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Why East Yorkshire should be your next UK walking destination

The Bay Hotel in Yorkshire, where Judith stayed, which retains many of its original features
The Bay Hotel in Yorkshire, where Judith stayed, which retains many of its original features

With its unbeatable coastlines and quaint old towns, Judith Baker falls in love with Yorkshire

THE WEEKEND Much of the scenery in East Yorkshire was captured by former Bridlington resident David Hockney, who returned to the county of his birth in the 1990s to create a number of his Plein Air landscapes. And with historic racecourses, a spectacular coastline, rolling landscape and some of the cosiest pubs in the country, a break in East Yorkshire is a breath of fresh air. The mediaeval market town of Beverley is a great starting point for a long weekend. Its lovely racecourse, opened in 1690, has regular meetings from April to September. The town has an imposing 13th century minster at its heart and St Mary’s church is home to a carving of a March hare said to have inspired Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.

WHAT TO DO From Beverley it is a pleasant 50 miles past the bracing seaside resorts of Scarborough and Bridlington to Robin Hood’s Bay, a picturesque fishing village on the North Yorkshire coast. Once the haunt of smugglers who rolled in their barrels of contraband brandy and rum by night, the village still has a haunting atmosphere. It’s all whitewashed cottages, winding alleyways and secret coves.

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Sit on the beach eating fish and chips or a crab sandwich, or cosy up in one of several small historic pubs here with pictures of grizzled fishermen on the walls. The Bay Hotel is the end point of the Coast to Coast walk. Introduced by renowned walker Alfred Wainwright in 1973, this 195 mile walk starts in the Cumbrian village of St. Bees and ends here at Robin Hood’s bay. Expect to see a few exhausted walkers flop down for a well-earned pint at The Bay’s bar.

Goathland railway station, used in Harry Potter
Goathland railway station, used in Harry Potter

Less demanding are gentle walks nearby such as the Cinder Track, which runs to Whitby, a seven mile hike along a disused railway path with great sea and country views. Pause at Whitby Abbey, which features in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Alternatively, walk to Boggle Hole, found at the end of Robin Hood’s Bay and reached at low tide along the beach. It is an area of scientific interest because of the number of fossils found there. Or 13 miles from Robin Hood’s Bay in the North Yorkshire National Park is Goathland, whose pretty railway station was used as Hogsmeade in the film Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

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EATING AND DRINKING: Head to The White Horse Hotel, one of Britain’s best-preserved pubs, complete with gas lights and stone-flagged corridors. Known to locals as ‘Nellies,” it was originally a coaching inn, and retains most of its original features including chandeliers, small individual rooms and rickety stone and wooden floors. Expect to meet some eccentric local characters. (nellies.co.uk).

SLEEPING: The Beverley Arms is a smart recently renovated 17th century coaching inn in the heart of town with a lovely courtyard. Rooms from £180 per night; beverleyarms.co.uk. I stayed in a lovely, atmospheric fisherman’s cottage in Robin Hood’s Bay and there are a good selection of similar properties to rent. For a touch of luxury choose Raven Hall Hotel, with great views out to sea and log cabins in the grounds. Rooms from £152 per night including breakfast; ravenhall.co.uk.

NEED TO KNOW: East Yorkshire is in the north east of the UK, with rail links via Hull from London Kings
Cross with Hull Trains or LNER For more information go to visiteastyorkshire.co.uk and discoveryorkshirecoast.com

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