Yorkshire – Seaside, Countryside and a Train Journey

Whitby Abbey 01

We started the second day in Yorkshire by returning briefly to the town of Whitby which at mid-morning was beginning to stir briskly into English seaside action.  Day trip busses growled into the car parks, breakfast cafés were doing energetic business and noisy amusement arcades were clattering with early coin action and temporary lost fortunes.

I like Whitby, personally I think it is the best of the Yorkshire East coast seaside towns, just edging out Filey and Hornsea but better by a mile than scruffy Scarborough and the really dreadful Bridlington.

Whitby is a fishing town and the harbour was busy this morning as tired working boats came and then rested went and sorted the catch at the quayside before the men on board went about their maintenance duties under the watchful eye of the visitors who wandered without purpose along the quay as they waited for the dozen or so fish and chip shops in the town centre to open at lunchtime.

I would happily have stayed longer at Whitby but we had a very full day ahead of us so we left the town and made our way to nearby Robin Hoods Bay, a charming place which was once a busy fishing village but is now a thriving tourist magnet with narrow picturesque streets, quaint houses, seaside souvenir shops and a wide sandy beach liberally punctuated with rock pools.  The sort of place that I remember from family holidays when I was a boy and where I wished I still had myI-Spy at the Seaside’ book.

Northumberland Seaside Painting

The origin of the name is uncertain, and unless he was on holiday it is highly doubtful if the famous outlaw Robin Hood was ever in the vicinity because it would be a long walk from Sherwood Forest. An English ballad and legend tell a story of Robin taking on French pirates who came to pillage the fishermen’s boats and the northeast coast. The pirates surrendered and Robin Hood returned the plundered loot to the poor people in the village in his most famous way.


We walked down the steep hill to the sea, stayed a while and then walked back through green fields and a herd of inquisitive cows because our plan now was to take a steam train ride on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.

The train runs from Whitby to Pickering but car parking is difficult and expensive in Whitby so we started instead at the next station along the line at the village of Grosmont from a railway station that has been restored faithfully in the style of 1950s British Rail.  I am always amazed at what lengths people will go to in England to recreate the past.  We certainly love our history.

The eighteen mile North Yorkshire Moors Railway carries more people than any other heritage railway in the United Kingdom and even claims to be the busiest steam heritage line in the World, annually carrying more than three hundred and fifty thousand passengers.

We purchased our (expensive) return tickets and waited for the steam engine to tediously make its approach to the station, hissing, spitting, burning and growling like an angry beast. I like steam trains and like a lot of people lament their passing (I am of course old enough to remember steam engines running regular services) but it is easy to see why there is no place for these dirty, temperamental monsters in modern Britain.


The train advanced ponderously and took an hour or so to cover the short fifteen mile journey so it was looking to break any speed records but it was a pleasant journey through the countryside and through a succession of attractive villages along the way before finally arriving in the market town of Pickering.


Pickering is a gentle sort of place, I doubt that anything especially exciting ever happens there but I found it pleasant enough and we climbed the hill in the High Street, found a place for afternoon tea and a cream scone.  Having recently been to Cornwall I enquired that is a Yorkshire cream scone eaten in the Cornish (cream on last) or the Devon (cream on first) way and was emphatically told cream on last which I was also politely informed was more correctly known as the Yorkshire way.  Cornwall? Where’s Cornwall?

The train journey back to Grosmont was just as painfully slow and several of our party fell asleep but at £25 return fare I was determined to stay awake. Later we dined at the pub restaurant where we were staying, I was presented with a surprise sixty-fifth birthday cake and a celebration balloon and we all declared the few days in Yorkshire a great success.

Yorkshir Railway

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44 responses to “Yorkshire – Seaside, Countryside and a Train Journey

  1. So, Happy Birthday, then.


  2. I used to go to Bridlington in the late 1970s to audit a company there and could never understand why someone might go there on holiday. Whitby sounds much better. Belated birthday wishes.


  3. I’m definitely ‘cream on last’.


  4. Good times, Andrew! I enjoyed the yarn. 🙂 🙂 And yes- where is Cornwall? 🙂 Whatever happened to your I-Spy collection?


  5. Another enjoyable tour. I remember that Errol Flynn film. I once took my mother on a train trip to York from Newark. She was amazed at the Intercity 125 – she hadn’t been on a train for 50 years


  6. Lovely trip you had – and a belated Happy Birthday! I love steam trains, still remember them, even though I was nobbut a nipper! Oh, and definitely cream on last…..


  7. You have such interesting travels! I’m puzzled, though: what do you mean by cream on first/last?
    Thanks for sharing your vivid descriptions and your beautiful writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Happy birthday! Great cake. You look slightly less sure about the balloon …

    Liked by 1 person

  9. That 5428 was built 1947, for the LMS one of 100 Black Fives some marvellous photos of it here https://preservedbritishsteamlocomotives.com/45428-lms-5428-45428/

    You deliberately put that picture of the fish and chips there to make me jealous didn’t you?

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I forgot to mention. Robin Hood aka Errol Flynn was left handed, don’t often see a left handed bowman do you/

    Liked by 1 person

  11. My aunt had a few holiday flats in Brid and I loved it as a child, as an adult I don’t care much for the town. However, the far South beach out of town has been my favourite since my own children were little, it’s great for young children. Away from the noise of town the large car park (never full) overlooks the beach, it has a cafe and toilets with washroom area and the tide doesn’t come in all the way. The children play on the beach all day and we take a picnic lunch. A less than two hour drive to get there and it makes a perfect bucket and spade beach day for the children with none of them asking for fairgrounds and amusement arcades.
    I too love Robin Hood’s Bay. Filey is nice but attempting to park near the beach is difficult. I agree with you about Whitby, so leaving children’s beach days out of it, it would be my favourite too.

    We once took our French exchange student on the North Yorks railway. It was full of foreign tourists, he spent the whole outward journey talking to a French family, they included us in the conservation but I didn’t speak French, my son, however, understood most of it, and translated as did our student, it was one of the best journeys that we’d had. I felt like inviting them all home for tea.😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the beach tips, I have my grandchildren visiting for a week soon and need some ideas.
      I really liked that train journey but was surprised how few passengers there were. Perhaps it is a little too expensive!

      Liked by 2 people

      • August is the busy time for the train The south beach isn’t lovely like the ones in Devon and Cornwall are. But for a large basic convenient sandy beach without the distractions of amusements it works well for us. The car park used to be free but now we have to pay and it includes the park and ride bus ticket into town more’s the pity.
        Oh, and I prefer the Cornwall way I dollop the cream on last!

        Liked by 1 person

      • What a great word ‘dollop’ is, I must remember to use it sometime!

        Liked by 1 person

  12. A steam train is fun.. Happy Belated Birthday..

    Liked by 2 people

  13. The train trip must have been fun, especially for you. After reading your posts, I have realized you have convinced me that I don’t need to see York, but that I’d probably enjoy Yorkshire. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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