Handsome, unspoilt Beverley is one of the most attractive towns in Yorkshire, largely on account of its magnificent minster – a rival to any cathedral in England – and the tangle of streets that lie beneath it, each brimming with exquisite Georgian and Victorian buildings.
All the sights are a short walk from either train or bus station. There’s a large market in the main square on Saturday, and a smaller one on Wednesday on the square called…Wednesday Market.
Top Things to See in Beverley
One of the great glories of English religious architecture, Beverley Minster is the most impressive church in the country that is not a cathedral. The soaring lines of the exterior are imposing, but it is inside that the charm and beauty lie. The 14th-century north aisle is lined with original stone carvings, mostly of musicians. Much of our knowledge of early musical instruments comes from these images. You’ll also see goblins, devils and grotesque figures. Look out for the bagpipe player.
Construction began in 1220 – the third church to be built on this site, with the first dating from the 7th century – and continued for two centuries, spanning the Early English, Decorated and Perpendicular periods of the Gothic style.
Close to the altar, the elaborate and intricate Percy Canopy (1340), a decorative frill above the tomb of local aristocrat Lady Eleanor Percy, is a testament to the skill of the sculptor and the finest example of Gothic stone carving in England. In complete contrast, in the nearby chancel is the 10th-century Saxon frith stool, a plain and polished stone chair that once gave sanctuary to anyone escaping the law.
In the roof of the tower is a restored treadwheel crane, where workers ground around like hapless hamsters to lift the huge loads necessary to build a medieval church. Access to the roof is by guided tour only (per person £5).
St. Mary’s Church
Doomed to play second fiddle to Beverley Minster, St Mary’s Church at the other end of town was built between 1120 and 1530. The west front (early 15th century) is considered one of the finest of any parish church in England. In the north choir aisle there is a carving (c 1330) of a rabbit dressed as a pilgrim, said to have inspired Lewis Carroll’s White Rabbit.