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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, there's plenty of places to grab a cone.

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.

For breathtaking moorland scenery, the Hole of Horcum and wider Levisham Estate is hard to beat. Stand at the vantage point near Skelton Tower for picture perfect views and the sights and sounds of the steam trains below. It is Open Access Land, which means you're free to walk, run, climb and picnic where you like. Access the estate from our Saltergate car park, where you can fuel up with coffee and cake from Hopes & Beans coffee van, Levisham village or Levisham station on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.

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 blue and green routes for families and beginners, and forest tracks for a gentle pedal.

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, climb down through the woods at Hayburn Wyke to go rock-hopping on giant beach boulders. Then investigate the mystery of Ravenscar – the ‘Town That Never Was’ and enjoy a lemonade and cake stop at Ravenscar Tearooms – 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, if you want to start closer to Whitby. For something a bit different, get a bike from Bay Hire, just north of Scarborough and cycle your way north up to Whitby. What's unusual about that? It's how you get back! Yorkshire Coast boat trips offer the most scenic ride back to Scarborough via boat - with your bike too!

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 the end of May or early June until the first week in September.

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 National 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, Instagram and Twitter)!

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. Performers for 2021 include Bryan Adams, Steroephonics, Kaiser Chiefs, Culture Club, Nile Rodgers & Chic, Keane, Olly Murs, UBB40, Anne-Marie, James, Snow Patrol, Duran Duran, Crowded House, Lionel Richie and Lewis Capaldi.