Oct 01

Fancy a weekend away? Try Thirsk in North Yorkshire   By Milly Adams

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Thirsk in North Yorkshire is about a two and quarter hour train journey from London, or a three to four hour drive, so off we went to explore an area that interested us, following on the heels of the the Yorkshire Vet series, and before that All Creatures Great and Small.

Thirsk is a traditional market town, unspoilt, delightful, with a market place festooned with flowers, and surrounded by small shops. On the edge of the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors, it was the home of author and vet James Herriot, (Alf Wight) and the vets of the Yorkshire Vet fame have their practice on the outskirts of the town.  For horse racing enthusiasts, Thirsk boasts its own racecourse, not far from the train station.

Interestingly for me, an author who has just published No 1 in the series The Waterways Girls (Arrow), I discovered there had been a project to build a navigable waterway to the town from the River Swale along Cod Beck in the 1760s, but sadly not completed. Nice to see several of my titles in WH Smith.

A vital resource for Thirsk is the small but beautifully formed Thirsk Tourist Office manned by volunteers, and what gems these volunteers are. We called in and received all sorts of information from the friendly, and fun, staff.

We nipped into The World of James Herriot which is where Alf Wight, aka James Herriot worked with Donald Sinclair,aka Siegfried Farnon,  and stepped back in time – totally fascinating. Another day we set off, bus pass in hand, from the market square to Ripon to see the annual art display in the small cathedral.

That particular bus route had just been taken over on the death of Shaun by another bus company. One of the fantastic Tourist Office volunteers appeared just as we were boarding to check that we were on the right bus, or was it just to make sure we left them in peace for a bit. Honestly, everyone in Thirsk goes above and beyond to help, and to welcome.

We stayed at The Fourways Guesthouse, just a step away from the centre. Nicky and Mark were great and the breakfasts lovely.

And I mustn’t forget the White Rose Book Café which we used constantly, to browse, buy, (Christmas sorted – Julian Norton’s book bought for several family members)  and to tuck into tea and cake. This is a great independent bookshop, one that holds numerous events, and positively buzzes.

In a couple of weeks I’ll tell you more about Thirsk, including our bus trips to Northallerton and Betty’s Tearooms, and the villages on the way.

Anyone else out there have ideas for those essential breaks that keep us all going? Let Frost know.

The Waterway Girls by Milly Adams. Pb Pub Arrow. £5.99

A Yorkshire Vet through the Seasons. Julian Norton pub Michael O’Mara £14.99