Set within the North York Moors National Park, the ruins of Byland Abbey inspired the design of many church buildings throughout the North.

Once one of the greatest monasteries in England, the abbey truly is an outstanding example of early gothic architecture.

The first thing that catch your attention on first sighting is the stunning rose window.

It was the first of its kind to appear in England. It inspired the design of the famous York Minster rose window.

Today this site is managed by English Heritage.

When you visit these ruins (free entry), you will notice that this site is huge. This must have been a grand place of worship with the abbey church at its centre.

Look for the 13th-century ceramic mosaic floor tiles, still in their original position and made on site. It is said to be of World Heritage significance.

Image by Cool Places Britain

On a summers day we thoroughly enjoyed a moderate 8,5-mile circular walk through the Yorkshire countryside.

We started in the village of Coxwold on the southern edge of the national park and we headed north towards the village of Oldstead.

Then the path climbs up to Mount Snever Observatory from which superb views of the Vale of York are to be had.

It then descends to Byland Abbey and swings back to Coxwold.

Cool Places to Explore

Rievaulx Abbey | Helmsley Castle | The Kilburn White Horse | Ampleforth Abbey | North York Moors Railway | Yorkshire Wolds Way | Dalby Forest | North York Moors Railway.

Cool Places to Eat

The Black Swan at Oldstead | Byland Abbey Inn | The Vine House Café | The Durham Ox.