Mount Grace Priory House and Gardens Review

Our first adventure of the summer holidays took us to Mount Grace Priory, house and gardens near North Allerton in North Yorkshire.

Mount Grace Priory House and Gardens Things To Do Review

Mount Grace Priory, House and Gardens are both a National Trust and an English Heritage run property. If you are a member of either you can visit for free. I was really impressed with how well the property has been maintained and looked after, maybe that’s because it’s run by both companies but either way we had a really nice day out.

We have so much of Yorkshire still to explore and when we initially decided to visit I couldn’t remember why it was on my to-visit soon list. There is no playground and although that’s not essential for us for a day out I still couldn’t figure out why I wanted to visit sooner rather than later.

I think it had been recommended and all I can say is that the more we explored though the more we fell in love with the place. Although this is a relatively small site some of the gardens aren’t accessible by wheelchair and you would struggle to explore the priory ruins with a wheelchair or a buggy.

Mount Grace Priory House and Gardens

Even the car park has been well maintained and the house is literally just off the A1 south. There’s just a short narrow country lane from the main road to the car park. There is a charge of £3 to park, the pay station is owned by English Heritage so members of English Heritage can park for free. We spent three hours there and the parking covers you all day.

We met a really friendly member of staff at the entrance by the cafe and as pre-booking is still required we had our tickets scanned by her. We did prebook on the actual day we visited. She told us a brief history of the property and about how the monks that used to live there were actually hermits.

The priory was first inhabited in 1398 and there were 25 identical houses where each monk lived in total seclusion. They didn’t speak to each other and each house had a garden with water and a toilet and they could live completely self-sufficient. The site is known today as one of the UK’s most important Carthusian ruins.

Mount Grace Priory House and Gardens Review

We started our visit in the Manor House. This was originally the priory guest house. Today there are a few rooms you can look at including an exhibition detailing the history and uses of the property. The downstairs room still displays the arts of crafts influence of William Morris.

Mount Grace Priory House and Gardens Review
Mount Grace Priory House and Gardens Review

Upstairs the exhibition rooms had a few interactive displays for children and adults to learn more about what life was like back then. My son was especially fascinated by a model of the monk’s house and garden.

Mount Grace Priory House and Gardens Review
Mount Grace Priory House and Gardens Review

By now it was nearly lunchtime so we made the short walk back to the cafe. The cafe is very modern but it does have limited seating. They had drinks and snacks for sale including a small selection of sandwiches, cheese and onion pasty, sausage roll and soup.

There was very limited seating indoors and not much more outside but there are more picnic tables dotted around the site. It is set in a really beautiful setting with a woodland of very tall trees behind the priory and ponds down in front of the manor house.

After lunch we decided to explore the ruins of the priory. This took us much longer than I had expected. The more you explore the more you notice. It soon became apparent that each house really was identical as many of the houses still have remains of their original walls with some walls being more intact than others.

Some of the houses still had doorways, some still the remains of the fireplace and in just about all of them, you could see where the water would have once flowed and where the toilet once was. We even found where they used to get all their water from and this still trickles water down and through the site.

Mount Grace Priory House and Gardens
Mount Grace Priory House and Gardens
Mount Grace Priory House and Gardens

The highlight for us was seeing the reconstructed monk ‘cell’. This is what each house was called although it felt very much not like a cell. The house, although small, was more than adequate and they have reconstructed the house really well with authentic-looking furniture.

They have even recreated the two cloisters and the vegetable garden. You can even see how the toilet would have looked. Each of the doorways also has a hole with a bend in it. It turns out these were used to hand food and other items to the monks without the need to see each other as their solitude meant that they never saw anyone else. My son loved these and not only did I get a ‘full guided tour’ but we had to pear around every hole across the site.

Mount Grace Priory House and Gardens
Mount Grace Priory House and Gardens
Mount Grace Priory House and Gardens
Mount Grace Priory House and Gardens

We finished our visit with a walk around the gardens in front of the manor house. These are really pretty and again very well cared for. The ponds are idyllic and we even spotted some cygnets and goslings. There’s running water into each pond which was lovely to dip our hands in on what was an incredibly hot day.

Mount Grace Priory House and Gardens

It was a lovely day out and I had initially worried that my son would find it boring but he loved it and it really set his imagination going. He especially loved exploring the ruins and climbing in an unusual tree that we found. I had wished that we’d brought a picnic as we spotted a few families chilling out on the grass of the priory. As well as the cafe there is also a small shop that sells English Heritage items plus cold drinks and ice creams.

Mount Grace Priory House and Gardens
Mount Grace Priory House and Gardens Review

Mount Grace Priory, House and Gardens FAQ & Further Information

Address: Mount Bank, Northallerton DL6 3JG, North Yorkshire

Category – Historic Attraction – Indoor and Outdoors – Suitable for all ages.

What are the ticket prices?

An adult standard ticket costs £10, children 5-17 £6,00. Under 5s are free. Other pricing options including family tickets are available.

What are the main facilities and things to do?

Historic house you can explore with an exhibition, gardens and a ruined priory. There are toilets and a cafe.

When are they open?

They are open for most of the year, although they only open at weekends in the winter. For up to date opening times please visit their website.

Is there food available?

There is a cafe serving hot and cold drinks plus sandwiches and snacks. You are welcome to bring a picnic.

Is there parking?

There is parking, there is a £3 charge to park for non-members of English Heritage.

Are they dog friendly?

Only assistance dogs are permitted.

Are they accessible?


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