One of the most popular and attractive visits in between the city of York and the coastline of East Yorkshire is the market town of Pickering. Positioned on the edge of the North Yorks Moors, this is a perfect place to both explore its majestic surroundings and discover the many charms within Pickering itself. There are few better places to get out of the city and take in the great Yorkshire air at.
To do just that, you can catch the number 840 Coastliner bus from York Stonebow to land in Pickering after just over an hour. Quicker still, a 27 mile drive via the A64 should take less than 40 minutes, with a choice of parking at The Ropery, Vivis Lane, Trout Lane, Eastgate, or into the moors at Thornton le Dale.
Once here, you’ll soon be tempted into the many local offerings. Perhaps perk up with a morning coffee, sampling the local produce at Feast Deli & Café or enjoying the homely comforts of Caffe Stop, both of which will feed you up too, on Yorkshire rarebit and farmers lunches or classic breakfasts and butties respectively.
This is a town which screams tea rooms, and indeed, a day here could be quite easily filled by going from one hot drink to another. Elizabeth Botham’s has expanded her Whitby empire by opening a shop and tearoom in Pickering, where their bakes and cakes can be scranned opposite the North Yorks Moors Railway Station. The station itself has a traditional tea rooms too, to sip in or take onto a locomotive ride along the tracks of the moors.
Back on Main Street, Middleton Tea Parlour is the quintessential quaint tearoom apt for a place like Pickering, all cucumber sandwiches, china cups and vintage ambience. Other excellent options for tea and homemade goodness are the friendly patisserie Café Cocoa and the fresh fodder at Lazy Sundae.
For tea of a different kind, namely a chippy one, Pickering provides. As well as everyone’s favourite fish and chips dinner, Capplemans is also a fine restaurant whose menu includes other seafood delicacies and even a considered vegan selection. And for even more eating pleasures, Piggies in the Middle is a deli which specialises in lip-smacking pulled pork sandwiches alongside other takeout treats.
To take Pickering’s food all the way back home, check out The Organic Farm Shop for quality local produce, and luxuriate in the sweet delights of wonderful artisan producers Birdgate Chocolatiers. Whilst that may be the perfect gift, there is plenty more to choose from in the town, at Beckside Gifts or the independent artist championing Pickering Gifts.
A couple more places stock a vast array of unique and specialist finds, in which time can be enjoyably whiled away. Pickering Antiques have 9 rooms of expert dealers to explore, whilst Jack & Sally’s Curiosity Shop is a riotous rummage through a variety of vintages to stumble across your treasure trove.
Pet presents are amply catered for too, at the aptly named experienced animal experts The Pet Store, full of toys, foods and treats. But maybe this is a day out for yourself, in which case treats should surely be lavished inwardly, perhaps by picking up a new outfit at smart casual clothes store The Smiddy.
On your way around all these shops and cafes, you’ll probably notice a few cultural spots and landmarks that attention should be paid to. Don’t miss the evocative Pickering Castle, a 13th century motte and bailey fortification that is now an English Heritage site which can be toured extensively or meandered pleasantly.
More impeccably displayed history can be seen at the town’s market cross, where you can rest up besides the the pretty flowers and grasses, and at Memorial Hall, where a plaque commemorates local heroes from the first World War. Inside this impressive building now acts as a meeting venue and events space for exhibitions, conferences, performances and community activities of all kinds. And to get to the heart of Pickering’s heritage, visit Beck Isle Museum, showcasing the town’s social past with their local collections.
Whilst in Pickering, it is tempting to venture into the moors, and whilst a walk is the way to go, a railway ride is a refreshing revival. Step aboard steam and diesel trains at North York Moors Railway and travel up to 24 miles through the area’s amazing scenery. Elsewhere, a scaled down version is a lot of family fun at Cedarbarn Miniature Railway, where the Flying Yorkshireman choo-choos through the fruit fields.
After experiencing your choices from those above, it’s time for a drink. Any credible market town serves up a traditional pub or two, and Pickering undoubtedly obliges, thanks to The Black Swan and Bay Horse Inn. So, sit back, sup up, and savour the marvellous day out that is Pickering.