Thornton Abbey and Gatehouse

Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire, UK


Thornton Abbey and the gatehouse is one of the finest of its kind in England and offers visitors a great day out for all the family. 

The Abbey as a priory from way back in 1139 and only became an Abbey in 1148 for Augustinian monks.  Henry VIII closed the Abbey as part of the dissolution in 1539.  Now people come from all over the world to take in the details of the 12th Century Romanesque architecture of which nothing can now be seen, and then the 13 and 14th Century building remains of the Early Gothic Style which is seen in the chapter house and cloister. 

The gatehouse is the most interesting part of this building as it is among the earliest large scale use of brick in the country and stands two storeys high and is still intact! 

Not only will you find out more about how people lived here during these times but there is good local wildlife to see.  Features not to be missed are the amazing oak staircase, interior room, life size statues above the gate, the moat and gatehouse as well as the picnic grounds. 

The Fortified gatehouse of Thornton Abbey is the largest standing at 21 metres (69 feet) high of all English monastic gatehouses. Begun in the 1360s, the gatehouse was enlarged and fortified with battlements after the Peasants' Revolt of 1381, presumably as insurance against further trouble.

Within the grounds stand the ruins of the monastic buildings that were plundered for stone along with remains of its formal gardens.

Admission is £4.40 per adult, £2.60 per child up to 15.

Opening times: Monday to Sunday 10am to 5pm


  • Eleven car parking spaces located directly outside the Gatehouse. 
  • Hot and cold drinks, and snacks, available. 
  • You are welcome to bring a picnic to enjoy in the grounds. There is plenty of grass to sit on, and there is a picnic area near the car park. 
  • The site shop sells a selection of gifts, book, postcards and refreshments (hot and cold drinks and light snacks). 
  • Male and female toilets contain baby changing facilities. 
  • Dogs on leads allowed in the grounds only. Assistance dogs welcome. 
  • An exhibition and graphic panels offer an insight into the Abbey's history, including its career as the focus of huge Victorian Temperance rallies. 
  • The ruins of the monastic buildings are surrounded by large grassed areas. The remains of its formal gardens have been re-discovered. 
  • There is plenty of room for children to run and play, but please do not climb on the ruins. 
  • Baby changing facilities 
  • Pushchairs allowed 
  • Toy/dressing up box 



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