The big open skies of the North York Moors are breathtaking by day, and also by night when the dark sky panorama is revealed.  We’re officially one of the best places in the country to see stars, because of the low light pollution levels and clear horizons. From a town or city you’ll be lucky to spot more than a handful of stars but the further away you get from street lights, the better the view – in the darkest areas of the National Park you can spy up to 2,000 at any one time.

Hopefully this will spark more interest in astronomy and stargazers in the area as people are already starting to act on keeping levels of light pollution down.

Where should I go?

Three places in particular are recognised as special sites in the National Park. Our two National Park Centres at Sutton Bank and Danby, plus Dalby Observatories in Dalby Forest are Dark Sky Discovery Sites (Milky Way class) – so named because the galaxy is often visible to the naked eye from the sites. Dark Sky Discovery is a network of organisations that helps people to enjoy the night sky.

Other places in the National Park are also recognised as great places, including Rosedale Chimney Bank, and the Bruce Observatory in Whitby where Whitby & District Astronomical Society host stargazing events plus Yorkshire Arboretum, in the neighbouring Howardian Hills AONB, run a number of bat walks and stargazing events throughout the year.

Three of the favourite locations loved by photographers  across the National Park that are easy to find and lend themselves to fantastic photo opportunities on clear nights are the following:

Young Ralph’s Cross

Located conveniently on the side of the road between Hutton le Hole and Castleton, Young Ralph’s Cross is in the perfect location for year-round images. With its unobstructed views to the north, occasionally it’s possible to capture the Northern Lights dancing behind the cross. In summer months, the rare and elusive Noctilucent Clouds can be photographed.

The Milky Way can always be photographed from this location and, with a little practise, you can easily line it up with the Cross. March to late April and then August through until the end of October are the best months as the Galactic core of the Milky Way will be visible.

Using the numerous free apps that are now available for your mobile phone such as Sky Guide, will not only let you find celestial bodies easily in the sky by pointing your mobile phones camera at it, but they also allow you to plan in advance to optimise the best time to visit.

Young Ralph’s Cross

Young Ralph’s Cross

Bonfield Gill

Head out of Helmsley towards Carlton and follow the road down Cowhouse Bank. After a few miles you will arrive at Bonfield Gill, which has parking for a couple of cars at the side of the road. Being at the bottom of a valley, it has some of the darkest skies across all of the North York Moors. Bonfield Gill does not offer the same opportunities year-round that Young Ralph’s Cross does, however from late March through until early May, the Galactic core of the Milky Way lines up perfectly with the Gill.

It’s a fantastic location for taking single images or you could even try to create some epic time-lapse footage from here. As with all dark sky photography, having a head torch is much easier than using a handheld torch. Ideally one with a red-light option is even better as it protects your night vision, allowing you to see the night sky in all its glory with your own eyes.

Egton Moor – lone tree

Following Wheeldale Road from Egton Bridge you will soon be onto the open moors. Standing proudly by itself is a lone tree, which makes for great foreground interest in any photo. As with all dark skies photography, is it always advantageous to visit your chosen location in daylight to plan your shoot and become familiar with your surroundings. It would be very easy to drive past the tree here if you do not know exactly where it was.

This is another year-round location for taking great images. A very early start on a clear moonless morning in March or April will enable you to shoot a panoramic image of the Milky Way Arch through the night sky from the south east into the northern skies, with the tree directly under its arc. Later on in the year, as the Milky Way rises vertically, it will align perfectly with the tree.

For the best results in all locations, ideally you need to take images when there is little or no moonlight. A full moon looks beautiful but the light it gives off saturates the skies, making it very tricky to create stunning images.

Lone tree Egton

Lone tree Egton

Welcome to Whitby, when permitted !


Whitby beach huts

Whitby beach huts

The North Yorkshire coastline is ripe with ancient fossilised remains dating back millions of years. It’s the rare Araucaria tree, a cousin of the Monkey Puzzle, that compressed over eons to form the world-famous Whitby Jet we all so love.

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9 Best Cafes for Tea and Cake in Whitby

There is nothing quite like a cup of tea after a walk around Whitby’s cobbled streets. Here are 9 of the best cafes for tea and cake in Whitby.

Visiting Whitby and looking for a great place for tea time? Look no further. We have compiled a list of the best cafes in town where you can enjoy scrumptious cakes and delicious cuppa in lovely Whitby

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Covid Refund Guarantee

Covid Refund Guarantee logo

In these uncertain times, it is reassuring to know that if you are unable to travel to take your holiday because of a national lockdown we will give you a full refund.   The refund guarantee covers national lockdowns but does NOT cover you (or members of your party) for being unable to travel because you (or a member of your party) fall ill with Covid, or are required to quarantine or self-isolate. These events can be covered by you taking out travel insurance. A number of bank travel insurance policies as well as a number of single trip policies include cover for illness with Covid and self-isolation (example links below) or you can look for suitable cover on comparison sites such as GoCompare.  Please see our Cancellation Terms below for further information.UK TRAVEL INSURANCE

We strongly recommend you take out your own travel insurance for UK holidays which covers booking cancellations. There are many policies out there now that cover Covid-19 illness, self isolation etc. They will also probably have wider coverage for things like jury service, redundancy, general illness and it is a good idea to protect you holiday in this way. We don’t sell or recommend any policies but you can find them on comparison sites or just search google. Taking out a policy will give you peace of mind.


See our terms and conditions  – cancellation terms change depending upon how much notice you give us.

When we accept a booking from you we exclusively reserve the cottage(s) selected for the dates requested and decline all future booking requests for these dates. Most people book well ahead and it can be difficult to find a new booking at late notice.

We understand that people sometimes need to cancel and ask that you please give us a much notice as possible so that we have a chance to rebook the cottage.


This is no longer available for new bookings – it was available for most bookings from June 2020 to December 2021.

If in doubt just drop Joe an email or call on 07962223582.

This product was available for most bookings placed from June 2020 to January 8th 2021

Master Cancel withdrew from the UK market on January 8th 2021 and this product no longer applies to any booking placed after this date. Master Cancel was provided by Rental Guardian, an American company. They continue to trade in the USA  and sell other products here in the UK.

Our revised Terms and Conditions for bookings taken from January 9th 2021 or earlier bookings. You will be asked to view and accept them in the booking process.

The question most guests ask is what happens if there is a lock down? In the event of a National or local lockdown that forces us to close or affects the postcode on the booking form we will either rearrange your dates or provide a refund (less an administration fee of unto £75).

There are many reasons why you may need to cancel a break not just the dreaded Covid so as always you should ensure that you have a UK travel policy that covers you if you need to cancel for reasons other than Covid. Many travel policies will now provide cover for Covid-19 so it is well worth having a look what is available to give you ultimate peace of mind.


For existing bookings with Master Cancel in place if you need to cancel up to 2 days before we will either rearrange your dates so you can enjoy your holiday at a later date or refund your accommodation cost on the date of your original check in – you can cancel for unforeseen circumstances.  So if you are due to arrive Saturday you can cancel up to the Thursday before.

No forms to fill in, no doctor’s notes or any evidence required, simply call us and we will ask for an email confirmation. You will be reimbursed between the check in & check out dates of your original booking – this is a condition of the Master Cancel scheme.


Sorry if you cancel in this period there is no refund available, we may be able to re-let the dates for you so always call and we will see what we can do to help. It is rare that a guest cancels on the day of arrival or the day before but it has happened and we have sometimes managed to re-let the  dates.  Just to be clear to cancel a Saturday arrival  you need to cancel by the Thursday before to qualify for a refund. In this example if you cancel Friday or Saturday there is no refund available.


Master Cancel only applies to bookings placed from June 2020 to January 8th 2021 and there are some exceptions. If you have an earlier booking maybe one that was re-arranged or you paid with a voucher issued due to first Covid lockdown affected booking that booking will not qualify for Master Cancel because your original booking date was prior to us being accepted into the Master Cancel scheme.

If you placed your booking before June 2020 &/or used a covid-19 related voucher for your booking it is not eligible for Master Cancel and our old cancellation terms apply – see your original booking confirmation. If in doubt just drop Joe an email or call on 07962223582.

CoronaVirus Update


An update about what we are doing at Unique-retreats in respect of Coronavirus.  We are a small business and are very determined to do our utmost to protect the health of our guests and staff and get our business through this difficult period.  We are by no means experts but are keeping abreast with Government advice on the Coronavirus situation as we receive it.


We have complied with all the requirements, the risk assessment is in place and we have developed a plan  for increased levels of cleaning, disinfecting and sanitising. We will observe strict social distancing and ask that you also comply with the prevailing guidelines.

We are working on a  digital guest information guide, you will be able to access this directly on your own phone or device rather than read a book. For those that prefer a book we are preparing extra copies so we can swap the Guest Information folders between guests.


Flexible cancellation terms for new bookings

As a result, we are very happy to say that we have been granted the Good to Go accreditation from VisitEngland, as well as the AA COVID Confident assessment scheme.

Covid-19 Good to Go Accreditation logo


We have developed new ways of cleaning & preparing the cottages to ensure that we achieve the covid secure accreditation with both the AA & Visit England, you can be assured that we have thought through the risks and changed the way we work.

Check in is contactless, each guest is issued with a personal key code so you can let yourself into the cottage on arrival. If we pop round to greet you after arrival we won’t enter the cottage and we will keep our distance. If you prefer us not to greet you call on arrival 07521212221 so we can just run through a couple of things with you and answer any questions you might have.

Recognising that guests may wish to clean more or disinfect over the course of your stay we are providing some cleaning materials and professional standard disinfectant spray in the cottage for your use. These products can be safely used on the surfaces in the cottage and the disinfectant spray is far more effective than anything you can buy at the supermarket.

The cottage will have been thoroughly cleaned and then disinfected/sanitised before your arrival, our housekeepers wear ppe whilst they clean and prepare your cottage and have been trained in the new way of working.

You might notice some changes in the soft furnishings, to make the new changeovers manageable and to follow the guidelines we have reduced some of the items in the cottages.

  • Cushions in the living areas have been reduced and they are swapped between each new set of guests
  • The paper leaflets have been removed, the Guest information file is swapped between each set of guests
  • Please note we will not be disinfecting the books and DVD’s in the cottage and it is your choice if you use them or not.

In the kitchen all items will be washed between each guest, and we have had to take some of the kitchen items out but hopefully it won’t be forever.  Please fill the dishwasher with a full load of crockery and cutlery and set it running before leaving (do not empty it).  We are now required to re-wash everything between guests, so it would help hugely if you could put all plates, cutlery, cups etc in the dishwasher before leaving, not just your breakfast things.

We do need to keep a record of all guests who stay so will ask you to provide that information shortly before arrival, it will only be kept for the required 21 days and then destroyed.

As you can see there will be extra work for us so please bear with us.  We are asking our guests to check out by 9.30 am and check in will be after 5pm to allow for the extra cleaning etc.   We just want to make the cottages as safe as possible for you.

Please Strip your Beds before leaving – Not glamorous, on the last day of your holiday, we know. The main route for contracting the virus is airborne, and it is considered that removing bedding could make the virus airborne, which is why they advise asking guests to strip the beds themselves. Clear plastic bags are provided for you.

Please empty all bins (including bathroom bins) and put into the outside bins.

If you show any signs of having the virus then you must immediately go and get tested by contacting https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/get-an-antigen-test-to-check-if-you-have-coronavirus/.
The result must be shown to us. If positive, you will need to leave if any Member of your party can drive you. If that is not possible and you have to self-isolate here, then unfortunately you will be have to pay for all bookings that have to be cancelled as a result.

We hope that you will have a fabulous holiday.  The “new normal” may be slightly different than what we are all used to, but it is great to be able to get away again, and if we all take responsibility for minimising risk, then hopefully we won’t get locked down again!

It will be lovely to have our guests back at Unique Retreats and with the news about pubs, restaurants and attractions also being able to open you should have a lovely holiday here in North Yorkshire.

Feel free to get in touch if you just want to have a chat or ask any questions.


We are still waiting for the government to confirm that we can open from 4th July, in the meantime we are getting ready ensuring that as soon as we get the green light we will ready to go!

We have a risk assessment and have developed  for increased levels of cleaning and sanitising but we need to wait and see what the government requires before finalising. We are also working on a digital guest information guide, you will be able to access this directly on your own phone or device rather than read a book. For those that prefer a book we are preparing extra copies so we can swap the Guest Information folders between guests.

Guidance is that we should reduce some of the items in the cottages to make sanitation easier so we have been busy taking cushions and throws out of the bedrooms, reducing ornaments etc – don’t worry we will still make sure it looks nice!  We have always overstocked the kitchens so the removal of a few items probably won’t even be noticed.

As you can see there will be extra work for us so please bear with us when we can’t accommodate an early check-in or a late check-out. All this does mean that we will need extra time for each changeover, so arrival and departure times will now be 5pm arrival (rather than 4pm), and 9.30 am departure (rather than the usual 10am).  We understand it is inconvenient, but it is really important that you allow us this extra time to ensure your safety.  Please help us by observing these times.  We just want to make the cottages as safe as possible for you.


We are delighted to be able to welcome guests back to Unique Retreats  when it is safe to do so.

However, the Government is only allowing accommodation businesses to re-open subject to certain conditions being met.  We have been issued with protocols that outline new cleaning and safety requirements. These are to ensure your safety, and that of our staff, and our family.  It will, however, mean that things are slightly different from usual, and we will be asking for your cooperation with a few things.

Cleaning will take extra time – we now have to “double clean” – first our usual high level cleaning, and then going over everything again with a virucidal sanitiser.  We also have to rewash crockery (even clean stuff) between guests.   This means that we need extra time for each changeover, so arrival and departure times will now be 5.00 pm arrival (rather than 4pm), and 9.30 am departure (rather than the usual 10am).  We understand it is inconvenient, but it is really important that you allow us this extra time to ensure your safety.  Please help us by observing these times.

If you develop symptoms – we sincerely hope that you will have a happy and healthy holiday.  However, should a member of your party develop symptoms, the Government advice is to return to your primary residence, and self-isolate there for a period of 7 days (14 days for the other group members).  Please do let us know if you do develop symptoms, as the cleaning protocols for the cottages are different.

We hope that you will have a fabulous holiday.  The “new normal” may be slightly different than what we are all used to, but it is great to be able to get away again, and if we all take responsibility for minimising risk, then hopefully we won’t get locked down again!

If you have any questions, please call us

Thank you!


Firstly, we hope that you and your loved ones remain safe and well during these unprecedented times.

Unique Retreats is rather empty at the moment and we can’t wait to see our guests here again.  Our opening date is the 4th July 2020, and we are welcoming bookings from then onwards.  Until then we are busy working alongside Government guidelines to ensure our guests and staff safety is at the forefront of our reopening.

We’re very pleased to update you that we have been eagerly working towards putting all measures in place ahead of our opening.  We have a risk assessment and have developed a plan for increased levels of cleaning and sanitising but we need to wait and see what the Government requires before finalising.

Whilst you will undoubtedly notice some changes to keep both our guests and housekeepers safe, you’ll be reassured to receive the usual warm welcome from Geoff and myself (and Maisie and Nanci, our doggies).

We do have availability in July and August if you can’t wait to get away.  Our overseas guests have understandably cancelled.  For stays in July we have offered all our guests the opportunity to change their dates, and for those who have chosen to keep their bookings we will collect balances when re-opening is confirmed.

For stays in August we will collect balance payments 4 weeks prior to stays and not the usual 8 weeks.

Please get in touch if you have any questions – some of our regular guests keep in touch by email or on the phone from time to time and it is really nice to catch up.


We are taking advice from several trade bodies and keeping up to date with Government information as it is issued, we are members of the Professional Association of Self Caterers, Premier Cottages, and all these groups are involved in pulling together the Covid Secure guidelines for our sector so we are getting some good advice and support.  We are a small business and we are determined to do our utmost to protect the health of our staff and guests and to help everyone enjoy some leisure time when restrictions are lifted.


We have, of course, implemented extra deep cleaning procedures, each cottage and retreat  is sanitised between guests paying particular attention to hard surfaces and high traffic areas like light switches, TV remotes, door handles, keys & key safe etc etc. All this takes place as well as our normal thorough cleaning programme. The housekeepers will have PPE.  

We will need to have a slight change to our check in and out times to allow for the extra deep cleaning needed.  Check out will be at 9.30am, and check in will be at 5 pm.

Our laundry will be washed at higher temperatures as advised and you might notice that we have removed some of the cushions, throws and ornaments for the time being.


We are in a countryside location which makes it relatively easy to maintain social distancing, North Yorkshire is blessed with many wide-open spaces and beaches to enjoy away from the crowds. We have some lovely walks from the door or you can soak up the views and watch the wildlife and farm animals.  The key safes mean you can access your cottage directly on arrival and if you wish to forgo the personal welcome visit just let us know, we can always handle that by phone if you prefer.  If we do pop round we will ensure to stand well away. Holiday cottages do allow you to keep yourselves to yourselves yet still get away and enjoy a break.

Take care everyone & stay safe

Joe and Geoff xxx 5th June 2002



We are taking advice from several trade bodies and keeping up to date with Government information as it is issued.
Our business at Unique Retreats remains open.

Our Business Interruption Insurance does not cover this event.

You will probably find that your travel insurance will not assume liability if you decide to cancel because you would prefer not to travel. Your travel insurance may cover you if you cannot travel due to illness, if you are advised not to travel because you are in a high risk group or travel is not possible BUT you will have to check details with your insurance company. For those of you who took out Booking Protect their position mid March on coronavirus can be seen here , some situations are covered but not all. If you opted for this product it will be detailed on your booking summary with a link for making a claim. We will produce booking cancellation documentation to help you make a claim if that is possible – just let us know what you need.

The cancellation terms relating to your break are detailed on your booking form and in our standard Terms and Conditions.

We have temporarily enhanced our cancellation policy  – Which now Applies March – May 2020

If you have paid the full amount

If you need to cancel we will try to re-let your dates, should we be successful in re-letting all or part of the cottage/dates you originally booked we will refund you the sum we re-let for less an admin fee of £50. This may not be the sum you originally paid if we have to discount the rates or only re-let part of the original dates. If you wish to carry this forward to a future booking we will waive the admin fee and apply 110% of what we have been able to re-let to that future booking. We will be able to confirm what we have been able to achieve by re-letting just before your planned departure date.

If you have paid your deposit only & the balance is due shortly ie in the months of March to May 2020.
We will write to you with some options.  Again if your balance is due between now and May 2020 you will be able to change your dates for your stay.

With the impact of the corona outbreak, we know it is difficult to plan at the moment, but if nearer the time of your break you decide you still want to come and regret cancelling  – talk to us and we will see what we can do to reinstate your booking, no admin fees will be charged. Given the uncertain times there will likely be late availability so we may all have the opportunity to be more spontaneous over the next few weeks and get away at the last minute if the opportunity arises. You don’t have to mix with anyone whilst you are here, all cottages are self contained, some have private gardens, and all have plenty of fresh air and lovely views.

All guests who have forthcoming holidays with us can be assured that we are taking this outbreak very seriously and doing all we can to ensure that you can benefit from relaxing on your well-deserved break. Over the coming months a change of scenery whilst we socially distance ourselves may be very welcome!


For more information / details please on our Coronavirus Policy Contact Unique Retreats



Aroma dining at home, offer a private dining experience, they have a range of menus to suit all occasions and budgets. Restaurant quality cuisine at an affordable price so you could treat yourselves whilst you stay at the cottages.

Book with Roma at Aroma to enjoy a fully catered for meal or in your holiday home. They offer a unique private dining experience brought direct to you.

You simply go online to choose your menu, there is so much choice and you can work easily to your budget, or just give Roma a call to discuss your preferences.


Enjoy an appetising menu of three to five courses (pre-starter, starter, main, pre-dessert and dessert) for your formal or casual dinner. Table service is all part of their package! 

Some of our guests have used Roma in the past and have been highly delighted with their special night.

The photo below is of Guests enjoying  Aroma and their tasting and wine pairing menu – they were absolutely delighted with her and her team

Private dining in the Piggery

Private dining in the Piggery


You will find on their website Menus, FAQ’s and details of how it works at https://www.aromahomedining.co.uk

You book direct with Aroma Dining  and they will take care of all the details for you – give her a call on 07885 526161  to discuss your options

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star gazing

Dark Skies Whitby and the Cosmos: the Search for Dark Matter at Whitby Museum

A starry sky behind the Captain Cook monument on the West Cliff at Whitby. Eighteenth century scientific instruments used by Captain Cook’s research team during their exploration of the South Seas feature in an new exhibition Whitby and the Cosmos: the Search for Dark Matter Photo: Tony Bartholomew.

A major new exhibition which examines the groundbreaking role of one of North Yorkshire’s coastal towns in the understanding of the universe opens this month. Whitby and the Cosmos: the Search for Dark Matter at Whitby Museum features exhibits ranging from 18th century scientific instruments used by Captain Cook’s research team during their exploration of the South Seas to cutting-edge equipment from Boulby Underground Laboratory, just north of Whitby, where 21st century scientists are leading the search for dark matter (hypothetical form of matter that is thought to account for approximately 85 per cent of the matter in the universe).

The exhibition also explores the work with the ZEPLIN-III, until recently employed at Boulby and now installed as the museum’s newest acquisition. ZEPLIN III contains a xenon chamber to detect WIMPS (Weakly Interactive Massive Particles), which are thought to constitute dark matter. Curator Roger Osborne says: ‘We are thrilled to have ZEPLIN III as part of our museum. We aim to use it and the exhibition to tell visitors about the remarkable and internationally important work taking place at Boulby Underground Laboratory.

‘The exhibition is also a great opportunity to highlight Captain Cook’s role as an innovator in scientific exploration whose work contributed to our current understanding of the universe.’

Visitors to the exhibition have the chance too, to learn how to get involved in astronomy through the annual Dark Skies Festival organised by the North York Moors National Park, and through local organisations like the Whitby & District Astronomical Society

There will be a talk on The Search for Dark Matter by Professor Henrique Araujo of Imperial College at the museum on February 15th. The talk starts at 7pm (doors open 6.30pm) and will include a sneak preview of the exhibition. The professor is one of the world’s leading experts on dark matter. He leads the UK team developing the next generation of LUX-Zeplin experiments in the search for dark matter, as well as developing radiation detection instruments for spacecraft. Professor Araujo arranged for the donation of the ZEPLIN III to Whitby Museum by Imperial College.

Entry to the talk is free, but booking is essential through the museum website whitbymuseum.org. The exhibition runs from February 16th-July 20th. The museum is open from 9.30am to 4.30pm every day except Monday.

The opening weeks of Whitby and the Cosmos: the Search for Dark Matter are part of the North York Moors National Park’s Dark Skies Festival. The exhibition is part of the Royal Society’s Places of Science scheme.

walks around Whitby

Voted the Best Pub Walks – Whitby to Staithes

From its dramatic coastline to its upland mountains, from its stirring moorland to its bucolic inland shires, Britain’s wildly diverse landscapes make for some of the world’s best walking.

Combine this with another uniquely British establishment, the pub, and you have the makings of a rather good day out. Well……. do you know that one of our local coastal walks has been voted at THE best pub walk in Britain……. by the Rough Guides. Yorkshire’s coast: Whitby to Staithes.

Distance: 18.5km; strenuous
Duration: 6-7 hours
Best boozer along the way: The Cod & Lobster, Staithes

Whitby and the cove-hidden villages along the North York Moors National Park’s coastline are some of the country’s most picturesque places. The wild North Sea batters the cliff edges, while the diverse array of birdlife battle the elements. This full-day walk follows the Cleveland Way north from Whitby to Staithes – and there’s no shortage of pubs along the coastline.

On arrival in Staithes, The Cod & Lobster hangs precariously onto the harbour (and has, on occasion, been a bit too close to the edge – just look at the pictures on the wall from after the 1953 storm). Out of the wind, this is a cosy, welcoming pub with a seafood-heavy menu.

Follow the Cleveland Way from the best pub walks Whitby to Staithes on this walk along the North Yorkshire Coast. The walk is just over 11 miles with spectacular coastal scenery, cliff top views, pretty beaches and lovely fishing villages to see on the way.

Starting at the striking ruins of Whitby Abbey the walk heads north west to Sandsend. You’ll pass along the lovely beaches at Whitby Sands, Upgang Beach and Sandsend Beach. Here you can take a slight detour away from the coast by heading into Mulgrave Woods. There’s nice peaceful trails to follow around the site with becks, waterfalls and the interesting ruins of Mulgrave Castle.
You continue past Kettleness to the noteworthy Runswick Bay. The picture postcard fishing village is a highlight of the Yorkshire coast with its sandy beach, sheltered bay and pretty little cottages.

The final section takes you past Hinderwell and Port Mulgrave where you will pass Rosedale Cliffs. Shortly after you come into Staithes, passing along the attractive harbour before finishing at Staithes Beck.

The area is well known for its geology with Jurassic (Lias), strata cliffs and fossils of ammonites to be found at nearby Port Mulgrave. There’s also a number of fine pubs where you can refresh yourself after the walk.

To extend the walk you can continue along the Cleveland Way to Skinningrove where the ruined remnants of the old mines can be seen from the cliff top.



Enjoy your stay at the cottages by following the best pub walks Whitby!

Whitby Abbey at night

Awesome things to do in Whitby at Night

Whitby Abbey And The Hundred And Ninety-Nine Steps

Climbing the hundred and ninety-nine steps and walking around Whitby Abbey may sound like a mundane activity for an evening out.

However, unlike through the day when it appears simply as a fascinating and beautiful piece of history, at night, it takes on a completely different hue. Destroyed in 1540 when Henry VIII ordered the dissolution of the monasteries, Whitby Abbey would have been in ruin by the time Bram Stoker visited and saw it in 1890.

He would later go on to be inspired enough by his view of the Abbey at night swirling in haunting sea mists whilst perching high on its cliff to include Whitby as the landing place of his 1897 character Dracula. It is this very story that makes Whitby Abbey the perfect place to visit late at night and give yourself the chills. You could even take the book with you and read from its pages by torch or candlelight:

‘… the very instant the shore was touched, an immense dog sprang up on deck from below, as if shot up by the concussion, and running forward, jumped from the bow on to the sand. Making straight for the steep cliff, where the churchyard hangs over the laneway to the East pier ….. it disappeared into the darkness, which seemed intensified just beyond the focus of the searchlight.’


Whitby Ghost Walk

If Whitby Abbey hasn’t given you enough of the chills, you could always explore other ghostly, strange and supernatural tales of Whitby with a walking tour led by Rose Rylands.

Alternatively, Dr Crank, your guide for the 75 minute tour, will take you on an amazing journey of murder, mystery and suspense including the screaming tunnel, Dracula’s bench, the Dutchman’s house, the burning girl, the headless horseman, the hand of glory, the Whitby witches, the barguest hound, the haunted lighthouse and the grey lady.

To give you a taste of the spooky tales to come Mary Clarke was a young girl when she made a visit to the local bakers on Grape Lane. Why she was there is unknown but when the baker on duty turned to see her he found her engulfed in flames. Attempts were made to try to save her but all to no avail; her flesh had burnt down to the bone and the poor girl died.

Since then many people who have visited Grape Lane report the smell of burning followed by a vision of flames and finally Mary!


The Dracula Experience

The last of our supernatural things to do in Whitby at night is a paranormal experience at the Dracula Experience.

This activity really has nothing to do with Dracula other than it is hosted in the same building. Running from 11 pm to 3 am on the first Saturday of every month the paranormal night is linked with TV’s very own Most Haunted.

Whilst there you can expect to take part in investigations with high tech equipment, ouija boards and seances with mediums. Reported phenomena whilst on these paranormal nights includes sightings of orbs and a young girl with ringlets playing.


A Visit To The Beach With Maybe A Little Skinny Dipping

In complete contrast to all things paranormal, there is nothing like a romantic stroll along the beach and maybe a little cheeky skinny dipping. Strolling hand in hand with the sand between your toes whilst waves are lapping at the shore can be blissful.

There are three different beaches you can choose for your walk which are Whitby beach, Tate Hill beach, and East Cliff flats. Be aware, however, that tides come in fast in Whitby and that there will be no lifeguards on duty at night. Take care if skinny dipping and do not do so after consuming alcohol.

Check the Whitby Tidal Information before attempting any skinny dipping!


A Leisurely Boat Trip

If walking or swimming is not really your thing but you love the sea, you could opt for an evening boat trip instead.

Whitby is a fine place to do this as it is only one of two towns where you can see both the sunrise and the sunset in the sea. Evening boat trips in Whitby offer a magical experience in which you will sail out at dusk and return after dark. They are a unique opportunity to view this historic town from another perspective. You will also be able to view some of Whitby’s wildlife such as seabirds and if in the right season visiting whales.

Book your trip with Whitby Coastal Cruises


A Show At The Whitby Pavilion

Nestled into the West cliffs and maybe even visible from a boat trip is the Whitby Pavilion, home to both a theatre and digital cinema.

It is the perfect place to spend an evening for those who enjoy live shows and films. Built in 1878 Whitby Pavilion has Victorian origins and charm with its traditional proscenium arch. It has seating available for up to 380 people and benefits from a theatre bar for intermission drinks. Shows you can see here include plays, traditional dramas, pantomimes, musicals, comedy, blockbuster films and also long loved classics.

For information on what they are currently showing see the Whitby Pavilion website.


A Delicious Meal In One Of Whitby’s Fine Restaurants

Whether it’s before, after or not coinciding with a visit to Whitby Pavilion at all, the town has a fantastic array of restaurants for everyone to sample.

The Marine, for example, is a fine dining experience that concentrates on serving excellent fish dishes.Situated on the harbourside the Marines menu includes whole lobster, oysters, fresh langoustine, scampi, roast hake, sea bass, lemon sole and spaghetti voncole which is made with clams, white wine, garlic, chilli, and spaghetti. If you fancy something other than fish or traditional English fayre, you could also try Ditto, a family run intimate restaurant that has just 18 covers.

Quality local ingredients are served here that are used to combine bold and creative flavours with influences from all over Europe. Dittos menu includes rolled lamb shoulder, cured sea trout, crispy fried eggs, pork belly, duck breast, broccoli and blue cheese potato gnocchi, baked lemon cream, frozen chocolate mousse and bread and butter pudding.


Drinks And A Boogie At Whitby’s Pubs And Clubs

Just as there are many restaurants in Whitby there are also many pubs. In fact, at last count, there were more than 31, ranging from traditional venues to cocktail bars and chains.

Choice of nightclubs, on the other hand, is far more limited as there is only one! Out of the many pubs you could visit, the Abbey Wharf seems to be far and away the most popular with its restaurant and selection of live music. This would be closely followed by the Buck Inn where you can enjoy dry ice cocktails, karaoke and a turn on their dance floor.

For a more traditional, quiet drink try the Jolly Sailors, Ship or Pier Inn. Following on from the pub you might want to try Raw nightclub which is situated in two buildings over three floors. Part Victorian, part Art Déco this venue holds regular events such as Hedkandi. School disco and the ministry of sound.

It’s a great place to drink, dance and socialise with friends long after the pubs have closed.


A Cozy Night In

If you’re not into, don’t fancy or are just too tired to go out into Whitby at night you could always opt for a cozy night in. There are many fantastic fishmongers where you can purchase fish such as mackerel, pollock, flounder, coalfish, bass, cod and more for a lovely home cooked meal.

Local ales can also be bought to accompany your meal made by Whitby Brewery and sold all over the town. After eating you could then watch a DVD, read your book or even just cuddle up with your loved one in a chair.

Whatever you do you will be sure to enjoy it !!

Joe and Geoff xx


Celebrate at Whitby Goth Weekend from Friday 26th October

Celebrate Non-Conformity at Whitby Goth Weekend

The first meeting of a group of pen-pals has now turned into a twice annual event for the town of Whitby, know as the Whitby Goth Weekend, WGW. In 1994, a group of about 40 pen-pals decided to gather together after meeting through the pages of New Musical Express, a music magazine more popularly known as NME. The meet-up was organised by Jo Hampshire, who is the head of Top Mum Productions, quickly became known as a musical event.

Whitby was first chosen because of its ties to Dracula. Bram Stoker included the small coastal English town in his novel about the vampire. There are several references to the town within chapters 6 through 8 of his book, including the description of the ruins of Whitby Abbey. It is said that Stoker discovered the name Dracula when he checked a book out of the library in Whitby while on vacation there.

Though the ties to the book may have prompted the festival to be formed there, Whitby was also chosen for its understanding and warm reception to event goers. Those who wear their wristbands from the event now get a discount when they visit the Whitby Museum.

The origins of the festival was to provide musical entertainment for Goths or Gothics, it has evolved into a festival celebrating the Goth and other alternative lifestyles. Goths are a subculture, or alternative lifestyle, featuring music and fashion. Goth music varies from death metal to post punk rock to industrial. Fashions and aesthetics for most Goths include dark, usually black, clothing, dark hair and make-up featuring dark eyeliners, lips, nail polish and sometimes, a white face.

WGW is now held twice a year in Whitby. It began being held twice a year since 1997 and it is one of the largest Goth events in the world. It attracts visitors from all over the UK and the world.

Most of the events are held at Whitby’s Spa Pavilion, known as “The Spa”. There are other venues used throughout the town, such as The Coliseum and Victoria Place, but “The Spa” is the main location. The festival consists of dances, markets and a charity soccer match between Goths and the local newspaper, the Whitby Gazette. Other activities include sightseeing, boat trips and picnics.

The festival is open to any one of any age who was to celebrate non-conformity and their lifestyle. Besides Goths, attendees may be bikers, punk rockers, emos and steampunkers. The event has been good for the economy of Whitby, no doubt leading to the warm welcome to the WGW each year. For restaurants, bars, hotels and other businesses in the area, the festival generates about 1.1 million pounds. Tickets for WGW are not all that expensive either and are priced for single days and full festival passes to have access for the full weekend of music and activities.

From its humble beginnings to the world’s largest Goth event, Whitby Goth Weekend only seems to be getting larger and more popular. To find out more information on the festival, you can visit their website at http://www.whitbygothweekend.co.uk or look them up on Facebook.

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