Top Things to Do in the North York Moors 

Top Things to Do in the North York Moors 

The North York Moors National Park in Yorkshire has endless appeal when it comes to both high-octane adventures and relaxed sojourns. Covering a vast expanse of moorland, countryside and coast, it offers both wilderness and culture across its heather-strewn plains and grass-covered dales.

So you can fill your holiday in the North York Moors with the best activities, we’ve laid out the top things to see and do during your stay, from stargazing under an opal moon to tucking into mouth-watering scran at Michelin star restaurants. 

The Top Things to Do in the North York Moors National Park, Yorkshire

Discover Rievaulx Abbey

The remains of one of England's most powerful Cistercian monasteries can be found in the form of the Rievaulx Abbey. Located in Rievaulx, Helmsley, it was built in the 12th Century and today invites you to walk around its ruins, visit the onsite museum to learn about its history and see curious artefacts, savour the scenery and refuel at the tearoom. 

Ride the Moor to Sea Cycle Path 

The Moor to Sea Cycle Path is a brilliant long-distance cycling network that connects Scarborough, Whitby, Dalby Forest, Pickering and Great Ayton. Covering 150 miles, the network is comprised of a series of loops that flow through moorland, coast and woodland across quiet roads, woodland trails, bridleways and former railway line.

Visit Ryedale Folk Museum

One of the best visitor attractions in Yorkshire has to be the Ryedale Folk Museum. Spread out across 6 acres of land in Hutton le Hole, the museum walks you through 4,000 years of history through 40,000 objects and more than 20 heritage buildings. Family-friendly and dog-friendly, it’s perfect for sunny and rainy days alike. 

Soak up the Sights on the North York Moors Railway

First opened in 1836, the North York Moors Railway is a heritage railway that travels through the North York Moors National Park. Travelling from Pickering to Whitby, it provides a novel way to admire the park’s moorland and coast, as well as visit pretty villages along the way including Goathland, the ‘Heartbeat village’.

See the Views from Sutton Bank 

Park at Sutton Bank National Park Centre car park and head up to the top of Sutton Bank for incredible panoramas. From the top, the view (proclaimed by author and vet James Herriot to be “England’s finest view”) extends for miles, encompassing pillowy countryside and the glass-topped Gormire Lake.

Eat at Michelin Star Restaurants 

Yorkshire is home to the greatest number of Michelin star restaurants outside of London. With many of them found in the North York Moors, the National Park is a haven for foodie fans of all ages. While there are lots to choose from, two particular highlights are the Black Swan in Oldstead and the Star Inn at Harome – both of which have Michelin stars.

Star Gaze at Night

The North York Moors National Park is recognised as one of the best places to stargaze in the UK thanks to its low levels of light pollution and wide, open horizons. On clear nights, you can actually see up to 2,000 stars at any one time. So celebrated is the area for its star-studded skies, that there’s even a Dark Skies Festival held every year. 

Autumn Hues

Autumn is a really magical time of year to visit the North York Moors National Park. With the whole landscape transforming with the season, the forests beguile with golden cloaks, while the moorland is flooded by a sea of purple as the heather blooms. Don your walking boots, grab your camera and head out to enjoy beauty at every turn. 

Walk the Cleveland Way

The 109-mile Cleveland Way National Trail is one of the oldest recognised walking routes in England. Starting in Helmsley and finishing in Saltburn-by-the-Sea, it treks through ever-changing scenery that ranges from windswept moor to salt-kissed coast. Favourite stop-offs include the former smugglers’ hangout of Robin Hoods Bay and the seaside town of Whitby. 

Climb Whitby’s 199 Steps

A novel way to earn your fodder, a hike up Whitby’s famous steps (first documented in 1340) will reward you to beautiful views across the town, harbour and beyond. Totalling 199 steps, the ascent will lead you from the Old Town and up to St Mary’s Church – the site of Dracula’s grave in Bram Stoker’s world-famous gothic novel. 

Play at Flamingo Land 

Just outside the rugged fringes of the North York Moors National Park is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the North: Flamingo Land. An award-winning zoo with a seasonal, family-friendly theme park and rides, Flamingo Land is a one-stop wonder offering a huge range of activities and attractions. 

Visit Scarborough Castle

With its awesome location and far-reaching views of the Yorkshire coast, Scarborough Castle is a really popular place to visit just beyond the North York Moors. While the castle dates back to the 12th Century, the rocky promontory upon which it sits has been inhabited for 3,000 years. Head over and learn all about its fascinating history. 

Feeling inspired? Take a look at our luxury cottages in Yorkshire.

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