News release - Issued by Visit Ryedale
The UK High Street might be in decline, but five market towns in Ryedale, North Yorkshire are fighting back to become one of the few places keeping Britain’s ‘nation of shopkeepers’ alive, with its 21-mile High Street. Despite most high streets being virtual clones of each other, featuring shop after shop of national chains and franchises, the market towns of Helmsley, Kirkbymoorside, Malton, Norton and Pickering are populated by local, independent shops – and business is booming!
“Where Ryedale differs is that these towns are still the lifeblood of the local area – with thriving, centuries-old marketplaces packed with local, independent shops and offering high quality produce and service,” explains Craig Nattress of Visit Ryedale, the partnership behind the region’s renaissance. “Indeed, this traditional way of life has become so unusual in this country that it actually draws thousands of visitors, keen to experience the ‘good old days’ when the high street was the only place to shop!”
Ryedale’s five market towns are just a few miles apart, creating a 21-mile High Street that’s receiving national recognition: Helmsley has just been awarded Britain’s Best Market Town and also has Britain’s Best Small Shop 2015, while Malton has is hailed as Yorkshire’s Food Capital by some of the UK’s top chefs and connoisseurs. Meanwhile, their market squares are a shopper’s paradise of award-winning independent shops, tea-rooms and restaurants, world-class attractions and events, and the region’s best arts and crafts.
Craig adds: “Ryedale’s market towns are reviving that Best of British tradition, where the town centre is the heart and soul of the community. Many businesses are family-run, so not only do you meet people face-to-face who have grown, baked or hand-crafted the produce, but you can buy something with unique character, not available on an average high street. Here, you’ll find businesses supporting their local farmers, and sourcing the highest-quality local ingredients; and you’ll meet shop-owners who take personal pride in achieving the very best service for the customer.”
Each of the five market towns has their own individual strengths, and are easily accessible along hassle-free roads with plenty of cheap parking (there’s even a ‘Rover’ one-stop-shop car park ticket to save you time and money when visiting the market towns); this all makes shop-hopping between towns a popular day-trip. Taking just 45 minutes to drive from end to end, even the view out of the car window is relaxing, passing by some of Britain’s most tranquil and breath-taking landscapes.
In each town, visitors will discover an astonishing variety compared to the average high street: bustling farmers’ markets, independent delicatessens, micro-breweries, master chocolatiers, butchers, bakers (yes, and candle-stick makers), fishmongers, and grocers selling home-grown, fresh-picked and hand-crafted produce. Old-fashioned hardware stores sit alongside stylish interior designers. Designer boutiques sit alongside country outfitters. Tea-rooms and restaurants along the High Street – including award-winning and Michelin-starred – glory in local produce, with menus featuring ingredients from their own gardens and orchards. Ryedale’s market towns are also a haven for art and antique lovers, with the North’s leading galleries and workshops showcasing the work of local and international artists inspired by the area’s spectacular landscapes, and collectors’ emporia brimming with reminders of a bygone history that spans millennia.
Ryedale’s market towns also enjoy some of Britain’s best weather year-round, with a unique microclimate on the southern edge of Britain’s driest National Park. Not only is this pleasant for shopping, but it’s ideal for anyone with a fidgety 'Other Half' as Ryedale is an outdoor adventurer’s dream-world. There are over 1400 miles of trails, bridleways, and footpaths to explore in the area, and local walkers have even created an interactive series of their favourite ‘hidden gem’ trails from each of the five market towns, available on the iFootpath App (iPhone and Android) from June 2016 – you can even track your progress via a GPS-powered live map and add your own comments about the route. More rigorous athletes can test their mettle in the gruelling Kirkbymoorside 10k or Castle Howard’s annual triathlon, or along the Tour de Yorkshire cycle routes. Ryedale has been at the centre of the international road cycling race in both 2015 and 2016, and hosted British Cycling's Elite Road series for many years. Not surprisingly, Ryedale’s market towns have a range of shops to make sure athletes – from epic adventurers to gentle ramblers – are well kitted out.
With so much to explore, many visitors find themselves transforming a shopping trip into an indulgent weekend break: there’s every excuse to savour the experience in award-winning, luxurious and unusual accommodation including the Feversham Arms, a Spa Hotel voted top in the UK by Tatler magazine, to treetop houses, Scandinavian loghouses, a racehorse stable and even a Victorian railway station. From 5* B&Bs with roaring log fires and 4-poster beds, to the best woodland glamping sites – you’ll be spoilt for choice.
For help planning your trip or day out, visit www.visitryedale.co.uk, where you can download a guide to Ryedale’s Market Towns; for ideas while you’re already out and about in North Yorkshire, there’s free WiFi, maps and guides at Visitor Information Points in Helmsley, Malton and Pickering.
Each of the market towns making up Ryedale’s 21-mile High Street have their own retail strengths. Here are a few ideas to get you started…
MALTON: YORKSHIRE’S FOOD CAPITAL
Located on a Foodie Leyline, Malton brings together the best of the region’s food: fish from the Yorkshire Coast, game from the North York Moors and country estates, dairy and meat from the cows, sheep and pigs reared in the lush meadows of the surrounding Vales, and fruit and vegetables taking advantage of the area’s uniquely benevolent micro-climate – including the most northerly (and international media-winning) Vinery.
Malton showcases its dedication to food and drink in its monthly Food Markets, twice-yearly Food Festivals, the Malton Cookery School, weekly Saturday market, the biggest livestock market in the North of England, and a staggering wealth of independent shops and artisan producers, all receiving recognition from the country’s top chefs including locally-born James Martin - a regular visitor to the town, Prue Leith and Levi Roots, and Michelin-starred Andrew Pern, whose Michelin-starred restaurant The Star is located near the Ryedale market town of Helmsley.
The centrepiece of the market town’s foodie heaven is Talbot Yard, with passionate local producers like Groovy Moo, which hand-makes ice cream using local cream, and has delicious flavours that change daily; Al Kippax at Bluebird Bakery bakes Yorkshire’s best bread, which is on the menus in the area’s top restaurants; Roost Coffee and Roastery is lovingly tended by husband and wife team, the Elkingtons; while newcomer Aldo Valerio, will soon be hand-making fresh pasta and authentic sauces like his grandparents – but with a Malton twist - at Passione Della Pasta. There are other top-class producers nearby, like the Brass Castle Brewery, which started life in Aron McMahon’s garage just four years ago, but is now CAMRA award-winning and in demand across the UK. In fact, Malton’s visitors can follow a Made in Malton artisan food tour (www.maltonyorkshire.co.uk), which includes independent, and family-run local butchers, delicatessens, fishmongers, bakers, sweet and chocolate-makers and greengrocers (which even boasts herbs from the owner’s precious garden!).
Malton is also the town that inspired Charles Dickens’s Christmas Carol (he was a regular visitor to Malton and Ryedale), which is celebrated in an annual Malton Dickensian Festival in December, with celebrity guests and experts, street theatre, horse & carriage rides, walks, talks and, of course Victorian-inspired food and drink! Book-lovers can also enjoy Ryedale Book Festival in October which regularly attracts the country’s top authors to the town.
Other top food highlights in Ryedale:
• The Organic Food Shop in Pickering boasts the widest selection of organic produce in Yorkshire including locally grown fruit and vegetables, bread, meat and eggs – and even toiletries!
• Pickering’s Feast Deli and Cafe have the very best of Yorkshire produce and local delicacies, from Black Pudding Scotch Eggs and Trout and Horseradish Quiches, to local cheeses and beers, freshly baked bread and cakes, and bacon and sausages from native-bred and home-reared ginger pigs.
• Helmsley, Kirkbymoorside, Malton, Norton and Pickering - along with many of their neighbouring villages - have lively weekly markets, and regular farmers’ markets, where you can meet the region’s farmers and top food producers. Many of the markets are centuries old (Helmsley’s dating back 900 years), and take over the town centres as local people come together for their food and drink – and gossip, of course!
• Helmsley is a top place to go for Fine Dining, with Michelin-starred and multi award-winning restaurants nearby.
• Surrounded by its pastoral idyll, it’s no surprise that Ryedale is blessed with an abundance of high-quality Farm Shops, providing the opportunity for plenty of foodie treats along the route. On traditional and family-run working farms, each has a butchery showcasing its own farm-reared meat (as well as local neighbours), delicatessens, tea-rooms, and a range of local produce from fruit and vegetables to preserves and home-baking. Try:
o The Whole Hogg Farm Shop near Malton, which also has friendly pygmy goats, llamas, Shetland ponies and ducks.
o Cedarbarn Farm Shop near Pickering, the winner of FARMA’s Best Farm Café and Restaurant and also including a PYI Fruit Farm.
o Castle Howard near Malton - not only Britain’s finest stately home, but with an award-winning farm shop specialising in estate-reared beef, and a huge range of local produce. Also has a patisserie, book and homeware shops.
o Beadlam Grange Farm Shop near Helmsley - a multi-award winning farm shop also including a chocolate-makers and craft shop.
For a complete shopping day-out, why not hop between Market Towns? Distance between Malton & Norton to Pickering along the A169 = 8.5 miles, 15 minutes by car.
Malton Railway station direct services south and west to York, Leeds, Manchester, and eastwards to Scarborough.
Malton Bus station has direct services to Norton and to Pickering (change there for services to Helmsley, and Kirkbymoorside). Direct services also to York and Leeds and the Yorkshire coast and North York Moors, including the Summer Sunday community run Moors bus service.
PICKERING: NOSTALGIA & ADVENTURE ON THE HIGH MOORS
Pickering is home to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, one of the busiest steam heritage lines in the world. The Railway’s iconic steam trains are often to be seen winding along its 18-mile route through the Moors, and are one of the best ways of exploring the North York Moors National Park, including the ‘Harry Potter’ train station of Hogsmeade at Goathland. In October, the entire town turns the clock back to the 1940s during Pickering Wartime Weekend, the largest festival of its kind in Britain, where visitors get a chance to relive the spirit and camaraderie of World War II with historic steam trains, re-enactments, parades, live music and dance, food, theatre, and vintage displays.
At the nearby Beck Isle Museum in Pickering, you can travel even further back in time, to those heady days when the Railway helped spark Yorkshire’s Industrial Revolution. At the museum, you can step into the everyday lives of working people, with reconstructed pubs, shops and parlours, displays of their time-worn tools, and regular demonstrations of working crafts. You can also meet the people of the past in the museum’s world-class collection of photographs, including iconic images by Sydney Smith, who worked to capture the lives of working people and the surrounding countryside at the turn of the century; he is now considered one of the greatest photographers the country has produced. There are many other reminders of Pickering’s prosperous past as a market town: the medieval remains of Pickering Castle dominate the surrounding moorland, while St Peter’s & St Paul’s Church in Pickering has magnificent 15th century wall paintings – only revealed in their colourful glory in the late 19th Century, they are a remarkable survival that is now recognised as nationally important.
Not surprisingly, Pickering’s shopping experience has a distinctly vintage flavour: Platform 1 of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway is a nostalgia heaven, with everything from war-time songbooks to engine-drivers hats. Pickering is also home to the North’s premier Antique Centre, over 3,500 square feet of antique books and bedsteads, telephones and toys, railwayana and records, clothing and kitchenalia. There’s Bothams tea-room, founded as a family run craft bakery in 1865 but still serving original Yorkshire recipes with the finest ingredients; there’s also Café Cocoa, a 1940s tea-shop serving delicious cake (including not so vintage gluten-free), or Butterscotch Sweet Shop, celebrated locally for over 150 jars of old-fashioned sweets (and the latest favourites); or there are many other vintage stores including Jack & Sally’s Curiosity Shop, which invites visitors to rummage amongst its gaming and toy collectables and vintage retro. Pickering also has those wonderfully old-fashioned hardware stores of yesteryear, where you can buy everything you might possibly need for home and garden in one stop – like Coopers of Pickering or Flintofts Ironmongers.
Pickering is the Gateway to the North York Moors and Yorkshire Coast, making it the best starting point for outdoor adventures, and also trips to nearby natural attractions such as Dalby Forest - which includes the UK’s top mountain-biking centre and an Observatory awarded exceptional ‘Milky Way’ Dark Skies status, making it a star-gazers and romantic’s dream destination. There are also spectacular landscapes to explore such as the Hole of Horcum, the North’s Grand Canyon, and the world’s largest heather moorland – the annual summer spectacle of heather blooming in colourful kaleidoscopes to the horizon is unique, there being less heather moorland in the world than tropical rainforest. This makes Pickering one of the best places to kit yourself out for a big adventure, with Trailblazer Outdoors selling everything from walking shoes to camping equipment, and Big Bear Bikes with its workshops and store for all cycling eventualities, including bike hire.
Other top nostalgia highlights in Ryedale:
• Eden Camp near Malton – a multi-award winning tribute to the people of wartime Britain, Eden Camp is today Britain’s largest museum of military and social life from 1914, with sights, sounds and smells taking you back in time.
• Ryedale Folk Museum near Kirkbymoorside - an award-winning folk ‘village’, which brings to life England’s rural past from the Iron Age to the 1960s in over 20 reconstructed historic buildings – including a witch’s hovel - and also features regular craft demonstrations, vintage transport, gardens, orchards, wildflower meadows and even historic pigs and goats! The museum is also home to an incredible collection of English everyday antiques and rare curiosities spanning five centuries, covering everything from cooking pots to brain surgery tools. Next door to the Folk Museum are craft workshops and boutiques, including a Chocolate Factory where visitors can see chocolatiers hand-making delicious treats from fresh local cream.
For a complete shopping day-out, why not hop between the Market Towns using the transferrable long stay P&D ticket? Distance between Pickering to Kirkbymoorside along the A170 = 7.5 miles or 14 minutes.
Pickering has direct bus routes to Helmsley, Kirkbymoorside and Malton & Norton.
Direct services also to York and Leeds and the Yorkshire coast and North York Moors including the Summer Sunday community run Moors bus service.
KIRKBYMOORSIDE: THE ANTIQUE TOWN
Kirkbymoorside is a treasure trove for antique-hunters: although Ryedale’s smallest market town, it is home to the fortnightly Ryedale Auctions which attract collectors and browsers from across the world. As highlights throughout the year, the Auction house also holds specialist sales in Antiques and Fine Art, Sporting and Militaria, and Toys and Trains, with additional outdoor agricultural auctions each month. The town also boasts several shops specialising in antiques and collectibles, including Dove Antiques, run by highly-experienced antiques dealer Tom Everett - a friendly showroom with over 2,000 square feet of quality period antiques and country furniture typical of the Yorkshire Moors and Dales.
The town is itself an antique treasure, its elegant Georgian past perfectly preserved in the honey-stone facades: what appears to be a 19th-century chemist is now an off-licence, the old Bank is a café, and the former gasworks are now a beauty salon, and the town’s pride and joy is its award-winning 200 year-old Brass Band, which make regular appearances at local events and shows. Kirkbymoorside is, however, a bustling modern town with award-winning, independent shops including a butchers, delicatessen, greengrocers, bakers, and a 760-year-old weekly market on Wednesdays. As it has been for centuries, the town centre is the heart and soul of its community, a friendly place to meet up and catch the gossip, a place where everyone is welcomed. But don’t think the locals are lazy: the town is the starting point for the popular Kirkbymoorside 10k, taking place in May each year, and famed for its gruelling first mile of hill-climbing; and in 2016, the town will proudly play its part in the Tour de Yorkshire, Britain’s greatest cycle road race, which returns to Ryedale on 1 May 2016.
Where else to hunt antiques nearby:
• Bondgate Antiques, Helmsley – a family-run shop specialising in fine antique and costumer jewellery, coins and silverware.
• Pickering Auction House – the North’s premier antiques centre in a town that celebrates nostalgia.
• Malton’s Magpie Antiques, overflowing with charming bric a brac, and run by enthusiast Gwynneth Warren for over 25 years.
For a complete shopping day-out, why not hop between Market Towns? Distance between Kirkbymoorside to Helmsley along the A170 = 6 miles or 10 minutes.
KMS has direct bus routes to Helmsley and Pickering and onwards to the Yorkshire coast. Adventure onto the North York Moors using the Summer Sunday community run Moors bus service.
HELMSLEY: HOME OF ART & DESIGN, AND THE ART OF FINE DINING…
Helmsley is Britain’s Best Market Town 2015, the place where you can live like a lord, because Helmsley makes a Fine Art out of the Dolce Vita. Its towering castle was once home to England’s most powerful Barons, including one of the Magna Carta’s rebel barons, Robert de Ros - a heritage proudly commemorated by local townsfolk!
Helmsley’s vast stately Duncombe Park – still the home of the Feversham family - was built by England’s wealthiest commoner. But while the town has style and class, there are no airs and graces. This is a friendly town, where there’s time to appreciate the finer things in life – here you’ll be treated like royalty! Even movie-makers come to Helmsley for advice…
ARTS & CRAFTS
Helmsley is a honey-pot for art lovers, with galleries and craft workshops to rival the major cities showcasing the work of local and international artists who’ve been inspired by the area’s heritage and spectacular scenery. The Saltbox, run by husband and wife team the Dwyers, has become one of the North’s leading fine art and craft galleries, so makes a great starting point for a cultural adventure, with ever-changing exhibitions from the work of over 150 artists at any one time.
Ryedale is famed for its woodland, so it’s not surprising that Helmsley is celebrated for its woodcrafts, including the 20th-century artistry of ‘Mousey Thompson’ whose woodwork can be discovered in many of the area’s historic houses and churches (the Mouseman workshop in nearby Kilburn is still celebrated for its master oak craftsmanship). The historic estate of Duncombe Park is a celebrated source of local wood, and its restored Sawmill manufactures a range of high-quality wood-products, including garden furniture and many of the footpath signs and stiles you’ll see on a country walk in the area.
For something a little more unusual, visit Keith the Stickman in Helmsley, who handcrafts bespoke walking sticks, Bishops’ crooks – and even magic wands for the movie ‘Nanny McPhee’. And don’t miss Helmsley’s Christmas Tree Festival each December, where over 30 trees are sourced locally from Duncombe Park are dressed to impress for the winter season.
As a top tip: Malton also shares outstanding examples of local woodland craftsmanship. Nick Nixon handcrafts award-winning, and bespoke, Cricket Bats for both professionals and enthusiasts; exquisitely-carved rocking horses have been handmade in the family-run workshops of Yorkshire Rocking Horses for over 30 years, and they also stock antiques; Woodlark design and hand make traditional wood furniture, with contemporary craftsmanship and incorporating unusual and figured timbers from local sources.
DESIGN FOR HOME… AND YOU!
Helmsley is the place to get ‘the look’, with a range of friendly boutiques providing unique, distinctive and sophisticated designs to clothe not only yourself, but your home.
For the home, try Helmsley Antiques and Interiors, which blends contemporary interior design with a ‘peppering’ of antiques. They have even been called in to help on the movies, including upcoming Harry Potter blockbuster, ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’. Peter Silk of Helmsley, known locally as the craftsmen who create interiors, specialise in eye-catching and innovative designs for the home. They stock everything from bizarre bookends to vintage lanterns, bespoke sofas to charming wallpaper. The Duncombe Park Shop, in the market square, has an eclectic mix of quirky and individual home accessories from cushions to candles.
For yourself, award-winning Bella Di Notte designs lingerie and nightwear for women, and also stocks top European designer brands; the very popular Tulchan designs comfortable women’s clothes and accessories that naturally fit, using natural fibres; Pennita Fashions is a luxury, two-floor boutique specialising in wedding and occasion wear, and including hats, jewellery, bags and shoes. To complete the luxury look, try Libby Butler Jewellers, with its inspiring ranges of quality craftsmanship hand-picked from designers in Yorkshire, and across the world.
THE ART OF FINE DINING…
Helmsley is an epicurean’s fantasy: its historic market square and quaint streets are full of extraordinary, independent shops specialising in local produce, including butchers, fishmongers, bakers, traditional sweet-makers, chocolatiers, ice-cream makers, a handcrafted brewery, and greengrocers. A highlight is Hunters of Helmsley, winner of the UK Best Small Shop Competition in 2015, and a speciality food store with an Aladdin’s Cave of gourmet delights, over 70% sourced from Yorkshire.
Helmsley is also Yorkshire’s epicentre of fine dining, with four of the North’s top restaurants nearby, and also award-winning tea-rooms. Try:
• The Black Swan at Oldstead, close to Helmsley, a family-run restaurant which has held a Michelin star for the past 5 years, and has recently been awarded an extraordinary 4 AA rosettes.
• The Star Inn at Harome near Helmsley is the restaurant of top UK chef, Andrew Pern. The restaurant has a Michelin star and 3 AA rosettes, and has recently been voted a UK Top 3 Gastropub!
• The Feversham Arms in Helmsley is not only one of the UK’s leading Spa-hotels, but boasts a 3 AA rosette restaurant.
• The Hare at Scawton near Helmsley is Yorkshire’s Restaurant of the Year in 2015, with 3 AA rosettes.
• Helmsley’s award-winning Black Swan is a regular winner of Britain’s Tearoom of Excellence for its Afternoon High Tea, with dainty finger sandwiches and fruit scones, and a bewildering array of teas.
For something a little different…?
Set within some of England’s most spectacular countryside, Helmsley is also a town that cares for its local environment. Try these Helmsley shops for some unusual shopping inspiration, and keep Britain beautiful:
• The National Birds of Prey Centre has the North’s largest collection of birds-of-prey, with amazing daily flying demonstrations and winter owl walks, but also the area’s best collection of cuddly soft toy owls and hawks. You can even ‘buy’ your own Harry Potter Hedwig, thanks to a local adoption scheme.
• Helmsley Walled Garden is a series of magnificent 250-year-old micro-gardens spanning five acres, which once provided fresh produce and flowers for the Feversham family of Duncombe Park, but now supplies the shop with delicious pickles and preserves. Honey from the Garden’s bees is also used in therapeutic recipes (and you can even meet the bees during special events!)
Even budget accommodation is luxurious in Helmsley: the cosy Youth Hostel - with ensuite rooms, free WiFi, a cycle store, and even a delicious Supper Club - has been awarded 4 stars by Visit England.
Helmsley is a great place to go if you want to leave the car behind, with walks and cycle routes from its doorstep. In fact, Helmsley will be part of Britain’s greatest cycle road race in 2016, when the Tour de Yorkshire returns to Ryedale on 1 May 2016.
Helmsley has direct bus routes to Malton & Norton, Kirkbymoorside, Pickering and onto the coast. Direct bus routes also travel out across the picturesque Howardian Hills to York and Easingwold. Adventure onto the North York Moors with the Summer Sunday community run Moors bus service.
SPECIAL EVENT HIGHLIGHTS IN 2016
Ryedale’s Market Towns come alive during its festivals and special events, which take place all year-round. There are also regular Farmers’ Markets and weekly markets in each Market Town, a huge range of outdoor events for sporting enthusiasts – from triathlons to MTB orienteering, and a full calendar of events at local attractions, from vintage car rallies to flower festivals. For full details, visit www.visitryedale.co.uk. Here are a few highlights:
13 – 21 The Dark Skies Festival. Enjoy a rare star-gazing phenomenon, taking a trip to the Milky Way. Ryedale has access to some of the UK’s most impressive night skies, celebrated at venues across the North York Moors during February half-term. Start at Helmsley (with access to the Sutton Bank Observatory and the National Trust’s Rievaulx Terrace) or Pickering (with access to the Dalby Forest Observatory).
12 – 20 The Flying Scotsman comes to Pickering’s North Yorkshire Moors Railway! The legendary locomotive was designed by master engineer Sir Nigel Gresley in 1923. It was the first-ever non-stop train between London and Edinburgh, and also the first train to reach 100 miles an hour!
17 – 20 Yorkshire Cajun & Zydeco Festival in Malton. The UK’s largest festival of its type – this unusual music and dance extravaganza attracts top bands from across the UK and Europe, to turn this little corner of Yorkshire into the Deep South of America.
From 26 March, look out for special Easter activities at Malton’s nearby visitor attractions Eden Camp, Flamingo Land, and Castle Howard; and Helmsley’s nearby attractions Rievaulx Terrace and Nunnington Hall.
1 - 3 Ryedale Festival. Welcoming outstanding musicians from across the world, performing in Ryedale’s concert halls, historic houses and churches, alongside talks, exhibitions and family events.
21 – 23 Beertown in Malton – one of many Ryedale Beer Festivals celebrating the magnificent real ales of the region. There are three breweries in the town itself!
29 April - 1 May The Tour de Yorkshire 2016, the UK’s biggest cycle race attracting international riders, explores the north of Ryedale, passing through the picturesque market towns of Helmsley and Kirkbymoorside before climbing to the spectacular Yorkshire moorland.
28 – 29 May Malton Food Lovers Festival in Malton, Yorkshire’s Food Capital – featuring the UK’s top chefs in food demos, stalls and street food by the region’s award-winning food and drink producers, talks, tours and even a cookery school.
30 Duncombe Park Country Fair in Helmsley – North Yorkshire’s original country fair, with farmers’ and craft markets, funfair, horse shows, dog shows and display teams, freestyle motocross stunt-riding, country sports, vintage cars and much more.
21 - 22 Pickering Game & Country Fair at Scampston Park in Malton, including the UK Tractor Show and a celebration of country sports, from horse shows to ferret shows, clay shooting to archery.
11 – 12 Raptor Fair at the National Centre for Birds of Prey in Helmsley – showcasing the very best of birds of prey and falconry in the UK and abroad, at the centre which homes the North’s largest collection of birds-of-prey. Meet the experts, and see the birds in action during breathtaking flying demonstrations.
From July, look out for summer events at Ryedale’s many historic houses, gardens and family attractions, including Castle Howard, North Yorkshire Moors Railway, Ryedale Folk Museum near Kirkbymoorside, Beck Isle Museum in Pickering, Malton Museum, the National Centre for Birds of Prey, Flamingo Land near Pickering, Duncombe Park in Helmsley, Rievaulx Terrace near Helmsley and Helmsley Walled Garden in Helmsley. For a full listing, go to www.visitryedale.co.uk.
3 The 30th Malton Show at Scampston Hall, Malton. Traditional fun agricultural show featuring farmers’ markets, horses and livestock, fur and feather, vintage tractors, fun dog show and tug-of-wars…
15 – 31 Ryedale Festival. Welcoming outstanding musicians from across the world, performing in Ryedale’s concert halls, historic houses and churches, alongside talks, exhibitions and family events.
16 - 17 Yorkshire Wolds Cycle Challenge, starting in Norton and climbing to the spectacular ‘Big Sky Rides’ of the Yorkshire Wolds.
24 – 30 Ryedale Jazz Festival in Pickering, featuring the Beansheaf house-band and musicians from across the UK.
26 The 150th Ryedale Show at Welburn Park, Kirkbymoorside. Traditional agricultural show with horses, sheep, pigs, goats, and cattle, dog shows, markets, and plenty of fun events.
1 – 31 Lavender Harvest & Distillation at Wolds Way Lavender, Wintringham near Malton.
20 Castle Howard Proms Spectacular – annual outdoor concert and fireworks spectacular near Malton
10 Malton Game and Seafood Festival in Malton - festival of food with live demos by top, Michelin-starred chefs, cookery lessons and the best of Yorkshire street food.
Malton Stables Open Day 2016, explore Malton’s proud racing heritage, dating back 300 years and still attracting the country’s top trainers and racehorses. The 2016 date will soon be announced on www.visitryedale.co.uk.
Helmsley LittleFest including the World Knitted Cake Festival! The 2016 date will soon be announced on www.visitryedale.co.uk.
7 – 10 Ryedale Book Festival, talks, tours, and special events in the town that inspired Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol. Various venues across Malton.
14 – 16 Pickering Wartime Weekend – the entire town of Pickering and the North Yorkshire Moors Railway turn the clock back to the 1940s, with historic re-enactments, parades, steam train trips, music and dance, food, street theatre, vintage vehicles, and much more.
Look out for special half-term events at nearby attractions including Castle Howard, Nunnington Hall, Flamingo Land Theme Park & Zoo, Sledmere House, Scampston Walled Garden. From October, there are Winter Owl Evenings at the National Centre for Birds of Prey in Helmsley, with magical flying demonstrations by candlelight and torchlight and a delicious dinner. You can find full details at www.visitryedale.co.uk.
From November to December
From November, look out for Christmas Light Festivals in Malton, Norton, Pickering and Kirkbymoorside, with food, drink, street entertainment including traditional brass bands, carol singing and Santa’s grottos.
Throughout December: Malton is the town that inspired Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol, the famous author being a regular visitor to Ryedale. Malton’s Dickensian Festival is a regional Christmas highlight, attracting celebrity guests and leading experts, with theatre, street entertainment, talks, tours, horse and carriage rides, and even Victorian food and drink! Helmsley’s unusual Christmas Tree Festival in December heralds the start of packed programme of special events in the town, including music, street food and entertainment, the annual panto, and evening openings.
Local visitor attractions also add to the festive sparkle: Castle Howard near Malton is transformed into an enchanting wonderland throughout December, with magical decorations, roaring log fires and live music inside the house, and Christmas markets in the stable yard. Duncombe Park in Helmsley hosts an annual Christmas Fair; the International Bird of Prey Centre in Helmsley has magical evening flying demonstrations, alongside their daily events; Nunnington Hall welcomes Father Christmas during its 1920s Christmas Experience; and the North Yorkshire Moors Railway launches its popular Santa Specials.
There’s much more to explore. For details, visit www.visitryedale.co.uk
Notes to the Editor
Visit Ryedale is supported by Ryedale District Council and over 700 tourism businesses and works in partnership with VisitYork, Visit Hull & East Yorkshire, Welcome to Yorkshire and Visit England.
Visit Ryedale's aim is to market Ryedale and its market towns as a must-see destination to the leisure visitor, and ensure investment to develop the quality of tourism in Ryedale. Visit Ryedale is responsible for leisure marketing, visitor information and ensuring a quality visitor experience.
Key fact tourism facts: 5 million visitors annually, £209 million total visitor spend, supporting nearly 7,000 jobs.
Getting Around Ryedale
By car - Ryedale can be easily reached on the national road network. The A1 passes through North Yorkshire and is connected to the east and the coast via the A64 at York and the A170 at Thirsk. The A19 runs north to south to the west of the area, parallel to the A1, and passes through York, Thirsk and Northallerton.
Public Car parks (an toilet facilities) are located in all the market towns. Long stay tickets are transferrable between the long stay carparks. Free 2 hour parking in Malton and all day in Norton.
By train - Virgin Trains East Coast, Grand Central, Cross Country and Transpennine Express run services from all parts of the country to York and Leeds where connections can be made to Malton. Visit www.virgintrainseastcoast.com and www.tpexpress.co.uk. National Rail enquiries Tel: 08457 484950. Grand Central runs train services between the North East of England and London, calling at Northallerton, Thirsk, York and London. Tel: 0845 6034852 Website: www.grandcentralrail.com. The North York Moors is best explored via Pickering’s North Yorkshire Moors Railway, with stations at Levisham, Goathland and Grosmont making great starting points for walking and cycling across the Moors: book online at www.nymr.co.uk, with prices for a Pickering to Goathland/Grosmont Day Rover starting at £26 per adult, with under 5s free.
By coach - National Express coaches serve the region with drops at Thirsk, Northallerton and Middlesbrough, connecting with Coastliner buses to Malton, Pickering, Goathland and Whitby from Leeds. Websites: www.nationalexpress.com www.yorkbus.co.uk. Other regular local bus services operate throughout the area. You can find out more from the website of Yorkshire Travel www.yorkshiretravel.net Tel: 0871 200 22 33.
Car hire - Mennell Motors, Malton (also minibus hire) tel: 01653 695880 - JB Motors, Malton tel: 01653 692678. You can even explore in vintage style, by hiring a classic car www.classiccarhireyorkshire.co.uk or www.northyorkshireclassiccarhire.co.uk, with prices starting at just £145 for the day.
By bicycle – the area is ideal for cycling, and bike hire can also be arranged locally (from around £30 for an adult hardtail for trail riding) in York, Pickering, and visitor centres at Dalby (near Pickering) and Sutton Bank (near Helmsley). As a starting point, visit www.visitryedale.co.uk, which also has a wide range of downloadable cycle trails.
Access from Norton for the 146 mile Yorkshire Wolds Cycle Route http://www.cycleyorkshirewolds.com/route
By horse – with over 500 miles of bridleways, and also a 55-mile circular riding route devised by the British Horse Society, there are plenty of ways to explore the area by horse-back with riding centres, including horsey accommodation if you bring your four-legged friend with you. As a starting point, visit www.visitryedale.co.uk, and also the local riding centre at Sinnington, www.friarshillstables.co.uk, with prices for an hour’s gentle hacking starting at £23 for an adult.
On foot – Ryedale has 1400 miles of country paths and tracks, so you can walk in the footsteps of farmers, monks, pilgrims, warriors, drovers, artists from the past, who have walked the area, including the 109-mile Cleveland Way National Trail and 82-mile Centenary Way, which links York Minster to Filey. There are many excellent guidebooks and websites with route ideas, but as a starting point visit www.visitryedale.co.uk.
Short walks maps from each market town will soon be available via the i footpaths app, from June 2016.
By glider – like aerial enthusiasts across the country, you can take advantage of the unique thermals rising up and over Sutton Bank escarpment near Helmsley, to see the whole of Ryedale laid out before you – a view described by Alf Wight, creator of James Herriot, as “England’s finest view”. The Sutton Bank Gliding Club, founded in the 1930s, and with famous members including Amy Johnson, offers trial flights for complete beginners or glider hire for experts. For more information, visit www.ygc.co.uk; trial lessons start at £89.50.
The nearest airports are Leeds Bradford, Robin Hood near Doncaster and Sheffield, Durham Tees Valley and Newcastle. Train and bus connections can be made from these airports to destinations within Ryedale. Slightly further away is Manchester Airport which is served by direct rail connections into Malton, Thirsk and York.
P&O Ferries sail daily from Rotterdam and Zeebrugge to Hull, which is to the south east. DFDS Seaways sail from the Rotterdam to Newcastle to the north (www.poferries.com).
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