Discover the best of North Yorkshire's market towns ideally situated between the stunning North Yorkshire Moors and the beautiful Yorkshire Dales...

Barnard Castle

Barnard Castle is a historic, must see market town named after the castle around which it grew up. Experience the rich history, heritage and beauty that the town of Barnard Castle enjoys with plenty to do for all ages.

Barney’, as it is locally known, has a unique character, with a flourishing market held on ‘the cobbles’ in the Market Place every Wednesday. The town has many pubs, shops and restaurants along with the chance to discover one of the country’s finest art collections at The Bowes Museum.

Set on a high rock above the River Tees, with fantastic views over the Tees Gorge is Barnard Castle, inspiration for Turner visited by Charles Dickens, Oliver Cromwell and John Welsey. Try and spot Richard’s boar emblem carved above a window in the inner ward or visit the ‘sensory garden’ of sensory plants and tactile objects or take a riverside stroll and look out for one of the many local kayaking clubs.

This is the perfect destination for a day out in Yorkshire, a stone’s throw away from the heart of Teesdale with picturesque villages and scenery with the High Force waterfalls and the natural beauty of the Pennines nearby.

York

York is a thriving and bustling city with a rich and varied heritage. Embracing traditional Yorkshire you will enjoy the quaint cobbled streets like The Shambles and the exquisite architecture of the Gothic cathedral York Minster which was built over 250 years.

The city is full of amazing eateries, from pub grub to fine dining and of course the world famous traditional tea rooms with an award winning afternoon tea, Bettys. The new kid on the block from the Michelin-starred chef Tommy Banks is hugely successful Roots. Also not to be missed is Skosh, with its small plates that have an international influence.

The National Railway Museum is one to be explored for engineers of all ages, or for something a little more daring and interactive head to the Jorvik Viking Centre, the gruesome York Dungeons, or the even more frightening Ghost Walk.

Take the train right into the centre from Northallerton, Thirsk or Darlington, or you can drive in – maybe via the York Designer Outlet. In the city centre are some excellent independent shops nestled among the cobbled streets, as well as all your high street favourites.

Helmsley

Helmsley is the perfect English market town, with its bustling market square featuring charming tea rooms, cosy pubs, Michelin starred fine dining at The Star Inn, consistently voted the favourite Northern restaurant, all surrounded by mile after mile of the beautiful North York Moors.

Soaring above this tranquil town are the dramatic ruins of Helmsley Castle, be sure not to miss the bronzed archers ready to battle! With a 100 foot high tower and substantial medieval, Tudor and Victorian remains, it’s a history lovers delight. Helmsley Walled Gardens are nestled next to Helmsley Castle and offer 5 acres of magnificent garden that encapsulates harmony through its flowers.

The magnificent ruins of Byland Abbey and Rievaulx Abbey are nearby and are well worth a visit. Follow your walk with a trip to Mannion & Co, a dog friendly deli and artisan bakery for the perfect afternoon treat.

Or for a more relaxing day out, you must visit The Verbena Spa which has been named one of Tatler’s 101 Spas of the World and is the perfect retreat for a unique revitalising experience!

Richmond

Richmond is one of Britain’s most beautiful market towns, with its 11th century castle, fine historic building, large cobbled market place and many hidden corners making it a treasure trove for visitors. You’ll find a good choice of pubs and plenty of places to eat, as well as shops to stock up on essentials and gifts, and of course, miles of the best walking and mountain bike country in England.

Be sure to visit the grand Norman Richmond Castle – set in the heart of the town, from there you can take a stroll around the castle walls, walk along the riverside and take in the falls, which are particularly stunning after a rainy day, then follow the trail along to Richmond Bridge where you can reward yourself with a treat from the award winning bakery found in The Station, a stunning riverside Victorian railway building.

There are a number of interesting walks around Richmond, why not try the Drummer Boy Walk for some spectacular views of the River Swale, the Batts and the Castle. On Saturdays make sure you don’t miss the Saturday Market in the Market Place.

Thirsk

Situated midway between the Moors and the Yorkshire Dales, Thirsk is an ideal base for visiting many much loved attractions and exploring the wonderful Yorkshire countryside. Rolling hills run into spectacular limestone valleys, with historic castles and ancient abbeys offering something for the whole family and at any time of the year.

Fancy a day at the races? Thirsk offers a picturesque country racecourse with excellent facilities and high quality flat racing throughout the summer. Centred around a bustling cobbled market square with a weekly Monday and Saturday market, Thirsk has a charm of its own, essentially unchanged and influenced by the world. Why not take a break from your busy day and pick up some freshly baked bread from Olivia’s Artisan Bakery.

Birthplace of Thomas Lord, founder of Lords cricket Ground and spiritual home of author James Herriott, Thirsk is a Yorkshire legend. Today, the World of James Herriott is an award winning museum which attracts lovers of BBCs All Creatures Great and Small from all around the world – Quite an achievement for a small market town in the Vale of York.

Back to the Top