Things to do locally
Ryedale has some of the best North Yorkshire attractions. At every rise and fall of the landscape you'll find signs of the times past from the ruins of Abbeys and Castles and the splendour of its stately homes and country houses such as Castle Howard, and Scampston Hall.
You could easily spend a day exploring the magnificent Castle Howard, familiar to many as the location for Brideshead Revisited. Within the house you'll find changing exhibitions and world famous collections of paintings, furniture and bronzes while its extensive parkland is home to formal gardens and a new children's play area in the treetops of the woodland.
In contrast, Ryedale’s past and a more humble way of life can be discovered in the area’s five museums or a ride on a steam train at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, England’s longest steam railway provides another taste of days gone by. The North Yorkshire Moors Railway connects the historic towns of Pickering and Whitby and is the most popular heritage railway in Britain. Steam locomotives take visitors through 18 miles of stunning countryside stopping at picturesque stations along the way. Special events and dining services take place throughout the year.
For a quirky slice of rural life visit Ryedale Folk Museum with its collection of intriguing historical buildings which include a witches hovel and an Elizabethan manor house.
Ryedale is rich in history and none more so than at the area's six English Heritage properties, Byland Abbey, Helmsley Castle, Pickering Castle, Rievaulx Abbey, Kirkham Priory and the deserted medieval village at Wharram Percy. Many of these properties regularly stage events so there is always something to keep the family entertained. Visit the remains of towering castles or rich medieval monasteries, the old industrial sites where alum or ironstone were mined, or the stunning private mansions, a tribute to the historic local families that once governed this land. From prehistoric times to World War II, there is so much to do.
Located in a peaceful wooded valley, Rievaulx Abbey is one of the most complete and atmospheric of England's abbey ruins and before it dissolution, was one of the country's wealthiest monasteries. Interactive exhibitions chart its long history and influence on the surrounding area.
Ryedale is the ultimate adventure playground for great family days out. From a great choice of visitor attractions and an unbeatable range of activities on land and water to an activity packed programme of fun events, there is something to keep all ages entertained. Many of Ryedale’s attractions provide childrens’ information packs, adventure playgrounds and, of course, wide open spaces for using that abundance of energy. Flamingo Land Theme Park at Kirby Misperton is one of the country's most popular day's out for the family, one day just may not be enough!
On the edge of Malton is Eden Camp, a unique museum of social life in the Second World War, which occupies an original prisoner of war camp. Here, aspects of life on the home front are brought to life in reconstructions which include rationing, evacuees, the blitz and a war time music hall. The museum transports the visitor back to wartime Britain, where the civilian way of life during World War II can be relived.
Ryedale is also home to the National Centre for Birds of Prey, the largest collection of these amazing birds in the north of England. Located on the Duncombe Park estate in Helmsley, a team of trained birds are flown every single day.
If you are looking for a more active holiday or adventure day out, Ryedale’s Forest Parks such as Dalby Forest are a superb recreational area for walking, cycling and horse riding. Here, you will also find easy access trails and many attractions are accessible to the disabled and cater for the visually impaired.
Ryedale’s five market towns of Helmsley, Kirkbymoorside, Malton, Norton and Pickering are steeped in tradition. You'll never be short of things to do - independent shops and galleries offer a unique shopping experience, while award-winning restaurants provide delicious food raised and made in the surrounding North Yorkshire countryside.
Festivals and special events draw crowds from far and wide and each town boasts its own special attraction.
Helmsley is situated on the bank of the River Rye lying on the southern edge of the North York Moors National Park. First recorded in 1086 as a village with three manors, Helmsley is now one of the most popular of Yorkshire’s market towns.
Helmsley Castle is regarded as a fine example of a medieval castle building. The civil war saw the destruction of the castle in 1644, during a three-month parliamentary siege led by Parliamentarian Sir Thomas Fairfax. At the beginning of the 18th century Duncombe Park, a magnificent stately home with wide expanses of gardens and parkland, was built for Sir Charles Duncombe.
Pickering is a popular tourist centre and the largest of Ryedale’s market towns. Reputedly founded in 270 BC by King Peredurus, the ancient king of the Brigantes, Pickering may well be one of the oldest towns in the area. During Norman times a motte and bailey castle was built in the town and is now cared for by English Heritage. The outer Barbican wall of the castle was built by Edward III in anticipation of trouble resulting from the Battle of Byland some 18 miles away.
The church of St Peter and St Paul whose 14th century spire is visible from miles around, contains remarkable examples of 15th century murals depicting biblical scenes.
A market town of unspoilt, old-fashioned houses and fine inns, Kirkbymoorside, meaning ‘church by the moorside’, was built around a church on the edge of the moors.
The heyday of the town came in the Georgian period when fine houses were built in the ‘Ends’ and in Church Street. The town became virtually self-sufficient and milling, brewing and linen manufacture were dominant.
A by-pass now takes traffic past the town, but it is worth a detour to discover a gem of the moorland fringe.
The towns of Malton and Norton stand on the banks of the River Derwent. They have been the historic centre of Ryedale since Roman times, when a 22 acre legionary fort - Deventio, was established in AD70.
Malton and Norton thrived through the ages and became the focal point for the local agricultural community, the brewing industry and for the race horse training fraternity. The towns are both centres for horse racing and are often referred to as ‘The Newmarket of the North.’ Thoroughbreds are often seen on their way to and from the gallops on Langton Wold.
North of the Roman Fort site is the original town of Old Malton, with ancient stone houses and the beautiful St Mary’s Church, which is built around an old Gilbertine Priory, making it the only Gilbertine Priory in use in England.
Especially for our guests
We have purchased a pass for guests to gain entry to Dalby forest with its multitude of nature trails, walks and cycle tracks along with coffee shops to while away the day.
Spotlight on the top attractions
The North Yorkshire Moors Railway
Hop on board the North Yorkshire Moors Railway and enjoy a day filled with vintage charm and amazing scenery on one of the world's greatest heritage railways. Let our fleet of steam and heritage diesel trains transport you along 24 miles of Yorkshire countryside and back in time to experience a taste of a bygone era.
Castle Howard is one of England's finest historic houses, set in a thousand acres of sweeping parkland dotted with statues, temples, lakes and fountains. Inside discover world-renowned collections gathered by succeeding generations of the Howard family. Built over 300 years ago, today it still remains a family home.
Ryedale Folk Museum
Nestled in the beautiful village of Hutton-le-Hole, in the North York Moors National Park, Ryedale Folk Museum is Yorkshire’s leading open-air museum.
It is the only museum telling the story of the people
of the North York Moors, with 20 heritage buildings
– some rescued from around the area – beautifully displayed over a 6-acre site. Together with more than 40,000 objects and antiques they bring to life the history and lives of ordinary people from Ryedale.
Flamingo Land Resort is situated between York and the East coast, and this combined theme park and zoo is an ideal destination for a fun-packed family day out. All areas of the park are open daily (with Winter Zoo open daily during November to March).