I have been guiding people around Yorkshire’s famed national parks, The North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales for 6 years now.
It dawned on me though, the other day, that you can visit these places hundreds of times and not have a chance to see all they have. Pickering for example, on our North York Moors tour has an 11th century castle.
I do not always mention it on tour, it’s is not visible from the bus, so it is almost easy to forget, it’s also a 5 minute walk from the town, costs money to get into and if you did visit it you wouldn’t have much of a chance to see anything else in town.
That being said, if steam trains aren’t your thing and historic wall paintings in a 12th century church is not going to float your boat, then I can finally recommend Pickering Castle. For the first time ever I had a look around and I personal loved it. Much more than just a few walls (which is all I had ever seen of it in the past).
First things first, this is a ruined castle, if you want the perfect English Castle then head 250 miles south and look for Dover Castle. However it is the quintessential English ruin, built shortly after the conquest to control the rebellious Northerners, it’s has impressive perimeter walls with soaring towers. An old chapel and other remains to explore, but it is the old Motte (large hill where the keep would sit) from the classic Norman style structure from the conquest that is quite breathtaking, literally, As you climb to the top of the motte where the old castle keep used to be.
The views over the castle ruins, the hills back toward York and the Moors in the distance are worth the entrance fee alone.
I wandered around in a fairly relaxed 25/30 minutes which would leave time even to visit the railway station and or the old church, use the conveniences and grab a coffee to go.
Check out my little video of the castle here.