A holiday next door to haunted old ruins? This cottage could not be closer to Yorkshire’s spooky Rievaulx Abbey
- The four-person Refectory Cottage sits next to Yorkshire’s Rievaulx Abbey
- This newly refurbished holiday home for hire is owned by English Heritage
- You can stay to explore the North Yorkshire moors andthe pretty town of Whitby
Rievaulx Abbey is said to be haunted. Despite being deserted for centuries, the bells are supposed to ring at night.
We don’t notice them during our stay at English Heritage’s neighbouring Refectory Cottage, but the view is sensational. It’s not often that you have a medieval monastery in the garden.
Ravishing ruin: Rievaulx Abbey in North Yorkshire, which was destroyed by Henry VIII
Built using stone from the abbey, the newly refurbished Refectory Cottage has tasteful interiors, but its setting is the trump card. Go through the back gate and you’re met by Rievaulx Abbey’s atmospheric ruins.
In the middle of a leafy green valley, the Abbey’s impressive ruins date back to 1132 when Rievaulx was a spiritual centre for the North of England. Today, the monks have been replaced by house martins, who sail around the remnants of this monastery destroyed by Henry VIII.
Location, location: English Heritage’s Refectory Cottage sits next to the spectacular abbey
The cottage’s position is ideal for exploring North Yorkshire and its moors. A three-mile stroll through green fields and wild garlic-filled woodland brings you to the pretty market town of Helmsley with its 900-year-old castle, boutiques, antique shops and beer gardens.
An hour’s drive across rolling hills is the seaside town of Whitby. The ruined Benedictine abbey, which totters on the edge of a weather-beaten cliff, is a stirring sight. While Whitby Abbey might not be as impressive as Rievaulx, it was the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
Afterwards we descend the 199 steps into Whitby’s old town to enjoy its vintage seaside charm, empty our purses in the arcade’s penny pushers and enjoy perfect fish ‘n’ chips at the Magpie Cafe.
Great escape: It is easy to explore North Yorkshire and its moors during a stay at the cottage
We head back to the cottage — via the fascinating Museum of Victorian Science at nearby Glaisdale — for some Yorkshire tea and a slice of Lottie Shaw’s parkin — a treacle-laden local delicacy in what is the self-proclaimed British capital of cake.
‘Seriously good’ says the label. As we sit enjoying it in the sunshine overlooking the Abbey, we couldn’t agree more.
Travel Facts: Plan your own long weekend in Yorkshire