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Holiday in Coxwold – one of Yorkshire’s Prettiest Villages

- 9 February 2020 -

Coxwold is one of Yorkshire’s most picturesque villages. With its pretty cottages, country church, fascinating history and rural backdrop, Coxwold has always been considered a picture postcard village – a pretty village.

Located on the south-western edge of the North York Moors National Park, Coxwold is just 19 miles from York Minster – so you can enjoy the best of both town and country. Don’t make the mistake and pass by Coxwold on your way to nearby Byland Abbey, to Helmsley or to the famous Kilburn White Horse. Those in the know take time to enjoy one of North Yorkshire’s most picturesque villages, where, whether it’s the early morning light of a spring day, or the late evening sun of autumn, the honey-coloured stone buildings enhance the feeling that all is well in the world!

Coxwold is a quintessentially English village, with clipped yew hedges and wide, mowed verges. It is therefore, little surprise that, over the years, it has scooped a host of Best Kept Village awards as well as regularly appearing in lists of the prettiest Yorkshire village. Indeed, in recent years the likes of the Daily Telegraph newspaper, Country Life magazine and Channel 5 TV have included it in the top 10 villages in the whole of England!

Among a clutch of fascinating buildings in Coxwold is the Grade I listed Shandy Hall, one time home of Laurence Sterne, local vicar and author of the famous comic novel, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy. Opposite Shandy Hall, on the brow of a steep hill, sits the imposing St Michael’s church, with its impressive octagonal tower, one of just a few in the whole country. Inside are the ornate tombs of the Bellasis family, ancestors of the Wombwell family, who still live at nearby Newburgh Priory, Coxwold’s third great building. Newburgh Priory stands on the site of an Augustine priory transformed into a private residence in the sixteenth century. Today Newburgh Priory is home to many great family portraits as well as several legends. One such tells how the headless corpse of Oliver Cromwell was secretly brought to the priory and placed in a tomb in the roof. On the orders of the Wombwell family, it remains unopened to this day.

In 1767, Laurence Sterne famously wrote that: ‘I am as happy as a prince, at Coxwould, and I wish you could see in how princely a manner I live – ‘tis a land of plenty. I sit down…to venison, fish and wild fowl, or a couple of fowls or ducks, with curds, and strawberries, and cream…with a clean cloth on my table – and a bottle of wine on my right hand to drink your health.’ We like to think Laurence Sterne would whole-heartedly approve of our luxury holiday cottage and boutique shepherd’s hut, located in the heart of the village he so loved. Enjoy a weekend break or a holiday with us in Coxwold and, like Laurence Sterne, you can enjoy in the food and wine on offer at the many excellent hostelries and restaurants close by. And you can then judge for yourself whether Coxwold merits the accolades of prettiest village – we think it does, but maybe we are biased!

Shandy Hall, Coxwold, former home of Laurence Sterne, author of Tristram Shandy

Coxwold Church near Coxwold Cottages
Coxwold Church near Coxwold Cottages

Close to Forge Cottage, Newburgh Priory hosts weddings - and the body of Oliver CromwellCoxwold is a picture-postcard village. Ideal base for exploring the North York Moors