Discover the best of North Yorkshire’s market towns ideally situated between the stunning North Yorkshire Moors and the beautiful Yorkshire Dales.
Full of history, characterful cafes, local butchers, bakeries and shops, there’s plenty to explore and also to support some fantastic local businesses. All close by to our luxury holiday cottages across North Yorkshire, these are our favourite beauty spots to visit…
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, with local produce to be enjoyed in your luxury holiday cottage.
This charming old market town spills down the most picturesque riverbank with the iconic Victorian viaduct and its 78 foot high arches towering over the River Nidd, alongside the ruins of Knaresborough Castle beyond. Explore ancient walkways, cobbled paths leading down to the idyllic waterfront for a spot of boating, mini-golf, cafes, pubs, independent shops, and secret passageways shrouded in mystery, with a history that goes back to the 5th century.
Further along the riverbank you can take a relaxing woodland walk and discover one of Knaresborough’s enduring curiosities; the famous Mother Shiptons Cave and the Petrifying Well. Don’t forget to make a wish in the wishing well before you go.
On a sunny day, we like to simply sit by the river and enjoy the tranquil view of passing boats with a local Brymor ice cream. Don’t forget your picnic as there are three picnic areas and two children’s play areas. One of these is a brand-new adventure playground, making it a great place to visit for a family-friendly day out.
Stroll around the bustling marketplace in the center of town with lots of local shops and great places to eat and stop for a pick-me-up in one of the charming old worlde tea rooms? On a Wednesday stalls fill the marketplace, offering local produce at the ever-popular Knaresborough market.
Hop on the train into Harrogate for a bit more shopping, and glide over the imposing railway viaduct looking down on the River Nidd – an amazing view. Make sure you try a slice of homemade cake at the famous Betty’s tea room whilst you’re there.
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. There’s also plenty of our luxury cottages nearby to explore from.
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!
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.
At the heart of Wensleydale lies the vibrant market town of Leyburn, set amongst acres of Yorkshire’s finest countryside.
This cobbled market town has a great mix of quaint and quirky shops with a bustling market every Friday and plenty of places to eat after exploring some of England’s finest walking and cycling country. Leyburn has a number of great walking routes, but a time when walkers really come to town is for the Wensleydale Wander, typically held between March and April.
If you want to give your legs a rest and travel in style then why not hop on a train at the Wensleydale Railway. This heritage line has a station in Leyburn and uses diesel locomotives with the occasional steam services running.
Hop on board at Leyburn and take a scenic route to Redmire, where you will find Bolton Castle, one of the country’s best-preserved 14th century medieval castles, with over 600 years of fascinating history to explore. Look out for the sword fighting demonstrations and falconry displays.
If you like antiques, Leyburn is home to the largest auction house outside of London. Tennants Auctioneers has been running since the late Victorian period and holds more than 100 auctions of fine art, antiques, and specialist collectibles each year.
Fun-loving families should look no further than the nearby Forbidden Corner, a unique labyrinth of tunnels, chambers, follies, and surprises, created in a four-acre garden, for a day out with a difference that will challenge and delight children of all ages.
This elegant Yorkshire market town is known as the Gateway to the North Yorkshire Moors. The town centre offers cobbled streets lined with a number of award-winning restaurants, shops and boutiques. One of our favourite tea rooms nearby is The Rusty Bike which offers a warm Yorkshire welcome and is the perfect pit stop for some homemade cakes, scones and tray bakes after exploring the area. Peruse the art gallery or hire a bike for the day and speak with a member of the team about the best routes and what to do and see nearby!
Stokesley is the perfect base from which to explore North Yorkshire from, with plenty of varied walks and trails from your doorstep with plenty of pubs and picturesque picnic spots along the way. The River Leven, crossed by the ancient Pack Horse Bridge, provides a perfect spot for walking and picnics – not to mention the spectacular views of Roseberry Topping and the North York Moors from the east end of the town, where an ancient mill wheel can also be admired. Further afield, you can get in the car and enjoy the Yorkshire coastline for a family friendly day trip or explore Osmotherley, with fabulous food, fish and chips, a reservoir and a shooting ground to impress the whole group!
Malton, best known as ‘Yorkshire’s Food Capital’ is only a short scenic drive over the North Yorkshire Moors from many of our luxury holiday homes and is a must-visit during your trip to Yorkshire. A quintessential market town, with its new foodie scene, is a town of makers and markets, set between the North York Moors and Yorkshire coastline, amongst some of Yorkshire’s finest countryside.
You will find there is so much to do in Malton, a town of makers and markets, with traditional food shops, Malton cookery school, artisan food tours, restaurants, Talbot Yard, exciting events and festivals as well as a large number of excellent independent shops to look around in the buzzing town.
Every second Saturday of the month you can enjoy a feast as Malton’s central marketplace is transformed into a foodies heaven with local artisan stalls showcasing the best local produce and street food, live music as well as tasting trips to the Talbot Yard, where you can munch your way around the streets learning about the local history and tasting delicious Yorkshire delicatessens along the way. With 2-hours free car parking, you can follow your nose around the town, butchers making sausages, bakers baking bread, greengrocers & fishmongers too – it’s the way that all towns once were, and Malton still is.
On your way home, make a detour for Castle Howard – one of the grandest stately homes in Britain, where you can explore the 1000 acres of beautiful landscape, relax in the idyllic gardens, enjoy lakeside walks, and children can play in the adventure playground.
Now that it is safe to travel, here are our top three days out in Yorkshire, now OPEN that must be on the top of your wish list.
Discover our stunning collection of Yorkshire holiday cottages, the perfect place for your next luxury escape. With a range of sizes, styles, and locations around God's own county including the Yorkshire Dales, find the luxury self-catering holiday for you.
Holiday at Home has plenty of luxury holiday properties situated in the heart of Richmond, North Yorkshire taking full advantage of all the town has to offer…