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The Flying Scotsman, Goathland, North York Moors
The Flying Scotsman, Goathland, North York Moors

Things To Do In The North York Moors

Anne Bronte, the youngest of the famous literary sisters, lived and worked in Scarborough. She died there in 1849 and is the only one of her siblings not to be buried at Haworth. Bronte wrote of the beach at Scarborough "when my foot was on the sands and my face towards the broad, bright bay, no language can describe the effect of the deep, clear azure of the sky and ocean".

Be Swept Away by the Beauty of the North Yorkshire Moors

The North York Moors National Park is a captivating mix of rugged hills and heather covered moorland, of sandy beaches and fishing villages lined with stone cottages, of market towns and a vibrant food and art scene. It is a genuine place full of real beauty where what you see is precisely what you get. There is no forced or fabricated charm in the landscape. A visit to the wild romance of North Yorkshire Moors will steal your heart and keep it a willing captive.

The beauty of the landscape and the warmth of the Yorkshire hospitality has not dimmed in the slightest in more than 150 years. Come and see for yourself why the North Yorkshire Moors continue to charm visitors.


Discovery Days

View over Staithes

Discovering the North York Moors is a delight. Here are a few favourite places that will give you a flavour of the diversity of this amazing place.

Through the Keyhole

Duncombe Park is in a prime location in the North York Moors National Park. Though the stately home is closed to the public, the 450 acres of gardens, parkland and nature reserve includes the National Centre for Birds of Prey and a calendar of fairs and events that make the most of this beautiful space. An alternative is Castle Howard which is a must for fans of stately homes and gardens. To call it "grand" is an understatement; it is magnificent and certainly worth putting aside a day to see it all.


Hutton-le-Hole is a picturesque little village near Ryedale where local sheep keep the grass on the village green in check and wonderful walks lead from and through the village. Though small, there are several excellent cafes and a friendly pub, The Crown. Bring your bike and cycle one, two or all three of the Heritage Cycle Rides that take you through neighbouring villages, or pack a picnic and spend a few enjoyable hours looking through the buildings at the open-air Ryedale Folk Museum.

Head to the Beach

The North York Moors National Park is fringed by beautiful beaches so pack up the car and spend the day by the seaside where every beach has individual character and appeal. Staithes is an extremely pretty fishing village with a sheltered harbour and sandy beach. Whitby has two beaches. The best known is West Cliff with its row of colourful beach huts and traditional seaside attractions including a paddling pool. On the other side of the Esk, Tate Hill is a smaller, more sheltered dog-friendly stretch of sand.

Just south of the borders of the national park, Scarborough is one of the best-known beaches on the east coast where you can enjoy every conceivable beachside pleasure.

Donkeys on Scarborough beach
Take a donkey ride on Scarborough beach


Grosmont (pronounced "Growmont") is a beautiful village in the Esk Valley. It rose to prosperity in the mid-1800s after the discovery of Ironstone, and you can see evidence of its wealth not only in the buildings but through the railway line that terminates there with an impressive Victorian station. A lovely 3.5-mile walk takes you to Goathland via Beck Hole.


Goathland has been used as a backdrop in several films and television shows (including Harry Potter and Heartbeat) because it still retains the charm of bygone years. Take a detour via a path near the Mallyan Spout Hotel to see the waterfalls that give the establishment its name. The hotel is a great choice for Sunday lunch or a tasty pub snack.

Adventure Days

Cleveland Bay
One of hundred's of footpaths to be explored

Moors Park National Centre

As interesting, welcoming and hospitable as the museums, cafes and pubs are, the North Yorkshire Moors is best experienced up close and personal by getting outside. Begin at the Moors Park National Centre. The visitor centre, which is on the banks of the River Esk in Danby, is a one-stop-shop for all information and advice about the best way for you to enjoy your holiday. It is no dusty information centre, but a lively venue with a gallery, climbing wall, gift shop, cafe, outdoor play area (including a mud-pie woodland kitchen) and calendar of events focused around the school holidays. The fun doesn't stop when the sun goes down either because, together with the National Park Centre in Sutton Bank and Dalby Forest Observatory, the Moors Park National Centre is a registered Dark Sky Discovery Site where low light pollution makes it possible to see a plethora of stars even without a telescope.

Lace-up your Walking Boots

Walking boots
Explore on foot - Sturdy boots not an option!

The Cleveland Way runs for 109 miles around most of the national park's perimeter between Helmsley to Filey, taking in breathtaking moorland painted purple by the native heather, and pristine North Sea coastline. Thanks to a Google Trekker camera, you can see if a section of trail is right for you.

Dalby Forest

Dalby Forest, near Pickering, offers a full day of adventure including mountain bike trails, walking paths, a Gruffalo Spotters Trail, and adventure parks. There is also a Go Ape climbing centre where you can get a bird's eye view of the beautiful surroundings and get your thrills swinging from the tree-tops.

Take a Birds Eye View of the Moors

The Yorkshire Gliding Club operates from Thirsk on the edge of the moors and provides visitors with a memorable experience even if you have never flown before.

Pedal Power

Miles of cycle routes
Miles of glorious cycle routes to be discovered

The moors is made for cycling. There are a good choice of places to cycle with mountain bike centres at both Sutton Bank and Dalby Forest with trails suitable for everyone from complete beginners to world class cyclists. The Cinder Track at Whitby is a 21-mile route along an old railway line between Whitby and Scarborough with fresh breezes and great coastal and country views. Another option is the Moor to Sea Cycle Network, which stretches between Scarborough, Dalby Forest, Pickering and Great Ayton. Whichever route you choose, there are miles of magnificent moorland scenery to enjoy en-route.

If you don't have your own bike, there are plenty of places to hire one including Big Bear Bikes in Pickering, Dalby Forest, and the Sutton Bank National Visitor Centre.

Rainy Days

Flying Scotsman
The world famous Flying Scotsman

A rainy day is a perfect excuse to visit one of Yorkshire's charming market towns. Save your appetite for a trip to Malton. Known as Yorkshire's Food Capital, Malton actually sits a few miles from the boundary of the national park but is well worth the trip. It hosts an excellent food festival at the end of May, as well as a great array of local producers selling their wares in the town's shops and markets all year round. Pickering is a lively place with a Norman castle, medieval church with famous wall paintings, and a great museum. From Pickering, you can also take a ride on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway and appreciate the beauty of the Yorkshire countryside from the warm, dry comfort of a vintage steam train carriage.

Falling Foss and Mallyan Spout Falls

Waterfalls look best after it has been raining so throw your waterproofs and sturdy shoes in the car and go to the Mallyan Spout Falls near Goathland,or Falling Foss near Whitby. The 30-foot drop of Falling Foss can be reached from Sneaton Forest Car Park. On your way to the falls, you will pass the Falling Foss Tea Gardens which are open between April and October and an excellent place for a restorative cup of tea and fresh scone after a wet walk.

Splash Around

There's no reason to worry about the rain if you're already wet, so put your wetsuit on and go canoeing on the Esk. You can access the river with your own canoe from Pickering, or book a space on one of East Barnby Outdoor Centre's excursions where they can take you exploring along the Esk in a canoe or out on the open water in a sea kayak. Alternatively, the heated open air swimming pool in Helmsley is open rain or shine; or why not try your hand at fly fishing - salmon love the rain!


There are many good museums in the North York Moors National Park. Ryedale Folk Museum is where you can wander through historic buildings that show how people have lived in the area from prehistoric times. There is also the Whitby Museum, Cleveland Ironstone Museum, and Pickering Museum which all have well-curated collections that will help make more sense of the landscape and buildings you will see during your holiday in the North York Moors National Park; and the Museum of Victorian Science in Whitby is a particular favourite with children.

Lazy Days

Robin Hood's Bay
Picturesque Robin Hood's Bay

Anyone for Afternoon Tea?

The North York Moors has many claims to fame, including being Britain's Capital of Cake. What better way to spend a relaxing day than by putting this claim to the test at one of the dozens of fantastic cafes around the region.


See for yourself why Helmsley was named Britain's Best Market Town in 2015, by browsing the independent shops that surround the town's market square and line the narrow streets. With nearly a thousand years of history steeped in its walls, Helmsley Castle is a must-see while you are there. You can also pay a visit to the National Centre for Birds of Prey, stroll among the towering columns and romantic ruins of Rievaulx Abbey, and admire the swathes of flowers in Helmsley Walled Gardens.

Runswick Bay

Runswick Bay
Beautiful Runswick Bay

You will happily be seduced by the beauty and charm of Runswick Bay. The sheltered harbour has provided a haven for fishing boats for centuries and spending an hour or two wandering through cobbled lanes too narrow for a car to pass is about as relaxing as it gets. Pack a picnic to enjoy it by the RNLI lifeboat station or on the sand, or grab a table overlooking the sea at the Royal Hotel and tuck into a plate of local fish and chips.

Robin Hood's Bay

Robin Hood's Bay is another great choice for a lazy day by the sea. The traditional fishing village is bustling without being busy. Start with a walk through the old part of the village, where the narrow streets and alleys wind their way towards the beach and are lined with stone cottages that have been home to locals for centuries. You can find out more about some of their inhabitants on the Robin Hood's Bay Ghost Walk.

Dine Alfresco

Alfresco meals are ideal for lazy days and when you find the perfect picnic spot, the last thing you want is to be sharing it with dozens of day-trippers. While Hayburn Wyke isn't precisely a secret, it is off the beaten track which makes it unappealing to many. That's their loss because Hayburn Wyke has a pebble beach, woodland teaming with wildlife and waterfall which make it arguably the best picnic spot in Yorkshire and the perfect place to unwind away from the crowds.

Eat like a Local

If the sun's not shining or you just fancy a long lazy pub lunch sampling the finest of North Yorkshire's produce, then head to one of these fantastic pubs.

  • The Star Inn (YO62 5JE) at Harome is everything you could wish for in a country pub, from its picturesque village setting to its cute thatched roof that tops a welcoming cosy bar packed full of charm and character. Claiming Yorkshire's first Michelin Star, the food is simply outstanding so make sure you pre-book!
  • The White Swan (YO18 7AA) in the heart of Pickering's historic market town is another good choice and a lovely place to tuck yourself away in front of a roaring log fire and while away a few hours watching local life. Providing a warm welcome to all including dogs (in the bar) and cyclists wanting to refuel after the trails of Dalby Forest, the menu is varied with everything from Yorkshire tapas to seafood platters, and more substantial hearty plates.
  • The Hare and Hounds (YO22 4LH) at High Hawsker near Whitby is more than just a country pub and skilfully blends contemporary with traditional to deliver ales and produce that has been lovingly sourced from the coastline and countryside of Yorkshire. Sitting on the Cleveland Way, The Hare and Hounds is a popular choice with walkers and welcomes dogs in the bar.
  • Our last recommendation is the award-winning Durham Ox (YO61 4TE) in the village of Crayke on the very edge of the North Yorkshire Moors. With 300 years of character, this family run dog-friendly pub prides itself on service, and has a chalk-board packed with seasonal locally sourced produce, accompanied by a wide choice of wines and ales.

Weekenders' Guide

Essential Guide to the North York Moors
A whirlwind tour!

Any or all of these activities will give you an authentic flavour of the beauty and character of the North Yorkshire Moors.

Discover your inner Gothic self

The North York Moors has a wealth of lovely villages and towns, but if you only have time to visit one, make it Whitby. It has many claims to fame including gorgeous beaches, a bustling historic harbour, connections with Captain Cook, and the dramatic Gothic ruins of Whitby Abbey perched high on the cliffs keeping a watchful eye over the town. There are few places in the country where you can watch the sun rise and set over the sea and Whitby is one of them.

Marvel at the Milky Way

It's not possible to appreciate the full effect of light pollution until you are removed from it. Looking into the sky on a clear night at the North York Moors Centre is a million miles away from what you see at home. The centre has been awarded Milky Way status because the constellation can frequently be seen clearly with the naked eye. If you're there in February, you can take part in the Dark Skies Festival.

Vist a real chocolate factory

A visit to picturesque Hutton-le-Hole should definitely be on your bucket list, not least for the handmade chocolates from The Chocolate Factory which is only open between March and October. Don't despair if your holiday is in winter because they have another shop in Thornton-le-Dale that is open from February to the end of December.

High points and high pints!

It would be a crime to visit Yorkshire and not sample a local pint on home soil and what better place to do it than at the family run Lion Inn pub at Blakey Ridge? Crowning the highest point in the North York Moors National Park, you can enjoy some of the area's finest views, alongside its finest ales.

Top the views of Roseberry Topping

Roseberry Topping is one of the best-known destinations for walkers in the North York Moors National Park and the views from the top are certainly impressive. Better still is the vista from Danby Beacon which you will share with fewer walkers and which stretches out towards Whitby and the North Sea.

Last Minute Offers in The North York Moors

Thinking of a break in The North York Moors? Let us tempt you with a selection of our best last minute offers. Remember, we don't charge a booking fee, so the price you see is the price you pay.

Did you know?

...Bram Stoker wrote one of the scariest tales of all time after a visit to Whitby. "Dracula" was inspired by the medieval ruins of Whitby Abbey and the weathered tombstones in the grounds of St Mary's Church. You can find out more in Whitby's Dracula Experience. can see the tallest lime tree in Britain at Duncombe Park in Helmsley. It is nearly 50 metres tall and four metres in diameter.

...Lilla Cross is believed to be the oldest standing Christian monument in the north of England and can be found on the moor between Whitby and Pickering. It commemorates one of King Edwin's most trusted advisors who saved the king's life when he stepped between Edwin and an assassin with a poisoned dagger in 625 AD.

...the discovery of Ironstone in what is now the North York Moors Park helped fuel the industrial revolution, and much of its present landscape is attributed to the intensive mining that took place 150 years ago.

...Captain James Cook, explorer and captain of the first European ship to reach mainland Australia, lived and worked in Whitby. He was killed with his own knife after a dispute with a Hawaiian tribe, who cut his hands off and preserved them in salt as they would do for a king.