Set your sights on a stunning self-catering holiday in the North York Moors National Park. Britain has some amazing natural landscapes, but what you’ll see in the North York Moors will knock spots off the rest. Acres upon acres of beautiful rolling heather moors, historic woodland, twenty six miles of majestic coast, and human history dating back 10,000 years combine to create a unique setting for you to explore and enjoy.
With almost 1500 miles of public rights of way, the first thing you’ll want to pack for your visit is a comfortable pair of walking boots! If walking isn’t your thing, there’s always the option to see the park from a saddle – horse or bike; from the window of your car as you sweep along curving roads; or from the comfort of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. Energetic visitors will love the views afforded by fell running and mountain bike riding.
More than 20% of the North York Moors National Park is woodland. This means there are more than 300 square kilometres of oak, alder, rowan, birch, hawthorn and hazel, along with many other species of evergreen and deciduous trees. Five percent of the National Park is classified as Ancient Woodland and some trees are over 400 years old. There’s nothing quite like the sense of peace as you walk along a path that’s been used for hundreds of years, smelling the seasons and watching the native birds and animals as they go about their business, unaware of just how precious their home is. Many of the region’s ancient trees can be found in Duncombe Park National Nature Reserve, near Helmsley.
The North York Moors National Park includes 26 miles of Heritage Coast stretching from Scalby Mills near Scarborough in the south, to Saltburn in the north. The Cleveland Way National Trail wends its way through 110 miles of incredible coastal scenery from Filey to Helmsley.
Sandy beaches and interesting rock pools to poke around in, make this part of England popular with families. There are also traditional fishing villages, like the smugglers’ hideaway of Robin Hood’s Bay, where you’ll find that great British staple: fresh fish and steaming hot chips.
A rainy day is the perfect excuse to visit one of Yorkshire’s charming market towns, such as Malton, Goathland, Pickering or Rosedale Abbey. Rain is a good chance to witness the national park’s waterfalls in their glory and it makes salmon fishing in the Esk even better than it is in the dry.
There are countless indoor activities in the North York Moors National Park. Duncombe Park is a great all-weather attraction for visitors of all ages. As well as extensive gardens and parkland, there is a bird of prey centre and an exciting calendar of events. Castle Howard is one of the most recognised stately homes in Britain. The richly decorated home is complemented by 1,000 acres of grounds which include woodland walks, ornamental lakes and manicured gardens with fountains.
The Moors National Park Centre in Danby is a mine of information about the area, a top spot for a coffee and the perfect place to buy your souvenirs. The Ryedale Folk Museum is fun and educational. You’ll find it in the interestingly named Hutton-le-Hole, along with workshops where local artists craft chocolates, make candles and create beautiful glassware and ceramics – the perfect place for a holiday gift.
The North York Moors has recently been branded ‘Britain’s Capital of Cake’ as a way of letting visitors know how they can mine one of the area’s richest resources. There’s no better way to top up your energy levels after a strenuous walk on the Pennines Way or Coast to Coast, than with a cuppa and a slice of homemade cake.
There is a wealth of quality food producers in the North York Moors whether you’re after a pot of local honey to enjoy with your breakfast toast, or a special meal at a Michelin starred restaurant like The Black Swan at Oldstead. Along with weekly or monthly farmers’ markets, you can get your hands on gourmet goodies at delis and farm shops, or at one of the numerous annual food and beer festivals held during the year, such as the Saltburn Food Festival in August and the Cropton Brewery Beer Festival in November. The country’s oldest Goosberry Show at Egton Bridge during early August is also a local event packed full of tradition and not to be missed!
Scratch the surface of the North York Moors and you’ll uncover thousands of years of history. The park has 700 scheduled ancient monuments and around 12,000 identified archaeological sites. Hunting tools dating back to the Mesolithic period (8,000BCE) have been found, while the legacy of Bronze and Iron Age settlers can still be seen in the shape of the modern landscape, and traces of the roads leading to the Roman fort in Malton are still visible. The Viking heritage is evident in many place names, while architectural remains show how important the region was to Medieval and post-medieval society. More recently, iron and coal mining have left a visible footprint, giving an industrial flavour to towns and villages which served the workers.
Interesting facts about the North York Moors
- The North York Moors has been one of our recognised and treasured National Parks since 1952.
- It has its fair share of natural highlights with Yorkshire’s only river, the River Esk being just one of seven rivers in the country harbouring Freshwater Pearl Mussels. It also has its fair share of rare flora and fauna including golden plover, merlin, cranberry and even Britain’s tallest lime tree!
- The North York Moors was home to the British explorer Captain Cook.
- One of England’s oldest Christian monuments, Lilla Cross, can be found on Fylingdales Moor.
- Numerous movies and programmes have been filmed in the North York Moors including Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Goathland Station), Brideshead Revisited (Castle Howard), Heartbeat (Goathland) and both the Dracular films (Whitby Abbey – the original inspiration for Bram Stoker who wrote the iconic novel).
- The national park receives approximately 6900 visitors each year – make sure you’re one of them next year!
The only real way to appreciate the character and beauty of the North York Moors National Park is to see it for yourself. Whether you prefer the countryside charm of a cottage somewhere like Pickering, or the fresh sea air of Whitby and the coast, you’ll love every minute of your stay. Take a look at our cottages in the North York Moors and start planning your next holiday.