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There's nowhere else on earth quite like the North York Moors National Park. Where else can you experience a landscape where stunning moorland, ancient abbeys and picturesque villages live side by side in such perfect harmony? It's a living, breathing scene that will take your breath away.
Walkers near The Moors Centre, Danby Credit: Chris J Parker
North York Moors Stunning scenery, from managed forrests to heather covered moorland. Credit: Mike Kipling
Rievaulx Abbey Founded in 1132 by twelve monks from Clairvaux Abbey in France. Credit Chris J Parker
Legend has it that the Hole of Horcum was made when a giant scooped up earth and cast it aside. In doing so he created the nearby hill Blakey Topping.
One of the largest expanses of heather moorland in the United Kingdom, the North York Moors covers 554 square miles.
To give you a flavour of just how spectacular the North York Moors National Park is, James Herriot described Sutton Bank as 'the best view in England'. You can't help but immerse yourself in its alluring wildness and experience pure moments of bliss as you saunter through beautiful woodland, skim pebbles across streams and breathe in the history that whispers through ancient castles and villages.
The landscape of the moors has many secrets to share about the people who lived here in times gone past. Archaeologists have discovered the remains of Iron and Bronze Age settlements and you'll be spoilt by the number of abbeys, castles and priories that play hide and seek across the moorland. But perhaps the biggest clues come from the strong traditions which still thrive in the villages today.
Of course time and tide move on, and you'll also find plenty of modern distractions within easy reach. The coastal resorts of Whitby, Robin Hood's Bay and Scarborough are brimming with activities from fossil hunting to a spot of surfing. Or you can head to Thirsk and explore the home and surgery of James Herriot and try your hand in the TV studio.
The North York Moors National Park is an absolute gem for keen cyclists with a variety of road and off-road routes for cyclists of all abilities. So whether you're looking for a short ride out or for something to fill your whole day with, saddle up and head to the beautiful North York Moors.
Sutton Bank Bikes is the ideal start point for any North York Moors road or mountain bike adventure. They've got a fully equipped shop, expert staff and extensive hire fleet and a stunning range of riding for every level right from the door.
For more information on cycling in the North York Moors, check out this handy page.
The main attraction in the North York Moors National Park has to be its sweeping vistas. With over 1,400 miles of accessible paths and tracks over heather moorland, dales and coastline, a good pair of walking boots and a keen sense of adventure is all you need. Or if hiking's not your style, why not hire a bike or take in the beauty on horseback instead.
If you want to soak up the National Park in a less outward bounds way, there are plenty of venues on your doorstep. The Moors Centre in Danby is a great attraction for both adults and kids, where you can get lost in the salmon labyrinth, try your hand at quoits and brush up your navigational skills. And talking of navigation, don't miss the chance to stand next to a famous voyager in the Captain Cook Schoolroom Museum.
You're not the only one to run wild in the country. Why not take a trip to the races on the edge of the National Park and enjoy the thrill of the equine chase. Thirsk Racecourse is a great choice for flat racing and Catterick Racecourse is the busiest racecourse in North Yorkshire so there's a real buzz about every meeting. Wherever you decide to place your bets, you'll get a new perspective on the great North York Moors outdoors.
When you have a real appetite for the great outdoors, it's essential to have a ready supply of quality tearooms, cafes, inns and restaurants. And the North York Moors National Park doesn't disappoint. Whether you enjoy fish & chips, bangers & mash or strawberries & cream, you'll find a mouth-watering combination in one of the many villages that insist on using only the freshest local ingredients. And good old Yorkshire puddings are always on the menu!
Local farmers' markets are a great place to go if you want to stock your fridge with the area's culinary delights.You'll find the markets at Castle Howard, Malton and Northallerton well stocked with produce that has been grown, reared, caught, baked and smoked in the area. As you wander around the stalls selling everything from sausages and pies to breads and cheeses, the tantalising smells say that this is fresh food at its best.
It would be rude not to wet your whistle with a pint of Yorkshire's finest ale - it's a country tradition! There's nothing more satisfying after a day in the fresh air, than kicking back at one of the area's many charming local pubs. So pick your spot in a scenic beer garden or in front of a roaring fire and sup on a famous Black Sheep ale or a tipple from the local White Horse Brewery.
With an abundance of native wildlife on your doorstep, nature lovers will be in their element. Why not pack up a picnic and take the family to Dalby Forest for the day and graze alongside the badgers, roe deer and nightjars. Well positioned hiking and biking trails help you get active and explore with ease.
Looking for a real adrenalin rush? Treat the kids to a day of thrills and spills at Flamingo Land Theme Park and Zoo. They'll go wild on the rides - especially Sky Flyer, Mumbo Jumbo and Flip Flop with its dastardly giant water jets! And for really daring little monkeys, Go Ape is an adventure not to be missed as you head skyward to the forest canopy for an afternoon swinging through the trees.
Woo, woo, all aboard for the ride of a lifetime on a magnificent steam train. Little ones will love waving their flags out the window as the North Yorkshire Moors Railway chuffs you along through rural Yorkshire villages. It's an absolute thrill to see the sights from your cosy wood-panelled carriages and be looked after by friendly conductors on a day out you'll never forget.
The history of the North York Moors is as expansive as its landscape, with a wealth of archaeological remains spanning from the flint tools of the first hunters to steel bunkers from the Cold War. Scattered across the moors like doorways into the past are Cistercian and Benedictine abbeys and priories - challenging curious visitors to dig a little deeper and find out more.
For a guided tour through the National Park's history, step in the direction of one of the region's fascinating museums. You can learn about the history of Ryedale from centuries past at Ryedale Folk Museum, complete with visits to an old chemist, Victorian classroom and World War II hut. And if you're particularly interested in wartime Britain, Eden Camp Museum is dedicated to recreating the sights and sounds of this fascinating period of history.
The many impressive examples of architecture in the region give unique insights into past civilisations. Set in a remote valley, the atmospheric ruins of Rievaulx Abbey speak of medieval monks, a subject echoed at nearby Byland Abbey which was once one of the wealthiest monasteries in Britain. Be sure not to miss the sight of the beautiful ruined rose window and pointed gothic arches.
Between its quaint villages, bustling towns and coastal resorts, the North York Moors has a veritable wealth of shopping opportunities. This is a region where local markets rub shoulders with retail outlets, giving visitors the chance to sample a truly diverse retail experience. Why not end your day on a real high and let a steam train carry you and your bags home in style.
It's not surprising that there are so many craftsmen (and women!) in an area where people were brought up to live off the land. Skills like dry-stone walling have developed into a passionate arts and crafts scene which will delight many visitors. Why not pick up a souvenir or two in one of the thriving independent studios and craft centres or pop over to Kilburn to visit the iconic Mouseman Visitor Centre.
Every day is market day in the National Park and it's a wonderful excuse to explore some of the surrounding market towns. During the week you'll find great value local produce in places like Easingwold, Helmsley and Stokesley. And why not combine your weekend sightseeing with a trip to Malton or Whitby, rounded off with a well-deserved spot of supper in a traditional pub on your way back to the ranch, holiday cottage or apartment.
Take a hike
Hop on the Moorsbus and explore over 1,400 miles of paths and tracks, picturesque villages and traditional pubs to your heart’s content.
Castles, abbeys and priories
Explore the affluent history of these historic Cistercian, Benedictine, Augustinian and Gilbertine treasures.
Hit the hills
The North York Moors has some of the best mountain biking trails in the country and if you forget your bike, don't worry, you can hire one!
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