Helmsley Castle



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This is an atmospheric ruin with formidable double earthworks. The castle was built for defence rather than show – although it didn’t see any military action until the Civil War. It was here that the troops of Colonel Jordan Crossland, a loyal supporter of Charles I, were besieged by the Parliamentarian army of Sir Thomas Fairfax, which numbered a thousand troops. The siege lasted three months. It might have lasted longer, but Royalist reinforcements were intercepted, and provisions confiscated. Crossland, forced to surrender, marched out of the castle on 22 November 1644, ‘with colours flying and drums beating’. While the Parliamentarians accepted this amicable surrender, they dismantled enough of the castle to ensure that it could never again be used by any side in a conflict. They failed in their attempts to blow up the Norman keep, however, and the eastern wall still stands to its full height of 97 feet, giving you an idea of what an impressive fortification it once was.

Helmsley Castle
Castlegate,HELMSLEY,YO62 5AB


  • Parking onsite
  • Facilities: Full ground level ramps, wheelchair loan, virtual and audio tour, handrails, tour transcripts
  • Accessible toilets
Opening times
  • Open all year
  • Opening Times: Open all year, Apr-Sep, see website for details; Oct, daily 10-5; Nov-11 Feb and 17 Feb-29 Mar, Sat-Sun 10-4; 12-16 Feb, daily 10-4 (last admission 30 minutes before closing). Closed 24-26 Dec and 1 Jan

About the area

Discover North Yorkshire

North Yorkshire, with its two National Parks and two designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is England’s largest county and one of the most rural. This is prime walking country, from the heather-clad heights of the North York Moors to the limestone country that is so typical of the Yorkshire Dales – a place of contrasts and discoveries, of history and legend.

The coastline offers its own treasures, from the fishing villages of Staithes and Robin Hood Bay to Scarborough, one time Regency spa and Victorian bathing resort. In the 1890s, the quaint but bustling town of Whitby provided inspiration for Bram Stoker, who set much of his novel, Dracula, in the town. Wizarding enthusiasts head to the village of Goathland, which is the setting for the Hogwarts Express stop at Hogsmeade station in the Harry Potter films.

York is a city of immense historical significance. It was capital of the British province under the Romans in AD 71, a Viking settlement in the 10th century, and in the Middle Ages its prosperity depended on the wool trade. Its city walls date from the 14th century and are among the finest in Europe. However, the gothic Minster, built between 1220 and 1470, is York’s crowning glory.


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