Helmsley is a classic North Yorkshire market town, a handsome huddle of old stone houses, historic coaching inns and – inevitably – a cobbled market square (market day is Friday), which marks the start of the long-distance Cleveland Way. It basks under the watchful gaze of a sturdy Norman castle ruin and stately home surrounded by rolling fields. Nearby are the romantic ruins of Rievaulx Abbey, several excellent restaurants and a fistful of country walks.
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