North Yorkshire Coast
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Saltburn by the sea is a very pretty Victorian seaside with a lovely sandy beach thats popular with both families and surfers. The town has long historic pier which was the first iron pier to be built on the North East Coast, more recently noted for its olympic knitting display! The oldest working water balanced cliff lift in Britain which goes up 120 ft linking the town with the bay can be found here too.The Ship Inn dating back to the 16th century has smuggling links and was once owned by John Andrew, reputedly the 'king of the smugglers' in his day. The pub is next door to what was the Smugglers Experience, now sadly closed to the public. Lovely 'Valley Gardens' is home to the minature railway with it's green locomotive 'Prince Charles'. Theres also a large playground to keep the kids amused. The gardens link into Rifts wood and you can pick up the Cleveland Way here too.
The pretty village of Staithes on the 'Dinosaur Coast' was once a thriving fishing port, now it’s a picturesque tranquil haven and a firm favorite with artists & families alike. Park your car at the top of the village and wander through pretty higgledy-piggledy cottages leading down the steep cobbled hillside to the small sandy bay. Part of the village is separated by the Roxby Beck and if you cross via the bridge you will find the lifeboat station and a stretch of bed rock full of rock pools that are home to about a gazillion hermit crabs! The lovely sandy bay is found on the main side of the village, nearby is The Cod & Lobster pub and I can recommend the Seadrift Cafe for a nice cuppa & a tasty treat. The fish and chips are gorgeous from the takeaway at the top of the village, certainly a welcome energy boost after climbing back up the steep hill!
One of Staithes claims to fame is Captain James Cook lived here in 1744, he stayed for two years as a grocers apprentice before moving to Whitby for a life on the ocean wave. There are certainly plenty of holiday cottages available in the village if you would like to stay a bit longer after your visit!
The tiny village of Runswick Bay with its one pub, The Royal Hotel, and small friendly cafe sits at the bottom of a stupidly steep 1 in 4 hill! The car park is at the bottom of said hill and your car may find itself parked at a rather jaunty angle! Also remember to take some coins for the parking meter as although you can 'ringo', there is no mobile phone signal so it can't be done! All this aside Runswick Bay has a fantastic long sandy beach where the kids will enjoy making sand castles & exploring the rock pools. The picturesque village which clings to the hillside is a collection of pretty cottage set around narrow winding pathways, including the former coastguards’ cottage complete with thatched roof. Picture postcard beautiful it’s an ideal destination for a sunny afternoon.
Sandsend is a pretty little coastal hamlet close to bustling Whitby.
There's an inviting shallow stream that joins to the sea making it a safe place for children to paddle.The small bay at Sandsend joins onto the sweeping stretch of that is Whitby Sands making it possible to walk all the way to Whitby along the beach. There's also a nice riverside walk into Mulgrave Woods.
** The olympic torch will pass through Sandsend on 18 June 2012 **
Surely everybody has heard of Whitby?!
Bram Stokers Dracula, TVs Heartbeat, Captain James Cook?!
Famous for its magnificent abbey, handcrafted jet & tasty fish'n'chips, there's so much to see & do in Whitby there surely must be something for everybody here. More than just a Victorian seaside resort Whitby is steeped in history, and not just world history. I can trace my own family ancestors to Whitby & surrounding areas, there’s even a street named after us & a pub they owned is still pulling pints today!
My perfect day at Whitby would start at the abbey, which is English Heritage owned. Taking in the magnificent abbey ruins and views over the town below go through the abbeys museum, enjoying the interactive displays. Then through the cobbled courtyard and on to St Hilda’s church. I find the inside intriguing, the way the pews are segregated is a little bit eerie to me, but you'd have to go in and see for yourself & make your own judgment! Maybe you could have a respecrful browse through the churchyard in search of Dracula’s grave...(please bear in mind Dracula is a fictional novel & not real! I've heard so many tourists ask shop workers for directions to 'Dracula’s grave' I always stiffen a titter when they get elaborate directions to goodness knows where!) Head down the 199 steps, count 'em &see and head towards the little harbour bay. There are nice views of Whitby from here and you could always walk along to the East pier & look at the lighthouses. There's a multitude of independent retailers in Whitby selling everything you could possibly want. There's a strong bond with the Goth community here so there's some fantastic clothes shops to browse. I'm a big fan of Adkins warehouse, I always go in & I usually buy a metal sign for my garden! There's a lovely Chocolate Fountain we usually sample some of their yummy goodies too. The famous swing bridge is quite novel & it’s interesting to see it open for a passing ship. Carrying on over the bridge you'll find the Dracula Experience always good if you fancy a scare & there are many different boat rides to chose from. Personally I enjoy the 'Bark Endeavour', although my poor daughter was rather traumatized in the choppy seas last time we sailed! There's also the fantastic Indoor Pirate Golf Course to enjoy, anything to do with pirates gets my vote, but this is a really good attraction, not overpriced and great if it’s cold or rainy. Don't miss the little lifeboat museum, support the heroes of the RNLI they do a great job. You could always try a trip on Elizabeth the Steam Bus or Charlotte the Charabanc, I know the Little Dude loves Elizabeth & we usually end up having a ride around town on her. Up more steps to the Cook Monument & here you'll find Whitbys' famous whale bones, a reminder of Whitbys days as an 18th century whaling port. There’s the cliff-top Arnold Palmer crazy golf course to enjoy, there’s also a boating lake and paddling pool for the kids in the park. Theres the Spa Pavilion with regular music events and new cinema. Also there's a historic Cliff Lift that takes you down through the cliff to the lovely beach with its colourful wooden huts. I recommend fish'n'chips sat on the pier & do try the scrumptious Whitby fudge before you leave!
** Robin Hoods Bay **
Once upon a time this gorgeous little village, built on a steep hill with its quirky narrow lanes & quaint little cottages was reputedly a favourite with smugglers. Infact there is a tunnel, which is still visible today, which leads straight from the beach and under the village. Allegedly some of the houses have trap doors where contraband goods were smuggled straight from ships moored in the bay. I adore Robin Hoods Bay & I come here ridiculously often, infact there is a gate just at the top of the hill...we call this 'Anges Gate'! The beach is quite muddy but great for finding fossils, there's fantastic rock pooling to be done here too so be sure to bring your fishing net. When you are on the rocks please be aware of the tide coming in as it sweeps round behind you and you can easily end up stranded, I speak from experience here, I've had wet feet & a panic on several occasions! I've also seen people have to be physically rescued from the rocks so do keep glancing behind you as you're busy collecting crabs & fishies!
There's a cute little museum housed in the old Coroners Room with displays all about Robin Hoods Bay & Fylingdales. Its free entry & run entirely by volunteers so if you enjoy your visit as much as I did, be so kind as to give a small donation & help keep history alive.
There’s also the Old Coastguard Station visitor centre with hands on displays showing how the natural landscape was formed, an aquarium tank with local marine life on display and a National Trust shop.
There's also a fantastic fish'n'chip shop here, I recommend anything from the menu, sit on the seats overlooking the beach & enjoy! After which you might like to try a nice walk along the Cleveland Way to Boggle Hole.
Boggle Hole can be reached from Robin Hoods Bay via the Cleveland Way. It's only about a mile away and its an easy and very scenic walk.
In days of yore, the boggle was a kind of goblin that allegedly lived in the natural hollowed landscape hence the name Boggle Hole. I surmise a good story about mischievous goblins kept most people away from the area so smuggling could be carried out without too much interference! I didn't see any goblins or smugglers on our visit but we did enjoy a welcome cup of coffee from the shop at the converted cornmill.
Today the old converted watermill situated by a pretty beck provides Youth Hostel accommodation.
If tides are permitting it's a lovely walk back to Robin Hoods Bay along the beach, keep an eye of for fossils on your journey.
Famously known as 'the town that never was' and situated on a cliff top location, there are great views of Robin Hoods Bay from the National Trust Visitor centre. In by gone days Ravenscar was famous for its alum works in its heyday, sounds like a rather smelly business to me! However today it’s an interesting insight into 'Peak' a town that was planned but was never built. There's an old train platform & some foundations for streets of houses still visible today. Of course there are a few houses in the village, a hotel & a nice tearoom. The Cleveland Way passes through here and it’s actually a really nice walk from Robin Hoods Bay, but keep an eye out for adders in the summer months!