There are hundreds of things to see and do in and around Pickering. A stay in Pickering opens up an almost limitless array of opportunities to entertain, whether you’re travelling alone, with your better half, the kids or with friends.
Here’s an easy top ten to get you started:
Visit Pickering Castle
Immerse yourself in history and explore this impressive 13th century castle. Pickering Castle was built by the Normans as a timber and earth motte and bailey castle after the invasion of William the Conqueror. Over the years it was used as a royal hunting lodge, holiday home and stud farm by a succession of mediaeval kings before coming under the care of English Heritage.
The castle is in the heart of Pickering and is open throughout the year. Book your visit direct with English Heritage.
See the North York Moors from a steam train aboard the North Yorkshire Moors Railway
Climb on board a steam or heritage diesel train on one of the earliest and most historic lines in Yorkshire. The 24-mile ride from Pickering to Whitby is an experience not to miss. Take a day trip to Whitby in style onboard the heritage steam train, sit down to an unforgettable dining experience onboard one of the historic Pullman Dining Carriages, or take a look around Pickering Station’s grand platform. There are also beautiful villages to explore from stops at Grosmont, Levisham and Goathland, a must for all Harry Potter fans. (Hyperlink the silver screen blog.)
Take in the frescoes at St Peter and Paul’s Church
The beautiful and historic St Peter & St Paul’s Church is located at the top of Market Place in Pickering. The church is famous for its stunning medaieval wall paintings… it’s certainly a hidden gem. Described by art historians as amongst the most important examples of their type in Northern Europe, they were originally painted in about 1450. For over 100 years these spectacular frescoes were covered by a thick layer of plaster and were discovered in 1852 during restoration work in the church when the plaster was removed and the paintings exposed.
Step back in time at the Beck Isle Museum
The Beck Isle Museum is jam-packed with more than 60,000 different objects that bring the area’s rich history to life. A treasure house with a selection of hands-on (and definitely hands-off!) exhibits, it offers visitors the chance to experience real history with 27 themed rooms, spanning 200 years of Yorkshire life, and the chance to try genuine equipment. Try out the letterpress in the print room, pretend to be a purveyor of strange delights at the replica chemist’s shop, and learn how the Vale of Pickering has been farmed for centuries in the agricultural heritage area.
An action-packed day at Dalby Forest
A visit to Dalby Forest offers endless adventures such as The Gruffalo kids orienteering course, Superworm trail, some of the very best mountain biking trails and endless stunning views across 8,500 acres.
Dalby Forest is a mountain biking mecca and is one of the bigger trail centres in England. It’s got everything from green family trails to black-graded XC loops and a bike park area.
Fancy something a little slower? Dalby is also a designated Dark Sky Discovery Site, where you can experience the magic of seeing the Milky Way with the naked eye.
Experience Eden Camp
Transport yourself back to wartime Britain in this former WWII Prisoner of War Camp. Eden Camp is a chance to experience the sights, sounds and even smells of life on both the Home Front and Front Line during World War Two. Developed through close collaboration with veterans groups, this is a unique opportunity to explore a huge variety of immersive displays which offer incredible detail and insight into wartime life. There is also a brilliant play area, which is an added bonus.
Fun at Flamingo Land
From family fun rides to white knuckle roller coasters, Flamingo Land has it all. Ride along with the kids on Little Monsters Wacky Racers, Twistosaurus or the Muddy Duck Tractor Ride. Or test your nerve on Mumbo Jumbo, with its 112° drop, Velocity, the UK’s only motorbike launch coaster or Sik, the new-for-2022 rollercoaster regarded as a world class ride and one of the best in the UK.
It also has an award-winning zoo, with four amazing shows, over 140 species and more than 1,000 animals.
Dive in at North Yorkshire Water Park
If you love watersports, then this is the place for you! Create unforgettable adventures and experience stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, open-water swimming, sailing, canoeing and a range of inflatable floating obstacle courses.
For those thrillseekers there’s also a 13-metre-high tower with two climbing walls and two 250m long zip lines where daredevils can take a breath-taking descent across the lakes on the zip wire whilst taking in the views of North Yorkshire Water Park.
Castle Howard Revisited
There are a number of grand historic houses with beautiful grounds and gardens in and around Pickering, but none more recognised than Castle Howard. This home has starred on many TV screens from Brideshead Revisited, Bridgerton, Victoria and even Arctic Monkeys’ ‘Four out of Five’ music video.
Although building work began in 1699, the construction of Castle Howard took over 100 years to complete, spanning the lifetimes of three Earls.
There is a lot to explore both in the house itself and outside too, including walled gardens, fountains, statues and a boating lake, as well as a great farm shop and garden centre on-site.
Stretch your legs
With diverse and beautiful landscapes in every direction, the countryside around Pickering is a walker’s paradise.
One of our favourite walks was taken from All Trails and starts from the North York Moors railway station in Pickering (the start or end of the line depending on which way you are going), and should take about two and a half hours to complete. This is a great circular walk and you can treat yourself to a drink in Pickering once you have finished.
Further afield, the Yorkshire Coast also provides excellent opportunities for walkers, with a number of lovely coastal routes across the cliffs and moors.
We’ve only scratched the surface of things to do here – keep exploring Pickering and what we have to offer. Share your adventures on social media by using #VisitPickering.