North York Moors

North York Moors logo
Browse section

Ideas for sunny days

Lealholm by Chris J ParkerLealholm by Chris J Parker

Believe it or not, being on the east coast, the North York Moors is the driest upland area in the country, which means we have plenty of sunny days (yes, really!). And you just can't beat the place when the sun shines and those skies seem that little bit bigger, and the sea sparkles. Our beautiful heritage coastline is a natural draw but we've got loads of ideas on how to make the most of the sun.

See the sun rise and set in the sea

Because Whitby faces north, it's one of those very rare places where the sun rises and sets over the sea in summer. If you don't fancy getting up at 4.30am for the first, how about a leisurely twilight cruise to enjoy the second? As weather (sun!) dependent, check out Whitby Coastal Cruises' facebook page and chalkboard by their boarding point at the Brewery Steps in Whitby for updates.

Don't miss Whitby's West Cliff and its two-mile beach too or simply stroll around the waterfront and grab a refreshing ice cream from Teare Woods, made from the milk of their own herd of Jersey cows that roam the nearby North York Moors.

Pack up a picnic and head to...

From freshly caught fish and Yorkshire ham, to local cheese and artisan bread, you'll find plenty of delis and bakeries to source a fabulous feast. We've two suggestions for where to spread out your tempting fayre.

Lealholm, in the Esk Valley for perfect picnic spots by the river, complete with obligatory stepping stones. The aptly named Stepping Stones Bakery will provide all your home baked treat requirements. A short walk around the village will reveal some of its history, just keep an eye out for the friendly ducks – they'll be looking out for tasty crumbs.

Or head to Hayburn Wyke on the coast, tucked away at the end of a wooded valley in a secret cove. Its beach of many coloured pebbles is a paradise for children and adults alike. Dramatic, almost sheer cliffs covered with dense vegetation are a backdrop to this very special place, the picturesque waterfall so close, it drops directly onto the beach.

Adrenaline-fuelled mountain biking

Hit one of the many mountain biking trails at Dalby Forest, close to Pickering, a mountain bikers dream. England’s largest trail centre has 70km of tracks to choose from. From world-class cross-country black and red mountain bike trails, to green routes for families and beginners, and forest tracks for a gentle pedal. Improvements have also been made to the blue trail so there's something for all abilities.

Cycle back in time along the Cinder Track

If berms, drop offs, north shore and table tops aren't really your thing, then follow 21 miles of off-road freedom along the Cinder Track, the old coastal railway line between Scarborough and Whitby. While a mountain bike or hybrid is recommended (it's an unsurfaced track), and it's by no means flat, the seaward views are hard to beat. Head past smugglers’ haunts, hidden beaches and hideaway hamlets – perfect if you always wanted to be in the Famous Five. For a start, there’s lemonade and cake at the old station tea room in Cloughton, followed by a climb down through the woods at Hayburn Wyke to go rock-hopping on giant beach boulders. Then you can investigate the mystery of Ravenscar – the ‘Town That Never Was’ – before zooming over a 120-foot-high viaduct and ending in historic Whitby, where fish & chips await.

There’s bike hire at Trailways at Hawsker, right on the Cinder Track, or how about getting Moors & Coast Cycle Hire to deliver a bike to Ravenscar, the highest point, to avoid all that sweaty climbing in the sun. 

Take the plunge in an outdoor pool

If the North Sea sounds a little cold even when the sun's shining, maybe a heated pool is the answer? With the stunning North York Moors as a backdrop, the Helmsley Open Air Swimming Pool’s freshwater is held at around 28 degrees. Originally built in the 1960s, the 20m x 8m pool now comes complete with small café and upgraded changing facilities, making it the perfect place to laze away summer days. Depending on the weather, the pool is normally open every day from mid June until the first week in September.

It’s show time!

Ferret roulette, sheepdog trials, jam-making competitions, livestock classes, heavy horses and vintage tractors – it’s all par for the course at the local agricultural and country shows, which are a traditional highlight of the summer calendar in the North York Moors. 

Festival fever

Okay we can't completely guarantee being rain-free when it comes to music festivals, but grab your tent and take your chance at one of these great outdoor gigs and concerts. Just have your wellies ready...

Scarborough Open Air Theatre hosts big name gigs on various dates over the summer, including Beach Boys, Kaiser Chiefs, The Charlatans, Micahel Ball & Alfie Boe, Tom Jones, Olly Muirs, Madness and Jess Glynne.

Outdoor dining

Enjoying a meal in the great outdoors always seems to be that much tastier. Quite frankly you really are spoilt for choice here in the North York Moors, but these few, recommended by locals, are extra special for their unbeatable views.

A walk in the Park

Quite simply a pleasure, whatever the weather. Enjoy the views, fresh air and tranquillity of the National Park. Short strolls, family walks, easy access walks, half-day outings and all-day hikes, we've got them all, simply download one of our free walking routes. See you out and about (and don’t forget to share your photos with us on Facebook and Twitter)!