Whalley Abbey Gatehouse
A lot of the time, history is an entirely separate thing from our modern lives.
You take an adventure somewhere specifically to explore the world of old and probably have some idea of what to expect.
But when it comes to Whalley Abbey Gatehouse in Lancashire, that’s definitely not the case.
An unexpected discovery
You could spend the morning strolling down the idyllic streets of Whalley, popping in shops and stopping at the pub for a drink without the faintest recognition of the village’s ancient past.
But whether you’re searching for it or not, if you happen to turn off King Street and wander down Church Lane, the past of Whalley becomes strikingly evident.
The road winds around a gentle corner and then immediately heads straight into the arching doorway of the Whalley Abbey Gatehouse.
Standing since the 14th-century, it's watched people come and go for over 600 years.
Times have inevitably changed - from the monks and horse-drawn carriages it used to welcome, the gatehouse’s main audience now arrive by foot or by car. Yet somehow still, the gatehouse continues to hold an incredible atmosphere.
Originally, it was the main north-westerly entranceway into the 200-acre grounds of Whalley Abbey and the main route up along the Ribble valley.
A gatekeeper would’ve been on watch night and day, allowing travellers seeking shelter and food in and keeping anyone looking for mischief out.
Walk under the gatehouse today and imagine what it would’ve been like all those years ago, when nature, left to its own devices, ruled the landscape one way and the monastery buildings filled the other.
Now trees keep the gatehouse company, dappling its stones in patterns of leafy shade – the arches of the Whalley viaduct stretching away into the distance.
The best way to see the gatehouse is by foot. Take your time absorbing all the intricate stonework before heading back into the village to continue the adventure.
A slower approach
Pay a return visit to the pub or stop by The Whalley Wine Shop before making your way to Forum Bar + Kitchen for a well-earned feast.
A day at Whalley is an adventure best taken slowly. Stroll down streets and see where they lead you, take a seat and watch the world go by with a beverage in hand, chatting away all the while with your pals.
Ready to get exploring?