With its mix of cobbled lanes and elegant Georgian and Victorian terraces, Beverley is a fabulous example of a traditional market town. If you only have a short time to visit, you'll need to make sure that you pack in the most important sights so I've compiled for you the ten most popular places to visit in Beverley.
1. Experience Beverley Minster
Your visit to Beverley is not complete without paying a visit to Beverley Minster, regarded by many as one of the most beautiful churches in England. The minster is one of the largest parish churches in the UK but has the architectural grandeur of a cathedral rather than a church. The stained glass windows are exceptional and the organ stands grandly in the centre of this peaceful oasis.
The Minster is situated just off the main pedestrian thoroughfare. When you get to Wednesday Market, just keep going and the Minster will be visible in front of you. The church is free to enter and there is a small cafe inside selling tea and refreshments. Regular services are held at the Minster every Sunday and the Beverley Minster choir sing at the major services on Sundays and on Thursday night at Choral Evensong. Many of the church buildings around the Minster are available for hire and the Minster is also a popular wedding destination.
Beverley Minster welcomes thousands of visitors a year and is usually open every day however it is worth checking the church website before you visit. Members of the church staff are usually available to answer questions or to address special needs. Leaflets are available in several languages just inside the main door which provide a self guided tour of the building. Visitors can also download an app from the church's website which gives you a self guided tour of the Minster, identifying the important points of interest.
2. Browse Beverley's Markets
Beverley is famous for its traditional markets which take place on both a Saturday and a Wednesday, every week; in fact, a thriving market has existed in Beverley for centuries as it sold the produce from the local farmers. The two main squares at either end of the pedestrianised shopping streets of Butcher Row and Toll Gavel are named Saturday market and Wednesday market respectively, depicting the day on which the market runs.
Beverley’s Saturday market dates back to its charter in the Middle Ages and has a vibrant and friendly atmosphere which has encouraged a mix of traditional and modern stalls, selling food to household goods and everything in between. Saturday market occupies a large area in the town centre and has around 140 stalls. The square of Saturday market, on which the market resides, is surrounded by traditional stores, national chains, public houses and cafes, giving it a busy, bustling feel all week long. The properties around Saturday Market have a huge variety of roof top styles including Victorian and Georgian as well as several more modern styles. The Saturday market opens for business at 8:00am and runs through to 4:00pm.
The smaller of the two markets is Wednesday market which (confusingly) is also open on a Saturday. It is within easy walking distance of Saturday market and lies at the the heart of the Town Centre. As with Saturday market, Wednesday market also has its fair share of coffee shops and bars so you can relax here too.
Both markets are within easy reach of the bus and train stations and there is parking nearby too, so if you fancy the chance to buy fresh local produce, garden ornaments, flowers, handbags, clothes, speciality food and drink or any of the other myriad of things that are available here then why not pay the Beverley markets a visit?
3. Enjoy Beverley Westwood
Enjoy the outdoor space of Beverley Westwood, just a short walk from the town centre. Here you'll find a large expanse of pastureland - popular with locals and visitors alike - where you can walk, picnic, fly kites, play football, ride horses and partake in all manner of other leisure activities. In the summer months cows and sheep roam freely on the pastures and golfers from Beverley Golf Club play their game here too. If you're lucky you may also see model aircraft being flown by the Beverley And District Model Aircraft Club who fly from the Westwood.
The views from Beverley Westwood are spectacular, taking in the town of Beverley, Beverley Racecourse, Beverley Minster and the local countryside. The Black Mill is a popular focal point on the Westwood. It is an old windmill tower dating back to the 1650's and is a popular meeting point for the local cows.
There is an infinite number of walking possibilities through the rolling pastures of the Westwood. There are woodlands to explore on either side of the Westwood, namely Bluebell Wood (which is nearest to Beverley Racecourse) and Burton Bushes (towards the town on York Road). Bluebell wood comes alive with bluebells (hence the name) in Spring and Burton Bushes has lots of rope swings for the younger and older 'kids' to play on.
You can walk to Beverley Westwood quite easily from the town centre. If you're in Saturday Market then face towards the bar. Take any of the streets to the left and you'll eventually come onto the Westwood. Visitors with cars can park on the Westwood free up to a maximum of 4 hours.
4. Experience a Day at the Races
Nothing beats a day at the races. Enjoy the hospitality and atmosphere, collect your winnings and celebrate in style at Beverley Racecourse. Set in the stunning surroundings of Beverley Westwood, Beverley Racecourse hosts horse racing between April and September every year, and has been doing so for over 300 years.
There are 19 race meetings in total per year, 11 of which feature extra entertainment and fun, from the family-themed May Day with a petting zoo and funfair rides to the glamour of Ladies' Day. For the racing fan, the Very British Raceday in June sees some of the country's best two-year-old horses battle it out in their preparations for Royal Ascot in a fast and furious contest up our infamous uphill 5 furlong sprint (a furlong being about 660 feet for the as-yet uninititated.)
If you haven’t been racing before, there is nothing like the thrill of seeing your horse pass the winning post – particularly if you have had a bit of a flutter with the bookies. First class racing views and dining is available on site, just book in advance to ensure a prime position.
There's always a warm welcome at Beverley, and whether you prefer to bring the family with a picnic and a rug or your friends for an afternoon of fun and catching up, you'll find lots of like-minded people enjoying the day and the excitement of watching your horse thundering home.
Tickets in advance are much the cheapest way to visit and can be bought from the racecourse along with lots more information about all racedays.
5. Visit St Mary's Church
St Mary's church sits in Beverley's Georgian quarter near to the town's North Bar. It is one of the most beautiful parish churches in England although it is often missed by visitors who head straight for Beverley Minster. The church has Norman origin and was founded in 1120. St Mary's is most famous for a carving of a rabbit, which is said to have been the inspiration for the March Hare in Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland.
Other things of interest to see in the church include the unique ceiling of Kings painted in 1446 which represent the Kings of England before that time and the highly decorated ceiling of stars and constellations. The West front of St Mary's is a fine example of late fourteenth century work and may well have influenced that of the Chapel of King's College, Cambridge, which was built more than half a century later.
On special occasions or through advance booking you can see the "priest's rooms" accessed through a small door and spiral staircase and containing all sorts of unusual treasures.
6. Take a walk along Beverley Beck
This pleasant 1.5 mile stroll from the centre of Beverley takes you along the banks of Beverley's historic waterway, up to the River Hull and back. This kilometre long waterway was once the heart ofBeverley’s thriving industrial centre. Along the way you'll find moorings, old barges, a boatyard and opportunities for fishing in the Beck.
To start the walk, go out of the town centre, behind the new Flemingate retail development. Here you'll see the beck in front of you. As this is a circular walk, you can start from the left bank or the right bank. Set off walking towards the bridge. If its moored up, you may see the Syntan barge on the right bank. This floating museum is also available for day trips on the River Hull. Carry on under the bridge until you reach the far end of the beck, where it joins the River Hull. Here you can cross over the lock and return to Beverley along the opposite bank.
7. Shop til you drop at Flemingate
Within walking distance from the centre of Beverley is Flemingate. one of East Yorkshire's largest shopping destinations. Flemingate adds big name stores to the already impressive range of smaller independent stores that sit on Beverley's main pedestrianised shopping streets. Stores situated on Flemingate include Debenhams, River Island, H&M, Outift and Wilko. There are many places to eat here too including Patisserie Valerie, the Gourmet Burger Company, Riva Lounge, Starbucks amd Costa Coffee.
Flemingate also has its own cinema (the Parkway Cinema) and 500-space multi-storey car park. For those wanting to extend their stay, Beverley's Premier Inn is just around the corner.
8. Explore the Georgian Quarter
No visit to Beverley would be complete without taking in the town's Georgian Quarter where the mix of independent shops and businesses makes it a must for locals, regular visitors and tourists alike. Beverley's North Bar Within and North Bar Without form one of the East Riding of Yorkshire's most famous landmarks and are situated in the centre of the Georgian Quarter which starts just outside the bar and finishes just past the historic St Mary's church.
The fascinating streets of the Georgian Quarter contain the largest number of listed buildings in one street in the region. Also this part of Beverley is home to St Mary's Church a stunning building that stands proudly over the streets and is must see for any visitor to Beverley.
Historically, the area has been a thriving retail, leisure and business centre as well as a popular tourist destination. Its premier location, street scene and grandeur have meant that specialist retailers, boutique shops, quality restaurants, cafes and traditional pubs have all become well established in Beverley's Georgian Quarter.
To find the Georgian Quarter, start at the main Saturday Market square and head away from the busy pedestrianised street that is Toll Gavel. After a few minutes walk, you'll see St Mary's church on the right and you'll find yourself in the Georgian Quarter. There are a host of places to eat and drink here including the Michelin star rated Whites Restaurant, Grants Bistro 22 and Lucias Wine Bar.
If you fancy a pint then the Royal Standard Inn is a good choice with a super selection of real ales and light bites. Across the road from the Royal Standard is St Mary's Arcade which is a little hidden away and has a few independent shops that are definitely worth checking out. After all that eating, drinking and shopping, weary travellers may want to take a rest at the Coronation Gardens which is situated on the left, just before you reach the historic Beverley Bar, and is a relaxing area, and a great place to sit down and rest for a while.
So instead of staying in the town centre, why not take a short walk out to the Georgian Quarter and explore a hidden part of Beverley that is refreshingly old fashioned.
9. Step back in time in Nellies
The White Horse Inn (Nellies) is one of the oldest pubs in Beverley, dating back to 1666. Its nickname comes from Nellie Collinson, the landlady who resided here until 1976 when the pub was sold to Samuel Smiths Brewery. Walking into Nellies is like stepping back in time. There are labyrinths of stone corridors, lit up by gas lights, leading to a central bar which is well stocked with a variety of Sam Smiths ales.
There are lots of rooms (or snugs) dotted around the ground floor, some which have their own fireplaces and chandeliers. In these small individual rooms you can find lots of curios and paintings from Beverley's past. Upstairs is a large function room with comfortable chairs and a roaring log fire to while away the hours in front of.
10. Discover Beverley's Outdoor Art
Whilst exploring the streets of Beverley, you'll probably notice paintings that are on display on exterior walls around the town. These paintings are part of the 'Painting the Town Fred and Mary' exhibition which features paintings from local artists Fred and Mary Elwell. There are 22 paintings in total, forming a trail around the town which is popular with visitors to Beverley.
The trail includes sites at Beverley Minster, the Treasure House and Saturday Market and an interactive map of the trail can be found below. The works of art are high quality replicas of 22 paintings by Beverlonians Fred and Mary Elwell and provide a wider audience for their work. The paintings can now be seen in the settings that provided the inspiration for them and can be viewed by everyone.
The interactive map below shows the locations of each painting on the trail along with brief details of each painting. Using the link provided, open the map up on your mobile device in Google Maps and follow the trail around town.