The North Yorkshire Moors Railway, always a popular day out for guests at Cliff House Holiday Cottages, in 2023 introduced an Annual Pass for Adults travelling on their heritage railway. Only £3 more than previous years adult return journeys from Pickering to Whitby, the pass allows unlimited travel on the railway for 12 months. Which is great, but how does someone who is only holidaying in the area make the most of their annual pass on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway? Here’s some suggestions.
The Classic Day Out on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway
Firstly, go on what we think of as the “classic” day out on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway under your belt. Take the train all the way through from Pickering, just 15 minutes away from our cottages at Cliff House, all the way through to the sea side town of Whitby and experience the full length of the North York Moors Railway. Make the most of your time in Whitby and spend a few hours there.
Be sure whilst you’re in Whitby to climb the steps from the old town all the way up to English Heritage’s Whitby Abbey, in part the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Next door is the local church of St Mary’s, with signs asking people not to ask staff as to the whereabouts of Dracula’s grave (Hint : There isn’t one!). As you’re already “up the hill”, why not pay a visit to the Whitby Brewery, and if their pizza oven is on, sample one of their pizzas fresh from the pizza oven with one of their ales.
Other things to consider visiting when in is Whitby include…
Captain Cook Memorial Museum
Learn about the famous explorer Captain James Cook, who was born in the area. The museum is housed in the 17th-century house where he lodged as an apprentice.
This small but fascinating museum showcases the town’s history and has a collection of fossils, natural history exhibits, and maritime artefacts.
Enjoy a stroll along Whitby’s sandy beaches. You can also collect fossils along the shore or simply relax and enjoy the sea breeze.
The Captain Cook Experience
Take a tour of the replica HM Bark Endeavour, the ship that Captain Cook sailed to Australia and New Zealand. It’s usually moored in Whitby’s harbour.
Whitby Ghost Walk
For those interested in the spooky side of Whitby’s history, consider joining a guided ghost walk to learn about its haunted past.
Don’t forget to savour some traditional Yorkshire seafood and fish and chips at one of the many seafood restaurants or cafes in town. Out favourite is Mr Chips, which is away from the bustle of the pier side and welcomes dogs. Or try Bothams Tea room for an afternoon tea and try one of their famous iced lemon buns
Whitby Whale Bones
While the original whale bones are now displayed in the Whitby Archives and Heritage Centre, there is a replica set of whale bones on the West Cliff that’s a popular photo spot.
Make the most of your ticket, a day out along the line
Having done the “classic”, now for something that involves a bit of exploring. This day out involves a walk of about 3 and half miles along mainly flat and wide tracks (old railway tracks). The day involves taking the train from Pickering to either Grosmont or Goathland and then walking back to the other station. If you go to Goathland and walk to Grosmont you are walking down hill and from Grosmont to Grosmont, you are walking up hill.
The trail between the two stations follows the line of the original railway, when carriages where pulled by horses and the incline from Beck Hole to Goathland was powered by a pulleys.
We walked from Grosmont where most of the engines of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway engines are stabled and looked after. Travellers are free to visit the engine sheds and get relatively close to the engines and watch the volunteers care for these historic engines. Before heading out on our walk we stopped for coffee and a sandwich at the Old School Coffee Shop. Which, as the name suggests was the former school for the village and still retains some of the original features.
Heading away from Grosmont, the trail takes you through the Esk Valley, which was a hive of mining operations. Look out for evidence of mining as you walk along the trail.
Refreshment stop in Beck Hole
At Beck Hole, you can take a detour in to the very small hamlet to visit the Birch House Inn and the adjoining sweet shop. The bar is smaller than most living rooms and the beer, including their own brew, is served through a small hatch, along with pork pies and bread and cheese rolls.
From Beck Hole the pull up to the Goathland begins, its not arduous in any way, but if you have toddlers as its toward the end of the walk there may be sense of humour failures! This was the incline that was powered by pulleys, which had been none to snap from time to time!. Once you get to Goathland, there may be time for a quick wander around the village that provided the backdrop to “Heartbeat” as the village of Aidensfield, and despite not being aired for over 13 years, there is still a lot of nostalgia for the show which ran for 18 seasons. The station at Goathland also doubled as Hogsmead station in the first Harry Potter film.
From Goathland, take the train back to Pickering to conclude your day out.
We hope that we’ve given you a flavour of what else can be done with an annual pass on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. Other options exist too, an ambitious walk would be from Goathland to Levisham station.