For this leg of my trip, I was joined by my friends Swatee and Aletheia, who came with me for the first three days of my North York Moors’ route. At this stage in the challenge, it was amazing to have company to keep me feeling motivated.
Plus, Aletheia brought her dog with her too (someone for Cookie to play with!). So, it was definitely semi-chaos in the room, but they calmed down eventually!
The Black Swan was incredibly welcoming and very dog friendly, so we all felt right at home straight away, and it ticked all my boxes.
Visiting The North York Moors
The North York Moors are a bold and dramatic landscape, which makes the area one of the country’s most popular national parks.
But, after a full day trekking around this rugged terrain, there’s no better feeling than going back to a proper cosy, traditional-yet-luxurious hotel with hearty food.
If you’re a keen walker, the North York Moors are a must-add to your bucket list.
The North York Moors (as their name suggests) take up a huge chunk of North Yorkshire. It is a breathtaking landscape, renowned for its diverse terrain and expanses of iconic heather, alongside its fascinating historic significance.
While I was lucky enough to experience all ten of England’s stunning national parks, the North York Moors are completely unique in their drama and broody atmosphere – for fellow book fans, it’s easy to see why Emily Brontë was inspired to use it as the landscape for Wuthering Heights.
Best Dog Friendly Hotel In The North York Moors
I was gifted a stay at The Black Swan as part of my hike, but as always this is my honest review.
The Rooms At The Black Swan Hotel
Not only is The Black Swan an acclaimed, award-winning hotel today, but it has been a beloved pit-stop for travellers for hundreds of years.
The Black Swan is part of The Inn Collection Group, which includes many of the hotels that I stayed in during my ‘A Walk in the Parks’ challenge, including The Bamburgh Castle Inn, and The Northallerton Inn.
After a long hike across the moorland, this is exactly the kind of place you want to come back to. It’s the ultimate in classical rural style, and cosy, welcoming warmth.
We opted for a family room with bunk beds, which was perfect for our group. It also meant there was plenty of space for the two dogs, who fell asleep even faster than we did after the walks!
We were all thrilled to learn that the room had a bath! After such a long walk, this was absolutely dreamy. My friend somehow managed to fit some essential oils in her pack back so we took turns to bathe in the height of luxury. Just what our weary bones needed.
All in all, the room was full of luxurious and elegant designs, but it still also felt like a real home from home.
The Black Swan Hotel Pub And Restaurant
After a full day of walking, the last thing that we wanted to do was to trek back out on the search for food! So, we were more than keen to try out The Black Swan’s on-site pub and restaurant. And, it didn’t disappoint.
The food was great – full of proper slap-up homemade dishes, made with fresh local ingredients – and the atmosphere was snug and inviting.
Plus, the restaurant was just as dog-friendly as the rest of the hotel, which made us all feel completely at ease.
We visited for dinner, but the restaurant also offers hearty breakfasts and (as you’d expect) proper Yorkshire roast dinners, complete with homemade Yorkshire puddings.
Things To Do In Helmsley
The Black Swan is in the centre of Helmsley, a charming town, which is full of tourists and fellow adventurers.
Throughout the days I spent hiking across the Moors, this was the town that stood out to me, with its combination of picture-perfect buildings, and intriguing history. Here are a few things to do in or near Helmsley in Yorkshire.
- Explore the ruins of Helmsley Castle – this magnificent, historic structure was once a huge medieval fortress. Now it is in ruins, but the site’s fascinating history still remains. Explore the impressive ruins of Helmsley Castle, a medieval fortress with a rich history. The English Heritage site is one of the most iconic features of the town and (once you’re done exploring the castle) it offers the perfect viewpoint of both Helmsley and the countryside beyond.
- Visit the Helmsley walled garden – one of the highlights of my entire trip, the Helmsley Walled Garden is a Victorian garden which was first built in 1759. Today, it has been beautifully restored, and features lush vibrant borders, apple orchards, numerous tranquil walking paths, and even homemade cake served at The Vine House Café.
- Sample some local produce at Helmsley Market – the town’s market square is filled with charming country shops and cafes. There are also a number of lively market stalls, which are the perfect place to get your hands on some of Yorkshire’s famous produce.
- Take a dip in Helmsley’s open air swimming pool – if it’s warm outside (and you’ve still got some energy left after your hikes!) the Helmsley open air swimming pool is a heated outdoor pool, and it’s hard to imagine getting the chance to swim with a more picturesque backdrop.
- Try some local beers from the Helmsley Brewing Co. – the Helmsley Brewing Co. is a proudly local brewery, with handcrafted, artisan beers, brewed right in the heart of the North York Moors. You can even book a tour of the site, and learn more about the passion that goes into each pint.
I really enjoyed my stay at The Black Swan and the next time I’m roaming around the North York Moors, I would definitely visit again. The hotel was really comfortable and hospitable, and the cosy room was the perfect antidote to a long day of walking. So, if you’re looking for a dog friendly stay in the North York Moors, then I highly recommend The Black Swan.