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Welcome to Helmsley

"Visit Helmsley" is the official website for "Helmsley in Business". We are a group committed to promoting the beautiful market town of Helmsley, the only market town located within the boundary of the North York Moors National Park.

Our membership is varied, incorporating pubs, hotels, tourist attractions, cafés, restaurants and retailers including boutiques, delis, galleries, salons and gift shops. We offer quality accommodation, good transport links and plenty of interesting and unique things to do; whether you are looking for good food, shopping and relaxation, or if you are looking for action and adventure!

Watch out for the "Free WiFi" icon for all businesses in Helmsley that offer that valuable facility and look here for a Business Map. If you want to get in touch with the Committee for Helmsley in Business, please use this email address: enquiries@visithelmsley.co.uk.

The Great British High Street
Of The Year Awards

We have entered Helmsley into the market town’s category of the Great British High Street Competition 2015, and are hoping with the help of all our supporters, partners, visitors and residents we can share the great things that are happening in Helmsley with a wider audience and be awarded the title “High Street of the year 2015". 

There is a buzz around town, our small businesses think big, and our community is strong and future-proof because we believe in working together. 

Please help us by voting for Helmsley when the competition voting opens from mid-September and by interacting on social media via the hashtag #GBHighSt about Helmsley - photos, testimonials, videos and your comments are welcomed via our Facebook page www.facebook.com/VisitHelmsley and Twitter account @VisitHelmsley.
Magna Carta in Helmsley: June 14th 2015

To mark the date, activities ran across Helmsley throughout the day, and included a dedicated ‘Living History’ path along the walkway from the town up to the original steps of Helmsley Castle.

Storytellers and Jugglers wandered amongst visitors, while Walkabout Magician Jay Rawlings was on hand showing people his medieval magic, and Helmsley Arts Centre's 1812 Youth Theatre performed their specially commissioned street theatre piece Magna Carta: Helmsley's Story!, a comedy romp through the history of the period.

Traditional Morris Dancers entertained the crowds, and the Town Council arranged for the much-loved Bilsdale Silver Band to perform in the Market Place at 4.15. Businesses also took part, with themed decorations, floral arrangements and window displays, shopkeepers in medieval costumes and a Shield Trail treasure hunt for families.

Other activities included a ducking stool, stocks, spinning demonstrations, Knights in Armour, Birds of Prey, food and drink tastings and jugglers.

Knights in Armour came with thanks to David McNaughton, of the Scottish Knight League. The Birds of Prey come thanks to Chris Cooper and the York Bird of Prey Centre in Huby.

Organised by Helmsley in Business group, the daytime activities tied in with those being organised by the Town Council and English Heritage, which included an evening picnic at the castle for local residents.

Em Whitfield Brooks of Helmsley in Business, who is also artistic director at Helmsley Arts Centre, said: “It’s often said that the Magna Carta was Great Britain’s most valuable export, ever, to the rest of the world. It is of huge historical importance, and the fact that Helmsley played such a vital role in it deserves to be honoured.

“We’ve had lots of fun thinking up medieval activities and how to dress the town up. It should be an absolutely fantastic day for families, history buffs, tourists, locals - in fact anyone! With lots of free activities and our Living History trail, complete with actors, storytellers and dancing, it promises to be an event to remember. And you might just learn a bit of history too!”

Going Bananas! Lynn Helps Orangutan Orphanage in Borneo

Lynn Hempsall, co-owner of Helmsley's Traditional Sweet Shop, is leaving on a self-funded month-long trip to Borneo on 4th June, to offer a helping hand at the sanctuary.

To help raise desperately needed funds for the charity, the Traditional Sweet Shop, which is based in Helmsley’s Barker’s Yard, is now selling bags of 'Bananas for Budi', full of the much-loved yellow foam sweets. Costing just £1.50 each, the whole amount will be donated to the orphanage. There will also be a "Guess the number of sweets in the jar" competition on 28th and 29th May, with the nearest guess winning the whole jar of goodies.

The sanctuary teaches orphaned baby orangutans how to be adults and is run by International Animal Rescue. Budi was just one baby that arrived at the centre at the beginning of the year critically ill after losing his mother. With the intensive care and dedication of the sanctuary team he is now able to walk, has a friend and is ready to go to baby school to start the first stages of learning how to be an adult. Ultimately the hope is to release him back into a safe area.

Wild orangutans are depleting in numbers and along with the Sumatran elephants, Sumatran tigers and other species will become extinct in the next 20 years due to the logging and deforestation of their habitat for the production of cheap palm oil. Palm oil is found in many of our daily food items, make up and cleaning products, but much of it is not produced ethically.

Lynn, who lives in Helmsley, explains: "When we set the sweet shop up we were careful in the selection of suppliers we worked with, as it is important to us that the majority of sweets we sell are produced in the traditional manner so they both taste as they should taste and not rely on the use of palm oil.

"I have always loved primates and one of my dreams was to go on a holiday to see orangutans in the wild. But it’s just devastating to think that in 20 years there may be nowhere left to see them. This trip is a dream come true, although I am also terrified. This is a big challenge for me as I don't like flying, and I haven't travelled outside Europe before, or travelled alone. Holidays are usually nice hotels and a bit of luxury! This is going to be very basic, but what an experience. It would be great to be able to raise some funds before I go to help buy some equipment. It costs £100 for a climbing frame and £25 for a wheelbarrow to take the little guys to Orang school. I am also taking some veterinary supplies over with me and some text books they need. So come along to the Sweet Shop over the next week and join in all the monkey business!"

Lynn hopes to tweet about her travels @Lynn_Sweeties.

Image credits: Lisa Burtenshaw.

You can donate to International Animal Rescue directly here.

Magna Carta: The 800th Anniversary

In celebration of the 800th anniversary of the signing of Magna Carta by King John at Runnymede, a video has been produced, giving a brief history of Magna Carta, Helmsley and its Baron, Robert de Ros (pronounced "Roos"!)

The video is presented by Helmsley Town Councillor, Martin Vander Weyer.

Blue Box Digital Media

The official Magna Carta Barons website details the plans that towns & villages are making to celebrate 800 or more years of their history in 2015. Click here for Helmsley's page.

From the "Magna Carta Barons" website:
The names of the twenty-five barons elected as sureties or guarantors of Magna Carta are now part of the historical record.

Their lives and achievements have been well documented and, rightly or wrongly, many people proudly claim descent from them. Yet these men were very much a product of those unsettled times. They were the aristocratic elite of Anglo-Norman society, holding large swathes of land from the king, particularly in the North of England and East Anglia.

Each baron had at least one barony that was made up of a number of fees or manors, and one manor in particular was the caput onouris, the chief manor. Eight centuries later, unsurprisingly, few of the barons' descendants are connected with the communities that developed on these manors.

More information regarding Helmsley's celebrations for Magna Carta will be posted shortly.

UK's Best Small Shop 2015

Hunters of Helmsley who have just won "UK's Best Small Shop 2015" at the House of Commons today (25th February 2015).

Huge congratulations to Chris, Christine and all the staff who work so hard and are so deserving of this National recognition! Read one of the first news articles here: The Grocer Magazine.

Visit Helmsley | Promotional Video!

Following on from our "teaser trailer" which generated over 300 views in 3 days, this is the official promotional video. Enjoy!

You will see at the top of each page, just under the "Visit Helmsley" logo, an icon for YouTube. This will take you directly to the Visit Helmsley channel on YouTube owned by Helmsley in Business and operated by Blue Box Support.

All our online media will be published here going forward, so pay the channel a visit and please "Subscribe"!

View the video directly on YouTube here.

AOL: Best Christmas Breaks in the UK

Following on from the Daily Telegraph feature on the Best Places to Raise a Family, internet firm AOL has published a report on the "Best Christmas breaks in the UK".

Starting with; "If there's no way you'd be anywhere but the UK during the festive period but would still like to escape your home town for a Christmas mini-break, here are some cracking destinations for Christmas markets, ice skating and festive fun......"

The article goes on to feature Helmsley as one of only eleven locations!

Read the article here.

Daily Telegraph: Britain's Top 20 Best Places to Raise a Family

Helmsley has featured in the Daily Telegraph, in a section focussed on the Top 20 Places to Raise a Family in Britain. Helmsley came in at Number 11, which is a fantasic advert for the town. Skipton came in at number 8 and no other Yorkshire locations featured in the Top 20!

See the article here.

The article says, "The market town of Helmsley has a recently opened, proper, old-fashioned sweet shop, with row upon row of jars filled with all the old favourites," explains Ben Pridden of Savills York. If you are reluctant to see your offspring stuffing themselves with humbugs and liquorice allsorts, there are plenty of alternative attractions. Try the riding school in the grounds of the Duncombe Park Estate, or the doll's house collection at Nunnington Hall. The surrounding moors are ripe for roaming, too.

Selection of Events @ Helmsley Arts Centre
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Remember not all businesses and organisations in Helmsley are members of Helmsley in Business (HiB).

So if you are looking for that little extra or something different, look out for the HiB logo to identify HiB member organisations. Or failing that, just ask!

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