Days out in Yorkshire: Ampleforth Abbey, York

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There’s something quite special tucked away in a North Yorkshire valley where Benedictine monks have been breathing peace and tranquillity into the area for over 200 years.

Set in stunning surroundings, Ampleforth Abbey is not only a monastery but also a fascinating day out for visitors looking for something unique – and tasty.

For the monks began producing their world-famous cider there 100 years ago and this year saw the creation of Ampleforth Abbey Beer which is now on sale in a national supermarket.

Apples are taken from Ampleforth’s orchard of 2,000 trees to make the beer, cider, cider brandy and amber liqueur – and visitors can take a tour and sample the stuff for themselves.

The tour starts in the orchard and ends in its private onsite pub The Windmill where there’s tastings and lunch. The cider production has been a source of income for the monastery which is home to 70 monks and employs up to 600 staff.

Grab a coffee and a homemade cake at the popular cafe which is furnished with famous Mousey Thompson tables.

After a hearty meal, head outside and enjoy the 2,000 acres of countryside, woodland and lakeside trails surrounding the Abbey. Based in the Howardian Hills, the grounds are an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and include public areas for visitors to walk and cycle.

Dogs are also welcome on the grounds but are asked to be kept on leads.

A peek inside the tranquil abbey church is a must. Visitors can take part in services as well as enjoying a guided tour of the church which is at the heart of life at the Monastery.

Although entry to both the grounds and the church are free, a donation helps towards the upkeep of Ampleforth Abbey.

The whole story of Ampleforth is told in the Visitor Centre which uses displays, quizzes and audio to describe the day-to-day life of community.

For more information and deals on great days out see www.yorkshire.com.

FACTFILE:

Opening times: Times vary, see website

Price: Entry to grounds and abbey is free (donations are welcome)

Tours: Up to £15.50 per person (includes tour of orchards, cider mill, tasting & afternoon tea)

Telephone: Tours must be pre-booked call 01439 766085

Address: Ampleforth, York YO62 4EN

Telephone: Reception 01439 766000 and Tea Room 01439 766868

Car parking: Onsite

Website: www.visitors.ampleforth.org.uk

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