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Photo of Helmsley

Visit Helmsley

Helmsley is a small town on the River Rye in North Yorkshire, in the south-western North Yorkshire Moors National Park, east of Thirsk and west of Pickering (the road from Thirsk to Helmsley crosses the hill known as Sutton Bank, a very steep (1 in 4) hill in the Hambleton Hills).

The town has an attractive centre (the statue is of Lord Feversham) and a good selection of shops and cafes. There is a traditional Yorkshire heart to the town, along with a church and a small stream that runs scenically behind the houses. The half-timbered rectory is among the highlights.

The town is also a popular starting point for hikers following the Cleveland Way long distance trail, which passes through more than 100 miles of the scenic North Yorkshire Moors.

Helmsley is best known for the historical monuments that are found close by and including Helmsley Castle, Duncombe Park, Nunnington Hall and Rievaulx Abbey.

Helmsley Castle and Duncombe Park

The ruins of the 13th century Helmsley castle are found in Helmsley itself. The castle has had an eventful history, starting as a medieval defensive castle then later being transformed into a Tudor manor house.

The castle has been owned for several centuries by the Feversham family, who now live in the stately home at nearby Duncombe Park. dating from the early 18th century then substantially altered in the late 19th century, Duncombe Park is a very popular attraction, both for the grandeur of the house itself, and for the landscaped gardens that surround it.

An associated highlight is the carefully restored Helmsley Walled Garden, a large garden dating from the 18th century and with Helmsley Castle as a picturesque backdrop which has been restored over the last decade after a long period of neglect.

Rievaulx Abbey

Visit the substantial ruins of a 13th century cistercian Abbey. Rievaulx Terrace, a very scenic area of gardens, woodlands and temples adjacent to the abbey is the best place from which to appreciate the size and grandeur of the overall complex and setting, and a lovely place for a picnic (National Trust maintained, admission charge payable).

Nunnington Hall 

A few kilometres to the south-east of Helmsley and on the River Rye, Nunnington Hall is a 17th century manor house now maintained by the National Trust. After exploring the period rooms of the Hall itself, there is also an attractive walled garden to explore.

You can find more local travel ideas in the Yorkshire Moors guide and the North Yorkshire guide.

See also: 

Map of Helmsley and places to visit


Helmsley places to visit



Kilburn guide


Pickering guide


Thirsk guide


Northallerton guide


Goathland guide


Boroughbridge is a quiet village with a pretty high street and is home to three monoliths known as the "Devil's Arrows".

Boroughbridge guide

...or see all our recommended places to visit in North Yorkshire

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