Spectacular ruined priory, beautiful open gardens, and fascinating reconstructed monk’s dwelling. That’s three for the price of one, by my reckoning.
Mount Grace Priory is set amid woodland just off the A19 near Northallerton, and is pegged as Britain’s best-preserved Carthusian priory.
You enter Mount Grace through the amazing manor house, and pass various displays on your way upstairs to the newly-opened attics. Up here, there’s a special vantage point from which to see the ruins and gardens.
But you haven’t seen anything yet. Leave the manor house, and enter a serene world of open grassland and crumbling masonry.
The priory is pretty ruined, but you can still appreciate the shape of what once was there. The tower still towers, and the windows and doorways still provide a glimpse back in time – though there are some informative boards to help your imagination along.
In the warmer months, vibrant yellow daffodils add spots of colour to a green, grassy carpet, and if the sun shines for you, the contrast of the dark inside the priory to the sunlight outside is impressively stark.
Once you’ve taken that in, take a stroll across the vast, walled quadrangle towards a solitary dwelling – a faithfully-reconstructed monk’s cell, just as it would have been centuries ago. And it doesn’t seem too awful, either, with plenty of room for one, plus a perfectly formed garden and herb plot outside.
Finally, there’s a strangely famous family of stoats inhabiting the passages below Mount Grace, and you’ll be lucky to catch a glimpse of them. As stoats go, they’re celebrity-status.
Prices: Adult £5.60, Child £3.40, Concession £5.00, Members free
Opening times: Daily from 10am to 6pm
Car Parking: On-site pay and display
Attraction website: www.english-heritage.org.uk/mountgracepriory
Sat nav: DL6 3JG
Address: Staddlebridge, Northallerton, North Yorkshire
For more great days out see www.yorkshire.com