Helmsley Castle, Yorkshire

One of the things I was really looking forward to on our little holiday to Yorkshire recently, was visiting some good castles. I love a good castle, the scale, the history, I just find them fascinating. Our base for the week was near Thirsk so we were not far away from the North York Moors. On the southern border of the moors is the small town of Helmsley, home to Helmsley Castle. I thought it looked like a good place to visit, especially as it was only around 20 mins from our holiday cottage.

What I hadn’t realised, from the little research I did, was quite how close to the town it was, with the ruin of one tower very much looming over the town – this tower was an addition, actually built solely to intimidate the residents of the town.


I have to admit we struggled a little to find the castle. Obviously we could see it as we drove into Helmsley but was very unclear how to actually get to it. Signs for parking in a couple of places but nothing that actually said parking for the castle, which would have been helpful! So if you go, look out for signs for “Long Stay” parking and that will take you to the right place.

On arrival there is a lovely model of how the castle used to look, and there are a couple of different routes you can take to enter the castle – with LM in the buggy we were advised to take the slightly longer, accessible route, which led us to the barbican where there are some very cool bronzed statues.

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Monkey had a fab time running around, exploring and climbing on the castle walls.

Helmsley Castle 1

There were places where hand-holding was a must, especially walking around the edge of the moat, and inside the fallen tower, to make sure he didn’t do himself a mischief. It was a grey morning when we arrived but the sun thankfully came out and after looking inside at some of the well preserved rooms we had a nice little picnic.



With the sun fully out and LM having a nap we then had a lot of fun spinning in the sunshine, chasing bubbles and generally just having a lovely time with Monkey.

Helmsley Castle 2

We then wandered into Helmsley itself which is a gorgeous little market town with lots of lovely little shops and tea rooms where you could happily while away some time.


Visitor Information

Helmsley Castle is managed by English Heritage and you can find the opening times and prices here. At time of writing it was £6 per adult, £3.60 per child and under 5s go free (perfect for us). We thought this was an ok price was as we didn’t find there was enough there to stay the whole day.

There is a shop but no refreshments available so take a picnic, or you can easily walk into Helmsley itself where there are plenty of tea shops and cafes to choose from.

As mentioned above the parking signs are terrible and don’t mention the castle at all, but follow signs for “Long Stay” parking and you should find it!

Do you and your kids like exploring castle ruins?

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22 thoughts on “Helmsley Castle, Yorkshire

  1. Helmsley Castle looks like it’s the perfect place to stop off and unwind, with all that open space around to let off steam. It looks like there’s lots to keep little ones happy and teach them something at the same time. It’s a shame there’s no refreshments on site but at least that gave you the opportunity to visit Helmsley as well. Thanks for linking up with Country Kids.

  2. Climbing over castle walls. That is the ultimate fun. I loved it at berkhamstead castle near us so I would love to take my little monkey around this. I love a good castle myself too and these pics look great.

  3. I love castles and actually prefer the ruined ones more than the restored ones. Helmsley castle and village sounds lovely although a bit too for us to travel! #countrykids

  4. I absolutely adore Helmsley, I spent every year visiting Yorkshire and staying 15 minutes away from Helmsley when I was young, we only stopped going 4 years ago and I’d love to go back again, I have some wonderful memories of my time spent there. Thanks for reminding me how lovely Yorkshire is 🙂

    Helen X

  5. This looks like such a great day out. I’ve never been very far up north before but it’s on my bucket list! This looks like such a beautiful place. I love exploring castles & cute little places like this. What a lovely day! xxx

  6. Beautiful place and fun to explore. I love castles and experiencing the history behind them. Looks like Monkey had fun in the open space too.
    Thanks for linking #LetKidsBeKids

  7. This part of the world is where I am from. I used to go to Helmsley Castle a lot as a child and so looking at your pictures reminds me how beautiful it is and makes me a little home sick. I’m so pleased you had a lovely time and the weather turned good for you!! There are so many beautiful places in Yorkshire to visit. #toddlerapprovedtuesday

  8. We love castles after visiting Bolingbroke (its is Lincolnshire, near Spilsby) this is a bit of a long journey for us (I googled it and its over 2.5 hours booooooooo!!!) but if we are ever up that way I shall definitly remember it!

    Thanks for linking up to #ToddlerApprovedTuesday. We also have a pinboard and facebook page you can join and post to, just tweet us if you would like adding!

  9. What a lovely day out! Children always seem to love castles. We live near Warwick and Kenilworth Castles. They always prove popular places to visit. It is obvious Monkey was having a great time there! It is always useful to have hints for when visiting with young children.

  10. This has been on my ‘to visit’ list for some time especially since we are English Heritage members. I shall remember about the dodgy signposts though when we do go!

  11. This looks gorgeous – I don’t know Helmsley, but I do love a good castle (especially with a lovely place to explore attached) so definitely one for the list if we’re in the area. #triedtested

  12. I have fond memories of ice creams in Helmsley Marketplace as a child – I don’t think I’ve ever been the to castle though.
    Thanks for linking up with #TriedTested this week x

  13. Pingback: Dalby Forest, Yorkshire - Becoming a Stay at Home Mum

  14. We haven’t taken ours to see castle ruins yet as our eldest is only just beginning to understand and take an interest in that kind of thing, but we will soon as I absolutely love exploring old castles! x #triedtested

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