One of the moors' most appealing towns, HELMSLEY makes a perfect base for visiting the western moors and Rievaulx Abbey. Local life revolves around a large cobbled market square, dominated by a boastful monument to the second earl of Feversham, whose family was responsible for rebuilding most of the village in the nineteenth century. Marketday in Helmsley is Friday, with the town centre filled with traders.
Helmsley Castle (March– Oct daily 10am–5/6pm; Nov– Feb Mon & Thurs– Sun 10am–4pm; £4; www.english-heritage.org.uk) is impossible to miss, its unique twelfth-century D-shaped keep ringed by massive earthworks.
Helmsley's old market cross marks the start of the 109-mile Cleveland Way. one of England's premier long-distance National Trails.