It’s safe to say the past six months for Zoe and I have been extremely testing. We’ve put our all into our work and have barely had any time to recover. Our last holiday was in 2018 when we went to Paris for our anniversary. While it was a wonderful break, it wasn’t a holiday, as every day we had a million and one things to try and fit in. Zoe then gets the flu halfway through (we blame her kissing the tomb of Oscar Wilde), so the whole trip, while memorable, was not very relaxing.
The last four months have also been a very difficult time for my family, with my grandma’s declining health, before she sadly passed away in August. Because of the circumstances, it would some weeks before we could hold the funeral. Which, happened to fall on the same week that we had booked our first real holiday in over two years. So it was a very difficult week full of varying emotions. But at the funeral, we actually spoke about the need to get away. To go and relax and recover. And that is what we did.
We spent the night over at my mother’s house, as it was their caravan that we were borrowing. Once it was hitched up to the car it was time to set off! As we base our Christmases on Harry Potter books/movies, we decided the three-hour journey was the perfect time to get ready for this year’s theme, The Prisoner Of Azkaban! Thanks to Audible and Stephen Fry, we had our car soundtrack sorted for the journey! After a quick service stop for a Gregg’s vegan assuage roll and a doggy toilet break, we approached Whitby a full twenty minutes earlier than we thought. Cashback!
Once we checked in at Whitby Holiday Park it was time to get the caravan sorted. What a plot we had! Right at the top of the cliff, overlooking the sea and beach. It was an incredible view! After we got the caravan sorted we decided to make use of the car and head into Whitby for a quick walk around and a bite to eat. We took the dogs and my mum to Humble Pie ‘n’ Mash, a WW2 themed eatery that serves, well, you guessed it, pie and mash! There were two vegetarian options available, with my mother having the stout and beef *gags*. The dogs were made very welcome, and the place itself was very charming. My mother left us at this point to travel back to Derbyshire, so we continued exploring. We took Remus on the beach for the first time. He charged at the sea and started to bark at it… he sure told the sea what for! We then made our way along the historic pier but didn’t go all the way to end as it suddenly turned to wooden planks with too big of a gap for our little dogs. And us to be honest! So, heading towards the way out of town we stopped off at Sprinkles ice cream parlour. Not only did they have an amazing vegan peanut butter crunch ice cream *drools*, but they also sold Frozzys, dog ice cream! So we treated the boys to a frozen delight.
Now it was time to hit the dreaded stairs! The 199 steps of Whitby is considered a landmark, I considered it hell on earth! It was a steep and tiring walk, even more so when you’re both carrying a dog each! We bought Frasier a papoose because he’s 9 and it would be unfair to make him walk such long distances every day (it was a 20+ minute walk from Whitby to the holiday park). He didn’t mind though, he just looked very smugly down at his brother. Remus is full of energy and never stops, so we used this as an opportunity to try and tire him out! The walk back across the clifftop coastal path was really relaxing. When we got back to the caravan the boys fell fast asleep and we cracked open some beers, sat down and looked out to sea. It was stunning. Just what we needed.
We decided, before turning in for the night, to check out the onsite facilities. We had a shower and toilet in the caravan, but being told we’d have to empty it on our return we opted to leave the bathroom as a storeroom. Public facilities give me the fear. But, they were very clean. Though I could have done without the naked man bursting out of a shower cubicle as I was heading for the door. He dropped his shower bottle into the next cubicle. I was in Whitby less than six hours and I had already come face to face with another man’s penis. What would the rest of the holiday have in store?
Saturday was always going to be the busiest day of the holiday. Given that it was once again glorious weather and now the weekend, Whitby was also about to get very busy indeed!
We made the stunning coastal walk into Whitby and then tackled the horrible 199 steps down into the main town. Frasier was once again carried in his papoose, alright for some! We headed for the docks as today we had wanted to take the boys on a boat trip! We had bought them special doggy life jackets, because A) we are responsible dog owners and B) they looked incredibly cute in them! We used Whitby Coastal Cruises, and for £3 for adults for a 25-minute trip it was well worth the money! The boys really enjoyed it! Their little ears flapping in the wind. The occasional spray of the sea. We were right at the front of the boat and I had to try very hard not to replicate a certain Titanic moment with Remus! Once we hit dry land it was time to grab some lunch!
We found a nice pub called The Pier, funnily enough, located on the pier! We fancied some hearty pub grub, so go two tasty veggie burgers to go with our drinks. The TV screens were showing The Witches, and just as we began to eat it was the scene where they all de-humanise and go full witch. That film still terrifies me! My football team, Derby County, were playing in the early kick-off against our historic rivals Leeds Utd. They took an early lead, so I took a few more sips of my pint. By the time I was reaching the bottom, Derby hit a 91st-minute equalizer! You beauty! This was made sweeter by the fact there were lots of Leeds fans in the pub, many of which now had their day ruined. I made an extra attempt to strut around showing off my Derby tattoo for the rest of the day!
We continued exploring the beautiful, tiny streets and stopped on the top of the hill to take a look down at the bay. It was a stunning view. We headed back down and by chance found a coffee shop I was desperate to visit, Sherlocks! As I’m sure you can work out, It was Sherlock Holmes themed and we treated ourselves to two Moriarty Smoothies and Sherlock Holmes Mess. It was delicious, though, like a few places in Whitby, it was cash only. Always have cash on you in Whitby just in case. Moving on from there we continued on to the waterfront and the arcades. We played on the penny falls machines and Zoe was trying her hardest to win me a Harley Quinn plush on the grabber machine. For the money, we spent we probably would have been better off just asking to buy it! We may have not won Quinn, but we did get Remus a monkey teddy. He loves monkeys.
Before we headed back, we nipped to the Co-Op to get some food for the beach day on Sunday. I begged Zoe to go in because “I’ll mess it up”, she trusted me, oh boy did she regret that on Sunday! (More on that later).
After a full day walking, it was time to make our way back to the caravan. Despite the amount of food we ate on this holiday, we easily walked it all off. Back up the dreaded 199 steps up to the cliffside and back to the coastal path. It’s safe to say the dogs crashed as soon as we got back to the caravan. So we decided to open some more beers, make a nice veggie stir fry and play some Ludo, all to the soundtrack of Stephen Fry and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. We later moved on to Netflix and Jack Whitehall: Travels with My Father. I had recently watched the first two series, despite historically not being a fan of Whitehall. But this series was really good, but then again I love An Idiot Abroad and Travel Man so that helped! After a few laughs and a few more beers, it was time to put an end on a very long day in Whitby.
The day of rest! Well, sort of!
We had planned to use Sunday as a day to chill and not head into the bay until night time. We would go for a meal later. But when we looked at places closing early, it didn’t feel worth it. So instead we decided to spend the day within the holiday park.
To give the dogs, and Zoe, some time to recover from Saturday’s hectic day, the three of them got a lie-in. Alas, my body does not allow me to do lie-ins, so I was up around 7am as per usual. It would be around 11am before there were signs of life coming from the bedroom. So it was time to stick the kettle on and start making the packed lunch for the beach later in the afternoon. As I have already mentioned, I did say to Zoe to go into the Co-Op to get the stuff we’d need, because I ended up only being able to make Quorn ham cobs with vegan mayo and pepper. Of course, I am an adult and could have easily thought to pick up a bag of salad to go on the cobs, but I get easily distracted in new places! We packed some ham slices and Quorn mini sausages for the boys. It was their holiday too!
We got the dogs down the exhausting path to the beach. This would be the third time Remus had set foot on a beach and his improved confidence was noticeable. Zoe headed off to the rocks to do her geology thing while I stayed with Fraiser who, like me, preferred to be sitting down on the beach rather than clambering over wet rocks. We had a nice time on the beach, the sun was out, although it was a lot cooler than the previous two days, which was good for the dogs!
After heading back and having showers, we donned some jumpers, as the temperature had dropped, and headed to the holiday park bar. We sank some refreshing beers and put the world to right, all to the soundtrack of Bohemian Rhapsody, which was playing in the cinema next door. We found a pizza takeaway that would deliver to the holiday park so placed our order. The benefit of being in this part of the world is the fact they do chip spice! If you don’t know what chip spice is, you are missing out! An hour later I walked out the bar to meet the delivery driver, Thor had unleashed a torrent of rain, and the poor man was soaked through! By the time we had left bar only a few minutes later, the rain had stopped. So it was back to the caravan for pizza and more Netflix.
All in all, a very chilled Sunday!
Our last full day in Whitby and there wasn’t much of a plan. We just knew we wanted to go into town for the final time and pick up any last-minute gifts for people. But first of all, we wanted to pack as much as possible, so that come Tuesday morning, getting up to leave was much more straight forward. Once this was done, it was time to leave.
Frasier was plonked into his carrier and with Remus leading the way we were off! Despite walking past Whitby Abbey nearly every day, it never occurred to us to see if we could go in with the dogs. We saw that there were dogs walking the grounds near the gift shop so decided to explore. Turns out you can take dogs into all parts of the grounds, so after buying some vampire-themed gifts, for our respective parents, we headed into the museum. It was fascinating learning out the history of the local area, the Viking raids, the witches, though the dogs found the wooden slippery floor more interesting. Once onto the Abbey grounds you cannot help but be impressed with the abbey ruins. You can totally see how Bram Stoker took inspiration from this stunning, albeit ominous, building.
After the abbey visit, it was time to tackle those 199 steps one final time! Once into town, we stopped off at the Black Horse Vaults for a much-needed ale! The pub was extremely inviting, and they even sold dog bandanas, with all proceeds going to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. So a win-win! We get a gift for Tilly the basset back home and the RNLI get some funds too! We then decided to take on the important task of stocking up on as much Peanut Brittle as possible. We had to go to multiple sweet shops, as they only had a few left in each! I even managed to bag a full baking tray of the stuff! After wiping out the entirety of Whitby of its Peanut Brittle and buying the last batch of gifts, it was time for lunch!
We spotted The Endevour pub, another of our list, which had the glorious sign outside telling customers to bring their dogs and own fish and chips in. PERFECT! We located the nearest fish and chip shop, Mister Chips, and headed into the pub. We bumped into another pug owner and had a good chat about the dogs and their quirks. As we had packed most of the stuff away and didn’t fancy cooking, we grabbed a Subway to take back to the caravan. We got one of the dog-friendly taxi’s back to the campsite and prepared for another chilled night. We had downloaded some movies to watch and chose Sherlock Holmes, the Robery Downey Jr/Jude Law version. I hadn’t seen this movie in years and I forgot how much I enjoyed it! As the credits rolled, and with two very heavily snoring dogs, it was time for bed! A fantastic last day in Whitby.
When you’re on holiday, the one day we all dread is the ‘going home day’. We got up early to sort out any last-minute packing before our lift arrived to take the caravan back home. We managed to get it hooked up without a problem, and while it was cold and cloudy, we still took in that stunning view one last time.
As we hit the motorway the heavens opened! Funnily enough, this coincided with the stormy Hufflepuff versus Gryffindor quidditch match chapter in The Prisoner of Azkaban, the audiobook that we were listening to at the time! Visibility on the road reached dangerous levels, but we managed to make it halfway back and pull into the services for breakfast and to allow the rain to ease up. A McDonald’s veggie wrap hit the spot perfectly! We let the dogs out to stretch their legs and then it was time to hit the road again. Thankfully the level of rain had reduced so the remainder of the journey was a lot easier. We made it back home safely and began the process of getting the holiday washing sorted. It was then time for a filling tea and an early night!
The holiday has done its job! It was the relaxing rest-bite that we both needed.
It’s safe to say Whitby has stolen a bit of our hearts. Something I didn’t expect to happen in all honesty. But with such a dog-friendly place, it was perfectly suited to our lifestyle. We are already planning our next visit in 2020!
If you’ve never been to Whitby, I highly recommend you give this little gem a go!