Howardian Hills

Boasting some of the most spectacularly beautiful countryside in the UK the Howardian Hills area of outstanding natural beauty is within easy reach of York.

Boasting some of the most spectacularly beautiful countryside in the UK the Howardian Hills area of outstanding natural beauty is within easy reach of York.

The Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is Yorkshire countryside at its absolute best. Rolling hills, wooded vales, farmland and pasture stretching all the way from the Vale of York to the edge of the North York Moors. Dotted around the AONB are some stunning little villages with welcoming pubs and tempting tea rooms.

Castle Howard

Castle Howard is approximately 20 minutes from York along the A64 towards Malton and Scarborough. The grounds of Castle Howard are huge and varied comprising lakes, woodland, follies and a large well-though out adventure playground. It’s an excellent place to take a picnic and spend the day exploring. Tickets to the grounds can be purchased separately though the house would be of interest to older children and adults.

Castle Howard Estate,
Castle Howard,
York YO60 7DA

Tel: 01653 648333

Nunnington Hall

Nunnington Hall is a lovely old National Trust house located in the tiny village of Nunnington. Visiting the house and gardens is a perfectly pleasant way to spend an afternoon. There are several activities for children including a giant Connect Four and kitchen garden trails hidden away from the main gardens. Make sure the peacocks that roam the gardens don’t pinch your picnic!

If picnicking isn’t your thing then I can whole heartedly recommend the Royal Oak in the village which does the most mouth-wateringly wonderful food in tastefully-decorated and comfortably-appointed pub.

The Dutch House Review

The Dutch House is an excellent cafe and art space just outside of Crayke near Easingwold. It’s a perfect place to spend an hour or two in the peaceful eco-gardens or the relaxed and welcoming cafe / art gallery. It’s very child-friendly and the food is superb. We combined our visit with the Crayke Estate circular walk. For more details read our review or visit their website –

Hovingham Hall Review

Hovingham Hall is located in the village of Hovingham at the very heart of the Howardian Hills. The hall has been the home of the Worsley family for over four hundred years and was the childhood home of the Duchess of Kent.

Each year the family open their home and gardens to the public for a limited period. At other times of the year there are many walks around Hovingham, two good tea shops for cake and ice cream plus a pub and a hotel serving more substantial hot food.

Useful Links

National Tust & HHA Membership

Becoming a member of The National Trust or Historic Houses Association gives you free entry to Castle Howard and Nunnington Hall. We have annual membership to both National Trust and HHA and can honestly say that it’s something we have got a lot out of. The entry fees to non-members can sometimes be very steep but we can turn up any time we want for free – usually just to use the brilliant playgrounds!

The Royal Oak

I would plan my day around a pub lunch at the Royal Oak in Nunnington – the food and pub in general is that good. For a top Howardian day out start at Nunnington Hall, have lunch at the Royal Oak and round off the day with a walk round the grounds at Castle Howard and tea and cakes by the lake.