I have had the North Yorkshire Moors Railway on my own personal bucket list for so long now. I was delighted to finally be able to tick this off and to be able to write about it. The railway runs through 24 miles of beautiful Yorkshire scenery with the line starting at Pickering and finishing by the sea in Whitby (or the other way round!). The train station is ideally situated in Whitby so I can highly recommend timing your visit so you can enjoy some lunch before you return. It’s up to you where you get on or off the train.
*Disclaimer: This is an ad. We received complimentary tickets for the purpose of my review. All opinions and photos are my own and must not be duplicated without prior permission.
The services run Northbound from Pickering to Whitby via Levisham, Newton Dale Halt (request stop), Goathland and Grosmont stations and Southbound from Whitby or Grosmont to Pickering via Grosmont, Goathland, Newtondale Halt (request stop) and Levisham.
Their timetable varies during the year including some days they don’t run at all. It was an overcast day when we visited with some showers but it didn’t spoil the views for us. Read on for my review of our steam train ride from Pickering to Whitby in my review below.
This was day 51 of our #80dayschallenge to have at least 80 days out in one year.
North Yorkshire Moors railway Review
There is a really big car park for the North Yorkshire moors railway at Pickering. If you can get in the car park off to the left do park there as it’s less of a walk. We saw a lot of people running for the train and I did wonder if it was because they’d parked too far away. Either car park costs £5.00 to park all day. The spaces are only really suitable for cars.
You can purchase your tickets in advance for a certain time, however, as no seats are reserved I don’t see how that guarantees you a seat. The train pulls a huge number of carriages though so they aren’t short of seats. The first train for the day we visited was a large steam engine. If they are scheduled to be pulled by a diesel engine it will be marked with a D on the timetable.
The station at Pickering is very attractive and is themed from the 1930’s. It is decorated as it would have been at the height of steam train travel. There’s a lovely bridge going over the tracks and plenty worth taking a photo of. We were in a hurry to board the train though so sadly we didn’t have enough time to explore the station, nor did we on our return. It is worth spending time here if you can. If you haven’t already purchased your tickets then you will need to queue at one of two very authentic ticket offices.
Our train left the platform a few minutes late but made the time up along the way. I can recommend sitting near the engine as the sounds from the whistle and the steam engine itself are what really make the journey special. I’m sure you can imagine! You will also see more of the steam, just beware if you have your window open as there will be a lot of soot.
It took just 15 minutes for our train to reach Levisham station. The train leaves this stop almost as soon as it arrives. If you want to look around here you will need to wait for a later train. Levisham station looked very pretty and well cared for. There was a lot of pots with flowers in by the platform. The station here is a 1912 styled railway station. We were now right in the North Yorkshire Moors.
Newton Dale Holt (request stop)
Newton Dale Holt is a request stop and we did not stop here on either train journey. Access to this station can only be made on foot, with a mountain bike or via the North Yorkshire moors railway. It’s a perfect stop to spot some wildlife.
Goathland is the famous Harry Potter stop and we noticed many people stopped here to soak in the atmosphere. The station was used in the first Harry Potter film as Hogsmede station. The village of Goathland is just a short walk from the station and has some pubs and shops. The station itself also has a tea room in a 1922 style converted goods shed.
Sadly for us, the bridge over the railway line had orange plastic all over it so we didn’t pop out to take any photos. On the timetable, we weren’t due to stop for photo opportunities. On the way to Whitby, we only stayed at the station for about a minute. Then on the return journey, there was no mention of spending any time at the station but in the end, the train was on the platform for about 10 minutes. Had we realised we would have got out but with the orange plastic over the bridge we weren’t too bothered.
We travelled through some really lovely scenery. Normally from a train, all you usually see is trees, bushes and houses. Luckily a lot of this train journey benefited from open views across the moors. It was so relaxing watching life pass you by.
When we arrived at Grosmont station we had been on the train for around one hour. The train stopped here for around 15-20 minutes and again on the return journey. On the return journey, I was glad I went to stretch my legs as they changed the engine over which was fascinating to watch. Grosmont station is where the steam and diesel engines for the railway live. The station is themed from 1952 and it was our favourite station along the line.
1 hour 45 minutes after the train left Pickering it arrived at Whitby train station which is located right by the harbour. I think a lot of people on our train spent a few hours in Whitby before catching a return train later in the day. We arrived a little after 11 am and as we have visited a lot of the harbourside attractions we decided to have a brunch near the harbour and catch the next train back. This turned out to be the same train we’d arrived on. Whitby is famous for its abbey overlooking the town. I can recommend Captain Cook’s Endeavour and it’s not too far to walk to the beach from the train station.
On our return journey, the train was very quiet. I came across some first-class cabins which we decided to sit in. There was a notice inside informing us that if you want to sit in first class you have to upgrade your ticket. It was so comfy in our cabin we decided to do just that and we were charged £4 each. For your own cabin that’s a fair price to pay.
Here are some more photos from our train journey on the North Yorkshire Moors railway.
Before you leave home it is a good idea to check the timetable for the North Yorkshire Moors railway. They run a varied schedule throughout most of the year. The schedule also states when the trains will be diesel hauled. If they are not diesel hauled then they will be driven by steam engines.
There are car parks at Pickering (£5 all day), Goathland (£3.50 all day) and Grosmont stations (£5 all day). These are small so arrive early. The Whitby car park is not owned by NYM but you will also have to pay to park there.
An adult online return if purchased in advance costs £31.00 return from Pickering to Whitby and £15.50 for a child aged 4-15 years old. Under 4’s are free and a family ticket costs £64.00. There are many other pricing options depending on how far you want to travel.
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