I’D DO IT ALL AGAIN – IN A HEARTBEAT!
Blow away the cobwebs. Take in stunning scenery, tuck into tasty Fish & Chips, and snuggle up in front of a roaring log fire. Whats not to like?
meetingsclub Mark may have travelled all over the World, but where does this Yorkshireman go for a weekend away? Well Yorkshire of course! And what better base than Goathland, location of Harry Potter’s Hogsmeade Station and the village of ‘Aidensfield’ in the hit ITV TV series Heartbeat. Here you can explore the wild moorland and within minutes be dodging the surf in the beautiful coastal villages near Whitby! The local fish and chips are the best in the country. Plus, you can get there by bus and take the most scenic route in the county as voted by Bus Users UK!
WHAT TO DO?
You could easily spend a week or more in God’s County. But you can with a bit of planning take in the best of coast and country in just a weekend
Get off early and in less than 30 minutes arrive in Staithes where Captain James Cook spent his early life. Leave your car outside the village and walk down the hill through winding cobbled streets where fisher nets are hung to dry. Deep breath and smell the salty seaweed and smoke from cottage coal fires taking your senses back to yesteryear.
Ten minutes down the road and the curving majesty of Runswick Bay. Dogs are in heaven between November and March so be prepared for the odd shower of sea as they run past you. Head towards the cliffs in your wellies and find a fossil whilst marvelling at the rock strata. Suddenly Geography GCSE will all make sense.
Head further south along the coast and Sandsend starts and two and bit miles further on, spot the majestic Whitby Abbey overlooking the harbour. Home of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, quaint narrow streets, meander by the quayside, their red roofs creating a photographer‘s paradise with contrasting blue sky. Kiss me quick hats side by side with shops selling Whitby Jet, Queen Victoria’s famed gemstone which she wore following the death of her beloved Albert. Perhaps too cold for a paddle, there’s plenty of pubs and coffee shops to keep you warm. And of course, you can’t leave without sampling the fish and chips – see “Where’s the best food.” With light fading over the North York Moors, head back to Goathland via Sleights and see if you can see the salmon leaping in the River Esk, Yorkshire’s only Salmon river. And relax…
You can easily see why TV producers selected Goathland as “Aidensfield” the fictional home for the long running TV drama Heartbeat. It’s like time stood still in the 1950s/1960s. Old fashioned gas lights still stand, the red phone box is there and local family run shops adhorn the main street with not a high street retail brand to be seen.
Even in the middle of winter, the faithful still come to pay homage to Claude Greengrass, Sergeant Nick Rowan, Gina Ward and Oscar Blaketon. Take time out to have a pint in the Aidensfield Arms (The Goathland Hotel) which is little changed from the TV programme. Head across the Road and venture inside Aidensfield Garage if you want to pick up a momento from the series or fill up with fuel.
Boots or sturdy shoes on, you shouldn’t miss a circular walk of about four miles. It’s very easy to follow and takes in the best of the stunning scenery. Take the signs to Darnholme and jump the stepping stones by the Ford or play Pooh Sticks and see who wins. Turn left, up a steep incline and head along the moor edge, with the North Yorkshire Moors rail line below you are following the lovely named River Murk! You are soon in beautiful Beckhole where a visit to possibly the smallest pub in the County is an absolute must. Birch Hall Inn (http://www.beckhole.info/bhi.htm) – two bars with a sweet shop in the middle. Try the local Beckhole beer before heading across the road following the Public Footpath to Mallyan Spout a 60–foot water fall popular in the 19th Century. Check out the opening video to see for yourself. Turn back, turn right and a short walk back in to Goathland.
But if you’re not feeling too energetic catch the train instead. The North Yorkshire Moors Railway at 18 miles in length, is the second longest preserved line in the UK. And if Goathland Station looks familiar you’d be right as it was Hogsmeade Station in the first Harry Potter film. The line heads south to Pickering a charming market town, well worth a visit. Or head north to Grosmont and then at certain times of the year all the way in to Whitby. Something to celebrate? Book the Yorkshire Pullman Dining Experience and be transported back to the Golden Age of steam complete with soot in your eyes. Note: Check the Timetable for winter service details: https://www.nymr.co.uk/Pages/Category/timetable
WHERE’S THE BEST FOOD?
It’s easy to miss, but you’ll kick yourself if you do. Dotty’s Vintage Tea Room in Staithes. (https://www.facebook.com/Dottys-Tearoom-Vintage-Shop-and-Boutique-BB-240141299413217/). A wonderfully quirky, friendly, warm haven of happiness. Owner a real Yorkshire character with a ready quip and kind word. An eclectic mix of crockery. Superb hot chocolate and scrummy flapjack and scones. Lunch at Sandsend Café (http://sandsidecafe.co.uk/) with toasties to die for and one of the best side salads complete with blueberries. Superb views out to sea and a place to spot rainbows behind the cliffs. Feeling really hungry? Then check out Trenchers in Whitby (www.trenchersrestaurant.co.uk), a shortlisted candidate for the 2019 UK’s best Fish and Chip Shop. Brilliant batter and succulent fresh fish.
Back in Goathland and you can always have a pint and a bite at the Goathland Hotel/”Aidensfield Arms” (http://www.thegoathlandhotel.co.uk/). Yorkshire Pudding with Home Cooked Roasted Silverside of Beef, homemade Steak & Kidney pie or Deep-Fried Whitby Scampi. Yum. What about a Beckhole Butty or slice of beercake at Birch Hall Inn ideally placed half way round the circular walk – see above. Or if fine dining is more your thing, then makes sure you make a reservation (they get booked up quickly) at the Mallyon Spout Hotel (http://www.mallyanspout.co.uk/eating-drinking). AA Rosette standard, a fine A-la-Carte menu features local Yorkshire produce or excellent value three course Festive Menu for £25 offers much, much more than Turkey. Friendly staff, a good selection of wines and the chance to order in-front of a roaring fire before being taken to your table.
WHERE TO STAY?
We were mighty impressed by the Mallyan Spout Hotel (http://www.mallyanspout.co.uk/) set on the edge of Goathland high about the River Esk and famous Mallyan waterfall. Twenty individual country cottage style rooms which are toasty warm and real home from home. Lots of nooks and crannies to quietly read a book or chat whilst sampling a pint of Masham’s finest Black Sheep Bitter. Afternoon teas are a local legend, or if you just want a bar meal, then they do that as well. At least one night eat in the main restaurant where you’ll be impressed with the quality of local fayre. Double rooms in Winter, subject to availability start at around £85 online and it would be remiss not to mention the excellent Yorkshire breakfast which will set you up ‘till dinner.