Darling Whitby, I thought that first day was jam packed and exciting, but you had something else in store for me.
I cannot recommend a Bed & Breakfast enough – my biggest solo adventure in England occurred only because I was sat at breakfast and my lovely host, and a few other tables of guests, came and set me up for the day. The plan: head to Robin’s Hood Bay and walk back to Whitby.
I caught the X93 bus from Whitby rail station and was completely hooked on the views afforded by those glorious double-decker buses as we travelled 20 minutes along the coast to Robins Hood Bay. What an impressive sight – I can only liken it to Bondi coastal walk in that all around is water views. But then, you turn your head and suddenly you’re whisked away from sunny Bondi and thrust back into the invigoratingly cold English town by the stunning cliffs that jut out into the ocean.
I won’t lie – I think winter was a ridiculous choice for the particular adventure I was about to spend the next 2 hours on – but nonetheless I wanted to experience everything and anything, and I’m super passionate about hiking and exploring. My B&B host had said to walk to Whitby, so I was bloody well going to try! (After a much-needed tea in a tiny little café in one of those quintessential crooked buildings).
Ok, so if you do want to try walking from Robins Hood Bay to Whitby, here’s the way: find your way back to where the bus dropped you off – it’s up a little hill, and as you walk with your back towards the sea, you’ll soon find Cleveland Way, and you’ll know you’re going the right way if you hit some kissing gates opening up into a field. The walk is absolutely one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever done…but it is super muddy (my Nike’s were ruined), and I’m not too sure I would recommend the walk to be done alone as I did it. I ended up stuck in a storm an hour away from Robins Hood Bay and a good 2 hours from Whitby. The gloomy clouds were rolling in dangerously fast to the right of me over the cliffs and the water, while to the left of me was miles and miles of fields. I met only 3 people on my way, and after going a little further, decided it was too dangerous alone, and turned back. So, did I make it by foot to Whitby? No. Did I get to witness one of the most beautiful storms and the feeling of being absolutely, completely alone? Yes. It made me sparkle. I loved it.
Surprise, surprise, I ended up on a bus back to Whitby, where I took to the 199 steps (made famous by Bram Stoker’s Dracula – did I mention that before? Dracula was set in Whitby! I sincerely wished I had read the book on my trip, but seeing as I had limited space in my suitcase, Dracula was put away for another time.) The steps lead to not only a spectacular view across the town, but open up to a hilltop cemetery and church, and finally that colossal ruin – Whitby Abbey.
What an ominous ruin. Magnificent, with towers and columns and holes where windows used to reside. It’s a British Heritage Site, but the cost was minimal, and you were able to wander at your leisure around the fields and the site itself – you can get as close as you like, marvel at its structure and keep wondering how it still stands…
It snowed that afternoon as I made my way back to the town for a spot of shopping and some ice cream (as you do when it’s 0 degrees and snowing). It was a brilliant end to my trip – all Aussies love a good bit of snow seeing as we hardly ever see it Down Under. I found Whitby to be an absolute treasure, and I know that in my two days there I didn’t manage to see everything it had to offer, though I was walking solidly for that weekend!
If dreamy seaside towns, lighthouses extending into the sea, and spectacular ruins are your cup of tea, then definitely visit Whitby. What a gem.