Helmsley is a market town in the Ryedale district of North Yorkshire.
Helmsley sits just outside the North York Moors National Park and the National Park Authority has its headquarters in the town. The town is 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 Centre, Helmsley Castle Visitor Centre, Castlegate, YO62 5AB, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
Helmsley lies on the A170 road, which runs east-west from Scarborough to Thirsk. 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.
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 viable.
You might think that a town that attracts so many visitors would have signs directing pedestrians to all the important sites. But this is not the case, so be sure to first make your way to the tourist information centre. The tourist information centre 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 it is omitted from the maps, and also suffers from a lack of any signage.
- 1 Helmsley Castle, 14 Castle Gate, YO62 5AB, ☏ . Dates back to the 12th century. Adults £5.20, children £3.10, family £13.50.
- 2 Rievaulx Abbey (pronounced ree-voo), Rievaulx, YO62 5LB, ☏ . Set 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 Adults £6.00, children £3.60, concessions £5.40.
- 3 Duncombe Park. Parkland: daily Feb - Christmas Eve 10:30AM - 5PM; Gardens: Easter - Aug Su - F 10:30AM - 5PM, closed Sa. Parkland and gardens around a country house built in 1713. The house is not open. Parkland £1, Gardens £4.
- Helmsley Open Air Swimming Pool, Baxtons Road, YO62 5HT. Specific swimming session times daily from June–September. Check locally or on the website.. Heated outdoor swimming pool. The pool itself is beautifully maintained though associated facilities are rather dilapidated due to a shortage of funding.
- The Ryedale Show, Welburn Park, Kirkbymoorside, YO62 4BL (a couple of miles east of Helmsley, just off the main A170 road, before you reach Kirkbymoorside), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Said 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 Helmsley, 18 Market Place, YO62 5BL, ☏ . Butcher and deli selling good quality local meat and game, fruit and veg, cakes, condiments, ready meals and drinks.
- Browns of Helmsley, 22 Market Place, YO62 5BJ, ☏ . Small, but perfectly formed department store. A satellite branch of the well-known Browns of York.
- The Star Inn, Harome, near Helmsley, YO62 5JE, ☏ . Upmarket 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.
- Desi Spice Club, Main Road, Beadlam, near Helmsley, YO62 7SU, ☏ . Su-Th 5:30-11PM, F Sa 5:30-11:30PM. Excellent, award-winning Indian & Bangladeshi restaurant and take-away.
- Ryeburn Tearooms, Cleveland Way, YO62 5AE (At the start of the walk to Rievaulx Abbey), ☏ . Award-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.
- The Royal Oak, 15 Market Place, YO62 5BL, ☏ . Daily 10AM-1:30AM. Pleasant pub right on the market square
- Wrens of Ryedale (Caravan and Camping Park), Gale Lane, Nawton, near Helmsley, YO62 7SD (heading east of Helmsley on the A170, turn right in the village of Nawton, immediately after the Desi Spice Club restaurant; the site is about 500 yards along this lane, on the right), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Quiet, well-run site, with very friendly proprietors. £15 per night covers caravan/tent pitch, electric hook-up, 2 people. £2pppn for extra people, just £9 per night for an individual with a tent and no car..
- The Feversham Arms, Helmsley, YO62 5AG, ☏ . Elegant but unpretentious spa hotel, close to the centre of town. Not cheap, but look out for special offers which are sometimes available.