There is a temple in ruins stands, Fashion’d by long forgotten hands: Two or three columns, and many a stone, Marble and granite, with grass o’ergrown!

Last week I went to three English Heritage properties on what may be the loveliest English day in history. It was 22 degrees Celsius (which is almost 73 degrees Fahrenheit) and extraordinarily sunny.

First up was Byland Abbey. Ben, Jen, Annemari and I all piled into Ben’s car and drove less than an hour North of York, and found Byland on a small country road.

The ruins are so pretty and have a majestic quality to them.

Ben looks out to see what can be found, the answer being a huge monastic complex next to the abbey itself, also in ruins.

Annemari and I found a puzzle of medieval tile patterns; and while it may be designed for children, we completely loved it.

There is almost no way to get to scope or scale of the place, let alone what it would have been before the dissolution.

Rievaulx Abbey is much larger and is more complete than Byland, and provides for more magnanimous views from its seat at the top of a valley.

The sun provided some gorgeous long shadows as it poured through the remains of the building.

I managed to find the shrine of a different St. William! It was the most popular male name after the Conquest.

I quite liked finding the partial remains of a staircase. You walk up five or six steps to find yourself suddenly outside again.

Rievaulx made for an enjoyable picnic spot.

Ben and Annemari also found another puzzle at the museum, but this one was much more difficult.

Our last stop of the day, was Helmsley Castle.

This  arrowslit in the castle walls, is quite over grown with foliage, but I think you could still defend the fortification.

Inside you can see the building use to have many floors, and would have been a very grand place.

The Castle was a beautiful end to the day. I hope to go to many more sites like this. And now as a member of English Heritage I’m sure I will do so, I’ve been perusing the handbook for day trip ideas all week.

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