North Yorkshire

Pickering is a market town in the Ryedale district of North Yorkshire.

The ancient town at the gateway to the North York Moors has several historic attractions which have made it popular with tourists.

They include the North York Moors Railway, Yorkshire's longest heritage railway, and its Norman castle (more details below).

 Town features

Pickering is close to the North York Moors National Park.
Pickering has a castle.
Pickering has a station on one of Yorkshire's heritage railways.
Pickering has an old parish church.
Pickering has a museum.
Pickering has a good range of independent shops and holds a traditional market. (Mon).
The town has a sub-Post Office.
Pickering has bank and building society branches.
The town has a pharmacy.
Pickering has several pubs.
The town offers a choice of inns, bistros, cafes, restaurants and take-aways.
The town has a library.
There are public toilets in the town.
Pickering has a theatre.
Places to stay in Pickering include hotel, guest house, inn, holiday home accommodation.


Bus travel

The town has bus services to neighbouring towns and villages, the Yorkshire coast, York and Leeds.


Pickering has a station on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, the longest of Yorkshire's heritage railways. See 'Places to visit' below.

Road travel

Pickering can be reached via the A170 A169 .

Places to visit

North York Moors National Park

The Ryedale district north of Helmsley, Kirkbymoorside and Pickering includes some of the beautiful scenery of the North York Moors National Park. The park covers a total of 554 square miles (1,435 square kilometres). Within its area are moorland and coast, historic stateley homes, remains of castles and abbeys and attractive villages. The North Yorkshire Moors Railway provides a historic railway journey into the National Park from Pickering. For more information see our page dedicated to the North York Moors.

Pickering Castle

Castlegate, Pickering
Pickering Castle was originally built as a Norman motte and bailey timber castle at a time when the Manor of Pickering was held by the king, William the Conqueror, as recorded in the Domesday Book in 1086. It was mostly rebuilt in stone between 1180 and 1236, although the stonework of the outer bailey was not completed until about 1326 in the reign of Edward II. The castle then guarded the nearby forest, was also used as a court and prison and was the place where Edward II's royal stud was managed. The castle's remains are well-preserved in comparison to some other castles as it did not suffer during the War of the Roses or the English Civil War. The castle is managed by English Heritage.
More information at the  English Heritage - Pickering Castle website.

Helmsley Castle

Castlegate, Helmsley
Helmsley Castle is at the western side of Helmsley overlooking the River Rye. The ruins provide an insight into the development and remodelling of the castle between the 12th and 14th centuries and the Tudor mansion house created on the site in the 16th century. An unusual feature of the early castle was the creation of two great towers rather than the more common single keep. Although through most of its life it was the centre of a family estate, the castle was briefly in royal hands when in 1478 it was bought by Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who owned the castle until his death as King Richard III in 1485, after which it reverted to family ownership. In the English Civil War the castle had been held for the Royalists, but surrendered to Parliament in November 1644, after which it was slighted. The castle, managed by English Heritage, is open daily except from November to mid-February when there are weekend opening times. Helmsley is also the location of an English Heritage archaeology store for the north of England which can be visited on pre-bookable monthly tours.
Find out more at the  English Heritage - Helmsley Castle website.

Rievaulx Abbey

Rievaulx, near Helmsley, North Yorkshire
The first Cistercian abbey in the North of England was founded in 1132 but became one of the most important in the country, quickly growing to a 650-strong community within its first 30 years. However by the time of supression of the monastery in December 1538 the number had fallen to 23 monks. The abbey in the valley of the River Rye in the North York Moors National Park has substantial remains, particularly of its 13th century church which were saved from further collapse by repair work 100 years ago. The abbey also has a museum containing architectural stonework and other artefacts found at the site, including chess pieces, coins and small personal possessions. The visitor centre also has a tearoom. Rievaulx is 2.5 miles west-north-west of Helmsley and about 11 miles east of Thirsk. The abbey is managed by English Heritage.

More information at the  English Heritage - Rievaulx Abbey website.  Find Rievaulx Abbey on map

Nunnington Hall

Nunnington Hall Situated on the banks of the River Rye, around a 7 mile drive from Helmsley, 10 miles from Malton and 13 miles from Pickering, Nunnington Hall offers the chance to explore period rooms of a Yorkshire manor house. Although there has been a large house at the site since the mid 13th century, the present Hall has developed from one of the Tudor period with extensive remodelling in the late 17th century. The house has an organic walled garden, spring flowering meadows and a tea room. It also houses one of the finest collections of scale miniature period rooms, offers a changing programme of art and photography exhibitions and hosts various events including the Ryedale Book Festival. The house is managed by the National Trust.
More information at the  National Trust - Nunnington Hall web pages.
Locate on map:  Nunnington Hall

North Yorkshire Moors Railway

Pickering to Goathland, Grosmont and Whitby
A heritage railway running for 18 miles through the beautiful scenery of the North York Moors National Park. The line runs from Pickering, through Goathland, one of Yorkshire's famous TV and film locations to Grosmont with some journeys extended over the Network Rail Esk Valley line to the picturesque seaside harbour town of Whitby. The 10,000-member charitable Trust behind the railway celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2017. With more than 350,000 passengers a year the North Yorkshire Moors Railway is possibly the most popular heritage railway in the world.

For details see the  North Yorkshire Moors Railway website.

Castle Howard

The Stray, between Welburn and Coneysthorpe, near Malton
Castle Howard One of Britain's finest stately homes is set in 1,000 acres of grounds scattered with temples, statues and follies. Situated about 5 miles west of Malton, it has been home to the Howard family for more than 300 years. The grounds have been opened to the public all year round and the house from April to October. Built to a design of Sir John Vanbrugh, work began in 1699 and took more than 100 years to complete. The house was beautifully restored after a devastating fire in November 1940. More recently Castle Howard has become familiar as Brideshead of the 1980s TV adaptation and 2008 film version of Evelyn Waugh's 'Brideshead Revisited'.
Further details can be found on the Castle Howard official website.
Locate on map:  Castle Howard

Eden Camp Modern History Theme Museum

Off Edenhouse Road, near A64/A169 junction, Malton
The museum, just north of the A64 Malton by-pass, is the site of what was established in 1942 as a Second World War camp to house Italian Prisoners of War. It also provided accomodation for Polish forces for a time before returning to use as a prison camp for German prisoners. After a number of post-war uses, a museum was opened in 1987 and has seen a growing number of displays in the original camp huts concentrating mainly on the Second World War but also covering the home front and post-war housing with further exhibits on the First World War and conflicts since the Second World War.
Further details at the  Eden Camp website.

Flamingo Land

Kirkby Misperton
Opened as a zoo in 1959, Flamingo Land has since the 1970s been blended with a growing number of theme park rides and now also offers a holiday village. The resort, covering 375 acres, is situated 3 miles south-south-west of Pickering and 5 miles north of Malton.

Kirkham Priory

Kirkham, near Malton
Situated in a beautiful section of the Derwent Valley around 5 miles south-west of Malton are the remains of the Augustinian Kirkham Priory. The Grade I listed priory dates from the 1120s and includes an impressive portion of its late 13th century gatehouse with sculptures of St George and the dragon, David and Goliath and heraldry of the lords of Helmsley Castle. Church walls from the 13th century and stone foundations also remain. The site is managed by English Heritage.

More information at the  English Heritage - Kirkham Priory website.  Find Kirkham Priory on map

Wharram Percy

Near Wharram-le-Street
Wharram Percy is the best preserved of many deserted medieval villages across Yorkshire. Situated in a beautiful hidden valley in the Yorkshire Wolds, the village was abandoned early in the 16th century after being occupied for around six centuries before that. The part-ruined church with its half-collapsed tower provides some clues as to when the village initially grew. Foundations of other buildings have also been exposed during archealogical excavations. The village can only be reached by a walk along sometimes muddy paths, the nearest road being just under a mile away. However, the deserted village offers an attractive place to pause on longer walking routes, including the Yorkshire Wolds Way and Centenary Way.
Find out more at the  English Heritage - Wharram Percy website.

Emergency services

North Yorkshire Police  North Yorkshire Police website.

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service  North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service website.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust  Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust website.

Local government

Civil parish council

Pickering Town Council
Provides some local services in the area.
Link to council website  Pickering Town Council

District authority

Ryedale District Council

With its administrative centre in Malton, Ryedale District Council covers 575 square miles (1,489 square kilometres) and serves around 52,900 residents.

It is one of the seven large district councils within the North Yorkshire County Council area. Its population, slightly below that of Richmondshire, is the least among Yorkshire's district authorities, although this partly results from the 1996 round of council boundary tweaking when around half its original population were moved into an expanded City of York unitary authority district.

The district has boundaries to its south-west with the City of York, with North Yorkshire neighbours Hambleton in the west and Scarborough in the East and with the East Riding of Yorkshire to the south.

Much of the north of the district lies within the North York Moors National Park while the west of the district includes most of the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

In addition to Malton, Ryedale includes the towns of Helmsley, Kirkbymoorside, Pickering and Norton-on-Derwent and many villages.

The council is divided into 20 wards, each served by between one and three councillors. All 30 councillors are elected every four years, with elections due in 2019. There are also 121 parishes within Ryedale, 91 having a civil parish council and the remainder holding parish meetings.

Link to council website
 Ryedale District Council .

The political composition as at April 2019 was:

12943 NIG2

The political composition after the May 2019 election is:

30 members NIG = New Independent Group

County authority

North Yorkshire County Council
Includes the Ryedale borough and six other non-unitary districts of North Yorkshire.
 North Yorkshire County Council website.

Police and Crime Commissioner

Police and Crime Commissioner North Yorkshire
Covers the county of North Yorkshire and City of York.
 Police and Crime Commissioner North Yorkshire website.

Fire Authority

The North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service was previously governed by the North Yorkshire Combined Fire Authority made up of elected members from across the broad areas of North Yorkshire and City of York councils which it serves. Following a ministerial announcement in June 2018 the governance of the fire service was transferred to the Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire from 15 November 2018.
Further information at the  North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service website.
 Police and Crime Commissioner North Yorkshire website.

Ceremonial county

North Yorkshire


-1974 Most of the Rydale district was within North Riding of Yorkshire, however the area south of the River Derwent, including Norton-on-Derwent, was within the East Riding of Yorkshire.
1996 Ryedale was reduced in size when the City of York expanded and became a unitary authority. Although the area lost was relatively small compared to the overall area of Ryedale, it did house around half its original population.

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