You can find Pickering between the four major Yorkshire towns of Scarborough, Whitby, Helmsley and Malton - it's the perfect base for a short break! The charming town is well known as the southern terminus of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, and as a 'Gateway to the Moors'.

Pickering is an important tourist centre and there are banking, insurance and legal services in the town as well as an outdoor market each Monday.[9] In 2008, plans were put forward to build a new supermarket in the area of an old coal yard.

In 1922 an old mill was converted to the Memorial Hall in memory of the Pickering men killed in the First World War. This hall, now modernised, serves as a community centre. The Castle Cinema was built in 1937 in Burgate. Electricity had arrived a few years earlier.

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In 1598 the streets of Pickering were: East Gate, Hall Garth, Hungate, Birdgate, Borrowgate (the present Burgate) and West Gate.

To the north of Pickering is the high moorland of the North York Moors, rising from 160 feet (49 m) above sea level at its southern edge to over 1,410 feet (430 m) on Urra Moor. It is dissected by a series of south-flowing streams which include Pickering Beck. Most of the moorland consists of Jurassic sandstone with occasional cappings of gritstone on the highest hills.

Whether you book a smartly designed Hideaway, a Vintage or Treat room or are simply visiting to dine in our restaurant, a warm and friendly Yorkshire welcome awaits you from one of our team.

The years from 1920 to 1950 saw a decline in Pickering’s role as an agricultural market town and the population fell from a peak of 4,193 in 1951 to 4,186 in 1961. The closure of the railway in 1965 under the Beeching axe was a blow to the area.[citation needed]

There are few large employers in the town. Most people find jobs in retailing, tourism and small industries based in the two industrial development areas at Westgate Carr Road and Thornton Road to the west and east of the town respectively.[citation needed]

The Lockton gas field is now known as Ebberston Moor. It is licensed to Third Energy.[24] In 2014 Third Energy announced a joint venture with Moorland Energy Limited (MEL) to develop the Ebberston Moor South development. Gas from the existing Ebberston Moor South well will be transported via a new 14-km pipeline to the Knapton Generating Station.[24]

Pickering is in the European Parliament constituency of Yorkshire and the Humber. The Member of the UK Parliament is Kevin Hollinrake (Conservative).

The National Park Authority works to promote enjoyment and encourage understanding of the area by the public and balance it with conservation. This includes producing information and interpretation, managing public rights of way and access areas, car parks and toilets and having a Ranger Service.

Notable sports-people from the town include, footballing brothers Craig Short and Chris Short, and snooker player Paul Davison.

There are three theatre venues in the town offering a very wide range of amateur and professional productions. In July the annual Jazz Festival is held in Pickering.

Located in the northern part of the UK, Pickering has a temperate maritime climate which is dominated by the passage of mid-latitude depressions. The weather is very changeable from day to day and the warming influence of the Gulf Stream makes the region mild for its latitude. The average total annual rainfall is 729 mm with rain falling on 128 days of the year. January is usually the coldest month and December the wettest. The warmest month is August and the driest is February.[11]

Until the 2010 general election Pickering was in the Ryedale constituency but due to boundary changes was moved to the new Thirsk and Malton constituency.

The tourist venues of Pickering Parish Church, with its medieval wall paintings, Pickering Castle, the North Yorkshire Moors Railway and Beck Isle Museum have made Pickering popular with visitors. Nearby places include Malton, Norton and Scarborough.

Pickering Church has a Saxon foundation, but the earliest phases of the present building date to the 12th and 13th centuries, with substantial additions in the 14th and 15th. In 1853 restoration work revealed a series of wall paintings on the north and south walls of the nave. Despite a local and national outcry, the paintings were whitewashed, and only rediscovered and restored in 1876–78. They have been called “the most complete collection of medieval wall paintings in England”.[26]

The history of the North York Moors is as expansive as its landscape, and Pickering has it's fair share of interesting stories.

Non-conformism flourished in Pickering during the 19th century and meeting houses and chapels were enlarged. There were both Wesleyan and Anglican schools in the town from the middle of the century.

Nicholas Postgate, the Catholic martyr, lived for a time in Pickering. He was hanged, drawn and quartered in York in 1679.

Pickering has two main shopping areas, Market Place, which is by far the larger, and Eastgate Square, which is a mixed housing and retail development. There is a small supermarket off the Market Place.

Pickering prospered as a market town and agricultural centre. It had watermills and several inns and was a centre for mail coach traffic and trade. At this time the beck was an open sewer and it remained so until the early part of the 20th century.

Pickering Castle is situated at the edge of the moors. It is a classic, well-preserved example of an early motte and bailey castle refortified in stone during the 13th and 14th centuries, centred upon a shell keep crowning an impressive motte. There is an exhibition in the chapel.

In 1901 the Catholic priest Fr Edward Bryan came to the town and established a school, parish and, in 1911, St Joseph's Church, the work of the architect Leonard Stokes. It contains a font by the celebrated sculptor Eric Gill.

Many older small houses were built at this time, some of stone with thatched roofs. The stocks, shambles and the market cross stood in the centre of town in the Market Place. The castle fell into disrepair yet the town flourished. In the English Civil War, Parliamentary soldiers were quartered in the town and damaged the church and castle and Pickering was the location of a minor skirmish but not a pitched battle.


At the 1901 census, Pickering had 3491 people and by 1911 this had risen to 3674 who were living in 784 households. There were more than 60 shops. In the early 20th century the growth of non-conformist religious sects, particularly Methodism, generated a political spirit of Liberalism and Pickering built a great Liberal tradition.[2]

The economy of the town saw a turn around in the following decades with the greater mobility of the working population and a rise in tourism due to increasing car ownership. Tourism is a major occupation since the reopening of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway as a restored steam railway and the filming of the television series Heartbeat on the moors. In 1991 the population was 6,269.[citation needed]

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The nearest mainline railway station is at Malton, 8 miles (13 km) away and the North Yorkshire Moors heritage railway runs seasonal services to Grosmont and Whitby.

The Whitby and Pickering Railway was opened in May 1836. At first the carriages and wagons were horse drawn but steam locomotives were used from 1847.[6] The Forge Valley Line ran from 1882 to 1950, connecting Pickering to the Whitby–Scarborough line.[7] The local Health Board (the forerunner of the Urban District Council) was formed in 1863. A Gas and Water Company provided gaslight and piped drinking water. The shop fronts were closed in and glass windows were used to display goods for sale.

In the 1650s George Fox, the founder of Society of Friends, or Quakers, visited the town to preach on at least two occasions.

Notable residents of Pickering have included Dorothy Cowlin who wrote many articles about the area and its people.

Many townspeople adoptioned Non-conformist religious sects and were visited by John Wesley on several occasions, the first in 1764 and the last in 1790. The Quakers held meetings in a cottage long before they built their Meeting House in Castlegate in 1793. In 1789 the first Congregational Church was built in Hungate and for several years following 1793 a private residence was licensed for divine worship by protestant dissenters.[5] The Pickering Methodist Circuit was formed in 1812.

Since 2007, Pickering has planted trees and built 167 retaining dams above the town to keep back water.[14]

The town probably existed throughout the Anglo-Saxon period of British history. According to the Domesday Book there was enough arable land for 27 ploughs, meadows and extensive woodlands. The town may have grown up to service the Norman castle.[3]

Bus services operated by Yorkshire Coastliner connect to York via Malton, Whitby and Thirsk and to Scarborough operated by Scarborough and District. There is a town bus which travels a circular route around the town.

The charming town is well known as the southern terminus of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway

Situated in the historic market town of Pickering on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors, The White Swan is a traditional 16th century coaching inn offering the perfect rural retreat. Think fuss free luxury and relaxation; real Yorkshire hospitality, cosy corners, sink into sofas, log fires and sumptuous interiors. We encourage you to really put your feet up and relax. Just like home, only better.

There is a leisure centre, a swimming pool and a modern library and information centre. Sports activities include athletics (track and field), football (soccer), cricket, badminton and bowls.[9] Pickering is home to Pickering Town F.C., who currently play in the Northern Counties East Football League Premier Division, Level 9 of the football league pyramid.