North Yorkshire Moors Railway: Whitby, Pickering and a Harry Potter hotspot


It’s not often you visit Whitby and you’re excited to journey out of the stunning seaside location but when you know your vehicle is the stunning black steam train which tourists are rightly snapping photos of as it pulls into Whitby station so those folk who have journeyed from Pickering can enjoy a day out. Whereas we were going for a day out in Pickering as we were already lucky enough to be staying in a Whitby cottage. 

What’s more the whole family could climb aboard from my mum to my new puppy and my little brother and two young daughters. 

We were off on an adventure and it’s rare when going on a train ride that you’re looking forward to the journey alone. 

And what an experience it was! 

Wednesday 30th March 2022 Picture Credit Charlotte Graham Picture Shows NYMR

The train and interior are steeped in history and you feel as if you’re part of a filmset, we almost wished we had dressed up for the occasion. But like all the other families we had just rocked up in our casual clothes to let the experience take over. 

From the stunning rolling scenery of North Yorkshire Moors to the friendly ticket inspector, this was a day to remember. Our perfectly imperfect family could embrace the journey as they wished. My daughters drew and played games while munching on snacks, my artistic mother sketched some of the surroundings and my brother who is autistic was able to roam freely as he wished or to sit quietly as he took in all the stimuli as we gently weaved our way to the old market town of Pickering. 

There our first stop was the station gift shop before we pottered around the small town centre.  There are coffee and gift shops aplenty as well as plenty of independents to peruse. 

We also headed uphill to Pickering Castle to check out the grounds of the stunning English Heritage site. 

Pickering Castle

We had just over 3 hours of cafe hopping which was plenty before we jumped back on board where we treated to a short stop and hop off at Grosmont station. 

The train ride is super accessible for all families and the staff ensured that those with additional needs were catered for. There weren’t many toilets open on board but as the service was fairly quiet this didn’t cause a problem once the guard showed us where to go. 

We experienced the standard seats for the purpose of this review but you can also travel first class or book on to one of NYMR’s dining experiences which look divine. 

There was a buffet cart on our service but you need cash or you can bring your own refreshments depending on your budget. What’s great is that anything you buy on board or at one of the station cafes or gift-shops goes towards funding the charity. 

It was a brilliant day out but there was no “are we there yet?” uttered from the kids, we all just wanted the journey to continue! 

We felt like VIPs on arrival back into Whitby as eager trainspotters waved and took photos of the train. 

More about NYMR: 

An ideal experience for a family day out or school holiday break, tickets are now on sale for the end-to-end service, running between Pickering and Whitby with reserved seats for your entire journey, and start from £20.50 for children, £41 for adults or £84 for a family full line ticket. 

This year, passengers can hop on board and experience 24 miles of glorious heritage railway, enjoying the breathtaking scenery of the North York Moors National Park, including Goathland railway station, known to millions as the filming location for the iconic Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and home to the popular TV series Heartbeat

During your visit there are three unique tea rooms in beautiful locations across the railway to explore, the quaint North Yorkshire Moors Railway souvenir shop, Peter’s Railway Young Engineers Centre on Platform 2 at Pickering, the Goathland Station Shop which features popular Harry Potter gifts, and a host of railway memorabilia at the  Grosmont Shed Shop. At Grosmont you can also visit the NYMR’s Motive Power Department where they restore and maintain the historic locomotives. 

What’s more, as a dedicated charity, not only will you experience an enjoyable day out but every penny spent on tickets, tea, cake and memorabilia means you’ll be directly contributing to the running of the heritage railway. All proceeds from NYMR ticket sales, cafes and shops go back into necessary funding towards providing memorable experiences for visitors, fulfilment for volunteers and staff of the heritage railwayand to ensure all charitable aims are being delivered.

For more information about the heritage railway, or to book tickets, visit nymr.co.uk

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