Wharram Percy deserted medieval village is one of the largest and best-preserved yet deserted medieval villages in the UK. Located in the countryside near Malton, North Yorkshire. It is maintained by English Heritage and it is free to visit. When we have been in the past there has been no charge to park. However, there are rumours that non-members now have to pay £2 to park which is also now mentioned on their website.
Wharram Percy Deserted Medieval Village – Review
Wharram Percy is not a huge site but with the 3/4 mile walk down to the village from the car park you can certainly spend a good one to two hours there. We often see people having a picnic there which is certainly a great way to pass a few fours while your kids explore. Although beware with smaller kids as there is a pond there so don’t let them out of your sight until they know better.
In the UK there are around 3.000 deserted medieval villages with Wharram Percy being the most famous. To this day archaeologists are still puzzled as to why the village was deserted. It was occupied for six centuries but abandoned after 1500.
The first thing to mention is the car park isn’t huge. Since lockdown Wharram Percy has become a popular beauty spot so if you want to make sure you can park my advice is to get there early. The site is always open.
The second thing to mention is that it is not accessible with a wheelchair or pushchair. There is a path but it is very steep and uneven. I wouldn’t even attempt to take a pushchair down, mostly because the walk back up is a killer. English Heritage recommends that pushchairs aren’t taken down to the site.
It is a pretty walk down as you descend into the valley. Once you arrive at the site there is a gate and a sign telling you a bit about the Wharram Percy. This is now cow territory so be alert. We spent about 20 minutes once waiting to leave because a herd of cows was blocking the gate.
You then cross over the field and the first thing you see is a large intact building. This was the last inhabited building which you sadly can’t go inside but I guess that is understandable. There are signs dotted around the site explaining more about what you can (and can’t see). It gives me a strange feeling being there, almost haunting but in a nice way. It would make a beautiful home for someone!
A little further on from here you will find the largely ruined church. You can walk inside although there is no roof. There are even some large important-looking gravestones which is the scene that features in just about every photo you will see of the village.
Across from here is the pond which has a bridge. If you head down to the left of the pond there is a small book which you can paddle in. This is next to a small man-made waterfall. One thing to know is that there are absolutely no facilities here. So if your kids need a wee it will have to be wild and you need to make sure you have plenty of drinks (especially before and after the challenging walk).
If you want to explore a bit further the top of the hill above the church is the site where many of the houses once stood. Here you can trace outlines of lost houses on a grassy plateau. You could combine your day out with a visit to Pickering Castle (also English Heritage with a small entrance fee and basic facilities) or Kirkham Priory, (also English Heritage and free to visit).
Wharram Percy Deserted Medieval Village FAQ & Further Information
Address: Unnamed Road, Malton, YO17 9TD, North Yorkshire
Category: Great Outdoors – Suitable for all ages
What are the ticket prices?
The site is free to visit. Non-members may have to pay a £2 charge to park.
What are the main facilities and things to do?
Deserted medieval village set in picturesque countryside with a ruined church, pond, larger building and outlines of village houses. There are no facilities.
When are they open?
Access to Wharram Percy is all year round
Is there food available?
Is there parking?
Yes, there is a relatively small car park. Non-members of English Heritage may have to pay £2 to park.
Are they dog friendly?
Dogs are welcome. Dogs must be kept on a lead.
Are they accessible?
No. The pathway is not suitable for wheelchairs or puschairs.