Camping Adventures in Whitby:
Leaking tents. Mud. Torrential rain. Wellies. Soggy clothes? Were your memories of camping years ago the same as mine? If so, imagine my face when my eldest son asked if Erik and I would like to come and join them on their camping weekend, to celebrate little Emily’s 3rd birthday. He must have read the look of horror on my face, and proceeded to show me photos of his enormous tent, more a marquee, and how they had a fabulous time on their camp cooker and grill and barbecue. They even had a large lounge area, with a dining table that moved inside or out depending on the weather!
“But Mum, we don’t expect you to sleep in the tent this time. We’ve booked you into the B & B in the camp site. It’s a renovated Victorian house, and you’ll love it. It’ll be another adventure for you.”
He went on to tell me how they’d already stayed at the Camp Site in their tent, and it was only a few minutes away from Whitby, in North Yorkshire.
What could we do but accept. A weekend away from it all, on the North-East of Yorkshire’s wonderful coastline, near all those enticing smugglers and fisherman’s coves like Robin Hood’s Bay, Runswick Bay and Staithes. It is almost a well-kept secret, but this area is very similar to Cornwall, with fishermans’ cottages piled on top of each other in the old, winding cobbled streets that take you down to ancient harbours.
So a few weeks ago, we set off. It was a dull day, but we had to travel for a couple of hours through East Yorkshire, then into North Yorkshire where we encountered the thickest daytime fog I have ever experienced. Mile by misty mile we slowly (very slowly in the fog) drove through the rolling Yorkshire countryside, past Scarborough and onto the Yorkshire Moors – but all the beautiful scenery was obscured by the fog.
We traversed roads that many centuries before had been marched over by Roman Legions, and moorland that had been scrambled over by the Viking hordes. Maybe our misty day was the same that the Romans encountered, and mentioned when they wrote back home to their families – surely the soldiers must have dreaded the years ahead of them in such a damp, foggy country. Thank goodness our weather is (usually) much better now.
Our eyes searched what we could see of the road ahead, and then suddenly we reached the sign to the Camp Site, and turned into a big entrance. We were made very welcome by the family, and shown to our stylish bedroom. Out of our window, we saw little Emily and Archie and The Tent, and dashed out to give them all a hug. Nicola’s mum, Sharon, had travelled up with the family, and was going to take the additional ‘room’ in The Tent, so Emily was going to have 2 Grannies to play with.
This was The York House Hotel and Caravan Park. Situated in Hawsker, just south of Whitby, and although only minutes away from Whitby by car or bus, it seemed in a world of its own in the idyllic North Yorkshire countryside. What a find. This family-run business has rolling fields home to static caravans, camper-vans, touring caravans and tents. Some static caravans are privately owned, some are for rent. And within the grounds, there is a huge play area, a dog exercise field, a large shower and wash block, and a block for washing up dishes etc plus a washer and clothes dryer.
Then comes the Hotel/B&B. As you can see from the picture, a beautifully renovated Victorian house. All bedrooms are en-suite, and are very relaxing. The decor is stylish, not fussy, and there is a separate dining-room for those at the B & B taking Breakfast and wanting a quiet Dinner. Also a quiet lounge, where guests can relax.
At the back of the B & B there is a huge conservatory extension, complete with a bar and a television. This also has another big room for families, with a huge table and lots of chairs. Catering is on hand for campers and B & B guests alike, with a huge menu ranging from snacks to Lamb Shanks, Liver and Onions, Steak and Salads. Children are well catered for as well on the menu, as we saw when our grandchildren devoured their home-made fish fingers and chips. This conservatory opens opens out onto a splendid decked area and is scattered with stylish tables, chairs and a large barbecue.
We were invited into The Tent for Emily’s birthday party, and as you may have read in an early post, I had been designated the chosen one to make Emily a Peppa Pig birthday cake. But before cake, we all had a glass of wine and enjoyed Nicola’s great Spaghetti Bolognese and Garlic Bread (Emily’s choice). It was a lovely party, and Emily seemed very happy, bless her.
After a great night’s sleep, Erik and I wandered downstairs to the Breakfast room and ate a hearty breakfast. Then off to Whitby we all went. By now the sun was peeping through the clouds, and tourists were pouring into the town. Parking alongside the river was perfect for the children, so central and near the harbour and all the quaint and quirky shops. We had arranged to meet Dave and Eileen – another part of our extended family and yet another Grandpa and Nana for Emily and Archie – too complicated to explain. So once we had all joined forces, off we went.
We meandered across the big bridge which spans the river at Whitby, and saw the ships anchored safely in the harbour, just as Captain Cook’s ship would have been before he set off on his voyage of discovery to Australia. So many interesting shops, including the best fish shops I have ever seen. Why didn’t I bring a cool box with me?
And what happens with children? “Mummy, Daddy, I’m hungry and I want a wee. I’m hungry.”
We just happened to be outside a restaurant called Trenchers, on New Quay Road, and it looked very good and busy. So we queued up, all 9 of us, and before long were taken to a fabulous big corner table, with squashy leather benches. Half way the meal through we were joined by Sharon’s friend, who Emily promptly nicknamed “Captain Dave.”
What a fabulous meal we had. The chidren had Spaghetti, Sausages and Beans, I sampled the Premium Scampi and Chips and Erik tried Hake and Chips. Emily and Archie gobbled all their food up, and their iced orange juice. My Scampi was perfect and very filling and Erik thoroughly enjoyed his Hake and Chips. Everyone else enjoyed their meal, and the staff were efficient and friendly. Then we all made our way upstairs to the amazing toilets. It was like a ballroom, overflowing with marble and lights. So well done, Trenchers, you catered for all nine of us brilliantly.
Then, because Archie was desperate to “go to the seaside, Granny, with my bucket and spade,” we decamped and travelled along the coast road to Runswick Bay. These tiny little villages are so atmospheric – the smell of the sea fills your nostrils, the cries of the seagulls in my mind always echo the cries of those lost at sea, as were many of those brave fishermen.
Down the big hill to the carpark, then we walked down the twisty bend to the beach, and that’s where Archie got his wish. Sandcastles were built and smashed then built again. Emily stood, looking out at the North Sea, her eyes huge and still, trying to take it all in.
“So, how did you enjoy your camping adventures in Whitby?” queried my son. “It’ll be the Tent next time for you, Mum,” he added
“We’ve had a fantastic time, and feel like we’ve been away for days, not just one day. It’s been great, and we don’t want to go.”
And, sadly, that is where we had to leave them. Erik and I had to travel back home, but the family stayed and played then returned to their Tent for another night’s fun.
But maybe, just maybe, next year we will really have a camping adventure in Whitby – or somewhere else. Who knows?