The market towns and thriving villages in the North York Moors enjoy a strong sense of community. They each have their own character and personality, with independent shops and interesting nooks and crannies to explore.
Helmsley is known for its galleries, boutique shops, luxury hotels, coffee shops and restaurants. Friday is market day. Explore the impressive ruins of Helmsley Castle, enjoy the serenity of the Walled Garden.
Kirkbymoorside has a broad, cobble-lined main street and fine Georgian buildings, with a market on Wednesday.
Pickering is one of the area’s oldest towns, founded in 270 BC! It has a castle, an eclectic museum and a wide variety of shops, cafés and pubs, and is at the start of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. A lively Monday street market and first Thursday farmers’ markets are a good source of local produce.
Thornton-le-Dale is a well-known gateway to Dalby Forest. Visitors enjoy strolling along the stream which flows through the village, looking out for the beautiful Beck Isle Cottage, one of the most photographed chocolate-box thatched cottages in England.
Hutton-le-Hole nestles beside one of the many streams flowing south towards the river Rye. Sheep roam at will, ignoring the distinctive white painted birds’-mouth fencing as they enjoy the gently undulating grassy areas beside the babbling beck.
Hutton-le-Hole is home to the Ryedale Folk Museum, with the Harrison Collection, an incredible collection of English everyday antiques and rare curiosities put together by Edward and Richard Harrison. Spanning five centuries of history, the collection covers everything from cooking pots to brain surgery tools.
At the eastern edge of the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is Malton. It’s becoming a real magnet for foodies and those who wish to enjoy its Saturday market, Georgian buildings and discover its links with Charles Dickens.
Just beyond the northern edge of the National Park is Guisborough, with a ruined 12th century priory dominating the top of town’s Westgate, where Thursday and Saturday markets are held. A town museum and working watermill are nearby.
Great ways to enjoy market towns and villages in the North York Moors
- Hunt for a bargain at Bridge Street Antiques in Helmsley or admire contemporary creations at the Helmsley Arts Centre.
- Step back in time during the Pickering War Weekend. Rub shoulders with the British soldiers and American GIs and travel on the steam train to the German occupied French village of Le Visham (as Levisham becomes for one weekend only).
- Visit Beck Isle Museum in Pickering, especially good on their Rural Arts and Living History Days when you can see traditional skills such as printing on the beautiful Columbian letterpress, wool spinning, lace making, blacksmithing and rag rugging.
- Stroll from Pickering Castle to St. Peter & St. Paul church, where you can marvel at some of the best surviving medieval murals in the country.
- Discover something a little different at independent shops such as Homeworks, Veneto, Libby Butlers, Hunters of Helmsley and Saltbox Gallery & Workshop in Helmsley. Treat yourself to tea and cake at the Black Swan Tea Room and Patisserie!
- Sample the very best products from local food producers and see demonstrations at the Malton Food Lovers’ Markets and Food Festival.
- Sit and listen to one of the bands playing on the Thornton-le-Dale village green on Sunday afternoons during the summer months.
- Wander around the craft workshops selling and making handmade chocolates, candles, glass, ceramics, furniture and prints in Hutton-le-Hole.
- Explore more than 20 historic buildings representing North Yorkshire people’s lives from the Iron Age to the 1950s at the Ryedale Folk Museum.