Pickering is a busy market town on the edge of the North York Moors, set between castle, church and river, with handsome streets, tucked-away alleys and quiet corners to explore. It’s best known for its heritage railway, but also has lots of other local attractions, from history museum to nearby Roman site. Market day is Monday, and there’s a farmers’ market on the first Thursday of each month.

Things to see and do

Pickering Castle has guarded the town since medieval times – no fewer than six English kings have stayed here. Meanwhile, in the parish church of St Peter and St Paul you’ll see magnificent 15th-century wall-paintings – beautiful relics of the days before printed books.

The lives of ordinary people are celebrated at the Beck Isle Museum of Rural Life, where recreated shop interiors, household items and farm machinery shine a light on 200 years of local history.

Pickering is the southern terminus of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, which has been preserved and run by enthusiasts since 1973. It runs for 24 miles through the spectacular scenery of the National Park to Whitby, calling at stations at Levisham, Newtondale, Goathland and Grosmont.


Take a guided walk through town with Pickering Civic Society (every Monday, May to October).

Nearby trips

Cawthorn Roman Camps is a fascinating archaeological site – there’s an easy access walk and panoramic views.

Take a tour of the New Inn’s microbrewery in the village of Cropton or head to nearby Cropton Forest for badger watching, walks, bike rides and woodland retreats.


Newbridge Park is a woodland area below the castle with cross-country cycle trails, jump park and pump track, picnic area, nature play, and woodland walking.

Ryedale Pool has public swim sessions, swimming lessons and children’s holiday activities.

Ryedale Sports Centre is open daily for sports hall activities, and also has a climbing wall, tennis courts and astroturf pitch.

Eating and drinking

There’s a fair choice of pubs, cafés and restaurants in Pickering, with several places specialising in locally sourced produce. There are also bakeries, delis and an organic farm shop.

Festivals and events

Take a step back in time at the Pickering Traction Engine Rally (August bank holiday weekend), which is the north of England’s biggest steam event.

The North Yorkshire Moors Railway hosts special events throughout the year, including the popular Railway in Wartime weekend (October), which turns the clock back to 1940s with street parades, vehicle displays and re-enactments along the railway line.

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