Is this the UK’s answer to Route 66? Explore the treasures of the Yorkshire coast

Is this the UK’s answer to Route 66? Explore the treasures of the Yorkshire coast


THE fossil hunter picked a stone from the beach, cracked it with his hammer and as I opened the two halves to find a perfect spiral ammonite, said: “You’re the first to see it in 200 million years.”

It was one hidden treasure among countless others along the North Yorkshire coast, where we had come to sample some of the hundreds of things to see and do on the newly introducedRouteYC.

The seaside town of Whitby has some of the best fish and chips in Britain

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The seaside town of Whitby has some of the best fish and chips in BritainCredit: Stephen Rawlin

As autumn turned to winter, we went to explore the six coastal routes created for a new website designed to help visitors and locals sustainably discover the area’s roads less travelled all year round.

Our first night’s stop was the lovely Piebald Inn in Hunmanby, which offers 52 varieties of home-baked pies.

As you walk in, you see those available chalked up on a huge blackboard with the number of portions left. Being used to one, possibly two non-meat choices on the menu, my partner Gemma couldn’t get over having eight vegetarian pies to choose from.

But that left me with 44.

Anguishing over my decision for what Gemma said was hours, I threw caution to the wind and picked the chilli-kicking Mustang.

A huge, delicious meal and good ales later, we headed to our spacious, luxuriously furnished room.

The next day, after a hearty breakfast, the fairly stormy weather meant surf was up, so we headed to nearby Scarborough Surf School at Cayton Bay.

I laughed in the face of the “gnarly” waves as the rain whipped sideways under leaden skies, for I was toasty in my winter wetsuit and had confidence in my instructor Tori.

“Summer’s great for surfing here but winter’s popular as you get bigger waves,” she shouted into the howling gale.

With Tori’s help I managed to catch a few waves. It also proved surfing’s not a bad shout as a rainy day activity – it doesn’t matter if you get wet.

After a hot shower we walked north on the Cleveland Way along a stunning landscape of cliffs plunging to the sea to the picturesque resort of Scarborough.

We stopped for a bite to eat at Farrer’s Bar and Restaurant at the Scarborough Spa before riding one of the lovely Victorian trams from the beach to the town. There we explored some of the arcades, new with amusements and old with quaint cafes and shops.

Tuck into cracking grub at Robin Hood's Bay

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Tuck into cracking grub at Robin Hood’s BayCredit: Stephen Rawlin

After an enjoyable few hours exploring, we headed for a bite to eat at the Cod And Lobster pub a few miles north in the cobbled fishing village of Staithes.

The pub nestles at the end of the village at the edge of land and sea. Its lights welcomed us out of the cold night into the lovely, warm, cosy bar.

It seemed rude not to order the cod and lobster speciality.

After a superb meal, we set off south again to Robin Hood’s Bay to check in to the Victoria Hotel which stands at the top of the pretty little resort, with spectacular views across the sweeping bay.

The beautiful hotel, built in 1897, centres around a wide square staircase leading up to the opulent bedrooms, sympathetically restored by the present owners.

Waking to glorious sunshine, we set off for the beach to go fossil hunting with Will from Hidden Horizons.

“What are the chances we’ll find a fossil?” I asked Will hopefully.

Sip on pints at Hare And Hounds, a traditional country pub in the little village of Hawsker

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Sip on pints at Hare And Hounds, a traditional country pub in the little village of HawskerCredit: Stephen Rawlin
Head to Quayside for the best fish and chips in the UK

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Head to Quayside for the best fish and chips in the UKCredit: Stephen Rawlin
Walk the 3.5-mile old rail line to through a lush valley taking in streams, ancient woodlands

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Walk the 3.5-mile old rail line to through a lush valley taking in streams, ancient woodlandsCredit: Stephen Rawlin

He explained: “This whole coast was once the bottom of a tropical sea teeming with life – there are fossils everywhere.”

After a morning’s eager hunting, we had worked up a hunger, so set off for the fish and chip capital of Britain – Whitby.

Debate rages over which is the town’s best chippy but a strong contender has to be Quayside.

We sat downstairs in the fabulous restaurant which used to be the town bath house.

Upstairs is the restaurant/cocktail bar, which was the old library where Bram Stoker collated his material to write Dracula.

The meal proved Whitby’s plaice at the top of the chippy table – wonderful large flakes of sustainably sourced cod with a delicious light and crispy batter, with chips to match.

A short walk along the cinder track path towards Robin Hood’s Way is Broomfields Holidays, where we weary travellers stopped to rest for the night in a cosy glamping pod.

The next morning, we hit the road that climbs up and out of Whitby on to the majestic North Yorkshire moors.

Crossing the stunning moorland, we dipped down slightly before climbing up to the tiny village of Goathland, known to millions as the setting for ITV’s Heartbeat.

There are loads of great walks and bike rides on theRouteYCwebsite.

We decided to walk the 3.5-mile old rail line to Grosmont, through a lush valley taking in streams, ancient woodlands and the history of the 1836 originally horsedrawn railway.

That evening, to round off our whistle-stop tour, we stopped off at the lovely Hare And Hounds, a traditional country pub in the little village of Hawsker.

From pies to paleontology, the North Yorkshire coast has so much to discover, you just can’t see and do it all in one go.

But the new sustainable-focusedRouteYCwebsite helps you map out an all-seasons itinerary to find those hidden treasures.

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