Pickering is a lovely market town and home to the North Yorkshire Steam Railway. It is also a great base from which to enjoy the area being within easy drive of the coast, the North Yorkshire Moors National Park and the many places to visit Castle Howard and Duncombe Park to name two of many.
Pickering is a bustling market town situated on the southern boundary of the North York Moors National Park. As well as being the centre for services for the outlying villages, the town itself attracts visitors throughout the season for many different reasons. Market day is Monday. Pickering has an award winning Tourist Information Centre and can provide detailed information or booking on places to visit. Pickering is both a great place to visit as well as the perfect base to explore the area.
Pickering is the southern terminus of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, which operates an 18 mile line through some of the area’s most beautiful scenery to the village of Grosmont on the Esk Valley in the northern part of the National Park. With a daily steam-operated service from early Spring to early November.
Overlooking the railway and the Pickering Beck is the ruined Pickering Castle, managed by English Heritage. the castle ruins are mainly 11th and 12th century construction (Motte and Bailey Castle) with later additions (and subtractions). After seeing some action during the Civil War, the castle was used by the royal household as a hunting lodge, with the wide ranging forests of Blansby Park to the north. The site is open to visitors daily during the main season, and on some days each week during the Winter season.
Pickering’s skyline is dominated by the spire of the Parish Church Saint Peter & Saint Paul, which is well worth a visit to look at the medieval wall paintings, which are to be seen down both sides of the aisle. Originally painted during the 15th century, these paintings depict various scenes from the lives of the Saints, and are one of the best examples in the country. They lay hidden under layers of paint after such adornments went out of fashion until being rediscovered in the 19th century and restored.
In Bridge Street is to be found the Beck Isle Museum of Rural Life housed in a splendid Regency Town House. This museum has a fascinating collection of artifacts, furnishings, costumes and documents from Pickering and area, particularly during the Victorian era. Of particular interest is the collection of early photographs by Sydney Smith, a pioneer in the field of photography which records nostalgic scenes.
Dalby forest lies 4 miles North East of Pickering, once covered by the Royal Hunting Forest of Pickering it is now an area of leisure and recreation. It also offers peace and tranquility, lovely views and a host of facilities along its 9 mile drive, wayward walks, picnic and barbecue sites, children’s play areas, orienteering courses, wildlife observation hide and much more.
For leisure pursuits, Pickering has a Leisure Centre with indoor and outdoor courts and fitness centre, though the 25 metre swimming pool (with flume) is at a different location (only 5 minutes walk from Eastgate Cottages. The town also has a football ground and two football teams and doubles up as the cricket pitch in the Summer.
The shopping in Pickering is particularly good for local foods with very good butchers, greengrocers, bakers and a fabulous deli – Seasons that specialises in local produce. There are several antique shops that are good for browsing plus an increasing number of gift and craft shops, the Greenman gallery is a particular favourite. Only one small supermarket but you’ll have plenty of them at home and you can always pre-order the groceries on-line before you set off.