Best things to do in Helmsley

Planning on visiting Helmsley? In the heart of the North York Moors, this town is home to a wide array of tourist attractions and opportunities for a fun family day out. From relaxing countryside strolls to educational tours, there is something on offer for every member of the family to enjoy.

Amongst many other unique attractions, Helmsley is home to the National Centre for Birds of Prey. You’ll be able to watch fantastic flying demonstrations with the likes of Burrowing Owls to Sea Eagles and many more – since this is home to the largest collection of birds of prey in the North of England! There are also plenty of other activities to keep the kids entertained, with a free ink stamp trail to take part in. You’ll also have the chance to go for a relaxing walk around the centre, with acres of woodland and parkland for you to enjoy.

Fancy an activity to challenge your mind? The Helmsley murder mystery treasure trail is sure to bring our your inner detective. This self-guided trail will send you on a mission to solve the clues that you’ll find on buildings, medieval streets and an array of unusual spots – before solving the great mystery! If you’re new to Helmsley, this is a great way to get to know the town in more depth, whilst team building with your family and friends.

If you’re intrigued by historical ruins, a visit to Rievaulx Abbey might be the ideal day out for you. Set in the midst of the North Yorkshire countryside, this Abbey is surrounded by stunning views and greenery. In the elegant museum, you’ll learn about the enchanting past of Rievaulx Abbey before it became the ruins as we know them today; as well as an insight into the monks who once lived there. If you’re a true historian, you might like to squeeze a second trip to one of Helmsley’s most historic monuments, Helmsley Castle. With the hands-on exhibition available for visitors, you’ll learn about Helmsley Castle during the Tudor period through to its existence and use during the Victorian era. Just a scenic walk away from Rievaulx Abbey, you can make a day of learning about Helmsley’s history.

For a day of tranquillity, Helmsley’s Walled Garden is the place to visit. Dating back to the 18th century, the Walled Gardens is a popular attraction due to its array of beautiful plants and flowers which guide a walking path – ideal for a relaxing stroll. Once you’ve made your way to the Vine House Café, you can unwind with a delicious slice of cake and cup of tea whilst overlooking the stunning gardens.

The horse riders amongst you will be glad to hear that Helmsley has its very own riding centre. What better place to ride a horse than around the stunning North York Moors? Helmsley also has a variety of splendid walking routes on offer, so you’ll never be short of something to enjoy.

Treat your loved one – dining at the Gallery

Whether it’s your anniversary, a loved one’s birthday or date night, you can’t beat a delicious, hearty meal with fresh, local produce. Here at the Black Swan, our Gallery Restaurant is the perfect setting for any occasion, and our range of menus on offer mean there’s something for everybody to enjoy.

Gallery by day and restaurant by night, our dually functional room provides entertainment for our guests at all hours of the day. During daytime, this room is home to Helmsley Galleries, showcasing many original pieces of artwork. This room is open daily and is designed to be enjoyed by our guests.

As the day merges into the evening, the Gallery is then transformed into an atmospheric restaurant. Choose from our A la Carte menu, which changes seasonally and features traditional favourites, to our Market menu (available Sunday to Thursday) which takes the nation’s favourite dishes and puts an upmarket, luxe twist on traditional plates. Whatever menu you choose, your taste-buds will be in for a treat.

Fancy jazzing up your meal with a glass of wine? Our wine list offers over 200 different varieties – so we’re sure to have something to everybody’s taste. Each wine has been carefully selected to provide our guests with the best quality possible; they are then stored in our cellar. If you don’t know your wines from your beers, don’t worry – our restaurant team are happy to provide assistance in finding the right wine for you.

A truly unique restaurant, you’ll enjoy more than just a sumptuous feast – you’ll also get to view some of the North’s most important art collections! So polish up your boots and iron your best shirt, and come to join us for a fine dining experience at The Gallery! For more information about booking, see here.

Bank Holiday Fun

Looking for a peaceful and tranquil location to spend your Bank Holiday? Whether you’re unwinding in our gardens or taking a stroll on one of the many walking trails in Helmsley, you won’t be short of options. In Helmsley, you can make your Bank Holiday exactly as you’d like it, with many relaxing and fun activities on offer.

Looking for a break away, but don’t want to leave your pup behind? Here at the Black Swan, we welcome all dogs so you’ll never have to worry about leaving them behind. You and your pup can also enjoy one of many of the North York Moors walking routes, allowing you to get some exercise whilst also taking in the breath-taking surrounds. There are walks of different lengths, from under-3 mile strolls to a full 7-mile walk for the more intrepid – the choice is yours! With historical artefacts and woodlands, these walks are for those who really appreciate the outdoors.

If walking isn’t your thing, there are many other activities for you and the family nearby. From horse riding and cycling to water sports and golf, the North York Moors offer a whole range of fun ventures for everybody to enjoy. Looking to extend your trip? We have a variety of bespoke bedrooms available, from relaxing individually designed Classic Bedrooms to our luxurious Junior Suite – an option that’s sure to make your Bank Holiday truly special.

If you’re a nature lover, the National Centre for Birds of Prey is the place for you. You’ll have the opportunity to experience fascinating flying demonstrations whilst taking a look at some of the UK’s most intriguing airborne creatures, including the Burrowing Owl. You’ll also have fun in the ink stamp trail, or perhaps you’d prefer to take a stroll in the 300 acres of woodland that the park has to offer. Alternatively, for those who appreciate the beauty of greenery and flowers, visit the Helmsley Walled Garden to open your eyes to the best bits of Yorkshire’s stunning countryside. 

You’ll also have the chance to relax in the Vine House Café, which offers some of Yorkshire’s finest delicacies.

Afternoon Tea is archetypally British and therefore, on a British Bank Holiday, it only seems appropriate to indulge in one. At the Black Swan, you can enjoy the ultimate Afternoon Tea, consisting of dainty finger sandwiches, sweet scones and a delicate selection of desserts. This can be enjoyed in the beauty of our gardens, where you’ll be surrounded by peace and relaxation.