Depending on where you're based, the sheer size of the moors means it's impossible to experience all it has to offer on a short timescale: much better to focus your attention on a key area that really appeals. The North York Moors can be split into four distinct areas...
Skirting along the edge of the central moors, the northern reaches of Esk Dale are a gentle introduction to the more remote tops found further inland. Dominated by the Esk Dale Valley, cut from the land by the meandering River Esk on its way to the North Sea, the charming scenery and well-kept villages of the northern moors are a delight. The best way to see them is by train on the Esk Valley Line which runs from Middlesbrough to Whitby every day. There are further pleasures towards the sea; the northern moors coastline is a heady mix of rugged cliff tops, peaceful bays and pretty fishing villages. Whitby, Sandsend and Robin Hood’s Bay are amongst some of the star attractions.
The Central Moors
The central region lifts you up onto high open moorland where the palette is one of hazy purple heather and moody skies. If you want to get away from it all, this is the place. The landscape is infused with a sense of drama and romance; silhouettes of ancient stone crosses rise up from the ground drawing the eye to spellbinding views of the moors beyond. Hidden little valleys are the key; every dead end road has a little bit of Eden at the end. Even though this is probably the least populated area of the moors, you’ve never very far from civilisation. Charming villages with picture-postcard good looks can be spotted from most hilltops, and the choice of Yorkshire ale or lashings of Yorkshire tea and cake will prompt heated discussions, with the compromise of trying both.
Back down again towards the western Howardian Hills, the tapestry changes again. Designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1987, the lush pastures and woodlands of the western moors play host to grand country houses, atmospheric ruins and handsome market towns. This is an elegant and delicate landscape, indelibly printed with the wealth and grandeur of recent history.
Much of the south-eastern corner of the moors are carpeted in a dense forest of pine and spruce trees. There have been a series of initiatives recently to replant this area with more native deciduous trees. Courtesy of the Forestry Commission, various forest parks here provides access to this wooded habitat via a series of roads and paths to venture down by foot or on a bike. A natural haven for the indigenous wildlife, badgers, deer and bats are amongst just some of the creatures you might stumble across. Towards the east coast you’ll find some really pretty villages before arriving in Scarborough - traditional bucket ‘n spade territory.
Where to stay on your North York Moors Luxury Cottage Holiday
We have a gorgeous collection of luxury cottages available in the North York Moors. There’s the fabulous Hay Barn near Helmsley, perfect for a special family celebration with its four en-suite bedrooms, games room, outdoor hot tub and sauna.
For walking enthusiasts why not book the gorgeous Partridge Cottage? Set high up in the moors to the west, there are lots of stunning walks literally from your doorstep. And with a wood burning stove and stunning en suite master bedroom you are sure of a warm welcome home again in this luxury cottage.
Foodies out there will Love Egton Cottage. Set in a picture-postcard moors' village close to the coast it has a fantastic gastro pub literally across the village street with another just a few minutes drive away. A little further takes you to the coast, Sandsend and Whitby which boast a fantastic range of excellent restaurants.
If mooching around a grand country estate is your thing then book the gorgeous Spring Cottage. A very pretty luxury cottage set in a lovely village complete with village pub. The amazing Castle Howard is just a few miles from here, with the fascinating city of York just a little further.
Take a look at all of our beautiful Luxury North York Moors Cottages here…