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Explore the North York Moors Cycleway

Explore the beautiful North York Moors, considered by those who ride there as one of the best kept secrets in cycling. Cycle along quiet roads through the iconic heather moorland landscape around little known valleys, meander through deep forests and experience stunning views along rugged coastline. Call in at cycle friendly cafes and traditional pubs along the way whilst taking in a wealth of history with castles, museums, ruined abbeys, lost industries with folklore and tales of smuggling for a true North York Moors adventure.

  • Distance: 276 km

  • Total climbing: 4,025m

  • Starting point: Pickering

  • Finish point: Pickering 

  • Difficulty Rating: **** (click here for more details)

Highlights

Byland Abbey

This place of worship was once one of the shining lights of northern monasticism and housed one of the largest Cistercian orders in Britain. Nowadays only spectacular ruins remain, including the magnificent west front of this once-great church.

Castle Howard

Castle Howard is one of Britain’s finest historic houses, situated just outside York in the Howardian Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Dalby Forest

Known as the Great Yorkshire Forest, Dalby offers over 8,000 acres of woodland to explore and is home to a world-class mountain bike facility as well as an abundance of wildlife species and walks. It is also a designated Dark Sky Discovery Site.

Helmsley Castle

This fort towers over the town and possesses a wealth of history dating back to 1120, including a three-month siege during the English Civil War. It is one of 50 listed buildings in Helmsley, which has been designated a conservation area.

Roseberry Topping

This distinctive hill is one of the most striking and best-loved landmarks in the Tees Valley and Captain Cook is said to have got his taste for adventure by exploring the slopes of it as a young boy. If you’ve got time, you should try and follow in his footsteps.

Rosedale Abbey

The start and finish of both the Western and Eastern loops in the North York Moors.

Scarborough Castle

Encompassing over 3,000 years of history and set in a stunning location, this castle became one of the greatest royal fortresses in England during the Middle Ages, and was also the final resting place of the famous literary sister, Anne Brontë.

Sutton Bank

Famed for providing England’s best view, Sutton Bank is a giant escarpment which offers jaw-dropping scenery along its summit. It also features the White Horse, a 314-foot long chalk figure cut into the hillside dating back to 1857.

Whitby Abbey

Once one of the most religious sites in the Anglo-Saxon world, this iconic abbey with its soaring gothic ruins has been welcoming visitors for nearly 1,500 years and provided the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

Young Ralph Cross

This 10-foot cross is so iconic in the local area that it has been adopted as the symbol of the North York Moors National Park. Believed to date back as far as the 11th century, it is a monument with several interesting tales attached to it.

Suggested Itinerary

This beautiful figure-of-eight loop through one of Yorkshire’s three national parks is considered one of the best kept secrets in cycling. You’ll pedal along quiet roads, through rolling heather moorland and little-known valleys, and also visit deep, dense forests and experience stunning views across the spectacular North Sea. Call in at cycle-friendly cafes and pubs whilst soaking up a wealth of history by visiting castles, museums and ruined abbeys along the way.

The market town of Pickering provides an ideal start location and you’ll head into Dalby Forest before descending towards the seaside resort of Scarborough. From there, you’ll follow the dramatic coastline north and visit a seal colony before continuing through Robin Hood’s Bay and along a disused railway track towards Whitby – the home of Whitby Abbey.

You’ll turn inland at Sandsend and head into the heart of the North York Moors through a procession of undulating valleys, visiting Helmsley Castle and Byland Abbey before heading along Sutton Bank, recently voted as the best view in England. Roseberry Topping and Young Ralph Cross also make appearances before you descend back into Pickering to conclude this challenging yet hugely rewarding ride.

Book This Holiday

To book a leisure holiday on the North York Moors Cycle Way, select the links below to find a tour that suits your needs best

Yorkshire | North York Moors Cycleway

Yorkshire
30-50km per day
7 days, 7-8 nights
Self-guided with GPX files
Luggage transfers
From
£630 p.p.

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