5 reasons to have a winter family break on the Yorkshire Coast
We had the chance to visit Yorkshire Coast during the holiday season for the first time last weekend. It was a lovely, relaxing getaway packed full of Christmas cheer. The seaside may not be the first thing on everyone’s mind when planning a winter getaway, but there are many reasons why it’s a great pick.
1. The seaside is still loads of fun in the winter
Searching for seashells, making sand pictures and running on the beach are all at the top of my kids’ list of ‘best things to do in the world to do’ no matter the season. Sure, running in the waves is out, but aside from that, almost anything you can do in the summertime on the beach you can do in the winter.
Just bundle up the kids, get some proper wellies on and you’re set! Despite all the things we did during the weekend, the kids still say ‘playing on the beach’ was their favourite.
2. There is plenty of festive fun in the North York Moors National Park
North York Moors National Park is made up of 554 square miles of stunning moorland, spectacular coastline, ancient woodland and historic sites. There is so much to do there with a family that we’ve been at least a dozen times and we always find something new and exciting.
On the weekend that we visited it was Victorian Weekend in Robin Hood’s Bay. A small, atmospheric village snuggled into the rocky shoreline, it’s said that Robin Hood’s Bay was the busiest smuggling village on the East Coast during the 18th century. According to legend, a bale of silk could pass from the bottom of the village to the top without leaving the houses, thanks to the network of underground passages and hiding places.
It was the perfect backdrop to a Victorian Christmas celebration. Parking at the top of the village was free with it being off season (although it is quite a hike up and down the hill into town). The shop windows were festive, and there were people decked in Victorian period dress throughout the town. We were even treated to some Victorian carnival games and proper carol singing!
We also paid a visit to Whitby Winterfest, in the town of Whitby just a short drive away. Winterfest was free to enter and had everything you would expect from a winter festival, set against the backdrop of the North Sea.
The Whitby Winterfest had free entry with a modest cost for some of the activities. We did some Christmas shopping from local tradespeople, met Santa, watched the wacky Captain Kipper show, and decorated gingerbread trees. We didn’t have enough energy left for ice skating after a very full day but the small rink looked like a good place for beginners.
3. Shops are open
My British husband tells me that the seaside used to close up during the winter months when he was a kid. ‘You couldn’t even buy fish and chips’ is how he tells it. This is certainly not the case any more. Shops, restaurants and tourist attractions are all open just less crowded.
4. It’s a great time to get away from it all
The run up to Christmas is so busy that it was the perfect time to get away for the night. It was a welcome opportunity to leave our obligations and work at home.
We had a family room at The Penny Hedge Pub which caters very nicely for young children. The pub is only 1.5 miles from Whitby Town Centre and is clean, comfortable and very reasonably priced. We ate dinner and breakfast there and enjoyed both.
There is a children’s corner in the pub which isn’t huge, but it was more than big enough to keep my three and five year old entertained while we waited for food. Beware that the £1 machine is pretty hard to resist! We received 20% off our dinner and breakfast was included in the price of the stay.
5. Beat the crowds
I love Christmas celebrations but being packed in shoulder to shoulder in the cold when you’ve got little ones in tow isn’t really my idea of fun. I was delighted that both the Victorian Weekend in Robin Hood’s Bay and Whitby Winterfest were well attended but still felt low key and relaxed.
The seaside was less crowded too. The North Yorkshire coastline felt exclusive and even more special than it does in the warmer months.
We ate lunch at The Fish Box at the very top of Robin Hood’s Bay, where we enjoyed some of the excellent, fresh fish that you expect by the sea. There’s a great view from the window too.
Last, but certainly not least, there was no waiting in traffic on the drive to the seaside! Three cheers for winter!
Accommodation for this holiday was provided by North York Moors National Park.