If you were to try and describe what you would imagine to be the ideal image of an English market town, the image that you describe would almost certainly match that of the town of Helmsley in North Yorkshire. The pretty market square is still a hive of activity and you will find tea rooms serving the quintessential English afternoon tea, as well as county pubs which have altered little over the centuries. As if this wasn’t picturesque enough, the town is rather romantically surrounded by the stunning North Yorkshire Moors National Park. Helmsley is the starting point of both the Ebor Way and the Cleveland Way, walking routes which offer an incredible way to make the most of the beautiful natural surroundings. The pretty location, friendly residents and timeless atmosphere make this a place that people return to time and again.
Places to Visit
There are plenty of places to visit within the surrounding area which will allow you to take in the beauty of the location and sample the very best of hospitality that the region has to offer. The town is made even more attractive by the ancient ruins of Helmsley Castle, the tower of which still stands to keep watch over the residents of the town. The tower has medieval origins while much of the other castle ruins can be dated to both Tudor and Victorian times.
Throughout school holiday periods there are falconry and archery displays that you can get involved with. Alongside the castle you will find the magnificent walled gardens which were painstakingly restored in 1994 to offer the visitor the chance to experience an authentic Victorian garden environment. As if the castle ruins were not enough to give you a taste of the history of the town, there are also the ruins of two monasteries to explore, each of which was built more than eight hundred years ago. Both Byland Abbey and Rievaulx Abbey are attractions which are incredibly popular with visitors to the area.
Things to See and Do
Though Helmsley is small in size, measuring only a mile across, it is filled with attractions that provide enough entertainment to fill an entire day. From ancient ruins, to Michelin starred restaurants there is something for everyone to appreciate and enjoy. The ancient cross in the market square is an ideal meeting point should you wish to go off and explore on your own for a while and if the weather is permitting you could even take a dip in the unique open air swimming pool.
Pay a visit to Duncombe Park just a short distance from Helmsley and you will find the largest collection anywhere in the UK of some of the world’s greatest birds of prey. Watch falconry demonstrations and get to know more about these incredible hunters by speaking to their keepers. If you would rather stay in town, be sure to check out some of the unusual, speciality stores that the town offers from rare book shops to country chic boutiques.