On our recent road-trip up to Scotland we paid a brief visit to North Yorkshire, after breaking our journey at Ox Pasture Hall Hotel near Scarborough.
With the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District on either side of our usual route up to Scotland, North Yorkshire and particularly its east coast is an area we have not really visited as a family yet. It’s a shame. Our whistle-stop trip gave us tantalising glimpses of a wild and beautiful landscape with some lovely places to visit as a family.
Here are ten things I hope to return and explore properly next time:
- Visit Whitby Abbey and walk in the footsteps of the Whitby Witches: Ever since reading Robin Jarvis’ fantasy series as a child I have longed to visit Whitby Abbey and its surrounding coast. We had a quick drive-by from a distance on our recent trip and it looked every bit as mysterious and intriguing as the image the books had conjured for me.
- Walk the Cleveland Way: With limited time for walks, we managed a quick taster stroll up on the heights of Scarborough Castle. It was enough to convince us that this is a coastline well worth exploring, with our drive past the North York Moors also having me kicking myself in frustration at our lack of time. The Cleveland Way explores both moorland and coast in a fantastic 110 mile long National Trail. I’d love to do the whole thing but might have to be content with sections until the girls are a bit older.
- Revisit Fountains Abbey in the mist or snow: A little further afield, Fountain’s Abbey is more central north than north-east Yorkshire. We stopped here once before en route to Scotland and were so impressed by the vast drama of the ruined abbey here as well as its family friendly tea rooms (bonus)! I’mfairly sure the ancient tumbling brickwork would look even more dramatic in the mist or snow.
- Take a ride on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway: What better way to take in the purple moors and wild scenery of North Yorkshire than by steam train? I’m a bit of a closet Harry Potter fan so I’d like to visit Goathland, where the quaint heritage station doubled up as Hogsmeade Station in the early Harry Potter films.
- Explore York & its museums: The City of York is such a special, historic place to visit that it would have to be included in a trip to the area. A fan of ancient British history and norse mythology I’d like to take the girls to the Jorvic Viking Centre. Also high up on the list would be the National Railway Museum and a wander around impressive York Minster.
- Spot otters in the Forge Valley: Our other walk in North Yorkshire this time took us into the edge of the Forge Valley. It’s a beautiful spot with plenty to enjoy, including a fantastic board walk along the edge of the River Dent. Ottershave been reintroduced here and whilst we weren’t lucky enough to spot one this time, I’d love to come back and spend some proper quiet time here in the hope of finding a few traces of these elusive little creatures.
- Go on a bike ride: Just driving through the scenery had my husband itching to swap car for road-bike and the North Yorkshire landscape is a great one for exploring by bike. Mountain bikers are spoilt with world-class facilities at Dalby Forest whilst off-roaders can choose between the 150 miles of the Moor to Sea Cycle Network and the family friendly and other trails at Sutton Bank National Park.
- Take a whale watching trip: the sea of Yorkshire’s coastline is a great place for all kinds of wildlife watching. I’d particularly like to take a boat from Whitby and head out in search of a whole host of different types of whale. Sightings of porpoise, seals and dolphins are even more regular. Trips leave between June and November.
- Stargaze in Dalby Observatory: Dalby Forest is one of the best places to stargaze in the UK with its Dark Sky Discovery “Milky Way” Class status confirming this. The observatories here regularly host public events and guided sky trails and there is an annual autumnal ‘Nightwatch’ held jointly with the Forestry Commission combining both nocturnal wildlife watching and stargazing into one evening extravaganza for the public. Definitely on my ‘to do’ list.
- Climb to the top of Roseberry Topping: There are a lot of fantastic places to walk or enjoy dramatic views from in North East Yorkshire. I’ve always been fond of odd, slightly comically shaped hills and they definitely appeal to children. Hills don’t get much more distinctive than Roseberry Topping – its distinctive conical shape the result of geological faults and a mining collapse. The climb up this locally iconic hill will take around 3 hours if you turn it into a nice circular route, although you can just nip up and back in much less time than that.