Our Guide to the North York Moors National Park

Our Guide to The North York Moors National Park

Covering 1,436 square kilometres, it was designated a National Park in 1952.

This year’s National Park theme is the Year of the Coast, which is handy as we’re based in Whitby!

It covers a vast area and many different and varied terrains.

Key locations include Staithes, Robin Hood’s Bay, Ravenscar, Goathland, Danby, Cropton, Kirkbymoorside and Helmsley.

Other areas include Ruswarp, Dalby, Hutton le Hole, parts of Pickering, and Thornton le Dale.


Natural Features

The North York Moors National Park includes some incredible natural features including the Hole of Horcum, Sutton Bank, Rosebery Topping, Dalby Forest, parts of the Yorkshire Coast,  Broxa Forest, Raincliffe Woods, Throxenby Mere and the River Derwent.

Cleveland Way

The Sky at Night

In the heart of Dalby Forest, there is the Dalby Observatory and the North York Moors is also a designated International Dark Sky Reserve. Find out more here.


The Dinosaur Coast

Did you know, fossils found on the coastal strips of the National Park are the envy of the world! Discover Jurassic fossils, incredible dinosaur footprints, and more along the coast.


The Esk Valley

This stunning landscape is on our doorstep and is one that we enjoy exploring ourselves when we get a chance.

It takes in some beautiful locations including Beck Hole, Castleton, Egton and Egton Bridge, Falling Foss, Glaisdale, Grosmont, Lealholm and Scaling Dam, among others.

Goathland became a movie hot spot when it doubled as Aidensfield in the popular TV series, ‘Heartbeat’.

The Esk Valley is great for walking with its riverside rambles.

Furthermore, the Esk Valley Railway is also used as it joins Middlesbrough and Whitby taking in parts of the North York Moors.


The North Yorkshire Moors Railway

This heritage railway is perhaps one of the most stunning in the country.

It’s been featured in many films and TV series, including Harry Potter.

It has its terminus stations at Whitby and Pickering.

The railway crosses the very heart of the moors, past Fylingdales and rocky outcrops aplenty.


The Hambleton Hills and Bilsdale

This westerly section of the North York Moors is definitely worth exploring.

It’s history alone would occupy you for a month!

Historic monuments include the incredible Rievaulx Abbey and Byland Abbey, while Roseberry Topping is one of the area’s most recognisable peaks.

Other places to spot include Kildale White Horse.

This area includes Guisborough Forest, perfect for a spot of forest bathing.

Sutton Bank, which offers jaw-dropping views, boasts one of the National Park Centres which has free entry.

The Cleveland Hills are beautiful with Westerdale, Canby Dale and Great Fryup Dale on their outskirts.


Sutton Bank National Park Centre

This free to enter attraction includes interactive exhibits and until March 2025, the National Park is working hard to conserve the wildlife as part of their Ryevitalise Landscape Partnership with  the help of the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Cyclists will love the routes including the skills circuit and the pump track.


The Heritage Coast

On the eastern flank of the North York Moors there is the Heritage Coast.

Stretching from above Staithes and taking in the likes of Runswick Bay, Sandsend and Ravenscar, this part of the Coast is not only beautiful but fascinating.

Following the Cleveland Way National Trail  you can fully enjoy the views.

Of course, the northward stretch also includes the Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum at Skinningrove.

Cleveland is also known as the Land of Iron


Danby Lodge National Visitor Centre

Formerly known as The Moors National Park Centre.

This includes the Inspired by.. gallery, and entry is free!

Exhibitions for 2023 include The Depths of Sea and Coast, The Lost Spells, The Secret Life of Hedgerows and a Christmas exhibition is planned.

The visitor centre has a café, shop and family friendly activities.




Creative Streak

Feeling creative? Book your stay with us at the Riviera Guesthouse in Whitby and enjoy the National Park’s workshops and more! 

Dalby Forest

There is a toll to enter however it’s well worth it.

There are 13 walking trails, 6 cycling trails, 4 running trails, a visitor centre, shops, 2 cafes, 2 play areas, Go Ape!, bike shop and hire and activity centre.

Dogs are also welcome.

There is also live music events at Dalby Forest, which includes 8000 acres of peaceful forest.


Food Glorious Food

From fresh fish to sweet strawberries, the North York Moors including some wonderful eateries that use local produce.

From award winning pubs to boutique bistros, enjoy the flavours of Yorkshire!


Skimmed the Surface

This article has only skimmed the surface of what the North York Moors National Park has to offer.

We’ve not mentioned Cropton Forest, Langdale Forest and others; lots of moorland landscapes including Farndale; and other rivers which meander through the Park including the River Dove and more.

The National Park produces their very helpful Out and About in the North York Moors National Park guide which is free.