Selby is a market town in North Yorkshire, with a population in 2011 of 14,731. It's on the tidal River Ouse, 14 miles south of York, and as late as 1998 had a ship-building industry. In the 1970s and 80s it was the centre of a productive coalfield. These industries have gone and Selby is now a commuter town for York and Leeds. The main reason to visit is the abbey, an intact medieval building with a stained glass window depicting the original "Stars and Stripes".
Get in Edit
An hourly train runs from York to Selby, 30 min, and continues to Hull.
Every two hours, a direct train from London Kings Cross calls at Doncaster and Selby on its way to Hull, but most Doncaster-Hull trains go by a different route. Until the 1970s, the East Coast mainline to York and Edinburgh passed through Selby. It had to be diverted some miles west when development of the coal mines made subsidence inevitable.
1 Selby railway station is 200 yards east of town centre. The bus station is on its west side.
Arriva Bus 45 runs every 15 min from York, taking 50 min to Selby.
Bus 64 / 164 runs hourly from Leeds via Garforth and Sherburn in Elmet, taking 90 min to Selby.
Bus 476 runs four times a day from Pontefract via Ferrybridge and Kellington, taking 70 min to Selby. There are no direct buses from Wakefield, Doncaster or Hull.
By road from the south follow A1(M) onto M62 east and exit at junction 34 for A19 north to town. From the north leave A1(M) for A63 east.
Get around Edit
The town is compact and there's only the abbey to see, which won't take long. You'll need wheels to get out and explore the area around.
- 1 Selby Abbey, The Crescent YO8 4PU. Daily 10:00-15:00. A Benedictine church dedicated in 1069, one of the few medieval abbeys to survive intact. It was never promoted to be a cathedral and successive archepiscopal inspectors found the abbott and monks to be a slovenly lot, carrying on with married women and not even saying their prayers afterwards. At the Dissolution it became a parish church. It suffered a trashing by Cromwell but the main threat was subsidence into the sandy soil. It was restored in the 19th century, then again after a fire of 1906, then again in 2002. The style is part Norman, part Decorated Gothic but its best known feature is the "Stars and Stripes" stained glass window - the 15th century coat of arms of the Washington family, whose descendant George Washington became first President of the United States. The abbey remains in use as an Anglican church. Free, donations welcome.
- Abbot's Staith is a 15th century warehouse by the river just north of the abbey. It may be possible to look in M-F 10:00-17:00.
- The Toll Bridge carried the Doncaster - York main road, and until 1991 had a toll, causing queuing traffic to snarl up the whole town. That was somewhat relieved by abolishing the toll, and completely relieved in 2004 by the opening of the A19 bypass south and east of town, which spans the river by an ingenious swing bridge. The town's 1791 wooden toll bridge was replaced in the 1970s by a metal structure, which isn't much to look at itself, but you get views along the tidal river channel.
- 2 Skipwith Common. is a nature reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest: it's an expanse of lowland heath and woods untouched by modern agriculture. Danes Hill may be where the Vikings buried their dead after the 1066 Battle of Stamford Bridge, and there's a Bronze Age barrow.
- 3 Drax Power Station. generates 6% of the nation's electricity, and is one humongous citadel of complex engineering. Guided tours take 2-3 hours, book online at least two weeks in advance.
- Town Hall hosts the Arts Centre and the Selby Globe Cinema.
- Selby Leisure Centre[dead link] has a gym and pool. Day / guest access may be available. It's on Scott Rd west side of town.
- Selby Superbowl is on Bawtry Rd half a mile south of the centre.
- Walking: use OS Landranger Map 105 (York & Selby). The Transpennine trail follows the east bank of the River Ouse down to Goole, then on towards Hull and the coast.
- A trail north stays on the east riverbank to Riccall, then follows an old railway track (with a scale model of the solar system) into York.
- The Transpennine trail west is diverted hither and yon by railways and rivers. You might prefer to follow Selby canal to the River Aire, then west towards Castleford and Leeds.
- Boating: the canal is navigable, connecting the Aire and the Ouse.
- Cycling: Selby was twice a stage-town for the Tour de Yorkshire. The countryside nearby is Dutch flat, but a few miles further east you ascend into the Yorkshire Wolds.
- 1 Selby Golf Club is on Mill Lane, off A63 a mile west of the junction with A1041. It's 6377 yards, par 71.
- 2 Burn Gliding Club is at the airfield along A19 four miles southwest of town.
- 3 Sherburn Aero Club offers air experiences and flight training.
- Sainsbury's is just north of the abbey, and Morrison's then Tesco to the south.
- George Inn (formerly Londesborough Hotel), Market Place YO8 4NX, ☏ . Old coaching inn next to Abbey has 25 rooms and decent pub grub, free parking. B&B double £50.
- 1 Hazeldene, 34 Brook St YO8 4AR, ☏ . Cosy welcoming B&B, west side of town centre. B&B double £60.
- 2 The Wishingwell, Oakney Wood Rd YO8 8LZ (junction of A63 and A1041), ☏ . Budget chain hotel a mile south of town, clean and well-run. With Fairway restaurant. B&B double £70.
Selby has 4G from all UK carriers. As of Jan 2021, 5G has not reached this area.
Go next Edit
- York is a must-see, a historic walled city full of attractions.
- Hull is a busy shipping port with fascinating industrial history.
- Leeds is the place for big city amusements.
|Routes through Selby|
|York ←||N S||→ (W) → Doncaster|
|Leeds (East) ←||W E||→ (E) → Hull|