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Holidays in Helmsley

A quintessentially English market town in the picturesque North York Moors

Helmsley countryside

Helmsley is a welcoming North Yorkshire market town on the edge of the wild North York Moors. It has an attractive square and the remains of a medieval castle. For a small town, there’s plenty going on. Helmsley is home to a variety of excellent shops, and even has its own arts centre.

Helmsley is on the road from Scarborough to Thirsk, around 39 miles from York. A gentle stream meanders through the town centre, where a monument to Lord Feversham stands. The Black Swan Hotel is just one of a number of atmospheric places to stop for a drink or a bite to eat, and allegedly hosted the celebrated poet William Wordsworth while he was visiting the town.

Pretty market town

Helmsley is very much alive as a market town and fresh North Yorkshire produce can be bought from the square. Helmsley has some of the region’s most impressive countryside on its doorstep with rushing rivers, rugged cliffs and sweeping valleys all a short drive away.

Purple and brown heather meets miles of pasture land on the North York Moors, on the edge of which Helmsley lies. It’s a ruggedly beautiful landscape, which can be explored by foot or in a car. Curlew, lapwing and red grouse are just a few of the rare birds which can be spotted on the moors. For an introduction to some of the birds you can see on the moors as well as some spectacular birds of prey, head to the National Centre for Birds of Prey on the outskirts of Helmsley. Where the National Park meets the sea, some of the UK’s most dramatic scenery can be found. At 690ft, the cliff at Boulby is the highest point on England’s East Coast.

Don’t forget to make a trip to Helmsley Walled Garden. This 250-year old garden sits in the shadow of the castle, and has five beautiful acres to explore. To get a sense of Helmsley’s rich but violent past, visit Helmsley Castle, which began as a medieval fortress before being transformed into a luxury Tudor mansion.

Helmsley has a reputation as a creative town. As well as being home to numerous artists, it has an excellent performance venue. Make a trip to Helmsley Arts Centre for pantomimes, plays, classes and plenty more.

Helmsley has a lot to offer in the way of food and drink. Hunters of Helmsley is an outstanding delicatessen where you can pick up a fresh loaf of bread or a mouth-watering beef sandwich.

“Helmsley is a welcoming North Yorkshire market town on the edge of the wild North York Moors.“

For good coffee and a slice of homemade cake, check out the Cocoa Tree. If you’re looking for something more substantial, try Scott’s of Helmsley, one of the area’s best fish and chips shops. In the town centre, the Black Swan Hotel serves a selection of local ales as well as delicious food.

Take a look at our full collection of Helmsley cottages for even more holiday inspiration.

While you’re there

Helmsley Walled Garden

Visit these beautiful gardens set in the heart of Yorkshire.

Flamingo Land

This is the place to go for theme park thrills and exotic animals.

Rievaulx Abbey

See the impressive ruins of one of the most complete abbeys left in England today.

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