Coxwold YO61 4AD
Fifteenth-century Shandy Hall was the home of picaresque novelist Laurence Sterne, who lived here from 1760 until his death in 1768. It's not a grand house by any means – Sterne came here when he became vicar of the lovely village of Coxwold – but it's fascinating to look around the rather modest property where one of the most celebrated men of letters of his age wrote large parts of 'The Life and Opinions of Trimstam Shandy, Gentleman' as well as 'A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy'. The house is only open on restricted days, but it makes a rewarding visit as there's also a separate art gallery within the grounds and some splendid gardens, while candlelit tours for a week every December are justly popular – mulled wine, mince pies and log fires in the atmospheric parsonage, with the spirit of Sterne all around. The man himself is buried just down the road in St Michael's Church – you'll find his grave in the churchyard if you hunt around (near the main door) – while Coxwold also has a cracking pub, the Fauconberg Arms.
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