Days out in Yorkshire: Byland Abbey, Coxwold

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Once described as a ‘shining light of northern monasticism’, this particular North Yorkshire abbey continues to be impressively imposing despite its ruined state.

You get a sense of the scale of Byland Abbey as soon as you approach it in your car. It looms over the nearby inn with a striking sense of pride, and once you are among the stonework, you begin to appreciate what a sprawling estate Byland once was.

There’s an interesting and informative display in a little museum on one side of the grounds, displaying colourful interpretation panels together with archaeological finds from the site, but make sure you wear sensible shoes: the going is a little rough under foot, and you might need to traverse some uneven masonry on your way round.

But a visit to the English Heritage-owned Byland Abbey is less about ‘doing’ and more about ‘enjoying’.

Look up at the huge rose window ruin at the head of the abbey and it’s difficult not to be awestruck, especially when you learn that it was the inspiration for York Minster’s very own, very famous rose window.

If you need to take a load off your feet, then take advantage of benches placed at ideal spots around the ruin. You’re guaranteed a great view.

Byland Abbey is probably one of the lesser-known abbeys in North Yorkshire, so get ahead of the curve and pay a visit to the amazing the gothic architecture before your friends do.

To complete your day out in Yorkshire, why not visit nearby Rievaulx Abbey and Helmsley Castle.


Prices: Adult £4.60, Child £2.80, Concession £4.10, Members free

Opening times: 10am to 6pm (closed Monday and Tuesday)

Car Parking: Free parking nearby

Attraction website:

Sat nav: YO61 4BD

Address: Byland, Coxwold, North Yorkshire

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