things to do in pickering north yorkshire

Things to do In Pickering North Yorkshire [Museums, Trains, and More!]

Pickering is a small, but ancient market town located at the center 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, and forests and is very close to the stunning Yorkshire coast.   With a variety of things to do in Pickering and nearby, Pickering is a perfect place to spend a weekend, or longer and explore the area.


What to Do in Pickering North Yorkshire

Pickering is a gorgeous place to base yourself and check off some of the nicest things to do in Yorkshire.  You’re in the heart of the North Yorkshire Moors and this countryside is just glorious.  There are regular trains from Pickering to Whitby, so you can take a trip there if you prefer to stay in a Pickering cottage.

There’s an office for Pickering Tourist Information located at Trailblazer Outdoors, which is open from Monday to Saturday from 0900 to 1730, you’ll find the tourist information office in Pickering at 17 Market Place, but we hope the info that we’ve provided here helps you plan your visit to Pickering North Yorkshire!

Pickering is a small town, there are only 7,000 inhabitants – and it’s gloriously quiet when the day trips to Pickering have gone home.  The best way to experience Pickering and see places and attractions near Pickering is to stay in Pickering.   There are some gorgeous Pickering holiday cottages available for rent, with great locations that will enable you to easily visit the things to do around Pickering.   We’ve pulled together some of the nicest and best equipped holiday cottages in Pickering and cottages near Pickering Yorkshire where you can experience this fabulous part of the country.

Best Places to Stay in Pickering

If you’re looking for self-catering accommodation in Pickering, then there are some gloriously stunning holiday cottages available for rent in Pickering.  Here’s our recommendation for the best cottages for rent.

For those who prefer to stay in a hotel or bed and breakfast, fear not, there are some equally lovely Pickering Hotels and bed and breakfasts.  Here’s our pick of the best.

The White Swan Inn, Pickering is found right in Market Place.  It’s a gorgeous spot to stay, right in the center of the town, but gloriously quiet too.  The rooms are superbly appointed, and this coaching inn dates from the 16th century, so there’s so much history here too!  It very rightly gets amazing reviews – check prices and book a room now!

The White Horse Farm Inn, Pickering is a great location, has fabulous rooms, and is great value for money too!  Check prices and room availability here.

Best Things to Do in Pickering

The traditional market town of Pickering offers a variety of things to do in the town and nearby locations.  For centuries this town has been a center for agriculture and travelers, 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 an English Heritage membership. and you can check the Pickering Castle opening times too.

View from Pickering Castle

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 Castle is one of our 13 must-visit castles in Yorkshire, check the others out here.

Explore the Beck Isle Museum 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!

Visit the Beck Isle Museum in Pickering

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 the 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 from Pickering

You can visit Pickering on 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.

If you’re visiting York, then this is a great day trip to take from York.

NYMR 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.

View form the 840 Coastliner Whitby to Pickering

Visit Pickering’s Weekly Market and the Pickering Farmers Market

In common with many towns in the area, there’s a regular market in Pickering each Monday and a monthly farmers market on the third Thursday of 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 into 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 the latest dates here.

Things to do in Pickering Pickering War Weekend

Photo Credit:  Bryan Ledgard / CC BY (

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 witch’s hovel and a dairy.

Eden Camp

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 Eden Camp opening times.

Flamingo Land, near Pickering, North Yorkshire

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 daytime 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 of Flamingo Land and prices here

Go Ape at Dalby Forest Pickering

If you like adventure you’ll love Go Ape at Dalby Forest.  This treetop adventure, zip line adventures, and bouncy nets are one of the best fun things to do in Pickering.  There are also all-terrain Segways that 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 Yorkshire

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.

Goathland Aka Aidensfield

Goathland Railway station is particularly picturesque and was used during the Harry Potter movies.  The small village is a perfect place to stay close to Pickering and there are many cottages in Goathland to rent and stay a while longer.  The Malyan Spout waterfall is worth a walk as well.   It’s a three-mile circular route from Goathland – the walking is easy and you’ll get to walk through the charming hamlet of Beck Hole too.  We always use the Ordnance Survey app when we’re walking in the UK – it keeps us on the right paths and public footpaths and is great to track where we’ve been.  You can find out more about the OS maps app here.

Take a Brewery Tour at the Great Yorkshire Brewery at Cropton near Pickering

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.

You can also stay at the New Inn – they get great reviews and after all, if you’re tasting beer you’re best not driving – check and book rooms here.

Other great places to visit in Yorkshire

  • Check out our guide to Yorkshire’s best castles here
  • Here are all the best things to do in York on a weekend

Map of Things to do in Pickering and Nearby

Click on the link here or the image to get a live version of the Pickering things to do map.

Map of Things to do in Pickering

If you’re loving Yorkshire, then why not check out Richmond – for steam trains, a market and the fabulous castle. Or head to the glorious city of York, and be sure to explore some of Yorkshire’s amazing castles as well as try some traditional Yorkshire food!

Travel Tips for Exploring England

Final Words on the Top Things to Do in Pickering North Yorkshire

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 Pickering things to do and see and come visit!

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