Days out from York: North Yorkshire Moors Railway to Whitby


July 29, 2013 by talkaboutyork

So I presented my list of activities to the boys. We can tick off Homestead Park, Yorkshire Museum and Museum Gardens, as well as cycling and the cinema already, while I took myself off to the Treasurer’s House yesterday.

But on Thursday we decided to have ‘A Grand Day Out’. I do like a grand day out. Especially if you call it just that. Makes it seem like a proper adventure instead of just a boring day with mum doing stuff that isn’t an xbox (it’sall about the PR spin you put on it).

It took an early wake up call to make it happen, but it was worth it.

We left home by 7.40am and drove to Pickering. We didn’t have to leave that early but I wanted plenty of time to spare.  We found the North Yorkshire Moors Railway station, which looks just like something out of Thomas the Tank Engine stories. After grabbing a coffee and sausage sandwiches at the station cafe, we caught the 9am train to Whitby. As the train rolled through the beautiful North Yorkshire Moors countryside, we played countless games of cards (definitely worth packing cards or a game of some kind because as beautiful as the passing scenery is, kids prefer doing rather than looking).

On the way, we went past Goathland station which was ‘Hogsmeade station’ in the Harry Potter films, which was rather exciting for two small Harry Potter fans.

We arrived at Whitby by 10.30 and headed, quite unintentionally, straight to the replica of Captain James Cook’s ship which was about to depart for a trip around the bay. So we hopped on. It was lovely to see Whitby from the sea, all sparkling and quaint. 

Once back on land, we made our way to the beach for a game of football. There are plenty of bucket and spade and beachball shops right next to the beach if you forget yours at home.

You could quite easily spend the entire day just playing on the beach, but my children (like most I imagine) cannot resist the lure of the arcade games that are always strategically placed en route to the beach. I despise these noisy, money-sucking places, but I agreed that they could each spend a small amount of money there, just to reduce nagging.

Unlike normal visitors to Whitby, we didn’t have fish and chips for lunch (because I am allergic to fish), but we grabbed a quick (rather uninspiring) bite of lunch before shopping for Whitby Rock and making our way up the 199 steps to the Abbey.

As members of English Heritage, our entry was free but we paid a small amount for each of the boys to take part in the Time Travellers Go activities. I’m very pleased we did as it was the highlight of their day. They were given personal sword training tuition and learnt a great deal of gory and fascinating facts about medieval manners.

We then had a quick look around the Abbey in all its gothic splendour.

We made our way back down the steps, enjoying the pretty view of Whitby as we went.

We sat on the docks watching people crabbing as we ate some vinegar-laced chips (sans fish) and enjoyed the late afternoon sunlight. (I only just noticed the seagull poop next to the chips in this picture. Rather pleased I didn’t notice it at the time, but you can’t have an authentic seaside experience without the squawks of begging seagulls.)

And then it was time to go home, chuff chuffing all the way past beautiful countryside dressed with a setting sun. What a lovely day!


As days out go, it was fantastic. It will cost you a fair amount but you can economise.

A family ticket on the North York Moors Railway is £48. Take your own picnic breakfast to save on buying sausage sandwiches. I always feel picnics feel far more Famous Five and exciting anyway.

The cost of the James Cook boat trip was £3 per person, but there are cheaper boats that go out or simply skip that part.

Limit the amount you allow at the arcades. Definitely get fish and chips to eat, take away style, rather than going into one of the cafes.

Don’t bother buying the family toilet pass for £1.50 at the station toilets. There are free toilets closer to the beach.

If you have English Heritage membership, the Abbey is free. If you don’t, climbing the steps you still get a good view of it.

It is a long day out – we left home before 8am and got back at 8.30pm, but we all agreed that it was a brilliant day and worth putting the effort into getting out early.

We will go back to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway but next time get off  at Goathland and walk to Grosmont as that looks fab too!


4 thoughts on “Days out from York: North Yorkshire Moors Railway to Whitby

  1. barbedwords says:

    What a lovely place to visit, Whitby looks beautiful!

  2. Iota says:

    Oooh, lovely. Know it all well. Parents-in-law live in Pickering. Great place to take kids – North York Moors, Whitby, Robin Hood’s Bay… Love it all. Used to love it particularly when visiting from the US, because it’s SO quintessentially English. I needed my fix.

    Did you find out about the Pickering War Week-end? Everyone dresses in 1940’s costumes, there are parades, activities, lots to see and do. I’ll be there with my two sons, if you fancy driving up for the day to join us. No chance of a B&B at this point, I’m afraid. They book up a year ahead. It’s Oct 12/13.

    I also have a ticket for a free round of mini-golf in Whitby, because I got my ball in the “extra round” hole, in one!

    • I have heard about the Pickering weekend and would love to go but I think we have a party that same weekend elsewhere. But I have been desperate to go to it since I heard about it. If we do go I’ll let you know

  3. […] holidays and trips over summer, a sailing holiday in Turkey, going to Cowes Regatta, trips to Whitby and just plenty of getting out and about in York and Yorkshire (I can tick that new year […]

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