Visitor atractions north yorkshire

Country Houses


Castle Howard (3.5 miles by car or 3 mile walk)

Set dramatically between two lakes, this 18th-century palace designed by Sir John Vanbrugh, is one of England’s most beautiful historic houses. It has been the home to the Howard family ever since it was built.

Visit the House at your own pace while friendly and informative guides share with you stories of the house and family. View the collections gathered by succeeding generations, which include furniture, paintings, porcelain and statuary.


Hovingham Hall (8.5 miles)

Mr and Mrs William Worsley invite you to visit their historic 18th Century house set in beautiful Ryedale countryside.

For over 400 years Hovingham has been the home of the Worsley family. The Palladian house was built between 1750 and 1770 by Thomas Worsley to his own design and is unique being entered through The Riding School.


Nunnington Hall (National Trust) (11 Miles)

This country house, set on the banks of the River Rye was once home to the doctor of Henry VIII, Edward VI and Elizabeth I.

The house contains an unusual collection of miniature rooms with tiny furnishings and musical instruments. A totally organic walled-garden, retains a lovely 17th-century character and boosts a collection of 50 different types of clematis.


Duncombe Park Helmsley (16.7 miles)

One of Yorkshire’s most amazing historic houses and estates, offering something for everyone to enjoy, from elegant rooms and the spectacular gardens to the finest shopping, food and drink and many miles of walks in the parkland. The home of Lord and Lady Feversham is set in the magnificent landscape of North Yorkshire just a stone throw away from the North York Moors.


Castles & Ruins


Kirkham Priory (English Heritage) (2.5 miles car or 1 mile walk)

The riverside ruins of an Augustinian priory, including a gatehouse bedecked with the heraldry of the Roos family of Helmsley Castle, and a handsome set of monastic washbasins.

Picturesquely set in the beautiful Derwent valley near the Yorkshire Wolds. On-site interpretation includes the story of the secret visit of Winston Churchill, and Kirkham's role in preparations for D-Day during World War II.


Wharram Percy Deserted Medieval Village (9.4 miles)

The most famous and intensively studied of Britain's 3,000 or so deserted medieval villages, Wharram Percy occupies a remote but attractive site in a beautiful Wolds valley. Above the substantial ruins of the church and a recreated fishpond, the outlines of many lost houses are traceable on a grassy plateau. First settled in prehistoric times, Wharram flourished as a village between the 12th and 14th centuries, before final abandonment c. 1500.

Graphic interpretation panels tell its story, and recreate the original appearance of the buildings.


Pickering Castle (13.8 Miles)

Pickering Castle is set in an attractive moors-edge market town. It is a classic and well-preserved example of an early earthwork castle refortified in stone during the 13th and 14th centuries, centred upon a shell-keep crowning an impressive motte. There is an exhibition in the chapel, and family-friendly books and activities.


Cliffords Tower York (14.4 miles)

In 1068-9, William the Conqueror built two motte and bailey castles in York, to strengthen his military hold on the north. Clifford's Tower, an unusual four-lobed keep built in the 13th century atop the mound of William's larger fortress, is now the principal surviving stonework remnant of York's medieval castle. The sweeping views of the city from the tower still show why it played such an important part in controlling northern England.


Helmsley Castle (15.5 miles)

Surrounded by spectacular banks and ditches, the great medieval castle's impressive ruins stand beside the attractive market town of Helmsley. The fortress was probably begun after 1120 by Walter Espec - 'Walter the Woodpecker'. Renowned for piety as well as soldiering, this Norman baron of 'gigantic stature' also founded nearby Rievaulx Abbey and Kirkham Priory, both English Heritage properties.

Most of Helmsley's surviving stonework defences were raised during the late 12th and 13th centuries, by the crusader Robert de Roos and his descendants. They include a pair of immensely strong 'barbican' entrances and the high, keep-like east tower, unusually D-shaped in plan, which still dominates the town.


Rievaulx Abbey (20.5 miles)

'Everywhere peace, everywhere serenity, and a marvellous freedom from the tumult of the world.' These words, written over eight centuries ago by the monastery's third abbot St Aelred, could describe Rievaulx today. Set in a beautiful and tranquil valley, it is among the most atmospheric and complete of all the ruined abbeys of the north.


Scarborough Castle (28.5 miles)

Scarborough Castle defends a prominent headland between two bays, with sheer drops to the sea and only a narrow landward approach. Long before the castle was built, this natural fortress was favoured by prehistoric settlers - a splendid Bronze Age sword, perhaps deposited here as a sacrifice to the gods, has newly returned for display -and later housed a defended Roman signal station.

Henry II's towering 12th-century keep, dominating the approach, is the centrepiece of fortifications developed over later centuries in response to repeated sieges -notably by rebel barons in 1312, and twice during the Civil War. Though again strengthened with barracks and gun-batteries against Jacobite threats in 1745, the castle failed to defend the harbour against the American sea-raider John Paul Jones in 1779, and was itself damaged by German naval bombardment in 1914. During World War II it played the more covert role of hosting a secret listening post.




Eden Camp (7.5 miles)

A visit to our unique Museum at Eden Camp will transport you back in time to wartime Britain. You will experience the sights, sounds, even the smells of those dangerous years.

This is no ordinary Museum - Not another Military Museum - Not a glass showcase Museum - Reconstructed scenes using movement, lighting, sound, smells, even smoke machines to transport you back in time, to make you feel that you are there taking part in history.

The special award winning Museum is an original Prisoner of War Camp built in 1942. Fascinating displays hold, and reveal to you, the vital spirit which eventually triumphed in 1945. The superb and lifelike exhibits make a visit to Eden Camp a wonderful and educational day out for all the family.


Beck Isle Museum Pickering (13.5 miles)

The Beck Isle Museum is housed in a handsome Regency residence near the centre of Pickering, adjacent to the Pickering Beck, a stream that flows under a four arched road bridge. One arch of this bridge (originally much narrower) is reputedly of mediaeval origin.

Here William Marshall planned England's first Agricultural Institute in the early 1800's. It is therefore fitting that today this house should contain a collection of bygones relating largely to the rural crafts and living style of Ryedale.


The Yorkshire Museum of Farming (13 miles)

The Museum opened in 1982 to house a range of exhibits from Burton Constable collected by East Yorkshire Farm Machinery Preservation Society.

Tracing the development of farming from it’s hand or horse powered origins to the increased mechanisation of the Twentieth Century the collection explores the changing skills and requirements of agricultural life. The collections are distributed through two buildings and open air parts of the site.

The Four Seasons Building shows the farmer’s working year from Winter ploughing to Autumn harvest with old and new equipment for a wide variety of crop types. This building also houses exhibits connected with the everyday life of farming communities in days gone by.

The Livestock Building focusses on the farming of sheep, pigs, fowl, cattle and the use of heavy horses. This complements the wide variety of rare breed animals raised and kept across the whole site.


Yorkshire Air Museum (15.5 miles)

Over the past few years the Yorkshire Air Museum has become one of the most interesting and dynamic Museums of its type in the country. A unique collection of over 40 internationally recognised aircraft and fascinating displays all combined into a historic site. This makes the Museum a very special place for aviation enthusiasts, young and not so young, and a great day out for the family.


York Castle Museum (13.5 miles)

One of the most popular visitor attractions in York is the York Castle Museum, which recreates daily life in England through the past 400 years. The museum is housed in Grade 1 listed 18th century prison buildings.

The museum centres around two life-sized reconstructions of authentic street scenes. The first is the Victorian Kirkgate (so named after the originator of the museum, the Edwardian doctor, John Kirk). You can wander into shops, see a family at home, and call at the police station.

The second life-sized street is Half Moon Court, depicting daily life in Edwardian York. The "street" is built in the former debtor's prison, and you can visit the old prison cells, some of which house displays of authentic Yorkshire crafts and rural skills. Don't miss the cell where the famous highwayman Dick Turpin spent his last night before execution.

The museum is also home to the Jane Austen costume collection, and extensive social history, and military exhibits (and the children will love the giant dolls houses).


The National Railway Museum (13.5 miles)

Inside the world’s largest railway museum you’ll find over three hundred years of world railway history, from Japanese Bullet trains to Queen Victoria’s favourite carriage.

The National Railway Museum in York, England, is responsible for the conservation and interpretation of the British national collection of historically significant railway vehicles and other artefacts. The Museum contains an unrivalled collection of locomotives, rolling stock, railway equipment, documents and records. Admission is free.


Jorvik Viking Centre York (13.5 miles)

The world famous JORVIK Viking Centre is a ‘must-see’ for visitors to the city of York and is one of the most popular visitor attractions in the UK outside London.

Welcoming 14 million visitors over the past 21 years, visitors can journey through the reconstruction of Viking-Age streets, as they would have been in the year AD975. JORVIK Viking Centre also offers three exciting exhibitions and the chance to actually come face to face with a 'Viking'.


Yorkshire Musuem (13.5 miles)

Home to some of the richest archaeological finds in Europe, this museum chronicles more than 1,000 years of Yorkshire's heritage from elegant Roman jewelry and mosaics to Viking treasures and Anglo-Saxon silver.


Railway Heritage


North Yorkshire Moors Railway Pickering (13.5 miles)

The North Yorkshire Moors Railway operates steam trains along an 18 mile line between the market town of Pickering and the village of Grosmont, through the heart of the North York Moors National Park. The railway passes through a variety of scenery, from wooded valley to heather clad moorland. It also calls at picturesque villages along the way and offers access to unspoilt countryside for walkers and cyclists.

The NYMR is one of the earliest and most historic lines in the North of England. Its origins go back well over a century and a half, and was an important trade link between Pickering and Whitby.

Let the North Yorkshire Moors Railway take you on a nostalgic journey back to the glorious age of steam. Travel through stunning countryside, in comfortable carriages, through picturesque stations pulled by a majestic steam locomotive. Simply enjoy the peaceful timelessness of it all.


The National Railway Museum (13.5 miles)

Inside the world’s largest railway museum you’ll find over three hundred years of world railway history, from Japanese Bullet trains to Queen Victoria’s favourite carriage.

The National Railway Museum in York, England, is responsible for the conservation and interpretation of the British national collection of historically significant railway vehicles and other artefacts. The Museum contains an unrivalled collection of locomotives, rolling stock, railway equipment, documents and records. Admission is free.


Derwent Valley Light Railway (13.5 miles)

The Derwent Valley Light Railway Society is a small group of volunteers who maintain and operate train services on the remaining section of the original Derwent Valley Railway. We work in partnership with the Yorkshire Museum of Farming, now known as 'Murton Park' at Murton which is on the east side of York.


The Ryedale Society of Model Engineers East Gilling (19.5 miles)

A ground level miniature railway emulating main line practice in constructing and operation. Most of the railway is multi gauge but the emphasis is very much on 5" gauge. It is considered to be one of the finest miniature railways of its type in the UK

Limited open days – check their website at: for details before visiting.


Steam trains on the York to Scarborough main line

Organised by various special rail tour companies, Steam hauled trains run from York to Scarborough on selective dates during the summer. You can make the journey as a passenger or view the passing of these trains from a number of view points around Castle Howard Station.




Kew at Castle Howard The Arboretum (3.5 miles by car or 3.5 mile walk)

The new arboretum at Castle Howard represents one of the most exciting new developments in horticulture and botany for the new millennium. Planting began in 1975, when the late Lord Howard and James Russell, VMH, shared a vision to create one of the most comprehensive collections of hardy woody plants in Europe. Lending credence to the maxim that we plant trees not for ourselves but for future generations, they embarked on an ambitious project that they knew they would never see come to fruition. Over twenty-five years later, their plant collection has inestimable value for environmental conservation, scientific research, education and, not least, for public enjoyment. The arboretum opened to the public for the first time as part of the celebrations of Castle Howard's tercentenary year in 1999.


Yorkshire Lavender (5.5 miles)

The North of England's premier lavender attraction and herb nursery set in a spectacular hillside farm of nearly 60 acres, within the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Hundreds of different lavender and herbs are for sale. Enjoy delicious food and snacks at the Tea Shop and browse the Gift Shop brimming with lavender and herb products. There is a parkland walk and many new garden design features. Panoramic views over the Vale of York are said to be one of the best in Yorkshire!


Walled Garden Scampston (11.5 miles)

The garden, which was first begun in 1999, was created by the internationally renowned designer Piet Oudolf whose innovative style is to our times as Gertrude Jekyll was to the last century. All the work and propagation was done by the in-house gardening team over a period of 5 years, supervised by the designer on a regular basis.

The garden is unashamedly modern but perfectly complements, and is in balance with, the House and Park, which is, just as unashamedly, period.


Wolds Way Lavender (12.5 miles)

Enjoy a day out at Wolds Way Lavender where you can walk round and enjoy the vast variety of plants that are growing on the site. Visit the gift shop and Herb and Plant shop, and have a snack in the Tea Room. A leisurely stroll around the site reveals the amazing differences between one variety of lavender and another. Plenty of seating is available, enabling the sights and fragrant smells to be absorbed at a relaxing pace. The well-planned layout of the plants adds to the overall experience of the visit.


Dalby Forest (19 miles)

Dalby Forest is situated on the southern slopes of the North York Moors National Park. The southern part of the forest is divided by a number of valleys creating a 'Rigg and Dale' landscape whilst to the north the forest sits on the upland plateau. Although comprising mostly pines and spruces there are many broadleaf trees such as oak, beech, ash, alder and hazel both in the valleys and on the 'Riggs'. Clear streams arising in springs run north and south out of the forest. The forest is a home for birds such as the crossbill and that elusive summer visitor the nightjar. Roe deer abound and badgers, the symbol of the forest, are a very common but nocturnal resident. The signs of past residents are all around. Burial mounds, linear earthworks of unknown purpose and the remains of a flourishing rabbit warrening industry can be found throughout the wood. A network of forest roads including the 9 mile Dalby Forest Drive provide access to this outstanding landscape. Formed in the Ice Age and shaped by the people from the Bronze Age to the present day, Dalby is very much a forest worth visiting.

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