The North York Moors is one of several wonderful national parks in the north of England. It is home to a great variety of landscapes as well as wonderful towns and numerous attractions. From historical sites to long walks, there’s plenty to do in the York Moors National Park. So whether you’re just passing by or you’re thinking about making a dedicated trip, we have found you the best things to do in the North York Moors.
Things to do in the North York Moors
- The North York Moors Railway
- Robin Hood’s Bay
- Cleveland Way National Trail
- The North York Moors National Park Centre
- Dalby Forest
- Hutton le Hole
- Roseberry Topping
- Forge Valley Woods Nature Reserve
1. The North York Moors Railway
Photo credit: Welcome to Yorkshire
The North York Moors Railway is a historic railway running between Pickering and Grosmont, with its trains continuing through to Whitby on the National Railway line. These beautiful steam trains draw many people to the area and evoke nostalgia for a time now passed. The stations have been restored according to different periods from the railways past. It is a magical sight to see the train chug past, and if you have time, be sure to take a trip on it.
Although not strictly a part of the National Trusts’ North Yorkshire Moors, the well-loved town of Whitby is surrounded by the national park on three sides. It provides days of entertainment and offers a great base to get out and explore the North York Moors. While here don’t miss out on the famous Whitby Abbey, the bustling market town, Captain Cook Memorial Museum and the views that inspired the writing of Dracula.
3. Robin Hood’s Bay
Photo credit: The Northern Echo
Another gem of the Yorkshire coast, Robin Hood’s Bay is a popular place to visit in the North York Moors. With its rugged cliffs, huge beach and unspoilt surroundings its natural beauty is a beautiful place to spend a day. The beach here is one of the best for fossil hunting and there is plenty of delicious fresh fish on offer. If you’re after refreshment, head to the Laurel Inn, it’s carved straight out of solid rock. Once used for smuggling it’s now ideal for a meal while you’re on holiday.
4. Cleveland Way National Trail
Photo credit: The National Trails
This 109 mile trail is an amazing way to see the variety of landscapes that the North York Moors has to offer. If walking the whole trail is too much of an undertaking, choose a smaller section that you can tackle in an afternoon. The Cleveland Way runs from Helmsley to Filey and takes in both the stunning coast and vast moorlands. Along the route walkers will find castles, pretty villages and stately homes.
5. The North York Moors National Park Centre
Photo credit: Welcome to Yorkshire
This is the historic visitor centre for the National Park and it is a great spot to appreciate the diverse beauty of the North York Moors. From this peaceful spot on the River Esk you can find moorland and woodland and historic buildings. Not only are the views impressive but this spot is also one of three designated Dark Sky Discovery Sites. Various events take place here and if you’re in need of refreshment head to the fantastic tea room, The Woolly Sheep Cafe.
6. Dalby Forest
Dalby Forest is widely regarded as one of the best places in the country for off-road biking. It is a stunning 8,000-acre forest and home to over 70km of biking trails. Whether you’re out with the kids, attempting the trails for your first time or are experienced in mountain biking, there will be plenty of riding opportunity for you here. If you don’t have your own bike you can rent them and there is a bike-friendly cafe for when you need a break.
Staithes is a beautiful coastal village. On your visit enjoy the delights of rock pooling and fossil hunting down on the beach. From here you can walk along the coast and soak up both the amazing views and fresh north sea air. In the village, you will also find several good places to eat and there are a couple of art galleries worth seeking out. Whether you choose to stay here for the week or visit on a great day out, it is a lovely place to explore.
8. Hutton le Hole
Possibly one of the most stunning villages in all of the North York Moors. Hutton Le Hole is a peaceful spot for walking and cycling. There are organised Heritage Cycle Rides that take in the local villages and points of interest. While visiting, make time to stop in at the Ryedale Folk Museum. This fascinating museum covers six acres, is home to over 20 reconstructed buildings and offers a great insight into the lives of people spanning back 2,000 years.
9. Roseberry Topping
Roseberry Topping is a distinctive hill, one that is visited by many each year. A geographical fault and a mining collapse combined to create this unusually shaped hill. At 1,049 feet it might not be the highest hill you climb but it still offers exceptional views across the North York Moors. Keep your eyes peeled while you walk; the area is home to a variety of wildlife that you might be able to spot on your visit.
10. Forge Valley Woods Nature Reserve
This lovely woodland is set around the bank of the River Derwent. As the name suggests, in times gone by, this was once a forge. Now visitors can wander around the woodland, appreciating its beauty and spotting the wildlife that lives here. There are many walks to choose from including a geology trail and an easy access trail that takes visitors beside the burbling river on a wooden boardwalk. If you want to make a day of it, it’s also a great place to bring a picnic.