Get Your Kicks On Route YC – Travel Review
By Richard Jones, October 2023
Yorkshire is famous for its gloriously rugged landscapes, friendly folk, puddings, and having the best tea in the world (in my opinion, anyway).
However, it’s somewhat of a well-kept secret that North and East Yorkshire’s 45-mile-long coastline is among the most stunning in the British Isles.
With road trips all the rage these days – think Great Ocean Road, Route 66 and North Coast 500 – Route YC could be the new kid on the block.
Dubbed ‘Yorkshire’s ultimate road trip’, it encourages visitors to explore the coast, from the coves of Whitby in the north, past the golden sandy beaches of Scarborough, Filey, Bridlington, Hornsea and Withernsea, all the way to the east coast’s very own Land’s End, Spurn Point.
Whether it’s by car, bike or on foot, the people behind Route YC, led by North Coast 500 founder and creator Tom Campbell, want families to embark on their own outdoor adventure in this beautiful part of the world.
“The perfect size”
To find out more, my wife Rachel and I, along with our two daughters Isla, 16, and Evelyn, 12, headed northeast from our South Yorkshire home on a glorious early autumn afternoon.
Our base for the weekend was The Grainary, on Keasbeck Hill Farm, about seven miles from Scarborough.
With stunning views of the rolling countryside, The Grainary is a working farm, and the kids couldn’t wait to say hello to the sheep, goats and cute little piglets when we arrived.
Our spacious and newly renovated family room was the perfect size for the four of us – and it proved difficult dragging the kids out of their comfortable beds on a morning.
Nevertheless, once we had drawn back the curtains, and they saw the beautiful green vista outside, they had a spring in their step.
The food at The Grainary was top notch and in the evening, the hotel’s residents join other diners from far and wide in the bar and restaurant to enjoy the delicious fare. I can highly recommend the lamb cutlets with seasonal steamed vegetables, while Evelyn, who thinks she is somewhat of a sausage and mash connoisseur, said her tea was the best she had tasted.
“Riding the waves”
The next morning, we refuelled with a hearty full English, scrambled eggs, porridge and fresh fruits, before making our way to the coast for some seaside adventure.
Our first destination was Killerby Cliff above Cayton Bay, home of Scarborough Surf School.
Kitted out in wetsuits and carrying our boards, we made our way down the steps to the beach for a beginner surfing lesson. During warm up, we were taught the basics – board positions, paddling, pop-up techniques – before heading out into the North Sea to have a go at riding the waves.
Although our surfing skills left a lot to be desired, a lot of fun was had, and the temperature of the water didn’t feel too bad once you were in.
“Amazing food and drink”
Following a hot shower, we drove a mile up the road into Cayton village, where, in years gone by, the cottages used to offer hospitality to travellers.
And although the visitors now arrive by car rather than on horseback or by coach, the owner of The Farrier, Dani Bushby, who starred in Channel 4’s B&B programme Four in a Bed, has continued that tradition by welcoming guests and serving up amazing food and drink.
Dani’s love for horses is there for all to see, and there is no end of interesting memorabilia and artworks adorning the restaurant walls.
We were shown into The Farrier’s private dining room and treated to the tastiest Yorkshire food, including Barnsley double lamb chop, beer-battered Whitby cod and hickory smoked duck breast. With our stomachs nicely full, the four of us got back in the car to see more of Scarborough.
Thanks to its dramatic cliffs, award-winning beaches, historic harbour and family attractions, the ‘Queen of the Yorkshire Coast’ has been a popular holiday resort since the 1600s.
The town is packed with history and Scarborough Castle is the perfect place to discover more about its fascinating Roman, Viking, medieval, Tudor and English Civil War past.
“Everything about Scarborough is contrast,” internationally known playwright and long-term Scarborough resident Alan Ayckbourn, once said. “The north side is very quiet for people who just like to look at the sea, whereas South Bay has got the harbour and the candy floss and bingo.”
From our vantage point at the top of the castle we could see both sides perfectly.
That evening, we parked up at South Bay, giving the kids some spending money for the amusements, before walking along the beach and taking a ride on the Victorian Tramway, adjacent to the world-famous Grand Hotel.
Just around the corner, on York Place, is arguably Scarborough’s best seafood restaurant – Cafe Fish – where we enjoyed steaming chowder, succulent shrimp and salmon and, of course, haddock and chips.
On our final day, we were up early for the drive down the A165 and B1242 through the coastal villages towards Spurn Point.
After checking in at Spurn Discovery Centre, we went for a stroll around the peninsula’s beaches, dunes and mudflats, keeping an eye out for woodcocks, wrynecks and warblers. Alternatively, you can climb aboard a Unimog off-road vehicle and head all the way up to the lighthouses, to go seal and porpoise spotting.
Our short but sweet weekend on the Route YC had come to an end, but we all agreed that we’d like to see more of the stunning Yorkshire coast in the future.
We hope to climb Whitby’s 199 steps and learn more about the legends which inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula, while the cliffs and beaches at Filey, Bridlington and Hornsea are also crying out for a visit, as are Sewerby Hall & Gardens and RSPB Bempton Cliffs.
Hopefully it won’t be long before we’re back to ‘take route’ on the Yorkshire coast and experience more of God’s Own County.