The North York Moors takes its name from the spectacular moorland plateau at its heart – the largest area of uninterrupted heather moorland in England, internationally recognised for its important habitats and the moorland bird population it supports. However, this part of North Yorkshire is about so much more than the moors! Stay, discover and explore for yourself!
Discover North York Moors Villages
Each market town and thriving village has its own character and personality, with independent shops, pubs and restaurants and historic buildings.
This popular market town is known for its galleries, boutique shops, luxury hotels, coffee shops and restaurants. Friday is market day. Children will love to explore the impressive ruins of Helmsley Castle, enjoy the Walled Garden or jump right into the outdoor swimming pool (seasonal for obvious reasons!)
This small town has a broad, cobble-lined main street and fine Georgian buildings, with a market on Wednesday. A great playground is tucked away down Howe End, just off the Market Place. Walks starting in Kirkbymoorside take you straight onto the North York Moors.
Pickering is one of the area’s oldest towns, founded in 270 BC. It has a castle, an eclectic museum called the Beck Isle Museum and a wide variety of shops, cafés and pubs including The White Swan Inn. Pickering is also famous for being the starting point of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway which runs steam trains across the moors to Whitby.
This picture-postcard village nestles beside one of the many streams flowing south towards the River Rye. Sheep roam at will, ignoring the distinctive white fencing as they enjoy the gently undulating grassy areas beside the babbling beck. Children bring your wellies and you too can paddle in the beck while Mum and Dad take a rest outside The Crown Pub!
Get Active on the North York Moors
Steam engines, rural stations and uniformed staff make a trip on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway feel like a step back in time. Travel from Pickering to Whitby under steam power. There are many picturesque villages to stop at along the way such as Grosmont, Goathland and Levisham. Various events and special trains run throughout the year such as the popular Santa Express!
Walking the Moors – Depending on your family, walks for all ages and ability are available to download from the North York Moors National Park website. Click here and select the North York Moors walk you’d like to do.
Cycling the Moors – experience the miles of country roads, bridleways, forest tracks and disused railways lines. Bikes can be hired (including children’s trailers) from the visitor centres at Sutton Bank and Dalby Forest. Cycle some of the Moor to Sea Cycle Network, and you can download the brochure here.
North York Moors Landscapes to Explore
Farndale – children and adults alike will enjoy the magnificent wild daffodil walk which comes into bloom March to April. There’s a cafe en route and pub at the end, so something for all the family. A charming walk at any time of the year; walking alongside the River Dove and returning through farm land.
The Hole of Horcum – one of the most spectacular features in the National Park – a huge natural amphitheatre 400 feet deep and more than half a mile across. There’s a roadside carpark on the A169 Pickering to Whitby road to visit the Hole of Horcum. On the North York Moors National Park website they explain “legends hang easily upon a place known as the ‘Devil’s Punchbowl’ – the best-known says that it was formed when Wade the Giant scooped up a handful of earth to throw at his wife during an argument.”
Traditional Places to Eat
The White Swan Inn, Pickering
Elizabeth Botham’s Tea Rooms, Pickering
The Black Swan, Helmsley
Luxury Places to Stay
If you are ready to come and discover this beautiful place, then why not rest your head at the beautiful Spring Cottage after your days of exploring. With a luxury roll-top bath and log burner, it is the perfect place to relax and enjoy all the North York Moors area has to offer.
Do you want more ideas and inspiration on where to visit and what to do while on holiday in Yorkshire? Then click here and download a copy of my guide to North Yorkshire’s hidden gems, to help you get the most out of your time here: