Butchers, bakers and… candlestick makers?

Well, maybe not candlestick makers, but the market towns of the North York Moors area can satisfy your every other requirement, from farm-fresh food to artisan crafts. Market days have been a fixture since medieval times – the ones in Helmsley, Kirkbymoorside and Guisborough have been going since the 13th century – and they offer a chance to see the area’s market towns at their best and most traditional, full of noise and colour.

Inspiring gifts and crafts

From the gallery in the heart of the moors – the Inspired by… gallery at The Moors National Park Centre – comes regular retail inspiration courtesy of the changing exhibitions and gallery shop. Photographers, artists and artisans make their mark elsewhere too, from Staithes’ Slipway Studio and Staithes Gallery reflecting the fishing village’s rich artistic heritage to contemporary sculpture too, while craft fairs, art shows and Christmas markets across the area allow you to pick up something special.

Award-winning shopping

Shopping in Helmsley is a treat – as you might expect from ‘Britain’s Best Market Town’ at The Great British High Street Awards 2015. Independent shops abound, from country clothiers to award-winning delis, while the main market square and atmospheric alleys make for a bustling shopping experience at any time of year. More friendly small-town shopping is available in Pickering, Thirsk, Guisborough and Whitby, while galleries, craft workshops and artisan food makers have found a home in thriving coastal villages such as Staithes and Robin Hood’s Bay.