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Places to go

Whitby

A picturesque fishing port, built on a steep hillside with the Abbey perched on top of the cliff - 199 steps up! Cobbled streets, attractive shops and famous links with Captain Cook and Dracula are characteristic. Excellent fish and chips, particularly the Magpie Cafe (but usually queues), Trenchers have level access and Hadley's, across the bridge, is recommended by famous Yorkshire cricket umpire, Dickie Bird.

Saltburn

The nearest seaside - only 7 miles away, is a Victorian spa town with a funicular lift to take you down the cliff and a pier. This seaside is good for digging and paddling and has a thriving surfers' culture and artists' colony. The Valley Gardens are beautiful to wander through. Shopkeepers often dress up in Victorian costumes during the summer.

Grinkle Park

This lovely old country house has a spectacular drive lined with rhododendrons which is well worth a visit in early summer. Lunch and afternoon tea are excellent and reasonably priced. It is advisable to book for dinner.

Staithes, Runswick Bay, Sandsend

These are coastal villages between here and Whitby which are interesting and pretty. The first two are down steep slopes and you may have to park at the top. Sandsend is flat and has lovely sand and good places to eat.

Grosmont

Here is the start of the steam railway which is very interesting both to look around and to travel on the train. It is possible to catch a train from Commondale to Grosmont, and then get on the steam train to Goathland and Pickering and on to Whitby. Many of the stops along the steam railway are worth a visit. Goathland is "Heartbeat" village.

Esk Valley Villages

All of these are worth a potter round with interesting sights and quaint shops. There are lots of excellent cafes and pubs which serve food. Our current favourite is the Downe Arms at Castleton for excellent, freshly cooked food at a reasonable price. It is also a locals' pub. Between here and Westerdale is a favourite picnic spot - Hob Hole, alongside the stream. Castleton has the Village Store, for papers and a variety of unusual foods and the Co-op for the basics - including a good selection of beers, wines and spirits.

All of the Esk Valley is well served with pubs and cafes, tearooms and restaurants so as you meander through the beautiful old stone villages stop and try them.

The area is rich in art and crafts and as you travel along the Esk Valley from Kildale, via Commondale, Castleton and on to Whitby, many local artists and crafts people have their work on display and for sale. Check out Peter Baker, marine artist at Westbridge Cottage, Kildale, then move on to Caroline Riley's Tractor Shed at Commondale and the Montage Studio Gallery at Castleton. They will all be pleased to meet you, show off their work and chat.

Danby Lodge

About 5 miles from here is an old shooting lodge which has been converted into a visitor centre. There are interesting exhibitions, gardens, walks, brass rubbing and many children's activities organised throughout the school holidays. The tourist information centre, gift shop and tea rooms are also there. Entrance is free, but car parking is to pay for.

Great Ayton, Stokesley, Lonsdale, Gribdale/Captain Cook's monument.

North of us, travelling back towards the A19, is the village of Kildale. Turn towards the church and follow the gated road through the beautiful valley of Lonsdale to Gribdale where you can park the car and walk up to see Captain Cook's monument and have a wonderful view of the surrounding countryside. Travel on to Great Ayton and Stokesley - both are worth a potter about, buy pies from Petch the butcher in Great Ayton, visit Stokesley market on Friday.

Hutton-le-Hole, Ryedale Folk Museum

From the top of Castleton, cross over the moor to Blakey Ridge and find the Lion Inn which sells good bar meals and is the start of several walks. Interesting diversions might lead down into Farndale, famous for the daffodils or Rosedale, once a mining village, now a tourist attraction. The Rosedale railway walk has spectacular views.

Try to visit Hutton-le- Hole, a beautiful village with an exceptional rural museum. There is a lot to see, including demonstrations of rural crafts, reconstructions of old houses, workshops and shops. Travel back into the past and see old cruck houses, village shop and post office. History comes alive here from roman times to the 20th century, with regular demonstrations crafts, historic re-enactments and rare breed shows. Not far away is Lastingham with a very famous, ancient church.

Pickering

This small market town is very popular with tourists, having interesting streets and shops. It has a mediaeval castle where they hold re-enactment battles in the summer.

Castle Howard

If you like beautiful old houses, then Castle Howard, near Malton is well worth seeing. Most people remember it for the setting of the television series Brideshead Revisited. Built by Vanbrugh in 1699, this stately home belongs to the Howard family. The house and grounds are open to the public and they have events throughout the year including the "Proms in the Park" each summer.

Rievaux Abbey, Helmsley.

All of this area is worth a visit. Helmsley is a beautiful market town with lots of small shops. Rievaux Abbey is a beautiful ruin.

Ripon

This is a small town with a beautiful cathedral. A few miles away are Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal with its water gardens and deer park. This is a World Heritage site, run by the National Trust.

Thirsk

Further south on the A19 at Thirsk is the James Herriot museum. This is very popular with visitors.

Durham

This is a beautiful old cathedral and university city which is approximately 50 north of here off the Al motorway. It is well worth visiting, but allow a full day.

York

This is the ancient capital city of our region. There is a lot to see and do, a magnet for tourists, with cobbled streets, the Minster, shambles, markets as well as a modern shopping area including lots of places to eat.

The Esk valley railway line running from Middlesbrough to Whitby. (Castleton village in the distance).

The Esk valley railway line running from Middlesbrough to Whitby. (Castleton village in the distance).

The picturesque town of Whitby.

The picturesque town of Whitby.

Goathland "Heartbeat" village.

Goathland "Heartbeat" village.

Danby lodge visitor centre.

Danby lodge visitor centre.

Ralph's Cross, Blakey.

Ralph's Cross, Blakey.

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