Holiday cottages in the North Yorkshire Moors

Rent rural cottages and stay in The North York Moors National Park

NORTH YORKSHIRE MOORS RAILWAY

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For those thinking of taking a step back in time to “’ow it were”, the wonderful attraction that is the North Yorkshire Moors Railway is well worth a visit. You can enjoy a truly memorable day as you travel aboard the snug, wooden-panelled carriages, pulled along by glorious steam engines through attractive, and some quite famous, rural stations.

Staff are not only friendly and informative, but smartly dressed in the uniform of the time. In fact, the entire railway preserves its authenticity and charm completely.

The railway makes an ideal starting point for a really great day out. It makes no difference whether you just want to take in the splendid journey over the moors to the attractions of Whitby, fancy a spot of hiking or desire to simply village-hop through the region.

Of course, you gain the best of both worlds if you are self-catering in the region. You can cover as much or as little ground as you want, without having to worry about dinner times or access to your room. And you can always take a delicious home-prepared picnic with you, as there are plenty of places along the way to stop off at and enjoy your meal. And many of the places along the way are totally dog-friendly, so the four-legged member of the family needn’t feel neglected.

Steam train Pickering

Whitby itself is a great family day out, with its beaches and amazing coastline, harbour, winding town streets, an ancient abbey, and of course, the legend of Dracula!

However, other stops of note along the way include:
Grosmont. This is a junction with the main rail network, and its engine sheds are where the steam locomotives are restored. It’s also has traditional tea rooms.

Goathland is THE region’s celebrity station, known as the Aidensfield stop in YTV’s long-running, Sunmday-night Heartbeat drama series. But as any Harry Potter fan knows, it also made its mark as Hogsmeade in the first Harry Potter Film. The delightful village is just a few minutes walk from the station. Walkers and hikers may want to make a request for a stop at Newton Dale Halt. This tiny halt provides walking and wildlife fans the perfect place to get their hiking boot on, take out the cameras and access the adjacent National Park.

Levisham is a 1912 style station, surrounded by the magnificent Yorkshire Moors and can only be reached by one solitary hill road. Uniquely, when trains are running, it’s also home to an artist in residence.

Pickering, perhaps a better known North Yorkshire town, has very much a village atmosphere, with a charming 1930’s style and decorated station, perfect as a starting point for your steam train day out.

THE NATIONAL RAILWAY MUSEUM

If you are on a self-catering break to North Yorkshire, then your stay should include a visit to the magnificent National Railway Museum in York. From the moment you walk through the imposing entrance and see the incredible exhibits of the vast main hall, to seeing how rail points work in the outside yard area, you will be totally captivated.

The preservation of the railways’ past began in London in 1866 when the Science Museum obtained Stephenson’s Rocket. As a result, other railway companies began to sit up and take note and preserve their own heritage. The most dedicated of these companies was the North Eastern Railway (NER), which opened a specially-dedicated museum in York that opened its doors to the public in 1927.

It was during the 1930’s that many of the UK’s great railways had amassed considerable collections of their own railway memorabilia, but it wasn’t until the 1948 railways’ nationalisation that all these collections were all brought together.

And so, in 1951, the first ever national curator of railway relics was appointed, paving the way for a National Railway Museum to be built to house the massive and ever expanding collection. It enabled the eventual housing of the National Collection of railway artefacts in one location leading to subsequent opening of the revamped National Railway Museum at its current location in York in 1975.

There has been a programme of continual improvement at the museum since then including the launch of the Institute of Railway Studies in 1994, the opening of “the Works” in 1999, increasing the size of the museum three-fold in size from when it opening in 1975, winning the European Museum of the Year award in 2001, and the opening of the Yorkshire Rail Academy in 2004. The £4 million research centre and national archive has also just recently opened.

However, aside from the wonderful history and variety of exhibits, many of which you can clamber on or climb through, there are plenty of special days and activities held throughout the year, from face-painting to trips aboard the kiddies’ favourite, Thomas the Tank Engine. There are rest areas with cafés and refreshment booths, so you will have plenty of opportunity to rest any feet that may tire!

For the visitor to the area, a wonderful day out at the National Railway Museum is one not to be missed – whatever age child you might be! Not only is admission free, but as the single largest collection of railway history and memorabilia in one place, much of it quite famous, it is really well worth a visit.

And if you don’t complete all the exhibits and features first time around, you can always make a second visit!

And when you’ve imbibed as much locomotive history as you can manage, the centre of the magnificent city of York, with its restaurants, inns and pubs is but a short distance away.