We’ve been away in Yorkshire, staying in Harrogate. Instead of driving there, we caught the train. We’ve done this journey once before and hadn’t found it onerous. It’s certainly less stressful than driving. The Sunday papers, a magazine, an ipad and a few well chosen snacks helped pass the time painlessly. Our hotel was excellent, (monstrous architecture – heaven knows how they got planning permission amid the beautiful Georgian architecture that fills this handsome spa town), clean and comfortable, good food and friendly, efficient service. We were given a room on the 10th floor which offered a fabulous panoramic view.
By 8am the next morning we were on a coach to Whitby on the east coast. Stopping off in Goathland (if you ever watched the TV series Heartbeat in the 1980s you’ll know this as Aidensfield), we walked off in the opposite direction to our fellow travellers (as we had not watched the programme so weren’t on the lookout for familiar landmarks) , we happened across The Inn on the Moor where the lovely staff kindly made us a large cafetiere of coffee even though they weren’t open to the public when we arrived! When I went to pay, I questioned the cost; just £2.20 for the two of us! I was very taken by the wallpaper in the comfortable reception area (my penchant for hares has been well-documented in this blog). I took a fancy to the clock too.
We continued on to Whitby. This pretty seaside town has been welcoming Goths for decades. At the ‘Whitby Goth Weekends’ they celebrate in their thousands all things ghostly and vampire. Their mode of dress is spectacular. If you type Images goths Whitby into Google, you’ll see how fabulous they look. The story goes that Bram Stoker, author of Dracula, was staying in Whitby at the time he created this famous character and the town features in the story. His haunting depiction of the local Abbey, the ancient graveyard – a perfect setting in a period when Gothic literature was at its height.
The 199 steps up to the Abbey ruins were an impossibility for me, still hampered by problems with the foot I broke back in April, but Husband wanted to go so (as we have often done on holidays where different activities appeal) we temporarily separated and I went to the Whitby Jet Museum.
Housed in a former chapel, this small museum showcases jet jewellery made fashionable by Queen Victoria as mourning jewellery. Personally I find it rather ugly though some of the jewellers had pieces combined with diamonds and set in gold rather than the more usual silver which I thought made it far more attractive. Here’s the interesting thing: Whitby jet is formed from the fossilised remains of the Araucaria tree, better known as the Monkey Puzzle tree! The museum is home to the largest known piece of jet in the world.
Like all such attractions, there is a cafe; in this case – Albert’s. It fits perfectly my liking for surroundings that are a bit out of the ordinary. It serves a decent cup of coffee too!
Whitby is also famous for it’s fish and chips with several awards having been won. We tried them of course, and they were very good but no better than the ones we get in Brixham when in Devon. Given that both are on the sea and that each has a thriving fishing industry, that’s not really surprising.
From Whitby we caught the steam train back to Pickering but that’s for another post.