By Peter. Last updated Sat 11 Nov 2017 at 2.10pm.
In the Lord Mayor's Show procession today the Thirsk Yarnbombers made a big contribution to the Welcome to Yorkshire display. Here you can see their knitted poppies and other features of the display, such as the Grannies on Trollies. It all draws attention to Yorkshire!
Thirsk Yarnbombers win award
By Peter. Last updated Sat 22 Oct 2016 at 3.47pm.
Congratulations! The Thirsk Yarnbombers have received a North Yorkshire County Council Community Award.
You can assist the current project by helping in St Mary's Church most afternoons this week.
To donate poppies and other knitted & crochet items please contact the Thirsk Yarnbombers via Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/tyb2016 or bring them into the Thirsk information office.
Tour de Yorkshire photographs
By Peter. Last updated Sun 2 Oct 2016 at 7.07pm.
Were you there? Can you find yourself in these pictures taken on 1st May 2016?
HERE are 350+ photographs from when the Tour de Yorkshire cycle race passed through Thirsk and then proceeded up Sutton Bank.
Copyright Hambleton District Council, used here with permission.
Yarnbombers celebrate James Herriot's 100th
By Peter. Last updated Sun 7 Aug 2016 at 10.30am.
James Herriot was born on 3rd October 1916 and to celebrate the 100th anniversary Thirsk Yarnbombers have struck again!
The Market Place is decorated with all kinds of creations in knitting and crocheting. Here is the Vet, but come to Thirsk and see all the other animals and children's characters. You'll enjoy the day out.
James Herriot's veterinary practice is now run by Julian Norton who, with James Herriot's trainee Peter Wright, is star of 'The Yorkshire Vet'. This is a long-running series on Channel 5 and gives a fly-on-the-wall account of a vet's life today. You can see how many things have changed since James Herriot's day, but some of the work is largely unchanged. The next series will start in the Autumn, close to Alf Wight's birthday (that's the real name of James Herriot).
Thirsk Puzzles book
By Peter. Last updated Fri 23 Oct 2020 at 11.50am.
Here's the ideal present for anyone who knows or is new to Thirsk.
By local author Paige Horley the book includes over 50 word searches, crosswords and a word fit puzzle. All are about Thirsk and surrounding areas, from tourist attractions, history of Thirsk, companies, shops and everything that makes Thirsk. Answers included.
There is also a chance to win a gift voucher in a competition.
The Thirsk Puzzles Book is available in Thirsk's information centre, £5.99.
Yorkshire Vet writes new book
By Ted. Last updated Tue 4 Oct 2016 at 8.56pm.
One of the Yorkshire vets, Julian Norton, has written his first book, 'Horses, Heifers and Hairy Pigs' which is due out in September. It charts his life and experiences since deciding to become a vet. Sometimes humorous, sometimes sad, warm and compassionate dealing with many varied animals and humans.
'The Yorkshire Vet' is a documentary series following life in James Herriot's former practice and a set of 10 new programmes is now running at 8pm on TV Channel 5.
Thirsk Day photographs
By Peter. Last updated Sun 28 Nov 2021 at 10.56am.
Wednesday 22 June was Thirsk Day at Kings Cross Station in London. Three organisations - Thirsk Tourist Information, The World of James Herriot and Grand Central Trains - presented the delights of a short break in Thirsk away from the Big City from a stand in the middle of the main indoor concourse.
You can see photographs of our day HERE.
In addition to this, Grand Central Trains' engine 'James Herriot' was re-dedicated in honour of the 100th anniversary of Alf Wight who wrote 'All Creatures Great and Small' and other stories about his life as a country vet in Thirsk.
Thirsk has been yarnbombed!
By Peter. Last updated Wed 29 Jun 2016 at 12.46pm.
We can help you discover the work of the 300 Thirsk needleworkers who are the Thirsk Yarnbombers. HERE is a map to help you explore Thirsk through their knitting and crocheting. Commented Monsieur Prudhomme, director of the Tour de France and Tour de Yorkshire when he was in Thirsk with Sir Gary Verity last week: "incroyable!"
Print the map, preferably on a printer that can do both sides of the paper, then bring it into Thirsk to find the (literally) hundreds of creations like the ones above. Have fun seeking them all.
You can also buy a printed copy in the Thirsk information centre either as a souvenir or to help your explorations.
VIPs in Thirsk today
By Peter. Last updated Wed 27 Apr 2016 at 5.43pm.
The Market Place in 1925
By Peter. Last updated Tue 23 Feb 2016 at 5.12pm.
We have a hand-drawn plan of Thirsk Market Place as it was in 1916 to 1925. To see what shops were available then click here. Note that some, like the three independent butchers, are still serving the people of Thirsk today.
Picture © Don Nesham
The Archbishop of York visits Thirsk
By Peter. Last updated Fri 8 Jan 2016 at 6.39pm.
Archbishop Sentamu called in at Thirsk Tourist Information as part of his Pilgrimage of Prayer, Witness and Blessing in the Diocese of York. During his Pilgrimage, Archbishop Sentamu is praying for people in the community and is taking every opportunity to talk to everyone he meets about the love of God. To follow and share in the Archbishop’s Pilgrimage, (from 1 December 2015 to 22 May 2016) please visit: http://pilgrimage.archbishopofyork.org/
Thirsk Art shop endorsed by famous artist
By Ted. Last updated Sat 28 Nov 2015 at 8.53pm.
Internationally acclaimed artist Norman Ackroyd RA CBE is featured in this month's Artists & Illustrators magazine on the "My Favourite Things" page. When asked to name his favourite art shop he replied (quote) "There's a wonderful little art shop in Thirsk called The Artist's Palette" What a great endorsement!
Mr Ackroyd favours Thirsk a lot (Zillah Bell Gallery often have the honour of launching his exhibitions over the Royal Academy) and he loves shopping in our lovely friendly town.
Volunteers meet "The Yorkshire Vets"
By Ted. Last updated Wed 18 Nov 2015 at 8.25pm.
Thirsk Information Centre volunteers are pictured here with “The Yorkshire Vets” at their recent triumphant visit to the Leeds Arena. They were presented with the Visitor Information Award, (sponsored by BBC Yorkshire), at the Welcome to Yorkshire White Rose Awards on Monday 9th November 2015. As can be seen the volunteers also met “The Yorkshire Vets”, Julian Norton and Peter Wright, who informed them that a further two series are being prepared as a result of the success of the first, six-part series.
If you wish to view the first series- particularly if you are abroad- please follow the link to access Channel 5’s online viewing website:
Look out for the series on your home television services in the future as it is sure to be exported, as happened with the original James Herriot “All Creatures Great and Small” TV series.
The rector who was friends with Turner & Ruskin
By Peter. Last updated Tue 17 Nov 2015 at 9.09pm.
Thirsk work goes into space
By Ted. Last updated Tue 17 Nov 2015 at 9.14pm.
From the Yorkshire Post today Monday 16th November: Mr Dan Aldred, Thirsk Schools Head of Computing, inspired a group of his pupils. As a result they won a national competition and were chosen to send computer code to the International Space Staion which prompts it to displays the national flag of the countries it is flying over. As a result he has been chosen to appear in "Your Future Their Future" campaign by the National College of Teaching and Leadership (NCTI) to recruit new teachers into the profession.
Best TIC in Yorkshire
By Peter. Last updated Tue 10 Nov 2015 at 1.22am.
The thirty volunteers who operate Thirsk Tourist Information were surprised and delighted to be awarded the Visitor Information Award, sponsored by BBC Yorkshire, at the Welcome to Yorkshire White Rose Awards on Monday.
The award follows five seasons of growth since Thirsk Tourist Information became independent of Hambleton District Council in April 2011.
Harry Gration from BBC Look North presenting the award to Peter Rush said: “And what's amazing, they are all volunteers“.
We are a welcoming group of volunteers with a wealth of knowledge and a passion for Thirsk and the surrounding region. We are currently open Mon-Sat 10am-4pm.
James Herriot's Yorkshire
By Peter. Last updated Mon 4 May 2015 at 9.25pm.
"Walking face on to the scented breeze, I felt the old tingle of wonder at being alone on the wide moorland where nothing stirred and the spreading miles of purple blossom and green turf reached away until it met the hazy blue of the sky." James Herriot in 'Vet in Harness'.
James Herriot lived in Thirsk. He wrote 'All Creatures Great and Small' and many other books about his life as a country vet in Thirsk, which he called Darrowby.
Thirsk is between the North Yorks Moors and the Yorkshire Dales so is an ideal place from which to explore both. What's more, in Thirsk you can visit the 'World of James Herriot', housed where he worked and lived.
James Herriot statue unveiled (video)
By Peter. Last updated Sat 28 Mar 2015 at 3.27pm.
Ian Ashton, manager of The World of James Herriot introduces James Berresford, CEO of VisitEngland who unveils the statue of Alf Wight (aka James Herriot). Then Jim Wight, a vet like his father, tells what it was like living with a budding author.
Free WiFi in the Market Place
By Peter. Last updated Wed 30 Apr 2014 at 8.57pm.
Free WiFi is now available in Thirsk Market Place.
To log in, connect to 'Thirsk Free WiFi'. A few seconds later on a tablet or smartphone a notification to complete the WiFi connection might appear, otherwise open the browser. Accept the Terms & Conditions, complete a simple form and you are connected.
The free WiFi is a collaboration between Telecom Yorkshire, Thirsk Tourist Information, Hambleton District Council and the Thirsk Business Association. It is being provided at almost no cost to the ratepayers.
In addition, many of the Market Place shops and coffee bars provide free WiFi.
James Herriot's favourite view
By Peter. Last updated Sun 24 Jul 2016 at 8.20am.
The view over the Vale of York from the top of Sutton Bank was loved by Alf Wight, the James Herriot of 'All Creatures Great and Small' and other books about his life as a country vet. At this time of year in Winter you can see the multiple shades of green and purple.
County third in the World for Tourists
By john. Last updated Wed 13 Nov 2013 at 9.42am.
Its now official, Yorkshire is one of the best destinations in the world for tourists.
The county's travel guide listed it as one of the top ten in the world. Only Sikkin in India and the Kimberley in Australia, were ahead of Yorkshire in the Lonely Planet`s Best in Travel guide for 2014
Endorsements rarely come much better than this, from a guide that has a worldwide reputation across tourism and informing visitors.
Listing the county as one of the best regions in the world for visitors in the coming year is in recognition of it being a fantastic all-rounder: with some of the most stunning scenery in the country, dynamic cities, friendly people and a burgeonning food scene.
In 2014 this welcoming region of rugged moorlands, heritage homes and cosy pubs will be able to hold its head even higher when the Tour de France begins it Grand Depart
Thirsk Morning newspaper
By Peter. Last updated Fri 5 Jun 2015 at 9.36pm.
Thirsk Morning is a single sheet newspaper for
visitors to Thirsk and for local residents.
It gives you vital information in planning a day out. Included are the weather forecast from the BBC and a snapshot of Thirsk Market Place. Both are less than an hour old whenever the newspaper is printed.
Following the weather and picture are two articles about fascinating places to visit. These articles change so that you will see new interesting stories every day.
Lastly there is a list of events happening today and, if there is space, some events for tomorrow.
If you will be travelling to North Yorkshire please print the newspaper in the days before you come.
Click HERE to see the latest edition of Thirsk Morning, produced less than an hour ago.
Please print the sheet rather than viewing it online.
Thirsk Shopping Week in 1930
By Peter. Last updated Thu 28 Feb 2013 at 4.59pm.
In 1930 Thirsk organised a 'Shopping Week' to promote local businesses. At TTI we are helping with 2013's promotions. In 1930 the equivalent of this website was a booklet you will find HERE and the following is a taster from it. We have different events now but things don't change too much in Thirsk!
Saturday, May 31st, 2 p.m. Opening speech by T. J. Lynch, Esq., Chairman of the Thirsk Parish Council. Spotting and Error Hunting begins. The Thirsk & Sowerby Prize Band will give two Concerts in the Market Place, at 2-4 p.m. and 6-9 p.m.
Monday, June 2nd. Spotting and Hunting will be in full swing. Display judging by the public should take place,and entries sent in for the Safety First Driving Competition.
Tuesday, June 3th. Spotting and Hunting continues. In the evening the Safety First Driving Competition will commence at 6-30 p.m., from the Market Place, and continue for several hours. Be there to see the starters, and watch for the finishers.
Wednesday, June 4th. The Athletic Club are co-operating with the Chamber of Trade in arranging a pleasant time at the Athletic Club Ground. A Special Cricket Match between Thirsk 1st and York Revellers, will take piace in the afternoon. Tea will be served in the grounds. In the evening the T. & S. P. S. B. will play Dance Music.