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Bell End Farm - Rosedale

North York Moors, England

Come to Pickering: it’s Party Central!

Posted by Jonathan Broom on Apr 19, 2018
Come to Pickering: it’s Party Central!

Holidaymakers at Bell End Farm have the North York Moors as their playground – wild, beautiful, occasionally brooding, and always magnificent. A walker’s paradise; a place to breathe clear fresh air; to be at one with nature; and to lose yourself.

But for fun of a different, (slightly) more urban kind, head for Pickering, about 10 miles due south, on the edge of the moors.

Pickering is an ancient town, of less than 7,000 souls. It’s pretty, too – lovely little squares and streets, lined with cafes, pubs, restaurants and shops, many of them independent. A bustling and vibrant market town, Pickering also boasts a wealth of historic and natural attractions.

Many towns of similar size, shape and age might be content with that. Pickering, however, is not. Throughout the year the town hosts a series of celebrations, and welcomes all-comers: townsfolk and visitors. A few highlights:

From June 15th to 17th 2018 Pickering is staging its second food-and-drink festival, entitled Swanning Around, celebrating all things edible (and drinkable) from Yorkshire. The first, held last year, was a roaring success – and this looks set to be a regular event. Put it this way: while exact future dates are yet to be fixed, you can confidently put a note in the diary for June 2019, and beyond. This year they’re showcasing more than 20 local ales and beers as well as local street food, and to really get the atmosphere going local bands will be playing some rocking tunes.

Then, once you’ve caught your breath, you can step back in time on the 14th and 15th July, at Pickering’s free annual 1960s music festival, held over a weekend every June at various venues around the town. Featuring headline 60s acts alongside the best local musicians, the festival also includes a showcase of classic 60s cars, 60s hairdos and fancy dress, memorabilia shops and children’s rides. A must for fans of 60s music, it’s a great celebration of the best of that swinging decade.

Slightly more sedentary, but a must for lovers of trains large and small: on 18th and 19th August the  Scarborough and District Railway Modellers are holding their yearly exhibition in Pickering’s Memorial Hall, where they exhibit layouts designed and constructed by their own club members as well as enthusiasts from further afield. Built to most scales, the show is a must-see for all model railway fans; so why not visit the exhibition, and then take a trip through the wonderful scenery of the North Yorkshire Moors on the real thing – the world-famous North York Moors Railway?

The centrepiece of the Pickering events calendar is the ever-popular Wartime Weekend, held every October (12th to 14th, this year), including a full programme of WWII and 1940s-themed entertainment and events. The Weekend is run by the North York Moors Railway but is now so popular that fringe events have sprung up all over town.

Attractions including parades, fashion shows, singing and dancing, plus living history showcases, period vehicle exhibitions and re-enactments. The Weekend is massively popular, attracting visitors from all over the world.

And at the end of the year, Pickering rounds things off with the Christmas lights switch-on on 1st December. This being Pickering, it’s a big deal, with a special celebratory event held each year, packed with music and family-friendly, festive entertainment. Regular attractions include Father Christmas and his sleigh, performances from local bands and community groups, as well as a spectacular lights display that adds a real festive feel to the town.

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Jonathan Broom
Author: Jonathan Broom


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