For a place with such a low profile, Howden stands out a mile thanks to its Minster tower, which is visible for miles. This magnificent church of St Peter and St Paul dates back to the eighth century and is particularly noted for its chancel ruins.
The central market square once played host to one of the greatest horse fairs in Europe, when representatives of the 19th century royal houses came to buy animals for their country's armouries, and the narrow cobbled back streets would have echoed with the sound of bartering, and the ultimate celebrations in Howden's glut of door-to-door public houses - there are said to be more pubs here per square half mile than anywhere else in the country.
The Bishops Manor House is another fine example of the town's restored heritage. Currently the headquarters of a national company, it annually plays host to concerts in its grounds, while the public park behind it plays host to cricket tournaments and bowling on the lush greens.
Situated in the centre of Howden in the Market Place, The Shire Hall was originally the Market Hall. The Hall, completed in 1872 was built with red brick and stone details, fish scale tiling, mullioned windows, a balcony and clock tower. The Hall is a regular venue for Howden-Live, theatre, entertainments and workshops. Information is available from the Shire Hall Office and following the links to Howden-Live.
The Ashes Cricket Ground and Playing Fields, originally part of the grounds of the manor and known as The Ashes from the 17th century, the playing fields were given to the people of Howden in 1925.
The idyllic setting of the beautifully manicured Ashes bowling greens is just a short walk from Howden Market Place. The pathways surrounding the greens can be accessed from one of the many entrances into the park, with car parking facilities available for park users. Alongside the two bowling greens is a newly refurbished Multi Use Games Area, which supplies the town with a variety of sporting facilities, including tennis and basketball.
Mature trees, shrubs and plants offer year round colour and benches provide an ideal opportunity for visitors to stop and admire the view of the park’s gardens or to watch a game of bowls in progress.
In the 19th century, the Horse Fair which took place in the market square was renowned throughout Europe. Buyers travelled great distances to buy horses for their country's armouries. Today, a weekly market selling a colourful range of goods and produce takes place in the Shire Hall and the market place every Friday. The present market cross, replaced a gas lamp in 1909 but stands on a much older medieval base.
Howden Marsh is a local nature reserve and offers a tranquil alternative to the hustle and bustle of every day life. Many local people visit the marsh to either walk their dogs, go fishing, bird watch or simply to enjoy the peaceful surroundings.
The recently renovated boardwalk has greatly improved access to the area, which offers nature lovers a chance to glimpse some of Howden’s wildlife. This natural habitat is home to ducks, moorhens, coots, finches and many other bird species.
During spring, frogs and toads populate the waters and a variety of fish, from perch to pike, live in the marsh all year round. The Marsh is easily accessible from Howden Market Place. A short walk along Churchside, passing the Sculpture Sequence en route, leads onto St John’s Street and then towards the Marsh entrance.