Pickering is a small, but ancient market town located at the centre of the Vale of Pickering and is known as the gateway to the North York Moors National Park. The town is surrounded by glorious rolling moorland, forests and is very close to the stunning Yorkshire coast. With a variety of things to do in Pickering and nearby by, Pickering is a perfect place to spend a weekend, or longer and explore the area.
Best Things to Do in Pickering
The traditional market town of Pickering offers a variety of things to do in the town and in nearby locations. For centuries this town has been a centre for agriculture and travellers, hosting mail coaches, and being a terminus for trains from Whitby and Scarborough. Many people come to Pickering to use it as a base to visit the glorious North York Moors National Park.
Visit Pickering Castle
Originally built in the time of William the Conqueror in 1069, Pickering Castle has relatively well-preserved remains from the 13th century. Pickering Castle has been used as a holiday home a royal hunting lodge and a horse stud farm! Today’s castle is managed by English Heritage and is a great spot to visit in Pickering. Entrance is free with English Heritage membership.
There are fabulous views over the North Yorkshire countryside, informative exhibitions in the chapel and you can also explore the keep. Save on entry with an English Heritage Membership and also visit English Heritage attractions nearby in Whitby and Helmsley. Pickering Caste is one of our 13 must visit castles in Yorkshire, check the others out here.
Explore the Beck Isle Museum in Pickering
At the Beck Isle Museum, you’ll get to understand what life in Yorkshire was like over the last 200 years. The museum is located in a Grade II listed building and has 27 themed rooms and outdoor areas that explain how different life was in Picking and Yorkshire in years gone by. There are recreated scenes of dairies, blacksmiths forges, printers, a hardware store and a barbers shop. You’ll even find a Victorian pub here too! The printer rooms contain a 160-year-old printing press that was used by a local print firm and that still operates today!
You’ll also find a display of local photographs – more than 7,000 of them from Sydney Smith, who made his home here between 1920 and 1960 and be able to track fashions and lifestyles in the local area from that time.
The Beck Isle Museum is open usually from the end of March until the end of October from 1000- 1700. Check the Beck Isle Museum Website for latest opening times and entry prices.
Visit Newbridge Park
Located just behind Pickering Castle is a restored area of woodland called Newbridge Park. In a 100% volunteer-run series of projects, this once neglected woodland has been converted to include picnic areas, footpaths and bike trails. Native tree species are being reintroduced and a long term woodland management plan is being developed.
Take the North York Moors Railway
You can visit Pickering as a day trip from Whitby or other towns in the area, but a stunning way to visit is via the North York Moore Railway (NYMR). This heritage railway is run as a not for profit by volunteers and runs trains during the summer and on certain holidays during the year. The 24-mile track runs through the North Yorks Moors from Whitby to Pickering.
Tickets allow for hopping on and off (in the same direction), to explore stations along the way. Special services throughout the season allow for dining in the Pullman Car, afternoon teas, Murder Mystery trips on the NYMR ad special Christmas Trains. Find out more on the NYMR site. This is a fabulous, fabulous trip and perfect for all ages. Be sure to stop off at Goathland and explore and for a superb return trip to Whitby, take the equally fabulously routed number 840 bus from Pickering to Whitby, it is a glorious ride.
Visit Pickering’s Weekly Market and the Pickering Monthly Farmers Market
In common with many towns in the area, there’s a regular market in Pickering each Monday and a farmers market on the third Thursday in the month from 0830 until 1300 off the Market Place, near the White Swan pub.
Pickering War Weekend
For 3 days each October, Pickering transforms itself to the 1940s and hosts the Pickering War Weekend with a full calendar of WWI and WWII themed entertainments and events. There are live music, themed markets, stalls, reenactments and wartime trains. Find out more and latest dates here.
Photo Credit: Bryan Ledgard / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)
Best Things to do near Pickering
Visit the Ryedale Folk Museum in Hutton le Hole
The Ryedale Folk Museum covers 6 acres of land and showcases rural life in the area dating back to the Iron Age. In 20 buildings you can explore what life was like in the Manor House and Village shops. See crafts and crofters cottages as well as a witches hovel and a dairy.
On the outskirts of the nearby town of Malton, Eden Camp allows you to step back in time and experience World War II. Located on the grounds of an original WWII Prisoner of War Camp, Eden Camp recreates the sounds, sights and smells of what life was like both on the front line and here, on the home front. A variety of huts, take you through different themed experiences from the 1940s. from the road to war until the end. You can take a mini virtual tour of Eden Camp here and also find out about prices and opening times.
Flamingo Land is Yorkshire’s theme park and zoo. There’s a holiday village, so you can also stay, but most visitors come for the day to ride the thrill-seeking rides, see the day time shows and have hands-on sessions with the animals. It’s a popular location for families (and was my first ever trip to a theme park!) The theme park has thrill-seeking rides and family rides and activities too. Check opening times and prices here
Go Ape at Dalby Forest
If you like adventure you’ll love Go Ape at Dalby Forest. Treetop adventures, zip line adventures, bouncy nets and all-terrain Segwaysall provide for a great outdoor adventure for all the family. Stay locally in Pickering and explore Dalby Forest for amazing fun.
Visit Goathland near Pickering
You’ll find Goathland on the A169 to Whitby and also as a stop on the NYMR railway. This gorgeous timeless village sits in the middle of stunning scenery and still delivers busloads of visitors as it was the location for the village of Aidensfield, in the Tv program “HeartBeat”. The station has also featured in the Harry Potter films.
Take a Brewery Tour at the Great Yorkshire Brewery at Cropton
In 1984, the Cropton Brewery was started in the cellars of the New Inn, Cropton. Roll forward to 1994 and a purpose-built brewing facility was built on farmland at the rear of the pub, doubling production. The brewery was renamed the Great Yorkshire Brewery in 2010. The Brewery now, as well as beer, offers accommodation, food and guided tours with a take-home bottle of beer included! Find out more from the Great Yorkshire Brewery.
Map of Things to do in Pickering and Nearby
Final Words on Things to Do in Pickering
Whether you come to Pickering for the day or for longer, whether you stay in Pickering or choose somewhere local, Pickering has a Yorkshire charm that you won’t forget. This small market town contains all the essentials, good places to eat, great fresh food on local markets and a few good pubs, be sure to start your list of things to do in Pickering and come visit!ASocialNomad is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com, amazon.co.uk, amazon.ca. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates..