When people ask me what I liked the most about my latest England trip, the answer is easy… Yorkshire.
Which part? Well that is a good question because Yorkshire is one of the largest counties in England. I covered a large chunk of it on this trip from Sheffield and Pateley Bridge in West Riding to Whitby and Pickering in North Riding. I even drove through Filey in East Riding before ending my Yorkshire adventure in the centre of it all .. York.
The answer is pretty much all of it!
I have been to a lot of English villages and towns on my visits to the country but I have to say that those in Yorkshire were by far my favourites.
Don’t get me wrong, on previous visits I have loved Castle Combe and Painswick in The Cotswolds. I discovered my roots in Clyst St George in Devon and even visited the town my hometown is not named after, Christchurch in Dorset. But I have never felt the way I did in my time in Yorkshire.
I felt like I had come home.
I know, I know.. it’s a weird thing to say about a place. I don’t know if it was the bunting that I saw in Pateley Bridge (I mean actual English bunting people!!) or the gorgeous town of Whitby with the Abbey ruins overlooking the harbour. I just felt more connected with those places than I had with any other places before.
It was almost like I felt when I first went to London.
Now that doesn’t mean I have fallen out of love with London, it just means that after visiting London four times now, I see the city with a different perspective. London will always be the place where I fell in love with travel; it will always be that place I could visit time & time again and not get sick of. But the more I visit England and travel around the country, the more I realise just how English I really am – despite not being born there and never stepping foot in the country until I was 38 years old.
Even weirder is that one of the places that I completely fell head over heels for is probably the one I least expected – but more on that later. So this post is about some of those places that I visited and really enjoyed visiting. I would go back to each one of these places in a flash.
So the reason I wanted to go to Pateley Bridge is for one reason and one reason only.. to visit the Oldest Sweet Shop in England of course. But instead, the minute I drove into the small market town in the Nidderdale AONB (Area of Outstanding Beauty), I was under its spell.
They had bunting.
Like actual English Bunting hanging above the tiny streets.
I had only ever seen bunting in English TV shows and movies (or the time I made bunting for a morning tea at work) but I had never seen it in all my travels around England before and I was sold! I mean BUNTING people! How quintessentially British is that!
And that’s exactly how I saw Pateley Bridge – quintessentially British. Which is perhaps why I loved this small town straight away.
Pickering & Grosmont
I have already talked a bit about these towns in my North Yorkshire Moors Railway post here but I will say that I wish I had spent more time in Pickering because it looked like a cute wee place – although I did spend a bit of time driving around the town because the GPS was telling me to go one way but I couldn’t because of diversions so it took me a wee while to actually get out of the town. From what I saw, I liked 🙂
One thing I didn’t mention about Grosmont is that it has the oldest Co-Op in Britain. From what I understand a co-op is a community run grocery store but then again I could be completely wrong – whatever it is, this one in Grosmont was Britain’s oldest 😀
I was going to detour to Whitby and Scarborough when I was on my way to my hotel in the area, however when I got to each town there was no car parks to be found.
It might have had something to do with the fact it was a Sunday and the sun was out. It appeared that every man and his dog, children and neighbours were headed to these seaside towns to enjoy the sunshine.
As a result, I didn’t really stay too long in either place.
I went back to Scarborough on my last day of having the car. It was reasonably early in the morning so I didn’t really get out and do anything, plus I had some other places I wanted to go more but I did get a couple of photos.
I had driven around Scarborough a bit, trying to find my way to another place and I was surprised at just how big it actually was. There were also a lot of very lovely Victorian homes in the seaside town.
As I drove through the tiny town of Thornton-le-Dale on my way to Pickering for my train trip, I knew I would be back.
I don’t even know how to describe Thornton-le-Dale apart from ‘cute’.. which isn’t really a great way to describe anything really. It sounds like of condescending but that is exactly what I think of this town. It has a cute canal running through it; it has a cute square in the middle of it; there are cute houses lining the streets; and not to mention the cute shops that look so inviting. Even the town’s name is cute!
It wasn’t the best day weather wise, though you come to expect that when travelling through the UK, but despite the weather I loved my little pit stop in this wee town.
Whitby, Whitby, Whitby… what the hell did you do to me?
Remember way back at the start of this post I said that the one place I didn’t expect to love as much as I thought was the one place I completely fell head over heals for.. yeah well, that place was the seaside harbour town of Whitby.
The first time I went to Whitby it was a sunny Sunday and there were people everywhere. I drove around trying to find a car park but to no avail, so I decided to head to the top of the hill and contemplated walking down to the town centre.. but then I got distracted with Whitby Abbey.
There she was.. sitting above the town centre like some kind of medieval crown. So I visited the Abbey instead (I think I’ll do another post about the Abbey because I took A LOT of photos!) and forgot all about Whitby itself. A couple of days later I was nearing the end of my trip and was taking the rental car back to York. I had planned my day and was going to go via Rievaulx Abbey – another lot of ruins. But for some reason I didn’t. For some reason I decided to head back to Whitby instead. And I’m glad I did.
Sometimes I go a place and fall in love immediately and I know why – like in Pateley Bridge, it was the small roads, the bunting and the buildings. But there are some places that I love straight away but I don’t know why. Whitby was one of those places.
But I did like it… a lot (maybe it was because I randomly found a New Zealand flag when I was there 😀 ). The day I went to Whitby for the 2nd time remains one of my favourite days of the whole trip and I would go back to that place in a second.
I didn’t think that Yorkshire would hit me in the feels as much as it did. But I guess I should have expected it since there really isn’t any part of England that I haven’t liked so far. Sure some places I like more than others but I can’t say I have been any place in England where I wouldn’t go back to.
I am already planning my next trip back to England for a couple of years time when I get to visit a new part but for now I guess, I have my memories (and copious amounts of photos) to keep me going until then.