Helmsley Castle

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Opening Times:

1 Apr-30 Sep daily, 10am-6pm;
1-28 Oct Thur-Mon, 10am-5pm;
29 Oct-2 Nov daily, 10am-4pm;
3 Nov-17 Feb 2013, Sat & Sun, 10am-4pm;
18 Feb-24 Feb 2013, 10am-4pm
25-28 Mar 2013, Sat & Sun 10am-4pm


Adult: £4.90
Child: £2.90
Concession: £4.40
Family Ticket: £12.70
English Heritage free

Venue contact details:

T: 01439 770442
E: [email protected]
W: www.english-heritage.org.uk

Helmsley Castle

Helmsley was visited by Turner in 1801, as part of his second tour to the north, taking in some of the sites of north-east Yorkshire.

Helmsley Castle has an impressive complex of deep ditches and high banks surrounding the great medieval castle's ruins, and was sketched by many artists in the later eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, including Turner's contemporaries, Thomas Girtin and John Sell Cotman.

Gift shopPublic toiletsWheelchair accessDogs acceptedEnglish Heritage

Turner's Viewpoint

In 1801 Turner made a series of studies at Helmsley (Helmsley Castle, 'Chester' sketchbook, Tate, Finberg number: LXXXII 3-13) in which he explored the views of the main buildings, including the keep, west range and gateway from across the deep ditch.  The sketches show the ditches had filled in quite considerably at that time and were choked with shrubby trees.

Turner also made a good sketch of Helmsley Castle as seen over Helmsley Bridge, looking west from the north bank of the River Rye (A Ruined Tower on a Wooded Hill above a Two-Arched Bridge and Cottage, 'Dunbar' sketchbook, Tate Gallery, Finberg number: LIV 101a).  This formed the basis of a watercolour study called 'Evening landscape, with Castle and Bridge' (Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection, Wilton number: 250; image not available due to copyright restrictions).  Subsequent building on the north bank coupled with tree growth, has made the exact view impossible today.

The site of Turner's sketch of the keep (Helmsley Castle: The Keep from the South East, 'Chester' sketchbook, Tate Gallery, Finberg number: LXXXII 4) is still accessible in the grounds, just to the south east of the castle.

Discover The Landscape

Castles in Turner's Yorkshire

Download our themed leaflet and let the walls guide you around more than a dozen of Yorkshire's magnificent castles sketched and painted by Turner.

The Venue


Castlegate, Helmsley, York, North Yorkshire, YO62 5AB

Map reference: YO62 5AB

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Directions to Helmsley Castle:

Follow the A170 Thirsk-Scarborough road to Helmsley. Helmsley Castle is clearly signposted