Andrew Montgomery

North York Moors National Park

Inland from the North Yorkshire coast, the wild and windswept North York Moors rise in desolate splendour. Three-quarters of all the world's heather moorland is found in Britain, and this is the largest expanse in England. Ridge-top roads climb up from lush green valleys to the bleak open moors, where weather-beaten stone crosses mark the lines of ancient roadways. In summer, heather blooms in billowing drifts of purple haze.

This is classic walking country. The moors are criss-crossed with footpaths old and new, and dotted with pretty, flower-bedecked villages. The national park is also home to one of England's most picturesque steam railways, and at its eastern edge lies historic Whitby – one of England's dreamiest and most haunting coastal towns.

The park produces the useful Out & About visitor guide, available from tourist offices and hotels, with information on things to see and do. See also www.northyorkmoors.org.uk.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout North York Moors National Park.