As the main market town and tourist centre in the North York Moors, Helmsley sees a lot of visitor traffic – much of it on foot since the town is also the starting point of the Cleveland Way long-distance hiking trail. It's a handsome place, radiating out from a large central market square (market day is Friday) ringed by old pubs and inns. An ancient market cross still stands sentry here, although the more prominent central landmark is the large stone monument to the local gentry, the earls of Feversham, whose stately Georgian pile, Duncombe Park, stands on the edge of town. Other visits are to Helmsley Castle and the adjacent Walled Garden, while out of town the nicest local walk is over the fields to the romantically sited ruins of Rievaulx Abbey. Plenty, then, to get your teeth into, and plenty of reasons to make Helmsley an overnight stop in the Moors, particularly as it has a growing reputation as a foodie and independent shopping destination, with plenty of local gastro-pubs, delis, bakeries, galleries and quirky little shops to explore. The side streets off the square in particular are a real delight, with restored alleys and courtyards full of surprising finds, from antiquarian bookshops to fancy jewellery stores, fishmongers to craft outlets.
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