North York Moors

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North Yorkshire Moors Railway by Chris J ParkerNorth Yorkshire Moors Railway by Chris J Parker

When you visit the North York Moors, why not let the bus or train take the strain?

The North York Moors and surrounding area has a good network of rail and bus services, serving many of the main towns and villages, plus some fantastic walking and cycling routes if you'd rather get around under your own two feet (or wheels).

On foot and by bike

If you walked all the rights of way in the Park, amounting to 1,408 miles… well, frankly, you’d be exhausted. But walking and cycling are fantastic way of exploring the area, reaching the far flung places just not possible by car. 

We've got plenty of day walks and cycle ride ideas to get you started but perhaps we can tempt you on a full-blown walking and cycling holiday by tackling one of these?

It’s feet first on the Cleveland Way National Trail, the 109-mile long-distance footpath that runs through the heart of the Park, from Helmsley to Filey. It has a bit of everything en route – amazing moorland views, coastal footpaths, ruined abbeys and smugglers’ villages. It’s some journey taken in full, but it’s easy to split the walk up into manageable day sections too – there are some ideas here to get you started. 

Take a ride on the Moor to Sea Cycle Network, the National Park's flagship, long-distance bike route. The 150 mile network provides 5-6 days of great cycling linking Scarborough, Whitby, Dalby Forest, Pickering and Great Ayton in a stunning series of moorland, forest and coastal loops. It will take you through the very heart of the North York Moors National Park – on quiet roads, woodland tracks and bridleways, as well as along the 'Cinder Track' the 21 mile off-road route along the former Scarborough to Whitby railway. If you're not quite up for doing the full 150 miles, the route also joins up with the Esk Valley Railway, meaning some sections can be done as a car-free day out.

By train

The North York Moors has two great options for visitors looking to travel around the National Park by train.

A puff of steam and the toot of a whistle announces the start of the 18-mile journey back in time from Pickering through Newtondale Gorge to Grosmont on the fabulous North Yorkshire Moors Railway, the country's most popular heritage railway. Originally an amazing feat of engineering, it's one of the oldest train lines in the country. Some trains continue on for a further six miles out to Whitby.

Delightful villages, dramatic views, riverside picnic spots and gentle country walks are all found on a train ride through the delightful Esk Valley on the Esk Valley Railway. One of the most picturesque and romantic train journeys in the country, running for 35 miles from industrial Middlesbrough out to Whitby, it crosses historic viaducts and stops at half a dozen pretty riverside and moorland villages. There’s plenty to get off for too, a splash across the stepping stones at Lealholm, a visit to the Grosmont engine sheds or your very own Romeo and Juliet moment at romantic Beggar’s Bridge in Glaisdale.

By bus

The North York Moors and surrounding area has a good network of bus services, serving many of the main towns and villages. The key services are listed below, but the easiest way to find the right bus is to use an online travel planner such as Traveline Yorkshire or give them a call on 0871 200 22 33.

Daily services
  • Yorkshire Coastliner - daily from Leeds, Tadcaster, York and Malton to Pickering, Thornton le Dale, Goathland and Whitby. Sunday services too. Also has free Wi-Fi on board to help you plan your day out. Dogs travel free of charge.
  • Arriva - serving the northern part of the National Park, regular services from Middlesbrough to Scarborough via Guisborough, Whitby and many villages, including Robin Hood's Bay. Late evening and Sunday services too. The main Middlesbrough to Scarborough service (X93) also offers free Wi-Fi.
  • East Yorkshire Motor Services (EYMS) - the 128 Service runs seven days a week from Scarborough to Helmsley. They also offer a 10% discount card for free that's used like a top-up card with your credit paying for your bus journeys. For regular bus travellers it offers a good saving on single and return journeys and can be used on most services including 128 Scarborough to Helmsley. It's simple to apply online.
  • Stephensons of Easingwold - for Helmsley, Hovingham, Castle Howard and Malton; Kirkbymoorside, Helmsley, Easingwold and York; and Malton and York.
Weekend and bank holiday services
  • The Moors Explorer is EYMS's summer Sunday and Bank Holiday service (2017 dates tbc) that runs from Hessle, Hull, Cottingham and Beverley all the way to The Moors National Park Centre at Danby, via Malton, Pickering, Kirkbymoorside, Hutton le Hole and Blakey. You'll also get special discounts on everything from bike hire to admission prices and tearooms, just show your ticket! Details of participating businesses are shown on their website.
  • The Moors Rambler is a Sunday (and Bank Holiday Monday) service operating during the peak summer season (2017 dates tbc) - from Darlington, Stockton, Middlesbrough and Guisborough, through to Pickering, via The Moors National Park Centre at Danby, Blakey Ridge, Hutton le Hole and Kirkbymoorside. Concessionary passes are accepted.
  • The Moors Endeavour operates on Sundays (and Bank Holiday Monday) in the peak summer season (2017 dates tbc), serving Saltburn, Stokesley, Northallerton, Thirsk and Helmsley, and places in-between, including a stop at Coxwold and Byland Abbey.
  • Children travel FREE on Summer Sunday trips on the three Moorsbus services above (Rambler, Endeavour and M14).  You can take up to four children for free when you buy an adult £8 all-day ticket.

By car?

Please remember that if you choose to travel around the area by car that many of our roads are narrow and shared by other users. Very few of the roads have separate paths so you may well meet a walker, cyclist or horse-rider in the middle of the road as you come round a bend. So please drive carefully and take care.

Please also note, the rural nature of the North York Moors means that Sat Nav's may not be 100% reliable and it is best to check for accurate directions on individual businesses' websites.

You will find car parks in some of the villages which help to relieve congestion on the roads. A Park and Ride service is in operation for Whitby, which operates from the first day of North Yorkshire's Easter school holidays until the end of October, including Bank Holidays.

In the National Park, the National Park Authority has provided car parks for which there is a moderate charge. The money raised helps to look after the car park so that the Authority's funding can be used to care for the National Park. 

For information on travelling to the North York Moors and surrounding area from elsewhere in the UK and from overseas, please see Getting to the North York Moors.