Remarkable Ryedale, North Yorkshire:
Escape to the real country for a trip like no other…
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.
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).
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.
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.
For those either currently visiting or intending to visit, we aim to be an excellent resource, with detailed listings for accommodation, places to eat and drink and things to see and do. We don't leave it there - whilst on holiday you could need a dentist, doctor, vet or optician. We offer details of where to find some of these too. In addition we provide weather information, transport options and even places you can recharge an electric vehicle.
The team behind Visiting North Yorkshire has 8 years experience promoting tourism in North Yorkshire, designing and maintaining dynamic websites, running successful and influential social media channels and producing & distributing quality tourism guides. In addition to this they have 25 years experience in the IT industry, giving them a complete sphere of expertise in online working - not only are they extremely proficient with "front end" technology that engages with the customer (websites, social media), but also the background infrastructure that supports and operates it. That expertise is available to draw on for Visiting North Yorkshire members, should they require technical advice or support.
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