Exploring Wharram Percy Deserted Medieval Village | Free to Visit North Yorkshire

After visiting Pickering castle (English Heritage) and then Cedar Barn we had a couple of hours to spare on our day out in North Yorkshire. I have driven by the signs for Wharram Percy Deserted Medieval Village many times but never been. It was a beautiful sunny Spring day and the perfect weather for a walk. I didn’t know much about the place aside from that it is owned by English Heritage and it is free to visit.

This was part 2 of day 22 of our #80dayschallenge to have at least 80 days out in one year.

A Bit about Wharram Percy

Wharram Percy is now a deserted village dating back to Medieval times. It is one of the largest and best preserved of the 3,000 or so deserted villages in Britain. Wharram Percy was continuously occupied for six centuries before it was abandoned soon after 1500. The village was actually part of the East Riding of Yorkshire until the boundaries were changed. It is thought that the Black Death of 1348–49 does not seem to have played a significant part in the desertion of Wharram Percy.

Review of our visit to Wharram Percy Deserted Medieval Village

There is a car park for around 20 cars which is free to use. It was quite full when we arrived but we still managed to park. It is open all year round and advisable to visit during daylight hours. There is a sign indicating a 3/4 mile walk to the deserted village at the start of the path.

Sign to Wharram Percy
The signpost to Wharram Percy from the car park

The 3/4 mile walk is on rough ground which is not suitable for wheelchairs or buggies. What goes down must come up. It is a steep 3/4 mile walk back up to the car park with no benches along the way so please bear that in mind when visiting. Dogs are allowed but must be kept on leads and of course any mess must be taken away.

pathway down to Wharram Percy
The pathway up/down to Wharram Percy
Exploring Wharram Percy Deserted Medieval Village | Free to Visit North Yorkshire

It was a beautiful walk down to the village and into the valley where the village is set. When you arrive at the ‘main entrance’ there is a large English Heritage sign to welcome you. Around the site of Wharram Percy you will find plenty of informative signs about what you are looking at and the history of the place.

Exploring Wharram Percy Deserted Medieval Village | Free to Visit North Yorkshire
Arriving at Wharram Percy itself
There are plenty of signs to read
There are plenty of signs to read

The first building you come across is the last inhabited building which is newer in build and remains intact today. You can’t go inside but you are free to wander around outside. It felt strange though. Almost like someone was still living there, but they aren’t.

Exploring Wharram Percy Deserted Medieval Village | Free to Visit North Yorkshire
The intact but most recent building at Wharram
Exploring Wharram Percy Deserted Medieval Village | Free to Visit North Yorkshire

Behind here you will find the ruined but still very much intact church. This is what features in just about every photo of the village. It is a beautiful church and there are gravestones which still remain today. This is a lovely spot to sit with a picnic while the kids explore. Do be aware that there is a lake on site though.

Inside the church at Wharram Percy
Inside the church at Wharram Percy
Exploring Wharram Percy Deserted Medieval Village | Free to Visit North Yorkshire
The church and graveyard
The church and graveyard

It is a very picturesque setting, especially towards the lake. Down to the left of the lake there is a small brook you can paddle in with a mini waterfall (man-made) coming from the lake. Across the lake there is also a bridge which you can walk across.

The Lake at Wharram Percy
The Lake at Wharram Percy
Exploring Wharram Percy Deserted Medieval Village | Free to Visit North Yorkshire
The little waterfall by the brook
Exploring Wharram Percy Deserted Medieval Village | Free to Visit North Yorkshire
Bridge over the lake

We were going to explore the fields at the top of the hill where you can see the remains of walls from old buildings. There was a large group of cows on this part though and I was wary of A. Jamie standing in a cow pat and B. The cows themselves. So we opted to head back. From leaving the car to returning back to the car we were gone for almost two hours. We spent a long time around the church and lake area.

Up on the hill at Wharram Percy
Up on the hill at Wharram Percy

As there is no shop or any staff there make sure you take plenty of drinks. Even if it’s not a warm day you will need a drink for the walk down and back up. We had a large bottle of water to share and it wasn’t enough. If you do take a picnic be aware that someone has to carry it up and down hill.

I must admit that I did visit expecting my son to not particularly enjoy it and moan a huge amount. But he loved it. He thought that it was a big adventure and he loved exploring. I think the words deserted were part of that enjoyment.

Have you considered becoming a member of English Heritage?

UK Family Days Out

*This post contains affiliate links

Find a Family-Friendly Hotel in North Yorkshire or a caravan park nearby


We are very active on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. Why not subscribe to my newsletter for regular updates? Or keep in touch on social media. Why not pin this post for later? Simply click on the image below and maybe give us a follow as well.

Exploring Wharram Percy Deserted Medieval Village | Free to Visit North Yorkshire

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.