10 things to do in Helmsley
PUBLISHED: 08:00 15 February 2015 | UPDATED: 13:51 16 January 2018
Helmsley is the only market town within the North York Moors National Park and it’s full of character and charm. So what should you do when you visit?
1. Unlock 900 years of life at Helmsley’s historic castle. You can discover how it evolved over the centuries, from a mighty medieval fortress to a luxurious Tudor mansion, to a Civil War stronghold and a romantic Victorian ruin.
2. Helmsley is the only town in Ryedale to have its own arts centre. Helmsley Arts Centre is a thriving performance venue for theatre, music, comedy, talks, cinema and live screenings, plus exhibitions, classes and a range of creative activities for all ages – it’s well worth checking out what’s on at www.helmsleyarts.co.uk
3. Helmsley is bursting at the seams with independent businesses, and it offers a high street like no other. So whatever your preferred kind of retail therapy, you’ll find it here. Whether you’re after high quality clothing, gifts, jewellery, homeware, books, toys, antiques or art, the independent shops in the town take some beating.
4. Helmsley’s Walled Garden dates back to 1759, and nestles between the Grade One listed landscape of Duncombe Park and the scheduled ancient monument that is Helmsley Castle. Today its mission is to conserve and restore the fabric of this historically important walled garden and to return it to full productivity, conserving old, rare and endangered garden plants. It is well worth a visit for the green-fingered, but even if you’re not you’ll enjoy its spectacular beauty.
5. Take a dip in Helmsley’s outdoor swimming pool, open June – September (weather permitting!)
6. If food and drink is your passion, Helmsley has it all. There is a huge choice of eateries and a selection of award winning delis, butchers and bakers so you can take some speciality Yorkshire treats home with you. Whether you’re in the mood to sit and relax with a coffee and people watch, treat yourself to afternoon tea, indulge in unbeatable fish & chips, dress up for fine dining, enjoy local specialities like a Yorkshire curd tart or the mouth-watering ice-cream handmade in the town, Helmsley has it all.
7. At the International Centre for Birds of Prey you’ll see everything from eagles, falcons and vultures, to owls, hawks and kites. See the birds flying free against the spectacular backdrop of the Duncombe Park Estate during the daily demonstrations. There’s also Winter Owl Evenings and Hawk Walks for experiences you’ll never forget.
8. Grab your walking boots and use the town as a base to explore the North York Moors National Park. There are many lovely walks around the area, and Helmsley marks the start of the Cleveland Way, which loops round the National Park to end up at the coast near Filey.
9. Helmsley hosts major events all year round, from the international Folk Weekend and Traction Engine Rally to the Duncombe Park Country Fair and the dazzling Christmas Tree festival. In 2015 it will also hold an event to mark its importance as home of one of the 25 Magna Carta barons.
10. With so much to do – why not stay over?! Luckily there’s lots of choices from luxury B&Bs and hotels to the Feversham Arms with its world famous Verbena Spa and all year round outdoor heated pool.
For more information go to: www.visithelmsley.co.uk