Day Tripping in North Yorkshire

The area of the UK i’m writing about today has been mentioned before on

I wrote about it in July 2013 in my post on Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Route, which crosses the North York Moors via Ingleby Cross and Glaisdale, ending on the North Sea coast in the spectacular Robin Hood’s Bay. Having been reminded recently of the spectacular nature of the scenery in North Yorkshire whilst watching the Tour de Yorkshire on television this past weekend.


“This is a lovely place. The little River Esk runs through a deep valley which broadens out as it comes near the harbour… The houses of the old town are all red-roofed and seem piled up one after the other anyhow…Right over the town is the ruin of the Abbey, a noble ruin of immense size. Between it and the town is another church, the Parish one, round which is a big graveyard, all full of tombstones. It descends so steeply over the harbour that part of the bank has fallen away, and some of the graves have been destroyed.”

These are the words of Bram Stoker, describing the town of Whitby in his 1897 book, Dracula. The ruins of Whitby Abbey (below) described by Stoker are no less impressive in 2015 than they were back in the late 19th century.

Aside from the Abbey, Whitby is a lovely little historical port town, famous for its pint-sized fisherman’s cottages and Georgian townhouses. Local boy James Cook served his apprenticeship in Whitby and all of the ships used on his world voyages were built on the surrounding coat. You will find a whalebone arch and bronze statue commemorating the life of this great sea captain in the town.

Whitby is a perfect stop for a brisk walk on the often windy (perfect for kite flying) beach and a dinner of freshly caught fish with a side of chips.

Robin Hood’s Bay

Part of the North Yorkshire and Cleveland Heritage Coast, Robin Hood’s Bay is place to head for a wander and a refreshing drink by the sea. Six miles south of Whitby (and accessible by local bus or coastal path from Whitby) Robin Hood’s Bay benefits from a beautiful sweeping bay with golden sand and chocolate box houses which dapple the landscape that sweeps down from the North York Moors towards the sea. The sea shore around Robin Hood’s Bay is utterly fascinating, with rock pools, fossils and areas of sandy beach featuring.

Day trippers in the area can trek up the hill to St Stephen’s Church, which sits along the Whitby road, for spectacular views over the bay. “The sea is a recurring theme throughout the church and there are memorials to the shipwrecked in church and churchyard, a list of rescues by the lifeboat and a model of SS Pretoria.” says recent visitor to the church Jonathan Brennan who took the photo above.

You can find more information on visiting Robin Hood’s Bay here.

Resources for your day trip to North Yorkshire:

Train tickets for many destinations in North Yorkshire including Whitby, Scarborough and Bridlington (connect through York)

Walking Maps of the North York Moors and North Yorkshire coastline.

Do share any recommendations you have for day trips in the North Yorkshire area and any places to stop for food and drink in the comments section below.

Throwback Thursday – Angkor Wat 2012

In March 2012, towards the very end of a nine month round the world trip, I travelled to Cambodia and spent four days in the beautiful city of Siem Riep. There, along with new-found friends, I visited the temples of Angkor Wat. Here a few snaps from my time exploring the temples. I had such a great time, but it was too short and that means Siem Riep is one of the key places on my ‘must-return’ list.


Review: Parador De Carmona, Andalucia

In February, I was travelling on a short trip with my family through Andalucia and we decided to stay one night in the small hill-top town of Carmona, just 20 kms from the city of Seville (see map).

Carmona, 15kms from Seville in Andalucia

Carmona in Andalucia is home to one of the most beautiful parador hotels. If you aren’t familiar with the term ‘parador’, you’re not alone. They are not all that well known outside of Spain, mainly due to a lack of marketing or promotion to foreign markets and for this reason, you’re not likely to meet many non-Spanish guests while staying at a Parador.

Google’s chosen definition of a Parador (below) could lead you to believe that they are miserable cheap pensions, when in fact, they are luxury historic hotels such as converted from monasteries and palaces. They are spread throughout Spain and run a great many deals and bundles that groups such as the under 30s and over 55s can take advantage of.

Parador de Carmona

This was my first experience of staying a parador, despite having travelled throughout the country and living in Alicante for 9 months in 2007-8. It was a completely new experience for me and when I found out the price of the hotel (about €100/night for a twin room) I wasn’t expecting such luxury. For the same price as a cheap and nasty hotel in central London, we got luxury, space and amazing views. Not only this but terrific service and super friendly and accommodating staff, the kind that remember you, your room number, your tea/coffee preference and a number of other things.

The interior courtyard at the Parador

Our room had a great view across the plains (see photos) and was terrifically spacious and comfortable. The solid window shutters ensured that I had the best night’s sleep I’d had in ages, followed by a sumptuous buffet breakfast featuring every fruit, cake, pastry and cooked item you could ever think of. Whilst this seemed quite expensive at about €17, the evening meal, at €30 for three courses, was a great deal and offered a great selection of local specialities that were exquisitely cooked. The parador seems too make a great effort to keep their offerings, such as the dishes, ingredients and wine, local and will always make recommendations to help you understand the choices. Parador andalucia.

After my first stay in a Parador, I’m really looking forward to planning my next trip to Spain to enjoy at least a few different paradores outside of Andalucia.

The next Parador I’ve got my eye on is….

Parador de Jarandilla de la Vera

Situated 215 kilometers from Madrid in the Extremadura region of Spain, this Parador is quite spectacular looking. Surrounded by orange and olive trees, it overlooks the river gorges and chestnut woods of the La Vera region. The parador’s restaurant serves traditional extremaduran food such as Patatas Revolconas (Paprika mashed potatoes) and Migas (fried breadcrumb balls). In the town of Jarandilla de la Vera you can see various mausoleums and hermitages alongside medieval bridges.

In the nearby Vera and Jerte valleys or in the Natural Park of Monfrague, you can enjoy hiking, horse riding and mountain biking and canoeing as well as relaxing with a swim in the natural pools.

This area is full of villages and towns worth visiting as well as the gorges through which the crystal water flows, such as the beautiful Garganta del Jaranda gorge.

From the parador you can enjoy day trips to the towns of Plasencia, whose Cathedral is one of the most important in Extremadura, and the picturesque Roman town of Caparra, which flourished in the first century.