Since moving to York in October, I’ve made it one of my missions to explore as much of Yorkshire as possible. Before moving here, I had barely spent any time in the area—I went on a group trip when I lived in Nottingham to York (and Fountain’s Abbey). But I hadn’t traveled anywhere else. And with a county as huge and diverse as Yorkshire (which is actually four counties), I knew I had a lot to explore.
Enter Beverley, one of Yorkshire’s many hidden gems.
I had never heard of Beverley until last year (thank you to the volunteer at the Chesterfield Museum for the head’s up) and honestly most people probably haven’t. But it is absolutely worth visiting for a day (or even just a busy afternoon) while in Yorkshire!
Daniel Defoe wrote about Beverley in the 1720s: “One is surprised to find so large and handsome a town within six miles of Hull.” I haven’t been to Hull (yet), but I still think it’s a hilarious description. It is a really nice place though, and I definitely recommend visiting! Here are the can’t miss sights and attractions around town:
Beverley’s claim to fame and the number one reason everyone should visit this small market town in the East Riding of Yorkshire: Beverley Minster is absolutely stunning. It’s one of the best non-cathedral churches in the country (I absolutely agree), free to visit, and dates back to the 13th-15th centuries.
There is so much to see here, it can be a little overwhelming. There are tons of fun carvings on the north aisle of people playing musical instruments. The plaque where the shrine of St. John of Beverley formerly stood (it was destroyed during the Reformation) is by the crossing. The Percy Tomb has a beautiful and ornate canopy in the north choir aisle—the Percys were one of the main noble families of the north in medieval times. Right around the corner is the East Window, which has the minster’s only collection of medieval stained glass (all the windows blew out in a storm in 1608 and the pieces that were left were made into the window in 1725).
The choir is beautiful as well, and make sure to see the misericords and the hilariously funny carvings. In the south transept, don’t miss the Chapels of the East Yorkshire Regiment (three in total), and the stunning Henin Cross, dedicated to those who died in World War I.
The Minster is absolutely one of the must-see attractions in Beverley. Give yourself about an hour here!
Beverley has two weekly markets, the large Saturday Market and the smaller Wednesday Market. Both markets are located in squares in the center of town, and have all sorts of things to buy (food—fresh fruit and meat—as well as books, clothes, etc.).
St. Mary’s Church
Beverley’s other main attraction is another beautiful church, St. Mary’s Church, located on the other end of town from the Minster. St. Mary’s is a magnificent old church with loads of history. Don’t miss the carvings on the top of the pillars, especially the minstrel’s capital (the closest pillar to the pulpit) with its colorfully carved minstrels.
The ceiling of the choir is decorated with paintings of 40 English kings, which dates from 1445—the paintings go up to Henry VI, with George VI being added during a 1939 restoration. St. Mary’s Church also has a wonderful set of carved misericords.
Cream Phone Boxes
Scattered across town (with two right in the Saturday market) are old-school cream phone boxes. Beverley used to be part of Hull’s independent phone system, which was established in 1902 and owned by the city. The phone boxes are cream, not red, and don’t have the royal crown above the door. The system is privatized now, but there are still a few of the old cream ones in East Yorkshire.
The Treasure House is Beverley’s main museum. It’s free to enter, and well worth a stroll—especially for its viewing terrace on the third floor, with a great view of the minster. The museum has exhibits on local history, including some interesting archaeological finds. The art gallery is small but has a lot of pieces by Fred Elwell, a local artist.
Beverley’s Guildhall has been the seat of government for the town since 1501, although it’s been remodeled several times. Unfortunately, it has very limited opening times: it’s only open on Fridays (and Wednesdays in the summer). It’s free to visit.
The only surviving gate to the town, North Bar was built in 1409. There’s only enough space for one-way traffic to go through the arch at once. The street leading up to North Bar (North Bar Within) is full of nice Georgian buildings.
Just off the street by North Bar and St. Mary’s Church is one of my favorite finds in Beverley. The Coronation Garden was formerly used as a burial ground for the parish from 1829 to 1869, as well as a private cemetery for important Beverley citizens. The church gave the land to the city of Beverley in 1955 and was turned into a garden to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953. There are still headstones around the wall of the garden from the cemetery.
White Horse Inn (Nellie’s)
Definitely one of the coolest pubs I’ve been to, you can’t miss a visit to the White Horse Inn (known locally as Nellie’s). It’s been an old coaching inn since the 1600s, it’s still lit by gas and is a bit dingy with the low lighting, but has such an old-time atmosphere you really shouldn’t leave town without visiting. It’s a Sam Smith’s pub too, which means cheap beers all around!
Beverley is easily connected to York by bus and train. There are no direct trains, so the journey takes about 90-110 minutes. The easiest option is the X46 bus, which costs £12 and takes 80-90 minutes.
Beverley was an amazing Yorkshire daytrip, and definitely one of the highlights of East Yorkshire.
Do you like small towns or big cities?