If you read my post last Saturday (Happy Days: Cars, Caves and Beaches), you’ll know that on Bank Holiday Monday we had intended to go to our local carnival. The constant rain made us change our minds and after checking the weather we decided to head to Whitby instead. One thing the weather app didn’t mention was the thick fog and while you can usually see the Sea for a good 20 minutes before you arrive, we couldn’t see it until we got out the car and walked to the cliff edge!
As so often happens with impromptu days out though, we had an absolutely brilliant time and the fog lifted slightly so that we could appreciate the views.
Whenever we’ve visited in the past we’ve always managed to park down by the harbour but the car parks were full to bursting with it being bank holiday and we had to park up on the West Cliff. As it happens we found this a much nicer way to walk into Whitby (not great if you have a pushchair though as lots of steps). The kids loved posing under the famous Whale bone arch on the route down into the town.
It was lunch time when we arrived and the first order of business was fish and chips. All of the restaurants had very long queues out the door waiting for seats but we headed to a takeaway instead and ate ours at the start of the pier, much more fun than waiting in line!
As soon as lunch was finished we headed along the pier and discovered that the lighthouse was open and you could climb to the top (£1.50 for adults, £1 for children). M was very excited about the idea so we headed up. Poor Keith had to carry L and the staircase was extremely narrow, so not easy to navigate with a toddler at all. The views from the top were very impressive and I imagine they would be even better on a clear day, but I don’t think we’ll be doing it again.
At the far end of the pier you can take some steps down to wear you very often find people fishing (Keith has memories of fishing their when he was younger). There was no-one fishing that day but it was nice getting a different view of the ocean and the cliffs. M especially liked it down there. L kept wanting to run right to the edge nearly giving us all a heart attack though so we made a speedy climb back up.
Walking back along the pier Keith spotted there were donkey rides on the each and decided to head there next. Neither M nor L had ever been on a donkey before so they were super excited (although, strangely, M has ridden on a camel!). They both loved it and as a nice bonus it was actually free!!! I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I’ve ever been on a day out where a kids activity like that didn’t cost the earth, never mind being completely free.
After the donkeys we went for a walk along the beach near the cliffs where M had great fun clambering over the rocks and looking for caves, and L tried her hand at using rocks to draw in the sand.
Next on the agenda was climbing the famous 101 steps up to the Abbey. To get there you have to walk through the cobbled streets of the old town and it brought back so many memories of when my Dad used to have a stall there on weekends and I would go along to help out. I spent a lot of time wondering those cobbles and even more hidden away in the corner of one of the bookshops, reading the first few pages of countless books before deciding which to spend my pocket money on. Not unsurprisingly, it’s also where I bought my first copy of Dracula (for those who don’t know, it was written in Whitby and a lot of the tourist businesses in Whitby thrive on the Dracula relationship).
L had already done an awful lot of walking by the time we reached the steps so poor Keith had to carry her up them. I struggled just getting myself up there! M on the other hand declared it easy. The view from the churchyard at he top is simply stunning and there a number of benches for you to get your breath back and watch the bustle of the harbour down below. The Abbey itself is run by English Heritage and at the time of writing costs £7.60 for adults and £4.60 for children. We decided not to bother as we had our eye on something else to spend our money on, but if you’re member’s of English Heritage it’s free so worth a look.
Heading back down L actually managed to walk down the steps herself, giving her dad a break. Unfortunately for Keith though, listening to M talk about how easy it was, he said he bet M couldn’t run up the cobbled slope to the side of the steps. So he did. And disappeared from sight. Which meant poor Keith then had to run after him and do it all again as well.
We then headed back over the river and along the harbour and went on a boat trip (£3 each). L had never been on a boat before and she loved it. It was a little choppy heading out and at one point the look on her face made us think she might be getting seasick but it soon passed and she laughed with every wave we went over. The boat actually went further out to sea than we thought and was a really nice trip.
By that point it was time to head back to the car but we had to make a quick stop at the Captain Cook monument on top of the West Cliff (next to the whale bones). M is really into his history at the moment and had been reading about Cook recently so he loved this.
All in all we had a really great day out and I can highly recommend it to anyone. Have you had any impromptu days out recently?