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 National 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.
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.
Not got a bike? Try hiring an e-bike and flatten out our hills!
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 Middlesbrough out to Whitby, as well as some direct trains from Newcastle, including a service that terminates at Danby daily. The line crosses historic viaducts and stops at more than 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.
Manual and powered wheelchairs can be taken on the Esk Valley Railway, but some stations may be inaccessible. Please call Passenger Assistance on
Live in Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland, Stockton, Hambleton, Scarborough or Ryedale?
Then apply for the Esk Valley Railcard. It costs £10 a year and offers the following benefits:
- A third off the standard fare when travelling on the Esk Valley Railway
- 1/3 off normal adult train fares on the Esk Valley (up to four accompanying under 16s also receive 1/3 off)
- 1/3 off North Yorkshire Moors Railway fares
By bus (don't miss Britain's most scenic route!)
The North York Moors and surrounding area has a good network of bus services, serving many of the main towns and villages. They also pass through spectacular scenery and you'll get the best views from the top floor on the double deckers! 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.
- Coastliner and Transdev York - Including the 840 Coastliner service, voted Britain's most scenic bus route in 2018! Pick up their various daily services from Leeds, Tadcaster, York, Easingwold and Malton, serving 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. Most vehicles have full access for wheelchair users and those displaying the 'wheelchair accessible' sign can carry buggies too. Its CastleLine also has daily services (excluding Sunday) from York to Castle Howard.
- 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. X4 serves villages north of Whitby including Sandsend, Runswick Bay, Staithes and Saltburn by the Sea through to Middlesbrough.
- East Yorkshire (EY) - the 128 Service runs seven days a week from Scarborough to Helmsley, via Kirkbymoorside and Pickering as well as villages along the A170 (please note Sunday services terminate at Pickering from the first Sunday in November until two weeks before Easter). The 115 Service runs Monday to Saturday with a limited service from Scarborough to Ravenscar.
- Reliance - 31X service - weekday service only on low-floor buses from York to Easingwold and Helmsley via Coxwold, Byland Abbey, Wass and Ampleforth. A number of services also extend from/to Kirkbymoorside. Dogs travel free of charge.
- Abbotts of Leeming - Daily services 80 and 89 (except Sundays and Bank Holidays) - linking Northallerton to Stokesley via a number of villages on the National Park's western side including Osmotherley, Ingleby Cross, Swainby, Carlton in Cleveland and Great Broughton.
- Coatham Coaches - New Service 18 (from 1 September 2020) connecting Stokesley, Great Ayton, Newton under Roseberry, Guisborough and Saltburn by the Sea. Initially running Monday to Friday only.
Seasonal weekend and bank holiday services
- The Moors Explorer (ME1) is EY's summer Sunday and Bank Holiday service and returns for 2021. Running on on select Sundays (30 May, 25 July, 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 August 2021) and Bank Holiday Mondays (31 May and 30 August 2021), the service picks up from Hessle, Hull, Cottingham Green and Beverley all the way to The Moors National Park Centre at Danby, via Malton, Pickering, Hutton le Hole, Blakey (The Lion Inn) and Castleton. The EY Go Anywhere day ticket is also accepted on Moorsbus services.
- Moorsbus is a network of local bus services organised by a not-for-profit community organisation to provide access to and within the North York Moors. Moorsbus services tend to operate from July to September, using low-floor accessible buses. It serves a number of railway stations including York, Malton, Thirsk, Northallerton and Danby. Details of 2021 services to be confirmed. In the meantime, download the 2021 network map and start planning your journey.
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 half-term, including Bank Holidays. This bus service only provides transport between the car park on the edge of Whitby and into the town.
In the National Park, we provide 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.