The Old Coach House is located in North Stainley, a pretty, rural village known for its cricket pitch and duck ponds, surrounded by the rolling Nidderdale hills and yet only 15 minutes from junction 50 of the A1. The nearest railway station is Thirsk, ten miles away, which has direct trains to York, London and Edinburgh.
On our doorstep is Ripon, one of England’s oldest and smallest cities, with its ancient marketplace and impressive 7th Century cathedral. The obelisk sits proudly in the centre of the market square, where for over 1000 years at precisely 9pm, the Hornblower has set the watch. To celebrate its rich history there are three museums including the original Ripon Liberty prison which later became the city’s police station. Every Thursday, there is a popular market selling local goods and produce plus you will find a broad selection of independent shops and high street names.
Just outside of Ripon is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Fountains Abbey and the elegant Studley Water Gardens. Walk amongst the abbey ruins, along riverside paths lines with ancient trees and mirror like ponds, discover follies, viewpoints and statues galore. The expansive Deer Park is home to red, fallow and sika deer, ancient limes, oak and sweet chestnut.
Newby Hall with its award-winning gardens is also nearby and has something for the whole family. Designed by Sir Christopher Wren, this family home is open to visitors and is an exceptional example of 18th century interior decor. There are stunning herbaceous borders and elegant gardens to explore, plus an adventure garden, boating lake and miniature train for the children to enjoy.
The ancient neolithic monument of Thornborough Henges is only a couple of miles from the Old Coach House. Three circular earthworks, often called the ‘Stonehenge of the North’, lie on a raised plateau above the river Ure. Gifted to the nation in 2023, they have become part of the National Heritage Collection.
Ripon Walled Garden is home to the Ripon Community Link Charity. This peaceful space was once a kitchen garden to the Bishop’s Palace. The charity works with disadvantaged and young people with learning difficulties and has a nursery garden, orchard, woodland and shop. A wonderful place to relax, explore and shop; jams, chutneys and apple juice made from produce grown on site, honey from their own hives and plants are all available to purchase.
Hackfall Woods at Grewelthorpe is a beautiful, ancient, semi-natural woodland within a steep, rocky gorge of the River Ure. In the 18th century, it became a pleasure ground, filled with grottos, temple waterfalls and glades. Restored by the Woodland Trust, it is now a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) due to the considerable number of plants and invertebrates that live here. Look out for the Kingfisher, the Dipper, the Grey Wagtail and the Sandpiper. Visit in spring to see the bluebells.
The Himalayan Garden and Sculpture Park also near Grewelthorpe, has 45 acres to explore with woodland gardens, an arboretum, lakes, contemporary sculptures and the North’s largest collection of rhododendrons, azaleas and magnolias. Whilst here, it’s worth stopping off at the Druid’s Temple, Ilton. A nineteenth century folly, in the style of Stonehenge, it’s an intriguing monument in a stunning location, with a cafe at Swinton Bivouac next door. The Forbidden Corner at Tupgill Park near Middleham offers a unique experience for young adventurers and the young at heart with a labyrinth of tunnels, follies and surprises in a four-acre garden. Pre-booking is required, find out more here.
Nature lovers should visit Nosterfield Nature Reserve, 150 acres of wet grassland and open water. A former quarry, the area has been transformed into North Yorkshire’s premier wetland. The Wetland attracts many birds including Lapwing, Redshank and Curlew. Three purpose-built hides are open to the public to watch the wildlife at close quarters.
If you enjoy walking, there is no better place to be.
The Yorkshire Dales have long been a mecca for all types of walkers, from serious long-distance hikers to gentle day walks. A gentle 20-minute circuit of our village starts from outside The Staveley Arms, or for the more intrepid, download the 5-mile circular walk around North Stainley taking in the beautiful setting of the pub and the village, from woodlands, farm tracks to the banks of the River Ure.
The Ripon Rowel is a long distance 50-mile walk taking in wonderful sweep of countryside, villages and wooded valleys around the ancient city of Ripon, divided into five legs. To discover the impressive route, which passes The Staveley Arms on the 5th leg south to Ripon full details can be found here.
We also recommend the Studley 7 Bridges Walk: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/yorkshire/fountains-abbey-and-studley-royal-water-garden/the-seven-bridges-valley-walk
The close proximity of the glorious Yorkshire Dales, Nidderdale and Wensleydale are the closest, offer a variety of trails, passing riverside, woodland, meadows and waterfalls, with hills and fells to climb for the more energetic. https://www.threepeakschallenge.uk/yorkshire-three-peaks-challenge/
Ask for more information on recommended routes.
In 2014, Le Grande Depart of the Tour De France passed through North Stainley during the first stage from Leeds to Harrogate. Then in 2017, the Tour de Yorkshire international cycle race brought more excitement to the village. Many cyclists now follow these routes through the glorious Yorkshire Dales and beyond. We often have cyclists choosing to base themselves at the Old Coach House and there is plenty of space for safely storing bikes.
Ripon Tennis Centre is a family-friendly tennis club located on the outskirts of Ripon, just five minutes’ drive away from the Old Coach House B&B. Their facilities include two indoor courts, six outdoor floodlit courts, two Padel courts, gym, aerobics studio and fully licensed cafe/bar area. Non-members are welcome. To book a court please contact 01765 606066 or book online here;- https://clubspark.lta.org.uk/RiponTennisCentre/Booking
Close to the tennis club, a short drive away, Ripon City Golf Club warmly welcomes visitors. The beautiful 18-hole course is surrounded by peaceful countryside with a professional available for advice when needed. Guests are also welcome to access the bar and lounge facilities. Bookings can be made online or telephone 01765 603640.
A few miles further away, the stunning nine-hole parkland course at Masham also welcome visitors. The tranquil River Burn runs through the course with splendid views from every tee. The friendly clubhouse also serves meals and has a licenced bar. Book online or telephone 01765 688056. Another great course can be found at Bedale.
Ripon’s new swimming pool and gym, the Jack Laugher Leisure and Wellness Centre offers a 6-lane, 24m pool sauna, steam room and 55 station gym.
Yorkshire’s garden racecourse is a short walk from Ripon city centre and has been hosting exciting and prestigious racing for more than 300 years. Ladies’ Day is held in June every year and the course hosts both day and evening racing throughout the season, Find out more here.
North Yorkshire is the base for many racehorse trainers and a short drive into wensleydale brings you to the historic small town of Middleham, with fifteen professional stables, it has the nickname ‘Newmarket of the North’.
Here are some recommendations for our favourite places to eat locally, from cafes and bar meals to fine dining. There are many more, so please do ask the Coach House team for more information.
There are so many beauty spots and interesting places to visit a short drive from the Old Coach House. As well as Ripon, there are several other market towns close-by, including Bedale, Masham and Thirsk. In Masham you will find Theakston’s and the Black Sheep Breweries and Thirsk is the location for James Herriot’s original veterinary practice which is now a museum. Close to Bedale is Thorp Perrow Arboretum. Home of one of the UK’s finest collection of trees including five National Plant Collections and 51 Champion Trees, the arboretum covers 100 acres and is most spectacular in spring and autumn. Thorp Perrow is a leading centre for raptor conservation with close to 100 birds from all over the world, including eagles, falcons and owls. The walk-through mammal centre includes meerkats and wallabies; there is an adventure playground for children and themed trails throughout the year.
Other local towns worth a visit are Knaresborough with riverside boating and a picturesque viaduct, Boroughbridge with ancient standing stones, the Devils Arrows on the edge of town and a Roman mosaic pavement in nearby Aldborough, the spa town of Harrogate with the world-famous Bettys’ tearooms and Pateley Bridge which has the ‘oldest sweet shop in the world’ on its steep high street. Within an hour’s drive you can reach metropolitan Leeds or medieval York. An approximate hour’s drive also brings you to Whitby or Scarborough and the unspoiled beaches and cliff top walks of the North Yorkshire Heritage Coast.
The Old Coach House is situated between the stunning Yorkshire Dales to the west and the majestic moors to the east. On a clear day, one of North Yorkshire’s most famous landmarks, the White Horse at Kilburn, can be viewed just outside the village. Steam enthusiasts can catch a train on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway at Pickering or the Wensleydale line at Leeming Bar. The area is rich with history and castles including Richmond, Middleham, Knaresborough, Helmsley, Spofforth and Castle Bolton. Plus, the Cistercian abbey Jervaux, privately owned but you can visit by making a donation. There are spectacular waterfalls, the most famous being Aysgarth Falls and Hardraw Force, near Hawes, which both featured in the Hollywood movie, Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves. Cauldron Falls at West Burton and Kisdon Force at Keld are also very impressive.
Brimham Rocks, between Ripon and Pateley Bridge, is a dramatic moorland landscape with large gritstone rock formations, created 300 million years ago by a glacier. To put that in context, that’s 100 million years before the dinosaurs! A place of both geological and scientific interest, it offers both fascinating walks with incredible views and a climbing experience for the brave.