Helmsley is one of the most popular holiday bases for access into the North Yorkshire Moors National Park and onto the Cleveland Way National Trail which begins from this historic market town. Not by chance is Helmsley popular - the town is one of the most attractive in the area with a fine choice of B&Bs, country pubs, fine dining restaurants and specialist shopping. (Helmsley is particularly good for second hand bookshops and finding that rare book!). Helmsley's market square, with gothic monument and stone cross is a bustling affair, particularly in high Summer season. A superb choice of cafes, tearooms and pubs surround the square which comes alive particularly on Friday market days. Helmsley's dramatic medieval castle ruins give the town an edge. A walker's top spot base, with direct access not just onto the Cleveland Way but also the Ebor Way which stretches for 70 miles from Helmsley to Ilkley.
Accommodations outside York present an attractive alternative to staying in York, especially if you like the quieter pace of a small village. Helmsley is ideally situated just to the north of York and sits at the start of the spectacular Cleveland Way offering easy access into the North Yorkshire Moors National Park.
The dramatic ruins of Helmsley's late 12th/early 13th century castle are impressive. The castle has seen some battles in its time.
Under siege for three months during the Civil War, not surprisingly this Royalist stronghold is a bit battered, but spectacular still. The Tudor Mansion adjacent to the West Tower, however, has survived.
Helmsley castle was remodelled by the Manners family during the Elizabethan period, hence the mix of Tudor and Medieval on the site. The comprehensive visitor centre on-site is where to learn more on Helmsley Castle's history. Tel.01439 770442. Helmsley's Tourist Information Centre is also on-site.
Helmsley Castle serves as backdrop to the stunning 5 acre Helmsley Walled Gardens. See the Walled Garden's webguide right for details.
The magnificent Cleveland Way is a 109 mile/176km trail winding up from its starting point at Helmsley to the Sutton Bank Centre in a horseshoe shape around the outskirts of the North York Moors Park.
The Cleveland Way takes in much of the diverse landscapes around the North York Moors including the Boltby Forest, the Hambleton and Cleveland Hills, the Dales to the north up to Saltburn and down the spectacular Yorkshire Coast beyond Scarborough as far as Filey. Heather moorland, forest, dales and stunning coastline are all included in the diverse landscape around the Cleveland Way.
Some of Yorkshire's most dramatic castles and abbeys are easily accessed along the trail including Helmsley Castle, Rievalux Abbey, Byland Abbey, Whitby Abbey and Scarborough Castle. Popular idyllic accommodation bases include Helmsley, the starting point, crammed with bookshops, specialist shops, country pubs, fine restaurants and B&Bs. Osmotherley, SwainbyGreat Ayton, Saltburn, Boulby, Staithes, Whitby, Scarborough and Filey are other popular accommodation bases along the trail.
The Cleveland Way National Trail webguide (link right) contains a detailed map of the trail highlighting main points of interest, historical sights and visitor activity centres. Cleveland Way Project, c/o North York Moors National Park, The Old Vicarage, Bondgate, Helmsley York, N. Yorks. YO62 5BP. Tel. 01439 770657.
Why not pop over to Duncombe Park - you're invited to tea -in the tearoom. Learn all about the Fevershams, descendants of Thomas Duncombe. The 450 acres of parkland and gardens surrounding Duncombe containing mature hardwoods and the rare wood-feeding beetle was made a National Park in 1994. Numerous waymarked walks and trails are within the parklands.
The Dunscombe house dates from 1713, although it suffered major fire damage in 1879 and was almost completely rebuilt.
Lots of space for the kids to romp around, and a kids playground as well, plus a choice of events including steam fairs and craft shows, dog shows and falcon displays run throughout the year.
Helmsley Arts Centre has gained a nation-wide reputation for its live-event and film programmes, which has grown over time. The venue, which has a 140-seat auditorium and 40-seat studio/exhibition space, has provided film screenings, live music, theatre performances, comedy clubs, art exhibitions and workshops/classes to tens of thousands of people since opening its doors."
Helmsley Tourist Information, Helmsley Castle Visitor Centre Castlegate, Helmsley, YO62 5AB. Tel. 01439 770173.