Whilst staying in Whitby you must visit the North York Moors! From pretty villages to magical museums, the North York Moors National Park is full of things to do and see. Here are 14 things to do in the North York Moors.
The North York Moors is a loved and treasured landscape, protected for all of us to enjoy. There are some spots, towns, villages, views, and plenty of things to do that you really don't want to miss out on, especially if you're staying in Whitby. Here are 14 things to do in the North York Moors.
1. Ride the Miniature Railway and try fruit picking
Hop aboard the ‘Flying Yorkshireman’ loco for a trip around the fruit fields and in season you can even stop off to pick your own soft fruit. The newest attraction to the Cedarbarn is the Miniature Railway. At the recent grand opening families, local business people, and the Mayor of Pickering turned out to take a trip on the new 600-metre train track, which quite literally gives a platform to their most famous crops. Your journey takes you through the Redgate tunnel and along the track with views of vegetable patches, apple orchards, asparagus beds, and soft fruit fields. In season you can even hop off the carriages to enjoy a spot of fruit picking.
2. Explore the Cleveland Way
One of our favourite things to do in the North York Moors is walk. The Cleveland Way National Trail is a 109 mile (175 km) walking route which officially opened on 24th May 1969, it was the second recognised National Trail in England and Wales. Experience the beautiful landscape of the North York Moors National Park on a journey across breathtaking heather moorland and dramatic coastline.
Starting from the attractive market town of Helmsley, the Cleveland Way heads across the inspirational, and breathtaking heather moorland of the North York Moors National Park, before reaching the coast at Saltburn-by-the-Sea. From here it’s a visual feast along the North Yorkshire coastline to Filey, passing old fishing villages and lively coastal towns. The National Trail runs through the famous smuggler’s village of Robin Hood’s Bay and the popular seaside resorts of Scarborough and Whitby. Anyone who is reasonably fit can walk the Cleveland Way, however, the route is challenging in places so make sure you plan a route suitable for you.
3. Visit a museum
Several museums cover the history of the North York Moors. They are education for visitors to the National Park and a means by which they can get a broader understanding of life here, past and present. You need to check opening times and dates to ensure the facility is open before you travel.
The Museum of Victorian Science
The Museum of Victorian Science in Glaisdale makes a great day out with the kids. There is information on scientific developments during the Victorian era and you can learn about what school children were being taught about science as well.
Ryedale Folk Museum
Ryedale Folk Museum in Hutton le Hole covers 6 acres and contains 20 buildings. You can learn about thousands of years of history, see buildings from different times in history, antiques and much more.
Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum
Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum in Skinningrove tells the story of the mining industry in North Yorkshire which began in the middle of the 19th Century.
4. Visit in Autumn
Autumn in the North York Moors is something really special to experience. The woodlands change drastically with the seasons. They come alive in the spring and create vast areas of green in the summer but arguably the colours of autumn have them at their best, shades of yellow, orange, and brown before the onset of winter. Greens fade but are replaced by many other hues. The vegetation starts to thin out revealing fungi that cling to wood that has fallen and died or has yet to fall. This is an amazing time to visit and enjoy a walk or perfect if you love photography.
The Stargazing and Dark Skies Festival is held yearly. The days are short at this time of year; it gets dark not much after 4 pm and nighttime prevails for many hours. It is a great time to observe the skies and on clear nights, the many stars. In North Yorkshire, the low pollution levels put the emphasis on the stars in the sky and nothing else. As well as stargazing, you can enjoy games and other activities.
Dalby Forest is a popular place for those that want to see the stars. The highlight in this dark sky discovery site on the North York Moors is seeing the Milky Way at its best. The Scarborough and Ryedale Astronomical Society goes to Dalby Forest for stargazing events too.
6. Pamper yourself and relax
You may want a change from your normal routine and what better way to do this than to book a break with a little luxury. Why not pamper yourself in one of the retreats located in the North York Moors?
Feversham Arms Hotel and the Verbena Spa
The Verbena Spa in the Feversham Arms Hotel in Helmsley has made its name as a Top 5 Spa listing in the Tatler. You will find outdoor hot tubs as well as a heated pool.
Located on the edge of the North York Moors, and within easy access to the Yorkshire Coast, Gisborough Hall is a luxury home from home retreat. Whether you are looking for a relaxing short break in spacious surroundings, a unique venue to host a special occasion, or a base to explore the countryside by foot, bike or even classic car, Gisborough Hall’s peaceful location, quality food, and attentive service will deliver a memorable experience.
The Tree Relaxation Retreat
The Tree Relaxation Retreat promotes simple relaxation with Indian head massages, yoga, and spa treatments. You can walk on the Moors, enjoy the open fire and the covered outdoor hot tubs.
A Forest Holiday treehouse in Keldy Forest
A Forest Holiday treehouse in Keldy Forest or a log cabin at Cropton is a great alternative; spas in the cabins and outdoor hot tubs while listening to the sounds of the forest.
7. Hop on a train at the North York Moors Railway
The North York Moors Railway is an important attraction in the National Park. Goathland Railway Station on the line was used as a location in the Harry Potter films for Hogsmeade and has hardly changed since it was built a century and a half ago. Grosmont Station has regular trains to and from Whitby while you can see the tunnel created for George Stephenson’s train in 1835 and the repair sheds.
8. Visit St. Marys Church
St. Mary’s Church in Goathland is beautiful and worth a visit, this has been a place of worship in Goathland, on the North Yorkshire Moors, for at least eight centuries; and at the site of the present church of St Mary since Elizabethan times. It is famous for Robert Thompson’s small carvings of mice around the site. See if you can find them! There are nine and a half mice to be spotted and one which can be felt but not seen. They provide a ‘Mouse Trail' sheet which you can follow.
9. Visit Mallyan Spout
The water cascading from Mallyan Spout rises from springs in the moorland above Goathland. It finds the easiest route downhill until it meets New Wath Scar. This deep ravine was cut by the flowing water of West Beck, which over thousands of years has eroded a path through the sandstone. At Mallyan Spout the sides of the ravine are 70 feet high and almost vertical. Water draining from the moors has no option but to tumble over the edge – forming a towering waterfall for us to enjoy. It's even more spectacular after rain but take care – the wet rocks can be treacherous underfoot.
10. Visit Go Ape
Go Ape Dalby is an adventurer’s paradise! They set the thrill factor to the max with a jaw-dropping Treetop Challenge, Treetop Adventure, plus Forest Segways all located in stunning Dalby Forest. One of the great things about Dalby is the sense of excitement and anticipation that builds as the course unfurls before you. The Challenge course is a high one you’ll find yourself 35 metres up in the air so bring your head for heights. Whether pushing yourself to the max or finding your young adventurer’s feet, Dalby Forest offers plenty of exciting things to do in the North York Moors.
11. Visit Flamingo Land
Set in 375 acres of Picturesque North Yorkshire countryside, Flamingo Land Resort creates a truly unforgettable experience for guests of all ages. Flamingo Land Resort Yorkshire boasts more than 50 rides and attractions for adults and children of all ages. It's also the UK's most visited zoo, with four amazing shows, over 140 species and more than 1000 animals.
12. Stop for delicious food
From Michelin stars and stylish restaurants in boutique hotels to bistros, country inns, and old traditional pubs, you'll find something to suit your taste and budget in this corner of Yorkshire.
The Black Swan Oldstead
Set within the stunning landscapes of the North York Moors National Park, The Black Swan is a Michelin-starred, 4 AA Rosette restaurant with AA 5* rooms by chef Tommy Banks. Stylishly grounded in tradition and culture yet cut through with modern, exuberant creativity, The Black Swan is dynamic with a truly creative and innovative team. Their tasting menu is an intimate reflection of their character, their place, and their lives, which is in essence “Oldstead now” – developing new ideas from a constantly refreshed palate of produce which they grow and forage themselves.
Brockley Hall Hotel
Their quirky hand-decorated restaurant with influences from Moulin Rouge, Raffles and Orient Express is full of ambience, Experience fine dining in a refined environment with their A La Carte 2 AA Rosette-awarded menu.
13. Enjoy a day at the beach…Runswick Bay
Runswick Bay is situated between Staithes and Whitby in North Yorkshire, and it is described as being close to perfection in the list, compiled by the Sunday Times. So it's definitely worth a visit! Tourism bosses in Yorkshire said the village was an “unspoilt beauty spot” and we could not agree more. Visit here during summer for sandcastle building, beach games, rock pooling and even a dip in the water! Or you could visit here out of season for bracing but peaceful cliff-top walks along the Cleveland Way or maybe fossil hunting.
14. Simply stop for ice cream!
Is there anything better than stopping for ice cream, a picnic or simply to admire the wonderful view as you pass through? We don't think so!
Let us know your favourite things to do in the North York Moors in the comments and we can add it to our list!