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With so much to do on the doorstep, you may never want to leave the beautiful surroundings of The Old Vicarage but when you are ready to explore further afield, there’s plenty to see and do whatever the time of year.
Just a few miles away is the historic market town of Richmond - famed for its elegant Georgian architecture, cobbled streets and landmark Norman castle. Here you will find many interesting shops, craft galleries, museums and other places of interest. If you feel like taking in some of the fresh country air, there are plenty of local walks and the waterfalls are well worth a visit.
There are also lots of picturesque villages to explore on the doorstep, all with their own unique flavour. Reeth, a traditional walking and cycling centre with a large village green, has a number of craft workshops and a local heritage museum. It is also the closest place to find a good choice of pubs, teashops and a popular ice-cream parlour.
The area is renowned for walking and cycling (see the separate sections on this website), with inexhaustible networks of footpaths, bridleways and country lanes, including the famous 'Coast to Coast' route and the most northern part of the 2014 Tour de France cycle race. Other activities include horse riding, golf, caving and there is great fishing to be had on local rivers and fishing lakes.
Yorkshire has an abundance of castles, abbeys and stately homes. As well as Richmond Castle, Bolton Castle (where Mary Queen of Scots was famously held prisoner) and Middleham Castle (the childhood home of Richard III) are close by. The Abbeys of Easby, Byland, Rievaulx and Fountains (Yorkshire's first World Heritage site) are also within easy reach, as are the crowd-pulling stately homes of Newby Hall and Castle Howard.
Families are spoilt for choice when selecting activities. There are several visitor farms in the area. The closest is at Hazel Brow, which offers opportunities to get up close to the animals. The Forbidden Corner, near Middleham, is billed as the strangest place in the world and its unique labyrinths of tunnels, chambers, follies and surprises certainly provide an endless source of fascination for all ages. Older children can test their endurance and skills at the Aerial Extreme adventure ropes course and Flamingoland and Lightwater Valley theme parks provide additional family fun.
Historic York, Durham and the Spa town of Harrogate are all within an hour's drive, providing a host of attractions and shopping opportunities. If you travel east through the North York Moors, you soon reach the coast with its picturesque fishing villages, such as Robin Hoods Bay, and the traditional seaside resorts of Scarborough and Filey. Lesser-known Runswick Bay (5 miles north of Whitby) is not only a beautiful coastal village with its brightly painted fishing cobles, but it's a great place for fossil hunting too!