A staycation may not always fill you with joy, but there was something about the idea of revisiting our old childhood holiday haunts this year that allowed me to fully relax and exhale. Perhaps it was knowing I wouldn’t have to check I have the passports ten times in a row, not having the hidden anxiety of a new place to discover, knowing the paths and the people and the language. I know all these things make newly discovered destinations exciting, but this time round I was happy to forego that excitement for familiarity and it of course doesn’t hurt at all that England experienced a heatwave.
The first stop was Whitby and Robin Hoods Bay. Whitby is a very old, hobbled together seaside town made famous by its Abbey and Bram Stokers Dracula. You can see a picture of the abbey below. Like most seaside towns, I feel there is a struggle here to keep afloat as some of the shops that I have visited for years are now gone. Some of the shops remain but the stock is unchanged. Whitby is not as commercialised as some towns, there are only a couple of arcades which suits me to a tea but means that some families may be disuaded. The draw here is the landscape, the history and the higgledy piggledy villages that dt the coastline such as Staithes and Sandsend.
We decided to stay at Robin Hoods Bay this time round which is fifteen minutes by car along the coast from Whitby. You can see pictures of the coastline below. The Bed and Breakfast, Saxon Villa, was tranquil and decorated to a very high standard. This was my idea of a dream home. The hosts Des and Heather were welcoming and informative. Our stay was perfect. Robin Hoods Bay itself is a small collection of fishermans cottages, shops and cafes dotted along a very steep hill down to the sea and a curved bay which is perfect for rock pooling. Again, here, most of the shops were closed, only opening at weekends. Perhaps this was because we visited in June before the summer season really starts.
The second stage of our journey was in Helmsley, which is a pretty little market town in North Yorkshire about 45 minutes inland from . Any route you take is scenic, taking in little villages and lots and lots of sheep along the way, stopping to let the odd hen cross the road. We stayed at The Feversham Arms, which is a wonderful Elemis spa hotel in the middle of the village. We were lucky enough to stay in a Spa Suite which has a huge veranda which overlooks the pool. It really was heavenly, the bathroom was stocked with Temple Spa products as well as a candles and matches by the large separate bath. Everything has been thought of! The decor is very much my cup of tea, muted greys and blues, tartan check carpets and cushions cushions cushions. Bliss.
The pool is heated all year around, I visited once in October and the pool still felt like swimming in a bath. You have access to the heated spa facilities, but due to the temperature outside I never used these. We ate at the Feathers which is on the square, the steak was very very good and resonably priced for the area. The next morning I checked out feeling the most relaxed I have felt in a long time, enjoying the absence of aching muscles. We visited Rievaulx Abbey which is a picturesque ruined Cistercian Monastery, the little horse that lived in the filed next to it was most obliging for a photograph. We then moved on to York for a little shopping. I had the most amazing cheese, Yarg wrapped in wild garlic. I need this in my life and wish that I had bought more. There are some lovely independent shops in York as well as your familiar chain shops, and a visit the shambles is always worth while.