Day 11: Bronte Parsonage and Fountains Abbey

We began our day with breakfast at the hotel (complimentary). It was fantastic: cold cereal, fruit, juices, and hot eggs, sausage and bacon, hashbrowns, beans, toast, and coffee. After breakfast we took off towards our first place to visit for the day.

Bronte Parsonage

We headed out into the country to the place where the Bronte sisters lived. They wrote many famous novels, including Wuthering Heights and Jayne Eyre. Their father was a minister and worked at the local church, hence why they lived in a parsonage. Their former house has been turned into a museum and we walked through it together.

We had to wait in line behind a large high school group.

They were doing a cool piece of modern art where each guest writes one line from Wuthering Heights and when the book is completed it will go on display. We each took a turn writing. Zeke wanted a turn, too, so they let him use the “practice book.”



Shelley really enjoyed walking through the museum and reading about the sisters, their lives, and their literary works.

At the end of the tour there was a play area with some dress-up clothes.


Outside, we walked by the school where Charlotte Bronte taught.

We needed lunch so we found a local place down the street and got some fish and chips (chicken nuggets for Erin and the kids). It was really good!


Micah was a ham at lunch.


Finally we walked back to our car (after “last potty”) and headed out to our next stop.

Fountains Abbey

The kids both fell asleep almost immediately once we got on the road. We enjoyed a nice hour of peace and quiet driving through the British countryside. The way there was full of narrow roads through the backcountry. It was full of beautiful with ancient stone walls and countless sheep.

Once we got near the property, we began driving through an old forest.

We parked in a half-full lot, got out, and walked over to the grounds entrance. We weren’t sure what to expect, but we had been told it was amazing and that we should plan an entire day there. We got there around 3:00, so we only had 3 1/2 hours before they closed. We figured it would be enough. We were wrong.

Very near the entrance is Fountains Hall. We didn’t get a chance to go inside. Add that to the list for next time, because this is worth another visit.

Once the abbey came into view, we knew why it had been so highly recommended. It was HUGE and the ruins were in pretty good condition. It was beautiful. These pictures do not do it justice. Everything was breathtaking, awe-inspiring, and beautiful. Being in the ruins of a monastic community put me (James) in a contemplative mood.

We first headed to the cafe on the grounds to stock up on food for dinner, then we explored around the ruins for the rest of the afternoon.

These pictures below are all from the abbey’s amazing and huge cathedral.

Here’s a couple panoramas of the cloister.

And below is the layout of the abbey. It’s massive.

After a couple of hours exploring ruins, we stopped and had a picnic in the ruins.

Finally, we decided to take the scenic walk around the channel, pools, and gardens behind the abbey. Once again, simply amazing.

We had to hustle back from our scenic walk because it was almost 6:30 PM when the park closes. As we headed back, this was the view of the channel with the abbey in the distance.

By the time we made it back to the front gates, near Fountains Hall, we were exhausted.

Finally, we got back to the parking lot to find our car was the last one in the lot.

It was a good day, but tiring. So we drove to our B&B in Kirkbymoorside. It was very nice. Here’s what it looked like.

Below is the outside of our room.

And a few shots of the inside of the cottage.

It was lovely.