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.
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.