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History and heritage

North Yorkshire Moors Railway - Credit Graham StaplesNorth Yorkshire Moors Railway - Credit Graham Staples

From gothic ruins to Victorian steam trains, Cistercian monasteries to 18th century stately homes; ironstone mines to fishing villages, the National Park can certainly boast a rich heritage.

We have some excellent guides too who will not only show you the top spots but also share the stories, myths and legends associated with each place.

Riches, ruins and romance

Walking at Rosedale Bank Top Credit Olivia Brabbs

Lead guide Chris and his team at Grand Yorkshire are all professional driver-guides. Sit back and relax on the drive across our dales and moorlands. Tailor a tour to suit you, whether it’s visiting the abbeys at Byland, Rievaulx and Whitby or learning more about our ironstone mining heritage with a visit to beautiful Rosedale to see the atmospheric remains of kilns and railway lines.

Start your North York Moors tour by checking out Grand Yorkshire’s rundown of options.


Step back in time

Smuggling tour at Robin Hood's Bay Credit Olivia BrabbsThe murky smuggling antics that were rife in Robin Hood’s Bay during the 18th century have been brought to life by Baytown Walks.

They have a number guided tours packed full of historic facts and smuggling tales. As you stroll through the network of narrow cobbled streets, it’s easy to imagine how contraband was once hauled ashore and passed through the village via tunnels and secret passageways.

Experience the history of Robin Hood's Bay and book your personalised smuggling tour.


Steam powered smiles on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway

North Yorkshire Moors Railway Credit Olivia BrabbsFrom the moment you step aboard a heritage train, you’ll be transported back to the Victorian golden age of steam travel courtesy of its evocative sounds, sights and smells.

Enjoy 24-miles between Pickering and Whitby, taking in some of the finest scenery in the National Park. You'll have a few hours to explore the historic, seaside town before returning back to Pickering.

Other services include journeys to beautifully quaint Levisham station while Harry Potter fans can relive the magic at Goathland, famous as Hogsmeade station in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone film, or enjoy a taste of indulgence aboard the Pullman dining service.

Trains may be operating at limited capacity and not all services are running, we recommend pre-booking your tickets to travel.


Rievaulx Abbey

Rievaulx Abbey Credit Olivia BrabbsTucked away in a tranquil valley, enjoy the serenity and peace as you follow in the footsteps of the 12th century Cistercian monks.

With impressive ruins and a visitor experience shining a light on the site’s fascinating past you’ll discover how the Abbey quickly became one of the most powerful and spiritually renowned monasteries in Britain.

Plan your full Rievaulx experience - wander the ruins, pick up an audio tour, take in the views from the café and bring your walking boots to explore the surrounding valley.


Yorkshire on Screen

Castle Howard Credit Olivia Brabbs

If you’re keen to scout out the locations that have appeared in films and TV programmes, then book a tour with Kirsty or Linda from Yorkshire & Beyond.

Both are excellent guides who have created screen-themed tours including one devoted to Downton Abbey, which includes visits to the steam train at Pickering and elegant stately home, Castle Howard.

Contact Kirsty or Linda to book your film-inspired day out.


Want more?

If you love delving into the past then Ryedale Folk Museum is a must! They have more than 20 heritage buildings and a collection that tells the story of life in the North York Moors over the last 4000 years.

Walk with Whitby Storyteller Rose along the cobbled streets of Whitby and you’ll be captivated by the ancient stories of this seafaring port. In Robin’s Hood Bay, she’ll recount tales of ghosts and smuggling antics that went on in the tunnels and the maze of narrow alleyways in the village.

Discover the splendour of Castle Howard. There's over 300 years' worth of history within the House and Gardens. Alongside various outdoor events, winter festivities pull in huge crowds. This year they're celebrating Christmas in Narnia.