We have recently returned from a few days visiting Calum’s goddaughter and her family up in North Yorkshire. They live just outside Scarborough, and it makes a great base for exploring the Stunning Yorkshire Coast. This is what we got up to.
Whitby is a lovely old fishing town, famous for its black jet, it’s ruined abbey and it’s goth scene. The town is split in two by the river Esk, the older town being on the east bank and the new part on the west bank. Both sides are full of independents shops, cafes and pubs making the town a perfect place to while away a couple of hours.
From the old town you can climb the 199 steps to St. Mary’s Church (Calum counted them to be sure they got it right!) and the atmospheric ruins of Whitby Abbey. This offers amazing views over the town. The Abbey was inspiration for Bram Stoker’s gothic novel ‘Dracula’
Historically, the town is proud of being the birth place of Captain Cook. You can visit the memorial, go to the Captain Cook Museum or go on a boat trip around the harbour and along the coast on the Bark Endeavour, a replica of the HMS Endeavour at 40% Size.
The North Yorkshire Moors Railway starts in Whitby. The Steam trains take you on an 18-mile heritage route that goes into the Yorkshire Moors National Park ending at Pickering.
More recently, and given that Whitby is a harbour town, it is also famous for its fish and Chips. Our recommendation was for Magpies Cafe although we didn’t get to try it this trip, we will be shore the go next time, by all accounts it is a Whitby institution!
Before we left we bought some local food and drink from Whitby Deli. We picked up some great Whitby Brewery beers, our favourite being the Abbey Blonde.
Robin Hood Bay
One of the most picturesque places on the Yorkshire Coast is Robin Hood Bay, an historic fishing (and smuggling) village located five miles south of Whitby. Robin Hood Bay’s main attraction it is large beach which is perfect for fossil hunting. You need to park at the top of the town and wander down the steep lane to get there. On the way down you pass charming shops, cafes and pubs. At the bottom you will find the Old Coastguard Station, a National Trust visitors centre to help you get a sense of the natural history of the area.
There are a couple of welcoming looking pubs near the beach but we decided to have fish and chips form Mariondale Fisheries and sat overlooking the bay to enjoy them.
Ravenscar is a tiny village between Whitby and Scarborough has an interesting history dating back to Roman times. After popping into the National Trust visitor centre we headed on one of the self-guided walks. The views are stunning looking north back to Robin Hood Bay but you’ll need to have had your Weetabix as the route is pretty steep!
The Walk takes in the ruins of the Alum works. Alum was an important chemical in the production in of textiles, used for fixing dyes. Between the 16th and the 19th centuries the Yorkshire Coast was key to the Alum industry. The ruined works at Ravenscar are well preserved and allows you to get a good idea how the process operated. Should you fancy you can actually rent a holiday cottage here, perfect if you are looking for a remote get away with spectacular coastal views.
In the late 19th Century plans were drawn up to turn Ravenscar into a rival holiday resort to Scarborough. Roads and sewers were put in place in preparation of the growth of the town, but the developers went bust before the scheme could get off the ground.
Ravenscar is also the the highest point on The Cinder Track, a cycle path between Scarborough and Whitby which sits on the route of a disuse railway.
If you are looking for the quintessential seaside town Scarborough is the place to visit. Claiming to be the country’s first seaside resort, Scarborough boasts everything you’d expect; arcades, donkey rides, fish & chips, plenty of places to eat and drink, and an relaxed seaside vibe.
There are two main beaches in town: South Bay Beach is a sandy beach near the town centre and shelter by the headland. North Bay is quieter but it is also a blue flag beach, meaning it is one of the cleanest in Europe. We were lucky enough to have the use of one of the North Bay’s beach huts so we spent most of our time up here.
At the end of the North Bay is the Sea Life Centre & Marine Sanctuary in addition to their selection of marine life on show they have the only Seal Hospital on the Yorkshire Coast. You can get to the Sea Life Centre along the minature North Bay Railway. They also have a pirate themed adventure golf course (We are MASSIVE adventure golf fans!)
On the headland between the beaches is Scarborough Castle. This medieval keep is in a commanding location, it would have been a spectacle to behold and easy to defend. The castle is mostly ruined now, but it is great to walk around and learn about the 3000 year history of the site.
We hope you have found our little guide helpful, if you have any extra tips please let us know in the comments section. For more information of visiting the Yorkshire coast take a look at the office tourist guide website www.discoveryorkshirecoast.com