Helmsley is a small market town with real charm, on the southern edge of the North York Moors midway between Thirsk and Pickering and 25 miles north of York. It's a favoured stopping place for people on their way to the coast, but it is also a very pleasant place to stay for a longer spell.
The town was once of strategic significance and has a castle, which was "slighted" - or, as we might now say, made unfit for purpose - by Cromwell's Parliamentary forces after the English Civil War. But the remains still tower above the town. Helmsley Castle is now in the care of English Heritage and open to the public.
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Also open to the public is the Helmsley Walled Garden, which covers 5 acres and has beautiful displays of clematis, in particular. This was created in 1758 as a kitchen garden to supply the Duncombe family and their estate with fruit, vegetable, and herbs for the kitchen and flowers for display, and has a excellent restaurant which serves the produce of the garden.
Duncombe Park and Rievaulx Abbey are both "must-sees" too. Duncombe Park is in fine repair and is the residence of Lord and Lady Feversham - both the house and grounds are open to the public for almost six months of the year. Rievaulx Abbey is another monastery partially destroyed by Henry VIII, though it's remains are amongst the most complete and still present a wonderful, stirring sight. Rievaulx is within walking distance of Helmsley.
The town itself has some excellent shops and stores, and superb restaurants.
Check the Hello Yorkshire blog.
Rievaulx Abbey, Rievaulx, near Helmsley
Eden Camp, Malton
Ryedale Folk Museum, Hutton-le-Hole
North York Moors National Park