Another day, another last minute trip down to Yorkshire. It turns out there are so many cute villages here, no two the same, I doubt I will ever visit them all. Helmsley is the only market town in the North York Moors, situated not too far from the beautiful village of Thornton-Le-Dale and Whitby. Not as picturesque as some other towns and villages in Yorkshire, Helmsley is one of the oldest and has a lot more to do than I had initially anticipated.
This market town has the ruins of two abbeys, a Norman castle and several walk ways leading to different parts of the country. I thought I would try and follow some of the Cleveland Way path which is 110 miles long, so I chose to turn back towards the town. Maybe I will come back and walk along part of this another day. However, I do wish I had walked a bit further along the path as it led to Riveaulx Abbey which looks stunning. I did visit Fountains Abbey with my photographer a couple of years ago and just loved seeing the history and hiding among the ruins.
Instead I turned back towards the town, bypassing the walled garden. I avoided it at all costs because it was really expensive and rather tiny. Part of Helmsley castle was peeping out, over the top of the walled garden. So I followed along a woodland path until I found it.
Helmsley Castle is 900 years old and has had many different roles to play throughout British History. It began life as a wooden castle which quickly turned into a military fortress in medieval times. It was extended to become a civil war stronghold and finally a Tudor mansion before being left to go to ruin. Nowadays, it is a popular place to visit but to me it is not as romantic as the Victorians made it out to be. Due to time constraints and a hungry photographer I didn’t go in, I just enjoyed the view of the castle ruins from the wall.
It turned out that the castle itself is only a ten minute walk from the town centre, a great thing if you can’t walk very far. I was expecting to find one or two cafes in Helmsley and maybe a pub where I could have lunch. Instead, I was greeted by several different bistros, cafes and restaurants which all looked great. It has been a while since I have struggled to choose a place to eat because I wanted to go everywhere (being an adventursaurus doesn’t pay well enough for that unfortunately). After a while deciding, longer than I care to admit, I chose Mannion and Co. A bistro which doesn’t look anything special from the outside is definitely worth visiting and that’s just for the coffee! A bistro and an artisan bakery have come together in a very old building and produced something beautiful. The menu is wrote on a chalk board and the tables are reclaimed butchers blocks. I only had a sandwich but it was nothing short of inventive and delicious. The combination of dill yoghurt, apricot and halloumi on ciabatta with salad and homemade chutney was simply wonderful. The cakes looked delicious but sadly I was too full of sandwich to eat anymore.
I spent the remainder of the time I had in Helmsley wandering around the streets and shops just enjoying the atmosphere. It is a lovely place to go for a day out. A great place to spend a Saturday and I even found a few places to visit in the future, once the better weather returns.
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