Houses, Castles & Culture

Castle Howard – A must-see attraction, and certainly one of the most popular amongst our guests . A 20 minute drive from Hungate, this impressive stately home must be one of the world’s most beautiful buildings, set in the picturesque rolling Howardian Hills.  A year round attraction, with almost 1,000 acres of parkland and gardens to explore.  Take a tour of the House at your own pace or join an ad-hoc tour or talk of the house and gardens which run according to staff availability.  Young ones will love Skelf Island Adventure park, with climbing equipment, rope bridges and slides, and picnic benches or a cafe by the lake, or in the courtyard entrance.

Helmsley Castle – the imposing ruins of Helmsley Castle provide a fascinating excursion for a visit to this picturesque market town.  A free audio tour provides details on the 900 years of history during which time the castle evolved from a medieval fortress, to a Tudor Mansion to a Civil War stronghold.  If you’re an English Heritage member, this would make an excellent visit to combine with nearby Rixeaulx Abbey.

Riveaulx Abbey – Nestled in an atmospheric and tranquil valley in the North York Moors lie the ruins of the oldest and one of the most powerful Cistercian monasteries in England. Take an audio tour to learn about the lives of the monks who lived here, and visit the museum to see artefacts which tell the story of this fascinating abbey.  An English Heritage property, with a super cafe too!

Riveaulx Terrace – this 18th Century landscape garden is a true gem.  Enjoy a peaceful stroll through the woods and out onto the terrace which overlooks Riveaulx Abbey below.  Perfect picnic spots in summer.  A National Trust property and a good combination with nearby Nunnington Hall.

Nunnington Hall – described by the National Trust as a rural manor house with an organic garden, tea-rooms and exciting exhibitions.  Take a tour of the house, wander through the sheltered walled garden, or find a peaceful sunny spot to relax.  Colourful welcoming gardens with resident peacocks, and a play area for younger children make this a great family day out.  Nunnington Hall is also the home of rural art in Yorkshire with changing exhibitions year round.

Whitby Abbey – the atmospheric ruins of this Benedictine abbey are situated on the clifftop high above the town of Whitby, overlooking the harbour and the North Sea beyond. Now an English Heritage site, a climb up the famous 199 steps from the old town below affords beautiful views (or a drive around to the car park for those who prefer) and the museum here is well worth a visit.

Scarborough Castle – occupying a prominent position overlooking the North Sea and Scarborough below, it’s no wonder this former medieval fortress has had such a colourful history.  From Iron Age settlement, to Roman signal station, to 12th century medieval royal fortress- the long curtain wall with many towers and viewing platforms make this 16 acre site a fabulous open-air day trip for all the family.  As with all English Heritage properties, it’s better to book in advance online, although not necessary.