Fish & chips? Ocean? Seagulls & independent shops? Yes please. I love the British seaside and I love cozy nights in the caravan. Now I’m older I totally understand when my Nan would say “the sea air will do you good!”
We decided to pop up to the parent-in-law’s caravan to spend a couple of days exploring, relaxing and giving Walter his first seaside experience. We ventured up to Whitby, took a trip to Sandsend beach, and explored the beautiful Hackfall Woods in Ripon.
To Whitby & Beyond
If you’ve never been to Whitby, it’s a seaside town famous for its’ connection with Count Dracula. It was here whether author Bram Stoker took regular seaside holidays. Up on the top of the cliff lies Whitby Abbey & Saint Mary’s Church. This is where Stoke watched boats come into the shore, and also where he began to write the books of Count Dracula
Whitby is a delightful town with plenty of buzz. It’s busy, a hotspot for tourists and extremely dog-friendly. We’ve been here a few times before, but when you’re taking dogs, it changes how you experience the town. There’s a big car park called the Harbour. We do recommend getting their early as it can get very busy. We always begin our Whitby experience with a wander along the harbour front – we have a go at penny machines, grab some chips and sit by the sea.
As you head into the town, cross the bridge to find endearing independent shops and cafes. Majority we found actually invited the dog’s in. The shop owners seemed to hate one of us stood outside with them. You’ll find dog bowls with water outside many of the shops in Whitby.
Lot’s to Explore…
In the town centre, there’s also a little market with trinket stalls and…a doggy treat shop! You can find handmade dog treats, toys and accessories. The lady who runs it was so welcoming & lovely. We couldn’t help buy the boys a doggy cupcake to take home. Once you have a browse of the markets, you can then head up the 199 steps to Whitby Abbey. It’s very much worth the picturesque views and a walk around the abbey. It’s 100% my favourite part of visiting Whitby.
Sandsend Beach, Whitby
To round off our day, we hopped in the car and headed up to Sandsend Beach. This beach has plenty of pay and display parking and a pub for a quick tipple. It’s a gorgeous beach which is a mix of pebble and sand. We found plenty of other dogs playing and enjoying the sea.
Seen as it was Walter’s first time at the beach, we just let him explore the new sounds and environment. To our surprise, he was straight in the sea. We think he may be half dolphin. The lads had an absolute ball, and even made some friends!
Hackfall Woods – Ripon
After a good night sleep in the caravan, I had a google and found Hackfall Woods. It looked beautiful, with rustic stone structures and a huge river running through. Curiosity got the better of us. When finding it, you can get a bit lost so if driving; head to the carpark. We initially went the wrong way and ended up on a bit of an adventure where I slid down the muddiest and most slippery hill to the bottom. Then ended up in the middle of the forest with no actual footpaths.
The mud was soft like compost. I honestly got to the point where I was like ‘fuck it’, I’m way past even trying to keep clean.
So if you actually go the correct way in the first place, like most normal people…it’s an easy and circular route. Some uphill bits, but nothing strenuous. About halfway round the route there is a river that reminded me a bit of North America. I almost expected to see a bear! The boys absolutely loved swimming, and even Will had some fun skimming stones.
Discovering Hackfalls Hidden Gems
I could have stayed at that river all day! When you decide to move on though, you’ll eventually discover a pond with a pump at the edge of it. Use it and this sets off an unbelievable fountain that works using the gravity from the cliff above. It’s astounding! What really got us, was the fact that Hackfall is completely designed by man, but appears to be a natural wonderland.
“Hackfall appears today to be a natural wood, a ‘beautiful wilderness’. In fact, it is very much a landscape moulded by people. Famous landscaper John Aislabie bought Hackfall in 1731. His son William set about transforming Hackfall into an ornamental landscape that would appear completely natural to the visitor.”
Hackfall is also designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) because of the large number of birds, plants and invertebrates that live or feed here. So look out for wildlife. It’s brimming with plant life, flowers and rustic temples. Take a look at the buildings to discover here.
Hackfall is a place full of wonder and has become one of my favourite adventures to date. If you are in the area, it is a must-see. Dog-friendly, full of wonder and down-right gorgeous. I am counting down the days to return again.
We could have just had one more day on our break and we’re dying to book some more time off work to discover more of England. If this pandemic has reminded us of anything it’s that the some of the most beautiful dog-friendly places are on your doorstep.
For more of the best dog friendly walks in Holmfirth, head over to our blog at Three Peas and a Pod