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Holidays in Howardian Hills

An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty between the Yorkshire Wolds and the North York Moors

UK | North of England | Yorkshire | North Yorkshire | Howardian Hills
Castle Howard, in the heart of the Howardian Hills

Tucked away between the Vale of York, the Yorkshire Wolds and the North York Moors, the Howardian Hills are home to one of the country’s lesser-known Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, spanning 79 square miles of North Yorkshire’s countryside.

Stretching from Helmsley in the north to the River Derwent in the south, the region’s rolling hills are decorated with a patchwork of fields, woodland and pasture. With a network of footpaths meandering through woodland, over farmland and alongside rivers, you can walk to several of the area’s pubs, villages and attractions. The Howardian Hills is the only AONB in the north of England is have a landscape of Jurassic limestone, while the deeply incised Kirkham Gorge is another unique feature of this beautiful part of Yorkshire.

Kirkham Priory

The Howardian Hills are perhaps most famous for their historical sites and country estates. Castle Howard is the best-known, having acted as Brideshead in the TV and film adaptations of Brideshead Revisited, and has been the home of the Howard family for more than 300 years. The Grade I-listed country house is surrounded by extensive gardens, and also on the estate you’ll find Yorkshire Arboretum, an important collection of more than 6000 trees and plants from around the world.

One of the oldest heritage sites in the Howardian Hills is Kirkham Priory. Founded in the 1120s, these riverside ruins stand in the Derwent Valley. At the priory, you can learn about the life of the medieval monks who resided here, as well as about the secret visit once paid here by Winston Churchill during the Second World War.

Throughout the Howardian Hills lie several pretty villages, such as Slingsby and Terrington, while there are also many market towns in and around the AONB that are well worth a day trip. Malton is a foodie’s paradise, thanks to its selection of independent shops and restaurants, as well as its famous food festivals. Pickering is another great place to visit, decorated with Grade II-listed stone cottages and a historic castle. The historic city of York is also within easy reach, with its several attractions, excellent choice of shops and spectacular cathedral.

“The rolling hills are decorated with a patchwork of fields, woodland and pasture…”

After a long day of walking through the hills, there are plenty of pubs to stop off in where you can enjoy a pint and a hearty meal. The Malt Shovel in Hovingham is especially popular for Sunday lunch, while The Durham Ox in Crayke is a delightful gastropub that has featured on many top ten lists for its traditional meals using local ingredients. For something a little different, try The Queen’s Head, a pub-come-Chinese restaurant. It’s infamous for its numtung, a spicy Malaysian sauce that is sure to set your taste buds alight.

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

While you’re there


A popular market town and a foodie’s paradise with its markets, food festivals and wide choice of eateries

Castle Howard

A Grade I-listed country house as seen in Brideshead Revisited, surrounded by landscaped gardens

Kirkham Priory

The ruins of a historic 12th-century abbey, once secretly visited by Winston Churchill

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