Photo of Howardian Hills

Visit Howardian Hills

The Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) can be found in the county of North Yorkshire, England, in the centre of the region marked by Thirsk, Pickering and York. The towns of Helmsley and Malton are situated just outside the boundaries of the AONB (north and east respectively) but the region itself contains no major settlements - although there are several traditional villages in the Howardian Hills region.

The landscape of the Howardian Hills consists of farmland separated by areas of gently rolling countryside and wooded areas, with a scattering of stone famhouses and small villages such as Nunnington, Hovingham, Welburn and Terrington and is a quiet very scenic region to explore.

Outdoors in the Howardian Hills

The most popular way to explore the Howardian Hills is on foot and there are many marked trails and other walks available - as a start you might enjoy the ten mile circular walk that passes by four churches (Kirkham Priory, Saint John's Church in Welburn, another Saint John's Church in Whitwell on the Hill and Saint Michael's Church in Crambe) and some attractive scenery near Castle Howard - see a circular walk in the Howardian Hills for details. Many other options for walking in the Howardian Hills are possible of course, depending on your preferred starting point and how far you intend walking.

Cycling and horse-riding are also popular on the quiet bridleways and roads in this moderately undiscovered area of England.

Stately Homes and Castles in the Howardian Hills

The region is very well endowed with impressive stately homes and castles, typically surrounded by extensive lands and gardens. Among the highlights:

  • Castle Howard: a very extensive stately home and gardens, Yorkshire's own version of the 'Palace de Versailles' and highly recommended
  • Hovingham Hall: an 18th century Palladian style house in a fine setting
  • Newburgh Priory: a very pretty and substantial house near Coxwold, with far-reaching views
  • Nunnington Hall: large house and walled gardens in traditional Yorkshire Stone, now a National trust property

Duncombe Park (a substantial country estate and gardens) and Helmsley Walled Garden each stand just outside the northern edge of the Howardian Hills AONB and are also recommended when you are visiting this part of Yorkshire.

See also: 

Map of Howardian Hills and places to visit