Welcome to 'Kelly's Guide'...
A sort of Bill Bryson's "Notes from a Small Island," from a lovely Goathland Guest House instead! Here you'll find local information, news from the house, short tales and observations and anything else which springs to mind as I type.
Eek, I do love Christmas, and December’s imminence means that I am allowed to fully embrace it! The house is almost fully decorated for the festive season… the fairy lights are spiralling up the staircase, the hall looks ‘bedecked’ and the both the guest lounge and dining room have garlands, wreaths and seasonal touches! It did require a somewhat epic (and admittedly un-seasonal) ‘Spring’ clean – especially in the lounge where coal dust can infiltrate even the most unlikely spots! The all-important-selection-of-the-real-Christmas-tree-day will have to wait a little longer, or it won’t last until after the New Year celebrations!
Next job, checking connections and cables on the outdoor lighting, then the footpaths and drives are being power-washed and the last of the fallen leaves raked and gathered. We’ve been incredibly lucky with the weather of late, and have enjoyed plenty of sunshine. The forecast suggests winter temperatures are here to stay, but with plenty of bright spells. We enjoyed a walk to Grosmont at the weekend, with a venture through the picturesque Doctor Wood and over the new bridge, and then back into Grosmont for Rick and I to enjoy a quick trip to Geall’s Gallery peruse the current exhibits. It’s a glorious spot to admire local artists’ work with a cuppa, a slice of cake and the daily newspaper. We came away happy, with a David Utting print, which have inspired us to re-visit some favourite local spots. His paintings of Runswick Bay, Sandsend and Staithes, to name a few, reminded us what stunning places we have on the doorstep. We’re plotting a trip to Runswick with a picnic, before walking to Sandsend down the Cleveland Way. Strategically timing this between Friday and Monday will enable us to call into Sandside Café at Sandsend for a hot drink and a sugar-rush to help with the walk back… unless we cheat and catch the ‘93’ bus back instead! And it’s Robin Hood Bay’s Victorian Christmas weekend soon, which is always something to behold, though the shopping in this little hamlet is always fun; with craft shops, galleries, antique shops, a chocolate shop and an old bookshop.
What else can I tempt you with? Perhaps you’d enjoy a ‘Santa Special’ on the North York Moors Railway… mulled wine and a mince pie on the station platform, a train ride through the Moors and the opportunity to spot Santa! One thing we’re definitely going to do this December is to see ‘Castle Howard at Christmas.’ The whole property is be-decked with incredible decorations and they thoroughly embrace the festive spirit. It’s well worth a visit at any time of year, but it’s extra-special over the festive period. There are craft fairs, Christmas fairs, food fairs and new Alan Ayckbourns taking the stage at the Stephen Joseph Theatre…
And our ‘Winter Warmer’ season is in full flow, when bed and breakfast gets a twist and we add a two-course supper for arrivals on Friday, Saturday and Monday. Arriving in the dark, then braving the elements to head back out for dinner might not seem too tempting after your journey onto the Moors. So instead, enjoy a cuppa on your arrival (in front of the fire!), unpack your toothbrush and slippers and you won’t have to venture out of the front door for good food and wine! Our Winter Warmer page introduces menus and our seasonal tariff or ring us on 01947 896361 for more information.
You might like to know, for example, that if you've had a leisurely Saturday hopping on and off the NYM Steam Railway, eaten an ice-cream or two and whiled away an hour watching the sheep nibble their way up The Common, that you won't need to drive down to Whitby to enjoy fish and chips... Eskdale Fisheries in Sleights is a great spot, with picnic benches in the garden outside so you can enjoy fish and chips at their best - open, in paper, in the sunshine!
Ever heard about the little pub you just have to visit in Beck Hole? Just a mile from Goathland by car and little less to walk down the Rail Trail... The Birch Hall is one of the best and smallest pubs in Britain, complete with sweet shop and beer garden. Enjoy a 'Beck Hole Butty' and a pint of 'Beck Watter'!
Sandsend... glorious beaches, good coffee and cake at both 'Sandside' and 'Wit's End', art gallery, pub, a 'foodies' shop and just a couple of miles north of Whitby town centre. Perfect. But don't tell anyone else about it!
For fish and chips, 'The Magpie' is rightly famous. Cue the queues! Alternatively head over the swing bridge into the old town and keep to the right... you'll find Hadley's. It's good. And Fortune's own-smoked kippers (find them on Henrietta Street), can even be posted home for you.
For a walk from our doorstep, follow the Rail Trail down to Grosmont - head to the Geall's Art Cafe for coffee and cake to set you up for the walk back. Or pop into the Old School House Coffee Shop for a slice or scrumptious chocolate cake. And you can even cheat and catch the train back to Goathland Station.
One of our favourite 'drives' starts by heading out of Goathland towards Egton, then up through Glaisdale and on to Danby. If you're peckish en route, stop in Lealholm for a home-baked treat from the bakery and enjoy it whilst looking at fantastic views towards the North Sea. Beyond Danby you'll find Castleton before circling back towards Hutton-le-Hole. Stop off at the Red Lion at Blakey Ridge for a spot of lunch or just a cheeky drink. By Hutton-le-Hole you might need to stretch your legs around the shops and if you forfeited lunch after your hearty Fairhaven breakfast, head to the Blacksmith's at Lastingham for an early dinner and then head towards Pickering for a straightforward drive back to Goathland, or towards Stape for a more adventurous route across the top of the moors!
What's happening now?
Perhaps one of the best things about this time of year is how little there is to be ‘done’ in the area. With the exception of some lovely Christmas fairs and markets, where you can top-up your shopping if need be, there’s very little else ‘happening’ when you compare it to the shows, fairs and events held through most of the year. And I think that’s why it’s such a great time to visit. You’re planning the Christmas celebrations with almost military precision? Cramming parties and catch-ups in, between the usual work, home, school, family and friends stuff you do all year? Shopped ‘til you’ve dropped? Thinking how much there’s still to do, with very little energy left to do it?! Then plan a little time out, just for you…either pretty much right now, to give you a little boost before you go back to reality, or in a week or so, to reward yourself for all the hard work.
If this gentler pace of life tempts you, then you couldn’t have picked a better time of year to join us. There are wonderful views, glorious walks, empty beaches and miles of un-chartered heather moors right outside the front door and within a few miles in each direction. Inside, there are 15-tog quilts, an open fire, a well-stocked bar, a kettle that’s rarely off the boil and more books, films and cds than you could shake a stick at. I can think of few things better than a few days away doing nothing more taxing than planning the next walk, via which pub and tea room and working up a healthy appetite for dinner after a hearty breakfast. We look forward to seeing you soon!