Helmsley sits just outside the North York Moors National Park and indeed, the National Park Authority has its headquarters in the town. In recent years the town has become a popular foodie destination with numerous restaurants and delis in the town and surrounding villages.
The centre of the town is the large market square, which is surrounded by well-kept stone buildings.
Helmsley Tourist Information Centrephone: +44 1439 770173address: Helmsley Castle Visitor Centre, Castlegate, YO62 5AB
Helmsley lies on the A170 road, which runs east-west from Scarborough to Thirsk. Note that the steep Sutton Bank, part of the A170 between Thirsk and Helmsley, is closed to caravans, which must use an alternative route. From the north, the B1257 from Stokesley, near Middlesbrough is a picturesque road which crosses the North Yorkshire Moors, and is very popular with motorcyclists.
From April to September the Moorsbus network connects the town to Scarborough, York, Hull, Thirsk and Guisborough (near Middlesbrough).
Services are less regular in winter, but still usable .
It's easy enough to get around the town itself on foot, though a bike or car is useful in order to explore the surrounding countryside. In the summer months, the Moorsbus network is comprehensive enough to mean that a visit without your own transport is still viable.
You might think that a town that attracts so many visitors would have signs directing pedestrians to all the important sites. Unfortunately this is not the case, so be sure to first make your way to the tourist information centre. The TIC itself is not signposted from the main square, but if you follow the (road) signs for Rievaulx Abbey and the main car parks, you will find it at the entrance to the castle. Here you can pick up a map of the town, though ask one of the helpful staff to mark the swimming pool on it if that's on your itinerary, as for some reason it is omitted from the maps, and also suffers from a lack of any signage.
phone: +44 1439 770442address: 14 Castle Gate, YO62 5ABDates back to the 12th Century
phone: +44 1439 798228address: Rievaulx, YO62 5LBSet in a remote valley in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park, a short distance to the north-west of the town, Rievaulx is one of the most complete, and atmospheric, of England’s abbey ruins
address: Baxtons Road, YO62 5HTHeated outdoor swimming pool. The pool itself is beautifully maintained though associated facilities are rather dilapidated due to a shortage of funding.
phone: +44 1653 697820address: Welburn Park, Kirkbymoorside, YO62 4BLSaid to be the largest one-day agricultural show in the north of England, the Ryedale Show takes place on the last Tuesday of July. With livestock, show jumping, sheep-dog trials, trade stalls, craft stalls, food outlets and more, it's an enjoyable day out for visitors of all ages.
There's a market in the main square every Friday, but the shopping around the square and along the adjacent streets is good any day of the week, with a good mix of books, crafts, jewellery, food, clothing and gifts.
Perns of Helmsleyphone: +44 1439 770249address: 18 Market Place, YO62 5BLButcher and deli selling good quality local meat and game, fruit and veg, cakes, condiments, ready meals and drinks.
phone: +44 1439 770247address: 22 Market Place, YO62 5BJSmall, but perfectly formed Department Store. A satellite branch of the well-known Browns of York.
phone: +44 1439 770397address: Harome, near Helmsley, YO62 5JEUpmarket gastro-pub, which describes its cuisine as "modern Yorkshire". Very well known, having featured in many local and national newspapers and magazines, and was one of the first pubs in the UK to be awarded a Michelin star rating.
phone: +44 1439 772400address: Main Road, Beadlam, near Helmsley, YO62 7SUExcellent, award-winning Indian & Bangladeshi restaurant and take-away.
phone: +44 1439 770331address: Cleveland Way, YO62 5AEAward-winning ice cream in a myriad of flavours. Large selection of tempting home-made cakes. Toasties, teacakes and sandwiches, and, of course tea and coffee. Friendly service.
phone: +44 1439 770450address: 15 Market Place, YO62 5BLPleasant pub right on the market square
phone: +44 1439 771260address: Gale Lane, Nawton, near Helmsley, YO62 7SDQuiet, well-run site, with very friendly proprietors.
phone: +44 1439 770766address: Helmsley, YO62 5AGElegant but unpretentious spa hotel, close to the centre of town. Not cheap, but look out for special offers which are sometimes available.