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The Accessible North York Moors

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© VisitBritain Peter Kindersley

The North York Moors, renowned for its breathtaking landscapes and rich history, offers more than just natural beauty and friendly locals. Accessible treasures are tucked away throughout this picturesque region, whether you fancy strolling through vibrant heather moorland, uncovering serene sandy beaches, exploring ancient abbeys, or wandering through exquisite gardens. You can navigate the North York Moors National Park with ease, be it by car, on foot, or even with the help of an adapted bike or tramper—an all-terrain electric mobility scooter. Join us on a journey to discover the most accessible and captivating experiences the North York Moors has to offer.

Whitby Abbey

Location: Whitby, North Yorkshire

The gothic cliff-top abbey stands eerie and illuminated at night, while by day, it offers mesmerizing views of the North Sea. Dating back to the 7th century, you can explore the 13th-century ruins of the Benedictine abbey, built after the Norman Conquest. The level paths within the grounds make it wheelchair-friendly. After exploring the ruins, head to the first-floor exhibition, accessible by lift, to delve into how this abbey inspired the world’s most famous vampire.

Top Tip: If the 199 steps up to Whitby Abbey seem daunting, you can take the yellow Open Top Tour Bus or arrive by car with nearby parking.

North Yorkshire Moors Railway

Location: Pickering, North Yorkshire

Immerse yourself in the beauty of the moors, featuring rolling heather-covered hills, pine forests, and a shimmering coastline—a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts. Experience this wonderland from the comfort of a classic steam train, sipping a glass of wine while enjoying uninterrupted views. The North Yorkshire Moors Railway offers round trips from the historic market town of Pickering to Whitby, a seaside fish and chip haven. As you travel, you’ll pass through stations like Goathland, known as Hogsmeade Station in the Harry Potter films.

Pickering Station, your starting point, boasts six allocated disabled parking spaces with ramp access from the car park. Ramps on the trains assist wheelchair users and partially sighted passengers, and guide and assistance dogs are warmly welcomed aboard.

Sutton Bank National Park Centre

Location: Thirsk, North Yorkshire

Elevate your spirits at Sutton Bank, where you can behold one of England’s finest views. After soaking in the stunning North York Moors scenery, visit the free National Park Centre. Explore exhibits about the area’s landscapes, nature, and wildlife, and browse the shop before recharging at the café.

You can further explore miles of accessible paths on foot, bike, or by hiring a tramper (advance booking required). Discover the Nature Hub, also serving as a Star Hub for stargazing—an official Dark Sky Discovery Site in the North York Moors.

Helmsley Walled Garden

Location: Helmsley, North Yorkshire

Beneath the dramatic ruins of Helmsley Castle lies the beautiful five-acre Helmsley Walled Garden. This horticultural gem not only nurtures plants but also provides opportunities for locals of all abilities to volunteer and learn about gardening. Stroll through level, step-free paths, including the double herbaceous borders, featured in the 2020 remake of The Secret Garden.

Allow at least an hour and a half to explore the garden’s nooks and crannies, from apple orchards to glasshouses and the Physic Garden, which unveils the magical medicinal qualities of herbs. Conclude your visit with a stop at the Vine House Café, offering delicious cakes and seasonal light lunches featuring produce from the Walled Garden.

Dalby Forest

Location: Scarborough, North Yorkshire

Immerse yourself in Dalby Forest’s 8,000 acres and its extensive network of accessible trails—perfect for exploration on foot or with a tramper. Alternatively, visit the Dalby Forest Cycle Hub to rent adapted bikes and e-bikes suitable for various terrains.

While enjoying nature and fresh country air, keep an eye out for Gruffalo sculptures scattered throughout the forest. If you prefer pedal power, explore the easy-access Ellerburn Trail, which meanders through woodlands, meadows, and even leads to a bird hide and bat hibernaculum. When it’s time for refreshments, head to the eco-friendly visitor center, housing interactive exhibition areas. Dalby Forest is also a designated Dark Sky Discovery Site, offering a chance to witness the magical Milky Way after dark.

Yorkshire Coast Nature

Location: North Yorkshire Forest

Prepare for a wildlife safari guided by a team of experts passionate about providing unforgettable small-group tours. Choose from expertly guided nature walks tailored to your interests, whether you’re into wildflowers or whales. Options include spotting Northern Goshawks, one of Europe’s most magical birds of prey, or embarking on a wildflower discovery trail across the moors.

Alternatively, get up close to European Honey Buzzards, Turtle Doves, and Common Kingfishers on a Birding Discovery Day. These one-day tours traverse ancient woodlands and commercial forests in the North York Moors National Park, offering opportunities to spot native forest and river birds.

Ryedale Folk Museum

Location: Hutton-le-Hole, North Yorkshire

Situated in the charming moorland village of Hutton-le-Hole, Ryedale Folk Museum spans six acres and transports visitors through time from the Iron Age to the 1950s. Explore 4,000 years of history through over 40,000 objects in more than twenty wheelchair-accessible historic buildings.

Visit an Iron-Age Roundhouse, observe rare-breed pigs in the farming area, explore a vintage chemist, or watch traditional blacksmith, tinsmith, and cobbler workshops—all in one day. Accessible toilets are conveniently located in the entrance building and the High Barn Exhibit. Assistance dogs are welcome to accompany you as you explore the museum.

Accessible Accommodation in the North York Moors

Inn on the Moor Hotel

Location: Goathland, North Yorkshire

Nestled in the idyllic village of Goathland, The Inn on the Moor Hotel fulfills your countryside dreams. This family-run hotel welcomes you with open arms, offering step-free access from the car park to the reception, bar, and dining areas. An accessible ground-floor room features a comfortable double bed, an en-suite wet room, and free WiFi. Breakfast is included, so you won’t need to venture far for a delicious Full English. For detailed accessibility information, consult the hotel’s accessibility guide.

Summerfield Farm, Hawsker

Location: Hawsker, North Yorkshire

Choose from three accessible holiday cottages or an accessible holiday home at Summerfield Farm, conveniently located near the coast and Whitby Abbey. These accommodations cater to guests with various mobility impairments, offering features such as ground-floor wet rooms, bedrooms, ceiling hoists, and tranquil sensory gardens. Richard, the owner, ensures unforgettable stays at this idyllic adapted holiday retreat.

Sunday Cottage, Grosmont

Location: Grosmont, North Yorkshire

North Yorkshire Moors Cottages presents a collection of four beautiful holiday cottages at the heart of the North York Moors. Sunday Cottage, in particular, stands out as the most accessible option. It boasts a four-star gold rating and is housed in a converted Methodist School. With stunning views over the Esk Valley, the property features an accessible bedroom with an en-suite wet room, a height-adjusting bed, and a ceiling hoist. Additionally, the cottage has a dedicated parking space with a blue badge sign.

Vale Cottage, Well Spring Farm

Location: Dalby Forest, North Yorkshire

Nestled near Dalby Forest and Scarborough, Wellspring Farm offers three holiday cottages set in eight acres of gardens and farmland. Vale Cottage, in particular, boasts numerous accessible features, including two ground-floor bedrooms (one with a luxury wet room). Guests also have access to a private garden and a beautifully landscaped shared garden with its own summerhouse.

While the attractions featured in this article have achieved high levels of accessibility, we recommend verifying individual accessibility requirements directly with the attractions before traveling to ensure a seamless experience tailored to your needs. The North York Moors welcomes you to embark on accessible adventures in this enchanting corner of England.

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