5 reasons why you should move to Thirsk
PUBLISHED: 00:00 03 March 2020
Kevin Gibson Photography Ltd
Neighbourhood know-how, places and people
It's hard to think of a better located market town than Thirsk, nestling in the Vale of York, with the hills of the Dales and North York Moors looming in the distance. The place itself is smart and confident with a lovely mix of Georgian and medieval buildings, clustering around a thriving market square. In the 18th century it was an important coaching stop (the Highflyer called on its record-breaking 24 hour run from Edinburgh to London) and inns from that time are still in business. There are few vacant shops, plus a palpable sense of community. Locals are proud of their town. Tourism is important (vet Alf Wight, aka James Herriot, had his practice here, luring visitors from across the globe), but it never seems to overwhelm the town.
Transport links are fantastic. The nearby A19 and A1 will speed you to Leeds or Newcastle in about one hour, whilst York and Harrogate are 40 minutes to the south. Grand Central offers direct rail services to London (2.5 hours) whilst Transpennine connects Thirsk with all the major northern cities. Note - the train station is 1.5 miles out of town, past the racecourse, so plan on a taxi ride or a half-hour walk. The surrounding area is terrific cycling territory, with lovely back lanes and a choice of flat or hilly terrain. Not far away steep-sided Boltby Wood offers off-road fans an exhilarating experience.
Bag a property
Handsome Sowerby, a picturesque village just outside Thirsk, is the aspiration place to live, with a broad tree-lined main street, pub and Norman church. For £500,000 you can get a very smart large terraced cottage. There is also a big new housing scheme not too far away, where 900 homes are planned over the next 25 years. These are already providing popular family dwellings with prices from £230,000.
Further afield the magical foothills of the moors around Felixkirk are exquisite, with a four bed detached house typically starting at £650,000. Overall, the property market locally is stable according to local independent estate agent James Winn and compared with Harrogate and York looks very attractive. There's also a healthy rental market, with lettings from £300 to £1,000 per month.
Thirsk packs a quart into a pint pot. The wonderful Ritz cinema, dating to 1912 and possibly the oldest still in working in the UK, is run by volunteers and gets all the big movies. The World of James Herriot is open all year round and opposite is the town's charming museum, birthplace of Thomas Lord, founder of Lord's Cricket Ground in London.
Thirsk racecourse is staging 15 days of flat racing this year, along with music nights and family days. If you prefer an adrenaline rush sign up for an introductory flight at the Yorkshire Gliding Club, where sailplanes are launched from the 1,000 foot escarpment of the North York Moors by winch or aircraft. The views are spectacular.
Cafe and cocktails
Thirsk is awash with tea shops, the vast majority independents. White Rose Cafe is also a bookshop with regular signing events with authors, whilst Yorks Tearoom on the market square has top homemade cakes and is bedecked in road cycling memorabilia. Not far away is the vegan friendly Bliss and more contemporary Pantry. The Three Tuns and The Golden Fleece are both historic coaching inns, offering food and drink, whilst Little 3, on Finkle Street, offers a quirkier alternative with a nice atmosphere and music nights.
Locals are raving about a Thai bistro called Rasha tucked away in Baker's Alley, whilst a stylish new Italian has just opened called Bianco.
Thirsk's thriving retail scene includes award winning butchers, bakery stores, a deli and excellent greengrocer. Again it's the independents leading the way. Humphrey and Tilly, named after two Labradors and established in 2009, offers exclusive country clothing and shooting apparel in a couple of extremely well appointed shops. Well Heeled is a good quality womenswear boutique and for pre-owned garments head to Greensleeves.
Zillah Bell Gallery is an exceptional space for modern art, including stunning landscapes, whilst Sweet Memories is an old fashioned sweet shop and the perfect place to stock up on sherbet lemons. Thirsk has a real buzz on Mondays and Saturdays, both market days in a tradition stretching back to 1145.