Since visiting Selby, England, I have read quite a bit about it and honestly, I don’t understand some of it. People can be unkind, to say the least. We stayed in Selby and used it as our base to explore and work for a month and I personally thought the town was quite charming. In my opinion, these are 5 can’t miss activities in Selby England.
5 Can’t Miss Activities in Selby England
Historians believe that Selby was first established in AD 779 on the banks of the River Ouse by the Vikings. Selby is located about 14 miles south of York and isn’t a tourist destination. It is the traditional birthplace of King Henry I. I’m not sure what the difference between a tradition birthplace and an actual birthplace is, but I don’t know any kings, so I’m probably not fancy enough.
While Selby is off the path from normal places of interest in the UK, it is a lovely little town that I think is worth the visit. You can easily fit these 5 can’t miss activities in Selby England into one day, so keep this in mind when you’re traveling near Selby.
Visit Selby Abbey
The Selby Abbey is hard to miss. It’s huge and beautiful. The Abbey was built over 900 years ago, finished in 1069. We took a tour through and it is just as beautiful inside. I especially love the stained glass on the windows.
Selby was selected for the abbey’s location when Benedict of Auxerre saw three swans on the lake and thought it was a sign from the Father, Son and Holy Ghost that this was the location for the abbey. This is also the reason that the official crest of the Selby Abbey is three swans.
The abbey has loads of stained glass throughout and in my opinion is an excellent reason to visit on it’s own. You can see further history and details on the Abbey’s History page.
Constructed in 1340, the Jesse Window is thought to be the second finest in all of England. The window is filled with Jesse glass and as such, is the finest Jesse glass window in England.
St. Germain Window
The St. Germain Window depicts 46 different scenes from the life and legend of St. Germain. The Abbey is dedicated to him, along with St. Mary and and of course, the Lord.
It is thought that George Washington, the first president of the United States, had an ancestor, John Wessintgon the Prior of Durham, who was a benefactor of the Abbey. For this reason, there is a window dedicated to the family. Their family coat for three red stars, above two red bands, on a white shield, which would become the model for the United States flag. I had no idea.
Outside of the Abbey is a hole that was used for people with leprosy to look though and see the church services. It’s sad and interesting at the same time.
Eat Some Delicious Food in Selby
We all know I love food. I really love to try food in different countries. While in England, I was introduced to some really good food. As you can see, there are many different variations of fish and chips. For my tastes, I like anything fried to be crisp and crunchy the best. The English apparently have a great love of mushy peas because they are all over. I don’t get it, but there you have it.
Thank you to the lovely ladies below for the use of their photos!
- Fish and Chips: Eva (Electric Blue Food)
- Chips and Fish: Amy (The Travel Fairies Blog)
- Fish and Chips: Mayi (Secret Moona)
- Shepards Pie: Kelly (my step sister Kelly)
My picks for restaurants in Selby are these three:
Award winning fish and chips. They also have a gluten free menu.
61-63 Micklegate, Selby YO8 4EA, England
+44 1757 701913
The Giant Bellflower Wetherspoon
A big pub with a full menu. They have pizza and traditional dishes like meats and Yorkshire Pudding. It’s actually where I learned that Yorkshire Pudding is not a sweet custard dish, but a yummy puffed pastry with meat and gravy.
47A Gowthorpe, Selby YO8 4HE, England
+44 1757 293020
Capri Italian Restaurant
A cozy Italian restaurant right next to the Selby Abbey. Both my husband and I loved what we had, lasagna for me and a steak for him.
4 Abbey Place, Selby YO8 4PF, England
+44 1757 706856
Capri Italian Restaurant Website
Don’t Miss Exploring Selby Streets
You can walk through the streets and Selby for a good while and not be bored. See if you can find the three swans that are the symbol of Selby.
We found this market in from of the Abbey on a bank holiday. It was fun to walk through.
Hike Barlow Common Nature Reserve
If you love the outdoors, head to the Barlow Common Nature Reserve and take a hike. It was a beautiful day when we visited. The reserve is located just outside of town and if you want to go fishing, you can purchase a permit on the bank of the pond.
Keep your eyes open for the different birds and mammals. Be sure not to approach them though.
It’s quite beautiful and a lovely way to escape any crowds you might find on your trip.
Take a Walk Through Selby Park
Another outdoor experience is to visit the Selby Park. If you’re lucky enough to visit in the spring and summer, you will be in for a treat with all of the beautiful flowers.
I loved all of the different flowers and the colors.
I love photographing flowers, even when I don’t know what they are. Asking on my Facebook page what these flowers below are paid off very quickly. Thanks Mandi. These beauties below are called English Daisies. What a perfect name.
You won’t be disappointed if you explore my ideas for 5 can’t miss activities in Selby England. It’s only 14 miles from York, which I’m sure is on your list of places to go. Don’t miss Selby.
If you’re looking for other amazing places to visit in England, try Castleton or Whitby. Completely wonderful places.
I can’t decide which is more attractive…the stained-glass abbey or the flower-decorated Selby Gardens. Both would surely be on my wishlist. What are those round pink flowers towards the end of the post?
They are both so beautiful. Those flowers are English Daisies.
I am glad that any bad comments on Selby should be ignored in your opinion. The Selby Abbey ceiling looks stunning. I too am a stained glass window fan. These really are quite stunning. I love that you included 3 different spots for fish with chips. But I also love Shepherds PIe. I might have to visit the Barlow Common Nature Reserve just to wear off some of that good food.
Seriously. The food was really good in these places. I’m glad we went to the reserve. Sometimes I need to reset myself from the cities.
The Selby Abbey is just stunning. Those stained glass windows are beautiful. It looks like a great place to visit and try the fish and chips!
The Abbey is really a beautiful place. I think my husband ate fish and chips every day we were in England.
Selby looks frozen in time with the Selby Abbey! I didn’t know they had peeping windows in old abbeys for leprosy patients. Barlow Common Nature Reserve is so beautiful and calming in pictures itself, can only imagine how therapeutic the place would actually be!
I didn’t know about the windows for leprosy patients either. I have never seen one before or since. The nature reserve was beautiful.
The Selby Abbey looks absolutely stunning. I’m a sucker for old churches, but this is one of the most beautiful I have seen in a long time. The stained glass and the woodwork on the ceiling are a sight to behold. I had never heard of a Leper’s Squint before, what an interesting piece of history. The food looks delicious, especially the shepherd’s pie, I love shepherd’s pie. Thanks for sharing!
The Abbey was something to behold for sure. I really enjoyed out time in Selby. They Leper’s Squint was quite surprising to me.
Wow, that stained glass window was breathtaking. And that story about George Washington and the flag of the USA was pretty cool. Thanks for taking us on a ride!
Isn’t that a neat bit of information. It’s a great stop if you’re ever in the area.
Wow, the Selby Abbey is absolutely stunning! The Leper’s Squint is so sad, but it’s a good reminder for us of the realities of our past. I would also love to visit the Barlow Reserve and see all the wildlife and flora. You captured such gorgeous moments of the wildlife!
The Leper’s Squint is sad, but I guess at least they could have some religion in their life if they wanted. I do wonder if there wasn’t a different way. I always love photographing wildlife. Probably my favorite thing actually.
Such lovely creations of stained glass window panes! Immense talent in art there. Glad they are preserved and maintained so well. The Leper’s hole is indeed sad and interesting. Loved the gardens too.
The artists that make stain glass must be very patient people. They do such a wonderful job. The gardens were breathtaking for sure.
I love England but haven’t heard of Selby, the Abbey looks incredible. Sounds like this is a must visit in the spring to see the park in bloom
YES! There were so many beautiful flowers. The whole town was just as pretty. I really enjoyed it.
The abbey with its high ceiling makes amazing. I can spend quite a few hours just admiring the nook and corners here. Quite intriguing to learn about Leper’s hole. Makes one feel a little melancholic
They have volunteers who will walk around with you and tell you about everything in the abbey and answer all your questions.
This was a really well rounded and interesting list! Leper’s hole is exactly as you said… interesting and sad at the same time. So cute that there are rabbits running about! I love walkable towns and spaces.
Me too! I love to walk around and see it all. Even in small towns, you can find quite a lot to explore.