Image credit: Discover Yorkshire Coast

Pickering is a market town in North Yorkshire, originally the North Riding of Yorkshire, that lies on the border of the North York Moors National Park. Locals often refer to the town as the ‘gateway to the moors’.

Many visitors travel to Pickering and use it as a base to travel to nearby Scarborough, Whitby, Helmsley, and Malton.

Things to do in Pickering

Beck Isle Museum

Image Credit: Beck Isle Musuem

Beck Isle Museum is a popular place for visitors and locals to visit. Described as a ‘tardis’, this North Yorkshire museum is bigger than it first appears. It contains a collection of items that show how people used to live in Pickering through the years.

Throughout the year, Beck Isle Museum hosts special events and family activities such as willow basket weaving, blacksmith demonstrations, and bands. Exhibitions are also changed to keep the museum fresh as purchased tickets can be reused as many times within a year.

Pickering Railway Station

Pickering Railway Station is part of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway which is a heritage railway line. It first opened in 1836 before it was later closed. The NYMR trust recognised this railway and decided to reopen it in 1973. Now, Pickering Railway Station is a tourist attraction and also one of the busiest steam heritage lines.

Pickering Castle

Image credit: English Heritage

Around 1180, Pickering Castle was built in order to defend the area from intruders and control the residents. It’s located on the edge of the moors and has a royal hunting lodge, holiday home, and a farm.

Originally the castle was made out of timber however it was later rebuilt using stone. It’s well preserved as it was unaffected by both the War of the Roses and the English Civil War.

In 1926 the English Heritage took over the castle and now maintain it. People can visit the castle for an admission fee between 10am to 5pm every day.

Flooding in Pickering

Over the years, Pickering has been the victim to many floods due to being located so close to the river with the most notable damage taking place in 1999 and 2006 which greatly affected properties. In 2007, trees were planted and 167 retaining dams were built in order to keep back the water and prevent flooding.

Shopping in Pickering

Image credit: City of Pickering

The two main shopping areas in Pickering are Eastgate Square and the larger Market Place. These mainly contain independent local businesses along with banking, insurance, and legal companies. Every Monday there is an outdoor market which is popular with locals and tourists.

Sport in Pickering

This North Yorkshire market town is home to Pickering Town Football Club. They were founded in 1888 and as of 2023 are playing in the Northern League Division One.

Education in Pickering

Pickering has four preschools that children in the town and surrounding catchment areas can attend. There is also three primary schools and one secondary school called Lady Lumley’s School.

Religion in Pickering

Within Pickering are two churches – Pickering Parish Church and Saint Joseph’s Church. Pickering Parish is a Grade I listed building and dates back to the 12th century. It’s known for it’s mid 15th century wall paintings which were covered during the reformation. These were rediscovered in 1852 before being painted over again. During the 1870’s, these paintings were restored and have been uncovered since.

Saint Joseph’s Church was founded by Father Edward Bryan and built in the early 20th century according to the architect Leonard Stokes designs. It’s described as a friendly church that is known for its warm welcome.

Travelling In & Out of Pickering

Pickering is linked to the A170 and A169 which enables easy access to Scarborough, Thirsk, Malton, and Whitby.

The town’s bus service is run by Yorkshire Coastliner which travels to Helmsley, Malton, Thirsk, Whitby, and York. It also does a circular route of the town. The nearest railway station is in Malton around 8 miles from the town.

History of Pickering

Evidence has been found from both the Celtic and Roman eras that people lived in the area of Pickering. During this time it would have been the perfect place for people to settle due to its abundance of natural resources such as wood, fresh water, and food such as fish.

In 1066, the crown took over and a castle and church were built. In 1267, Pickering was given to Edmund who was the first Earl of Lancaster. It was then taken by the crown, then returned, before ending back with King Henry IV and has remained under the ownership of the monarchy since.

Around 1598, houses were built when streets were developed. It’s known that Nicholas Postgate, a catholic martyr, lived in Pickering for a while before being hanged in York in 1679.

In 1836, the Whitby and Pickering railway was opened. It was used for horse drawn wagons and carriages up until 1847 when they were replaced by steam locomotives. The Forge Valley line ran between 1882 to 1950 connecting Pickering to the Whitby and Scarborough railway line. In 1965 the railway closed due to the Beeching Axe.

In 1937, Castle Cinema opened and was able to entertain 550 people on a single level. During the 1970’s and 1980’s, Castle Cinema was struggling to remain open and had short stints of being closed.

The building was bought in 1990 with the plans to be demolished for housing but as the cinema was still making a slight profit they were able to carry on. As a result, they changed the cinema to a 250 seat showcase and added a children’s play area and cafe.

On the 1st of September in 2006, Castle Cinema closed and was later converted into flats in 2013.