Rural communities, seaside resorts and a landscape of stunning beauty

This part of North Yorkshire is an area of stunning contrasts. It offers traditional seaside resorts, thriving rural communities and some of the finest market towns in the country.

The North York Moors has many quiet communities in its pretty towns and villages, where you will be within easy reach of miles of magnificent countryside. The area has a wealth of historical gems, including ancient castles, ruined abbeys and luxurious stately homes. You will never be short of places to explore and things to do with a host of outdoor activities and visitor attractions to experience.  

There are culinary delights to be had in an area which prides itself on its reputation for local produce, with many award winning restaurants, pubs and hotels.

Property prices are often surprisingly affordable and the area has many excellent options for schools.

For just a flavour of what Scarborough and Ryedale have to offer, our local tips are:

Culture:

Scarborough is home to the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Britain’s first theatre in the round. Based at a former cinema since 1996, the theatre has a long-standing connection with Alan Ayckbourn who served as its Artistic Director for over 30 years and where almost all of his plays are still premiered. The venue has a varied programme of plays, music, film and workshops.

Scarborough also has outdoor productions during the summer at the Scarborough Open Air Theatre, and the Victorian Scarborough Spa hosts comedy, music and events throughout the year.

There are a number of smaller performance venues in the area which are well worth checking out to experience the local arts scene in an intimate setting such as Helmsley Arts Centre, The Milton Rooms in Malton and The Band Room in Kirkbymoorside.

History:

Helmsley Castle is regarded as a fine example of a medieval castle building.  The civil war saw the destruction of the castle in 1644, during a three-month parliamentary siege led by Parliamentarian Sir Thomas Fairfax.  At the beginning of the 18th century Duncombe Park, a magnificent stately home with wide expanses of gardens and parkland, was built for Sir Charles Duncombe. The beautiful ruins of Rievaulx Abbey are just a short walk away.

With its stunning location and panoramic views over the dramatic Yorkshire coastline, Scarborough Castle has objects from 3,000 years of history. The castle is the only place in the town where you can enjoy fantastic views of both the north and south bays of Scarborough, and its sixteen-acre site is the perfect place for a picnic and a stroll.

Castle Howard is a spectacular 18th century palace and one of Britain’s finest houses and gardens, started by Vanburgh in 1699, with important collections of furniture, statuary, paintings and porcelain and 1000 acres of parkland.

Outdoors:

The North York Moors National Park is an area with a hugely varied landscape which offers stunning countryside, dramatic coastline and beautiful towns and villages. Woodland, moorland and rivers can all be enjoyed in a region which attracts geologists from all over the world. The coastline is often referred to as the ‘Dinosaur Coast’ because of the number of footprints and fossils discovered there.

The area is excellent for walking and cycling, with both gentle routes and more serious options available whatever your abilities. If you’re feeling more adventurous you can also try horse riding, fell and road running and rock climbing.

The market towns of Malton, Helmsley and Kirkbymoorside all have characterful market places, historic architecture and a wide range of shops, pubs, restaurants and cafes.

Now billed as 'Yorkshire's food capital', Malton is making a new name for itself as a foodie destination. There's an exciting range of food-related events in town, including a monthly Food Market with cooking demos and live music an annual Food Lovers' Festival in May.

Helmsley is a picturesque town on the banks of the River Rye, sheltered beneath the remains of a medieval castle. There’s a fine market square and ancient market cross as well as some delightful alleys and independent shops in town.

Kirkbymoorside is surrounded by the best of North Yorkshire’s landscapes, with the North York Moors National Park to the north and facing the Howardian Hills to the south. It is a great starting point for scenic walks, cycle rides and offers an ideal opportunity to travel the three miles to discover Hutton le Hole, a unique village with its meandering stream, home to the Ryedale Folk Museum.

The area has wonderful coastline, with the traditional resorts of Scarborough and Filey offering stunning beaches, spectacular cliffs and many seaside attractions for families to enjoy. Scarborough Sea Life has a family-oriented aquarium and associated conservation projects, and Alpamare Waterpark will also keep the children entertained.

The landscape of the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty has evolved since prehistoric times to create a distinctive and exceptional area characterised by soft, rolling hills, with a tapestry of arable fields, pasture and woodlands. The Howardian Hills take their name from the landowners whose great mansion, Castle Howard, still dominates this area.

Shopping:

North Yorkshire is good for independent shops and you’ll find many farms shops selling seasonal produce as well as outlets for local artisans.

Helmsley is a haven for galleries, antiques, independent shops, delis and coffee shops, plus boutique bolt holes with fine dining restaurants. Hunt for something quirky at Room for Antiques or admire contemporary creations at Helmsley Galleries.

At Hutton le Hole you can wander around the craft workshops selling and making handmade chocolates, glass, ceramics, furniture and prints. The Gallery at Ryedale Folk Museum is also worth a detour.

In Scarborough you will find major chains at the Brunswick Shopping Centre in the centre and also outside the town at Seamer Road Retail Park. Scarborough’s Market Hall and Vaults is a Tuscan-style indoor market where stalls sell fruit, vegetables, meat and bread as well as craft items, jewelry and clothing.

Food & Drink:

The area has many fine options for dining with excellent village pubs, contemporary restaurants, bistros and country inns.

There are Michelin starred restaurants with The Black Swan at Oldstead, renowned for its refined classical dishes with innovative twists, and The Star Inn, Harome, a quaint thatched inn just outside Helmsley known for its great food and excellent local sourcing from the moors and the sea. Another popular choice is the Black Swan Hotel, Helmsley, a 15th century coaching inn with hidden walled garden perfect for relaxing over afternoon tea and seasonal restaurant menu.

Malton on the edge of the Howardian Hills is Yorkshire's Food Capital and a real magnet for foodies. New artisan units with microbreweries, combined with top delis, bakeries, butchers and fisheries, the Malton Food Lovers Festival and Monthly Food Market, you’ll need a hearty appetite.

Education:

At the time of writing, 52 primary schools within the North Yorkshire County Council catchment area are rated as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.  This covers a large geographical area which incorporates many travel-to-work areas.  In terms of secondary education, 16 schools and colleges also boast an ‘outstanding’ inspection result.  The Ryedale Federation, for example, has 4 member schools – Kirkbymoorside Primary School, Helmsley Primary School, Sinnington Primary School and Ryedale Secondary School – all of which are rated either outstanding or good.

In the independent sector Scarborough College is an independent day and boarding school for boys and girls aged 3-18 years and offers a broad curriculum based on traditional values. Ampleforth College prides itself on offering an education which includes, but goes beyond, academic excellence to provide a spiritual compass for life.

Commuting and getting around:

The A1 passes through the western side of the area and is connected to the east and the coast via the A64 at York and the A170 at Thirsk. On the eastern side of the area the newly upgraded A165 follows the coast from Hull to Scarborough, while north of Scarborough the A171 travels up through Whitby, going on to Middlesbrough, and joining up to the motorway network to the north.

Virgin Trains East Coast, Grand Central, Cross Country run services from all parts of the country to York and Leeds where connections can be made to Malton by TransPennine Express services. Hourly services run from Malton to both York and Scarborough. There are hourly trains from Scarborough to York (50 minutes).

The nearest airports are Leeds Bradford and Doncaster Sheffield Airport. Slightly further away is Manchester Airport which is served by a direct Transpennine Express rail connection into Malton.

"Traditional seaside resorts, thriving rural communities and some of the finest market towns in the country."

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