Getting the most out of a short visit to Pickering!
When exploring the area around The North York Moors National Park it is very easy to miss something historic and interesting. After all every town seems to be historic and there are over 13000 sites of historical interest.
Pickering, a charming little town located in the foothills of the North York Moors is one of these places. Aside from admiring the quaint sandstone cottages, most people just continue along the A169 eager to view the famous heather moorland or in a rush for fish and chips in Whitby.
Here at Mountain Goat we can’t argue with those reasons but also we are here to tell you why it would be a mistake to keep going and not stop for a little while to explore this charming and historic little town. Here is one of our driver guides quick 45 minute tour for those who have other things to do and other places to be.
Pickering is at least well known in some circles, specifically with steam train enthusiasts and it is at the refurbished Victorian station that we start our tour. Pickering station is the southern terminus of the North York Moors Railway, Britain’s most popular heritage line. It carries up to 300000 passengers a year along 24 miles of track through breath taking scenery, terminating in Whitby. It is still awe inspiring to watch through thick clouds of steam the arrival or departure of one of these engineering masterpieces.
Heading out of the train station across the road you will notice a quaint little tearoom, “Botham’s” where the waiting staff still wear aprons and lace bonnets. Enjoys a quick brew now or remember this for later as they serve fantastic tea, coffee, home baked cakes and a friendly welcome.
A few minutes’ walk along the high street, where they still hold a weekly Monday market brings you to the doors of the historic Church of St Peter and St Pauls. Its origins date back to Saxon England, the original Saxon font can still be found near the entrance, and it was destroyed during Viking raids in the 9th Century and then rebuilt following the Norman Invasion. Look close enough and you will see the Saxon stone crosses used in the rebuilding process. However it is the magnificent murals inside the church that are Pickering’s real hidden gem. The 14th century wall paintings are the most extensive in England, dominating the interior. High above the pews along the whole length of the Nave are biblical paintings recounting the stories of the Saints and Christs assent to heaven.
As you head back down the high street there is still time to explore the quirky Hidden Market (formerly the Flea Market). Tucked away behind the main street, The hidden market is an eclectic mix of antiques, collectables, craft and vintage stalls, The stall owners are as eclectic as what they sell but offer a great chance to chat with the locals and hear their stories.