Our Top Ten

Our top ten things to do in North Yorkshire when staying at Spring Cottage

1. Castle Howard

Castle Howard - things to do in North Yorkshire

Majestic Castle Howard

A visit to this stately home is a must. Whether or not you’re a fan of Brideshead Revisited (which was filmed here for the BBC in 1981 and the film remake in 2008), the setting, house and gardens are truly stunning.  Before you pay admission there are the courtyard shops to visit; from the local butcher selling meat from the Castle Howard estate, to the gorgeous gift shop, to the tea room, there are lots of things to tempt you.  The walled garden is beautiful and a great place for hide and seek!  The adventure playground is a must for those with children.

The various woodland walks around the grounds are a delight throughout the year.



 2.  Flamingo Land

What can we say about Flamingo Land – zoo, theme park “the best place ever” (Ben age 7)! Even if you haven’t got children there’s still plenty to keep you entertained, and it’s only in the next village (although it feels a million miles away once you’re there).  We love the daily shows – the bird show, the seal lion show and the African dancers’ show.  Our advice would be to get there for 10 am when the doors first open, as a visit to the zoo alone can take up an afternoon.  We recommend waterproofs or a change of clothes if you plan to ride the log flume. Also, there’s a small outdoor water park so take the kids swimming things to change into (if the weather’s kind enough).

3.  The Grapes Inn, Great Habton

Ok, so it’s not a smart bistro/gastro pub but it is a traditional village pub, loved by locals and serves a lovely house rioja and real ale. Even better The Grapes Inn is just a stroll from Spring Cottage. The home cooked food is worthy of any smart restaurant. Telephone 01653 669166, open lunchtimes and from six in the evenings – closed Mondays.

4.  North Yorkshire Moor Railway

North York Moors - Steam Train

All Aboard!

Whether you’re a rail enthusiast or someone who wants to admire the passing scenery of the North York Moors National Park, then a ride on the North Yorkshire Moors steam railway is a must.  Pickering is at one end of the track and Whitby (great place for a day out) at the other.  The stops along the way are well worth a visit too, so plan your journey in advance. Do take your camera (the bigger the better) and join the train spotters as they capture the steam engines arriving and departing.

The steam railway runs special trains throughout the year, check their website for details. And don’t forget World War II weekend in October, where the stations, costumes and trains transport us back to life in 1940.



5.  Filey

Filey North Yorkshire

Beautiful Filey Bay

Filey is often overlooked by its noisier, busier neighbour, Scarborough.  But we feel that’s what gives Filey its charm.  It’s got a beautiful sandy beach, a prom to walk along and a fine park called Glen Gardens.  Yes, it has amusement arcades (only two) and fish and chip shops, but what self-respecting British seaside resort doesn’t!


We challenge you walk past Sterchi’s (11 Hope Street), an old fashioned chocolate shop and not be tempted!


6.  Robin Hood’s Bay

This quaint fishing village and former haunt for smugglers is set on a steep hillside.  You leave the car in the car park is at the top of the hill and walk down the high street, heading to the main village and beach.  Do though take a detour from the main street and explore the narrow alleyways and higgledy-piggledy cottages.  This gives you a true feel for the history of the place.  After that spend some time on the beach and rest before you start the climb back to the car park.

7.  York

York Minster

Dominant York Minster

From shop lover, to culture vultures to food and drink lovers, historic York has it all.

Although only a shortish drive (21 miles) we usually get the train from Malton to York (hourly), and leave the car in Malton, or get a taxi from Spring Cottage to Malton station (approx £9 each way).  Park and Ride schemes operate if you wish to take the car.  These are fully signposted from the A64.

Within the city we’d recommend a visit to York Minster, The National Railway Museum, The Jorvik Centre and The Castle Museum. Lunch at The Star Inn the City is highly recommended too.



8.  Helmsley

Helsmsley Castle

Helmsley Castle


Where do we start? Helmsley is awash with independent shops, a castle with links to Richard III, a walled garden, many restaurants and pubs (in particular the Black Swan in the market square) and an upmarket fish and chip shop, Scotts.

For luxurious pampering treat yourself to some time at The Verbena Spa at the Feversham Arms . Listed in Tatler’s 101 Best Spas.

On the edge of the townDuncombe Park Hall is worth a visit too, with it’s Hall and parkland.


9. Thornton le Dale/Hutton le Hole

North York Moors village

Hutton le Hole in the North York Moors


As well as having the word “le” in their name these villages also have the following in common: a stream running through them, a quality local ice cream shop and walks from the centre of the village.

Hutton le Hole is on the edge of the North York Moors so appeals to those who prefer longer moorland walks. Sheep wander around the village too.

The Crown pub at Hutton le Hole is a great place to rest after a tiring moorland walk. Spend some time at Ryedale Folk Museum too and learn about life in the North York Moors.



10. Malton and Pickering

Market day in Malton

Market day in Malton

Last but not least Malton and Pickering which ideally both deserve their own entry into our Top 10.  But that would make it a Top 11?!  Spring Cottage is situated half way between these two popular market towns. Pickering is perhaps more touristy (due to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway- see entry number 4) but Malton is firmly on the tourist trail now, calling itself “Yorkshire’s Food Capital”. This is due to many initiatives but mainly their monthly food markets and their annual Food Lovers Festival held each May. Both have a wide variety of independent shops and eateries.





Experience all this for yourselves and book a stay at Spring Cottage

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