Thirsk is a small market town in North Yorkshire, close to the Hambleton County Town of Northallerton. While the name in itself may not conjure much recognition for those outside of North Yorkshire, the town is notable for its close associations with animals and sport. It is home to the thoroughbred horse racing venue Thirsk Racecourse, which is one of the first ‘official’ racecourses in the England, dating back to 1740. Today, it remains a course that is very popular with northern horse trainers. The sporting associations of Thirsk continue as it is also the birth-place of Thomas Lord, who went on to become founder of the world famous Lord’s Cricket Ground in London.
Perhaps most legendarily, Thirsk was home to James Alfred Wight, OBE, FRCVS, who wrote fictional tales under the pen name of James Herriot. In these semi-autobiographical novels, Wight used a fictional village as the setting for his stories of a veterinarian’s experiences in the Yorkshire Dales. This fictional village – Darrowby – drew heavily on Thirsk as inspiration and Wight’s former veterinary practice, on Kirkgate, is now home to The World of James Herriot museum. The work of Wight brought his characters, and North Yorkshire, to the attention of the nation when it gave rise to adaptations in television and film.
While The World of James Herriot museum is not a wedding venue, those with an interest in wedding venues associated with sport and animals need look no further than Thief Hall.
Thief Hall is the creation of former show jumper, Jessica Hall, and her husband, Phillip. The building itself is a beautifully converted barn, located on a hill in Thornton-Le-Moor, not far from Thirsk itself. The barn wedding venue boasts panoramic views of the surrounding North Yorkshire countryside from every window and well-kept terrace, which means this wedding venue provides romance and wonder in abundance - along with those historical associations with animals and sporting pursuits.
The spirit of Thief Hall is one of fun and creativity, and, to that end, it was designed specifically to be a ‘blank canvas,’ upon which betrothed couples could project their dream wedding. The rooms are a modern take on the classic barn conversion, with endless natural light highlighting the exposed beams. This setting is intentionally perfect for adding a particular theme or coordinated colour display.
But, the facilities do not end with the wedding barn itself. Any Thief Hall wedding booking includes three days of exclusive use of the entire venue – including two nights of accommodation in the six luxury five-star self-catering cottages on-site. Over 26 guests can sleep comfortably in these beautifully appointed holiday homes – one of which is even pet-friendly. Each cottage has its own hot tub, and takes full advantage of the stunning vistas.
Thief Hall is a family business, and the focus of Jessica Barker and her team is to ensure that the wedding planning process goes as smoothly as the day itself. With many years of event management between them, the staff is happy to advise when needed – encouraging couples to approach their special day with as much imagination and creativity as possible. With a ‘no restrictions’ policy, anything goes at Thief Hall.
In addition to the three day exclusive use of the barn and the cottages, wedding bookings at this venue include:
- A fully stocked and staffed bar;
- Tables, linens, chairs, and more;
- Rooms for the holding of civil ceremonies;
- Options for outdoor weddings;
- Wedding planning support throughout the day, with coordination on the day.
Such is the relaxed approach of Thief Hall as a venue, it is even possible to have marquees on the site, to extend your party space should couples so desire.
Beyond the Wedding
Perhaps you wish to linger in the area after your big day, or perhaps a few of your guests would like to combine their travel to your big day with a longer trip. With such beautiful accommodation at Thief Hall, this is to be expected - and Thirsk is the perfect venue for activities beyond the ceremony and reception.
The area surrounding Thirsk, as well as the town itself, boasts an abundance of footpaths and walks to suit any ability. While some of these are low-level, taking visitors on a tour of the rolling fields within the Vale of York, others are much more spectacular – taking in the heights of the iconic Sutton Bank, as well as the famous Kilburn White Horse. This 228 foot high monument is over 160 years old, and was cut into the Hambleton Hills by 31 volunteers from a design by the Victorian businessman, Thomas Taylor. The White Horse is a local landmark that is regularly maintained using chalk chippings from the Yorkshire Wolds.
In central Thirsk, and in addition to The World of James Herriot, Thirsk Museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the history of the area – adding a little extra wonder to time spent here for any wedding weekend. It has been housed, since 1975, in the building that is the birthplace of Lord’s Cricket Ground founder, Thomas Lord, and currently holds the bones of a “giant,” and an infamous haunted chair that has been mounted to the wall to prevent visitors from sitting on it and upsetting the associated “spirit.”
Thirsk’s association with animals continues with the Thirsk Bird of Prey Centre, which is home to over 70 birds of 30 species. The team of Staff at this attraction provides regular and informative flying displays, but it is also possible to book falconry experience days – and these would make a great addition to any wedding weekend for the happy couple and guests alike. A variety of options are available here, but all involve opportunities to handle and fly a variety of birds. Some experience days also include participation in a Hawk Walk – giving you the chance to stroll the grounds of beautiful and historic Sion Hall while flying Harris Hawks. A romantic endeavour indeed, and one that would provide wonderful photographic opportunities to complement those of the wedding event.
What We Offer
Thief Hall is a barn conversion restored in stunning style, offering a blank canvas venue with open beams and a clean modern finish. The venue is surrounded by the beautiful countryside of North Yorkshire, the perfect backdrop for your special day! Included with the venue you will receive:
- Exclusive 3 day hire
- Accommodation for 2 nights for 26+ guests
- 4 cottages with hot tubs
- Wedding planning support throughout with coordination on the day
- Fully licensed to hold civil ceremony weddings
- Fully stocked and staffed bar
- Outdoor Weddings available
- No restrictions or stipulations
- Tables, chairs, linen and more!
- Marquees Permitted
"We had our wedding at Thief Hall and it was perfect right down to the last detail. The entire team at Thief Hall are amazing! Thank you so much for an unforgettable weekend!”
- Wayne & Louise Morton
“We have had the most wonderful time here, celebrating our wedding! Everyone has been fantastic and the cottages are utterly stunning; everyone of our family and friends loved it. Thank you so much for making our wedding so special!”
- Danielle & Steven Bell
“I don't know where to start!! The most perfect venue for our wedding! A total blank canvas to work with and so much scope to make your wedding personal!”
- Lizzie James
“What can we say! Jess and Phil are outstanding! The attention to detail, support and service from the day we booked 18 months ago right up until now has been faultless.”
- Dan & David Whitelock
“OMG! Me and Ollie have had the best wedding ever, you have made it just perfect. Jess and the team, we could not have asked for more. Thank you se very much from the bottom of our hearts. All of our love and thanks xx”
- Ollie & Chelsie Anderson
“To Jessica, Katy and all the amazing team, Thank you so much for all of your help to make our wedding day so special! You helped everything flow so smoothly and couldn’t have been more helpful and attentive. All our guests loved a Cottages and it made such a difference celebrating with everyone together all weekend. Thief Hall is a really stunning venue and you and the team do an amazing job making the wedding is truly spectacular for everyone. Thank you for all your hard work”
- Caroline and Paul
“To Hannah and Jess, Thank you very much for everything. Our wedding couldn’t have gone any smoother, there wasn’t a single hair out of place you were amazing. Everyone of our guests complimented on the venue and the way everything was arranged and organised. This weekend has just been magical. We are both still on cloud nine. It has been a photo of a wedding from start to finish. A big massive thank you to Jessica, you are a dream. You have made this weekend the happiest of our entire life. You are a superstar, Hannah, you looked after Stevie and I from start to finish, we couldn’t have asked for a better wedding planner. You kept me calm throughout the day and always check that we had everything in hand. Once again thank you for the special weekend/wedding day XXX”
- Debbie and Stevie
“Jessica and all in the amazing team at Thief Hall, what can we say? Thank you so much for an amazing weekend. Our wedding was everything we dreamed of and more. You guys were amazing from start to finish & we can't thank you enough. For such a popular venue with weddings more weekends and mid-weeks you do everything to make the bride and groom feel so special. There were so many extra thoughtful touches that made the weekend so special. Jess, You are some kind of wizard in keeping the day running so smoothly and thinking of things that we completely over looked. Our guests had the best day yesterday and those staying in the cottages and glamping tents all said how wonderful everything was. The welcome hampers are a lovely touch. We can't wait to come back and perhaps have a slightly more relaxed stay! Thank you SO SO much!!!!”
- Gavin and Helen
“Thank you so much for all the hard-work over the last 9 months and for always being there for us with any query or question we had! This weekend has been a dream come true (a wacky very colourful dream but a dream of ours!) and your "blank canvas" made the perfect backdrop for it all to take place! From dropping of car loads on the Thursday to supporting us on the Friday, from stealthily making out day run like clockwork to allowing us to stay an extra night on the Sunday to enjoy the beautiful sunset! you guys have all been amazing! We thank you all a million times over!”
- Sam and Will
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