We are delighted to have our festival in such a wonderful town as Beverley, renowned in recent years for its music festivals.
The town is the capital of the East Riding of Yorkshire, and is a medieval market town which is surrounded on three sides by ancient common lands, comprising of Westwood, Swinemoor and Figham and collectively known as the Beverley Pastures.
On approaching the town, the first landmark to be seen is the spectacular Minster. The original building was founded early in the 8th century, although the present building only dates back to 1220 due to damage during the Viking invasions and Norman Conquest. Today, it is one of the finest examples of a Gothic church of cathedral size in Europe, and inside its collection of stone carvings of medieval instruments is believed to be the largest in the world.
The Parish Church of St Mary in the North Bar Within dates from the 12th century and contains a Pilgrim Rabbit statuette believed to be the model for the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland. The North Bar is the only survivor of the five gateways to the town built in the Middle Ages.
The Friary became a Youth Hostel in 1984, having started life as the friars’ dormitory and library founded there around 1230. A fascinating mix of late medieval, 17th and 18th century styles, it is well worth a visit.
For visitors to the town wishing to take to the fresh air, the common land of Beverley Westwood offers a wonderful place to walk and relax. Associated with it is the racecourse, which attracts racing fans from all over the country on race days. For those staying in the town and with time to spare, there are day trips to be had to Yorkshire’s Heritage Coast and the coastal resort of Bridlington. A trip to the picturesque Yorkshire Wolds made famous by the internationally acclaimed artist David Hockney is also highly recommended.
There is also the opportunity to trace the town’s history by following the Town Trail, which through installations of art and sculpture, celebrates the ancient guilds and crafts that saw Beverley rise to be the tenth largest town in Medieval England. Complementing this is another trail of artwork celebrating the work of renowned local artist Fred Elwell and his wife Mary. Information about these two innovative schemes can be found at the Tourist Information Centre on Butcher Row. Additionally, the Memorial Garden on Hengate also helps to paint a picture of the town's history in relation to World Wars 1 and 2.
Winifred Holtby's 'South Riding' was partially inspired by the East Yorkshire County Council of the 1920s/30s, County Hall on Cross Street and the landscape and communities of East Yorkshire in general. More recently, in 2013 scenes from the BBC adaptation of ‘Death Comes to Pemberley’ by P. D. James were shot in Beverley’s Guildhall, which in years past also served as the town’s Magistrates Court.
Beverley has a traditional market each Saturday and an excellent range of shops, both locally owned and national retailers. Cafes, restaurants and pubs abound, giving a warm and sociable atmosphere to the town.
As the late poet laureate Sir John Betjeman said of the Beverley: “A place for walking in and living in, it will not disappoint any visitor who chances upon it.”