Ryedale District Council


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Remarkable Ryedale, North Yorkshire:

Escape to the real country for a trip like no other…

Plan before you go!

The attractions and events listed in this travel trade pack are subject to government guidelines and, given the ongoing Covid situation, subject to last-minute change. Many annual festival dates have been re-arranged in 2021 so that they will take place later in the season.

The information below refers to standard dates, rather than suggested re-arranged dates that remain to be confirmed. We strongly urge all visitors to telephone, and check individual websites or Facebook pages for the very latest information before setting out on their trip (updated 12 April 2021).


Although this tiny corner of Yorkshire is smaller than the Cotswolds, Ryedale is like a little ‘kingdom’ all of its own, a totally self-contained, microcosmic pocket of unspoilt and real, rural England.

Ryedale’s been a rural retreat for centuries, the breathtaking beauty of its countryside captivating royalty and saints alike… but it’s never sleepy! In Ryedale, you’ll meet the country’s leading contemporary artists and craftspeople, chefs and food-makers; and enjoy mile upon mile of award-winning attractions – from stately homes to animal parks - and the North’s top restaurants, tea-rooms, art and antique galleries…

What’s more, Ryedale includes landscapes of national - even international importance, a haven for some of Britain’s most precious creatures, and home to archaeological wonders.

Here’s a quick Geographical Guide to get your bearings:

In Ryedale’s Heartland, crowned by the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, lush valleys of ancient farmland and woodland supply an astonishing wealth of produce. This is home to Yorkshire’s Food Capital, Britain’s Best Market Town, and an astonishing number of the country’s leading craftspeople and artists, inspired by the surrounding countryside and its natural resources – especially its glorious native wood.

Quick Tip: with more woodland than the New Forest, and some of Britain’s oldest trees, Autumn is a wonderful time to bring your group to Ryedale, journeying through the stunning, kaleidoscopic colour changes of its treescapes.
This heartland is where lords and ladies once held court in their grand pleasure palaces, gifting the region with a magnificent collection of castles and country houses - like Castle Howard, one of Britain’s finest. Unusually, 85% of this little corner of Real England is still family-owned, and this rare, unbroken relationship with the land has not only allowed the region’s distinctive character to flourish, it also means that Ryedale is one of the top places to explore the quintessential English house and garden today.

Ryedale was a retreat long before the country house enjoyed its glorious reign, however: for nearly 1,500 years, from the time of the earliest Christian saints, the region’s hills have been alive with the sound of bells and prayers, as monks and nuns made their mark on the landscape, in mile upon mile of sacred sanctuaries – more than anywhere else in Britain, and including Rievaulx Abbey, celebrated for its peace and serenity for over 900 years.

To the North, the North York Moors National Park: with its monumental landscapes and breath-taking panoramas, this is perhaps Britain’s most colourful national park with its world-famous heather moorland. On clear nights, you’ll also experience Britain’s starriest skies here, with views of the Northern Lights, and even the Milky Way (a rare sight in the UK).

Hot off the press! The North York Moors National Park has just been designated a Dark Sky Reserve by the International Dark-Sky Association, one of only five in the UK.

To the South, the Yorkshire Wolds: with its secret valleys and big skies, this gentle and timeless chalkland famously inspired David Hockney. It’s perhaps one of the country’s most peaceful areas, relatively undiscovered, even though it’s one of the UK’s most exciting and important archaeological landscapes, not least home to Britain’s largest standing stone!

Ryedale’s Market Towns: For centuries, the region’s market towns – Helmsley, Kirkbymoorside, Pickering, Malton - have been the heart and soul of Ryedale, and that’s just as true today.

Only a few miles away from each other, they form an extraordinarily vibrant 20-mile neighbourhood – a ‘country centre’ - of award-winning shops, attractions and eateries that’s unique in the UK. They’re a pleasure-seeking, shop-hopping paradise and, surrounded by Britain’s most beautiful countryside, they’re also a wonderful place to stay with luxury accommodation and walks, cycling and wildlife-spotting from the doorstep. The perfect base to explore the area.

The market towns are the places that friends and family gather to share the news, browse the stores and galleries, and eat and drink great food – in timeless rural tradition. They’re also the places where people gather to celebrate and be entertained - and Ryedale loves putting on a show, with major festivals all year-round attracting top names – and plenty of surprises.

  • Helmsley has been home to the finest lords and ladies in the land for over 800 years, and not surprisingly has developed a taste for the finer things in life. Today, it’s recognised as one of Britain’s best market towns - a Great British High Street Awards champion, and a gateway to the north’s best restaurants, tea-rooms and attractions, award-winning independent shops and spas.
  • Kirkbymoorside is Ryedale’s smallest market town, but its weekly market is the liveliest – it’s been held in the cobbled market square for over 750 years. Kirkbymoorside is also a treasure trove for antique-hunters, attracting collectors from across the world to its showrooms.
  • Pickering is home to the world-famous North Yorkshire Moors Railway, so perhaps it’s not surprising that the town’s tea-rooms and shops revel in vintage and nostalgia. As the gateway to the North York Moors National Park and Dalby Forest, the town also has an unmistakable spirit of adventure, and this is one of the best places to get ready for the great outdoors.
  • Malton is Yorkshire’s Food Capital, famous for its year-round food festivals celebrating local produce - a magnet for the UK’s leading chefs – and also for its trailblazing town centre of independent food stores and award-winning artisans, where you can find anything your taste-buds desire, including taste tours, and cookery and gin schools.

Did you know? It might be on the City of York’s doorstep, but Ryedale is one of the most tranquil and unspoilt places in the country: tranquillity is so valued here that it’s being protected in local legislation . A real escape from the stress of the everyday. Even better, if you need some natural therapy, Ryedale is Yorkshire’s ‘Provence’ harvesting over 70 acres of lavender on its lavender farms - the most northerly in England - owing to the region’s unique microclimate.


If you’re seeking inspiration, need guidance, or want to find out more about Ryedale’s amazing accommodation, attractions and its packed year-round calendar of events and festivals, visit the websites listed below

Please note: to add walking, cycling or outdoor adventure into your itineraries, please ask for our specialist Outdoor Guides, available separately.

Useful websites for group organisers

Visit Ryedale  @VisitRyedale
North York Moors National Park  @NorthYorkMoors; @northyorkmoorsnationalpark
Howardian Hills AONB  @Howardian_Hills
Visit Helmsley  @VisitHelmsley
Visit Malton 
Welcome to Pickering 
Visit York  @VisitYork
Discover Yorkshire Coast  @DiscoverCoast
Visit Hull & East Yorkshire  @VisitEastYorks; @Visit-East-Yorkshire
Welcome to Yorkshire  @welcometoyorkshire

A note on Group Accommodation

Ryedale boasts plenty of award-winning, luxury accommodation for smaller groups and independent travellers - Yorkshire’s Best B&B, Glamping Holiday Park and Self-catering accommodation can all be found here. There’s everything your guests might need for a great night’s sleep, including four-poster beds with roaring log fires, designer treehouses with your own in-built spa, B&Bs serving Yorkshire’s best breakfast; hotels with spas, butlers, or Michelin-starred room service; somewhere unique - a Victorian train station, rooms with 360-degree views; or back to nature camping beneath some of Britain’s starriest skies.

For larger groups, the best accommodation bases are York and the coastal resorts of Whitby, Scarborough, and Filey - all within an easy day-trip distance from Ryedale.


Ryedale District Council supports over 700 tourism businesses and works in partnership with the North York Moors National Park, Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and Visit Hull & East Yorkshire.

Getting around Ryedale

By car - Ryedale can be easily reached on the national road network. The A1 passes through North Yorkshire and is connected to the east and the coast via the A64 at York and the A170 at Thirsk. The A19 runs north to south to the west of the area, parallel to the A1, and passes through York, Thirsk and Northallerton.

By train - LNER, Cross Country and Transpennine Express run services from all parts of the country to York and Leeds where connections can be made to Malton. National Rail enquiries Tel: 08457484950. Grand Central runs train services between the North East of England and London, calling at Northallerton, Thirsk, York and London. Tel: 0845 6034852.

The North York Moors is best explored via Pickering’s North Yorkshire Moors Railway, with stations at Levisham, Goathland and Grosmont making great starting points for walking and cycling across the Moors. Book online at North Yorkshire Moors Railway 

By coach - Coastliner buses to Malton, Pickering, Goathland and Whitby from Leeds. Other regular local bus services operate throughout the area. You can find out more from the website of Yorkshire Travel. Tel: 0871 200 22 33.

Further afield - The nearest airports are Leeds Bradford, Robin Hood near Doncaster and Sheffield, Teesside and Newcastle. Train and bus connections can be made from these airports to destinations within Ryedale. Slightly further away is Manchester Airport which is served by direct rail connections into Malton, Thirsk and York.

P&O Ferries sail daily from Rotterdam to Hull, which is to the south east. DFDS Seaways sail from Amsterdam to Newcastle to the north.


To request your free Ryedale travel trade pack email our Tourism department


Contact us

Ryedale District Council
Ryedale House
Old Malton Road
Malton, North Yorkshire
YO17 7HH

Email: Contact the Council

Phone: 01653 600666

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