There’s a contented cheeriness about Helmsley. Whether that’s due to a strong community spirit, the beautiful historic surroundings or simply happy people, but the National Park’s only market town feels inviting as soon as you reach the impressive market square.

The old sandstone buildings add to the warm welcome as you begin ambling along the lanes branching out from the square where there are plenty of good independent shops, cafés and restaurants to tempt you in.

Helmsley (c) VBI/Gary Walsh
Helmsley (c) VBI/Gary Walsh

Cross the bridge over the river Rye and within minutes you’ll see the spectacular Medieval Castle standing on a grassy rise like a sentry guarding the town. In the shadow of the castle, but no less spectacular, is Helmsley Walled Garden, a sanctuary for anybody looking to escape everyday life.

If you want more peace then find the start of the 109-mile Cleveland Way National Trail and walk 3-miles through ancient woods and pastures to arrive at Rievaulx, where you can silently wander in awe looking at the stunning ruins of the Cistercian Abbey.

Also within striking distance of Helmsley is Duncombe Park, where you can walk through the parkland, much of which is a National Nature Reserve, home to many ancient trees and bird species, or visit the National Centre for Birds of Prey.

If all this isn’t enough, then travel eight miles westwards and you’ll reach the dramatic escarpment of Sutton Bank where you can drink in far-reaching views across the Vales of York and Mowbray.

Plan your visit

Plan your visit

Getting here

Helmsley is on a number of bus routes:

EY 128/X28 connects Scarborough to Helmsley

Reliance 31X from York to Kirkbymoorside

• Seasonal bus services in summer - Moorsbus and ME1 from Hessle

North York Moors Cycleway passes through Helmsley

Walk 10 miles from Sutton Bank to Helmsley along the Cleveland Way National Trail


Car parks: Market Place YO62 5BL (short stay) and Cleveland Way YO62 5AT (long stay) (pay and display)

Free coach parking in the long stay Cleveland Way car park

Nearest public EV charging points – Cleveland Way car park YO62 5AT

Bike racks in front of The Black Swan Hotel

Bike hire and repair The Bike Doctor or from
Sutton Bank Bikes

Restaurants, cafés, pubs

Cash point

Post office (The Black Swan) (Tuesday-Thursday am only)

Health shop and delis

Weekly market (Friday)

Helmsley Community Library


Visitor information from Sutton Bank YO7 2EH

A 'Helmsley to Rievaulx’ circular walk leaflet (7 miles/11km) complete with map and information is available to buy from local shops

Public toilets

Borogate YO62 5BN (near Market Place) – accessible (RADAR key needed)

Cleveland Way car park YO62 5AT – accessible (RADAR key needed)

Share with care

How you can keep the North York Moors special

View all share with care
Give nature a chance and take your rubbish and dog poo home

Give nature a chance and take your rubbish and dog poo home

Keep dogs on a lead or under close control to protect wildlife

Keep dogs on a lead or under close control to protect wildlife

Drive carefully

Drive carefully

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