By day and night…
You'll not forget the breathtaking views from the relatively flat tops of the North York Moors. It's big-sky country of open panoramas where you'll experience an incredible feeling of space. We reckon these are ten of the best views in and around the North York Moors. Do you agree? Share your favourites with us via Facebook and Twitter.
1. Sutton Bank
It was author and vet James Herriot who gave the view from the Sutton Bank escarpment the ultimate accolade – “England’s finest”. There’s only one way to find out if he’s right. Head to the 978-foot-high gateway to the western side of the National Park and see for yourself. It’s a fantastic location for walks and bike rides, provided you do the sensible thing and start from the wide flat bit at the top, the part with the amazing vista over Hood Hill, Lake Gormire and Vale of Mowbray. Bike hire is available from Sutton Bank Bikes based at Sutton Bank National Park Centre. With your appetite whetted, head to the nearby Michelin-starred The Black Swan at Oldstead where you'll find impeccably sourced local ingredients at the heart of stylish menus that change with the seasons.
2. Blakey Ridge
Nothing beats the ever-changing view from Blakey Ridge – whether it’s low-lying fog in the valley or sunlight breaking through the clouds onto the moors. Ancient stone crosses and boundary markers pepper the surroundings, but otherwise this seems a long way from anywhere. Let time stand still for a moment before heading into the iconic Lion Inn, a warm and cosy pub, and the highest in the National Park. If you’ve tramped across hill and dale to get here, the tempting menu soon revives flagging spirits, along with a pint of real ale and a big roaring fire.
3. Ravenscar to Robin Hood's Bay
Start with the majestic cliffs and sheltered harbours of the National Park coast, particularly from Ravenscar – that breathtaking, sweeping view across Fylingdales Moor and Robin Hood’s Bay down to the old red-roofed smugglers' village is unbeatable, especially on a clear spring or summer day when the light seems to dance off the sea. It’s the highest point on the popular off-road Cinder Track coastal cycle trail so a great place to catch your breath and sample the delights of afternoon tea at Raven Hall before capturing that perfect picture on camera.
4. Hole of Horcum
For brooding moorland scenery there’s the drama of the vantage-point at Saltergate, above the stunning natural cauldron of the Hole of Horcum. Our Hole of Horcum walk takes you across to ruined Skelton Tower at Corn Hill Point with an extraordinary view down into Newtondale too, the North York Moors' own miniature 'Grand Canyon', and over the track of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. The grassy headland is a wonderful spot for a picnic, and you'll hear the whistle of the steam trains below in plenty of time to grab your camera.
5. and 6. Carlton Bank and Clay Bank
The 11 mile stretch of the Cleveland Way National Trail between Osmotherley and Clay Bank is known for its memorable views but two that stick out are at Carlton Bank and Clay Bank.
The easiest way to reach the top of Carlton Bank is by starting at Lord’s Stone Café and Country Park and heading south west along the Cleveland Way for about 500 metres to the cairn. The summit provides extensive views of the Tees Valley and of the distinctive Roseberry Topping.
The car park and picnic area at Clay Bank is another popular stop where Roseberry Topping and the Captain Cook Monument rise in the distance from the Cleveland plain. Try our 3-mile walk which offers the best of the sweeping views.
7. Danby Beacon
It may not be as famous as its more glamorous cousin, Roseberry Topping, which lies at the end of the same moorland ridge a few miles to the west, but Danby Beacon is a close second as a magnet for walkers in the North York Moors, and the view is arguably even better – a tremendous 360 degree panorama of moor, dale and sea. In fact Beacon Hill has been the site of a beacon – a fire lit to warn of danger from invasion – since the 17th century. The current beacon has a flame-shaped basket and stands at over 5m tall. Find out more about its history back down at The Moors National Park Centre, about one mile away.
8. Rievaulx Abbey (from Rievaulx Terrace)
Perched high above Rievaulx Abbey, the National Trust managed Rievaulx Terrace is a half mile long terrace with a Doric Temple at one end and an Ionic Temple at the other. Decked with wildflowers in spring and summer, including primroses and orchids, it’s perfect for picnics while 13 different viewpoints along the terrace give fleeting glimpses of the impressive Cistercian ruins below. Helmsley’s classy delis, only a few miles away, will provide gourmet picnic fixings.
9. Caulkeys Bank
Further south a distinctive limestone ridge known as Caulkeys Bank runs east-west with dramatic views north across the Vale of Pickering to a wide sweep of the North York Moors. Turning southward, the Howardian Hills spread before you above the villages of Hovingham and Slingsby, while in the east the Yorkshire Wolds rise above the flat ground in the distance. Once you’ve enjoyed this short walk from Nunnington and soaked up the view, venture down into the nearby honey-coloured village of Nunnington nestling on the banks of the river Rye. You’ll find three galleries there, all worth a visit, including one at the top of Nunnington Hall.
10. Starry, starry nights...
Not so much a view but not to be missed. While the big open skies of the North York Moors are amazing by day, stay overnight and you'll go starry eyed too as our dark sky panoramas are revealed. Dalby Forest is a Dark Sky Discovery Site, Milky Way class, which means it's amongst the darkest sites in the country and the Milky Way is visible to the naked eye. Scarborough and Ryedale Astronomical Society holds stargazing events in the Dalby Observatories deep in the heart of the forest on the first Friday most months between October and March (8pm-9.30pm).
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