Last Updated on December 1, 2021
Stay at Raithwaite Sandsend for countryside, clifftop walks, curiosities and culinary delights.
Film and TV programme-makers rejoice at the stunning vistas and historic villages of the Yorkshire Coast and the North York Moors which offer atmospheric backdrops for their stories of dramas and romance. People write books about them, but this is a region that can speak for itself. Spend time here and you’ll be constantly surprised by the beauty of the landscape, the power of the sea and the breadth and depth of experiences offered.
Set back from the sea and nestling between the sea and the moors, Raithwaite Sandsend provides a perfect base for exploring the north-eastern section of this huge region. At its heart, a 19th-century country estate, this relaxing coastal retreat and spa, three miles north of Whitby, offers a contemporary, tranquil environment for unwinding with all the attractions of the area within easy reach.
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From Sandsend to Whitby
The nearby village of Sandsend is a short stroll from the hotel. With picture-perfect cottages, a babbling brook and a stunning seascape, it is a lovely spot. The handful of independent cafes can be counted on to deliver the perfect crab sandwich, fresh seafood platter or a fruity slice of Yorkshire brack.
The ruin of Whitby Abbey, perched high above the bustling port of Whitby, is the iconic image of this northern stretch of the Yorkshire Coast and it acts as a beacon guiding the Yorkshire explorer on the easy three-mile walk from Sandsend along a yellow, sandy beach into Whitby harbour.
In Whitby, history, heritage and holidays come together in a frenzy of food, fun and fantasy. Visiting Goths in search of Bram Stoker’s Dracula amble through the streets, cheek by jowl with three-generation family groups, all happily sampling the excellent fish, seafood, chips and the obligatory seaside ice-cream.
Orderly queues form outside long-standing institutions: the Magpie Café endorsed for its fish dishes by Rick Stein and James Martin; Botham’s of Whitby whose local specialities of parkin and brack, ginger and plum breads have been baked here since 1865 and Fortune’s Kippers, established in 1872 are now sending their traditionally smoked fish around the world.
Climb the famed 199 steps up to the Abbey ruins and you can reward yourself with a drop of real ale from the Whitby Brewery sited just outside its walls. And on your way back down you may decide to treat yourself to something special from one of the jewellers selling original pieces crafted from the town’s famous jet stone.
Attractions in Whitby
There’s something for everyone in Whitby. Boards along the harbourside advertise jolly jaunts, fishing trips and whale, dolphin and seal watching. The marine life here is rich, particularly in summer and early autumn and, in recent years, wildlife cruises have reported sightings of minke and humpback whales.
Indoor attractions include the Dracula experience; the Captain Cook Memorial Museum, recreating the life and work of one of Britain’s greatest explorers, and the delightful Whitby Museum located in the town’s pretty Pannett Park.
Founded back in 1823 by the Whitby Lit & Phil Society, who still run it today, this independent museum is a real treasure chest. It reminds us that our museums were originally displays of collectors’ collections, created from gifts and bequests from people with curiosity and passion. Here a fabulous display of antique jet jewellery, here a collection of stuffed sea-birds and local animals and here, get up close to a fine display of fossils from this northern Jurassic coast: a 25 feet long ichthyosaur next to a rare teleosaur!
Through its exhibits, the museum offers some insights into people in past times. Artefacts from the pacific islands illustrate the lives and voyages of Whitby’s explorers and adventurers. Objects created by local scientists and craftsmen are sited next to curiosities such as “The Hand of Glory”, reputed to be the hand of a hanged man which, legend has it, were placed in houses to induce sleep, thus offering easier pickings for burglars!
Another reason to climb the hilly street up to Pannett Park is to visit the adjoining Art Gallery and spend time in The Staithes Group Room which displays a permanent exhibition of work by those early 20th century “northern impressionists”.
Staithes was once an important port on this coast and is now better known as a very pretty fishing village. It lies eight miles north of Sandsend at the end of a relatively comfortable stretch of the Cleveland Way national trail. The route will take you past award-winning beach, Runswick Bay, and the abandoned Port Mulgrave Harbour, a reminder of an industrial past. Walking down from the cliffs into Staithes brings you conveniently to the cosy Cod & Lobster pub, where the signature dish of pan-fried cod fillet with lobster bisque, potato rosti, spinach, topped with lobster tail or claw is worth making some time for.
Suitably recharged (although you might like to try “a brew”, a coffee, cake or ice-cream, all available on the tiny High Street), an amble back up the hill (with a cultural pitstop at the Captain Cook & Staithes Heritage Centre) will bring you to the main coast road where the wonderfully reliable X4 bus arrives at sensible intervals and will transport you swiftly back to relax at Raithwaite Sandsend.
Raithwaite is an estate, and from your window, you may look out onto an orchard, winding stream, woods or hills. Rooms are comfortable and furnished with a warm, contemporary palette. Room types range from “Cosy”, “Roomy” and “Fancy” through to three types of suites (full room details and descriptions are given on the website).
Many rooms in the main building have balconies with lovely views over the terrace and manicured garden. The spa facilities are free to all residents and include a sauna, steam room and an 11-metre indoor pool which is bathed in light from large windows facing onto the terrace and formal gardens outside. A full range of Temple Spa treatments are offered and overnight spa packages, including afternoon tea on arrival, are available.
Meals are served in The Brasserie, the light and airy Bar 1822, and out on the Terrace. As well as the excellent local produce on offer, and ingredients grown and foraged in the grounds, the use of seasonal fruit and vegetables leads to some top-notch dishes and some delicious surprises. Take the starter of crisp-based goats cheese tart paired with perfectly roasted cauliflower, a garlic sauce and sweet sultanas. Or seabream with a squash linguini, a creamy, dream of a dish, and the fish pie was the best my companion had ever eaten. Word of its deliciousness spread fast around the restaurant and it was sold out during the first hour of service.
An upside-down apple and fig cheesecake offered a fun and refreshing take on a menu staple and caused lots of envious looks from diners who perhaps had stuck with an old favourite.
The wine list majors on organic wines, and the spirit and cocktail menu offers locally produced Whitby Gin and Filey Bay Whisky. The bar staff are friendly and knowledgeable and will happily talk you through what’s on offer and suggest local tastes to try.
Breakfast is definitely worth leaving your room for. You can go for the Full Yorkshire; load your plate with local cheese and charcuterie; a Fortune Kipper, direct from the smokehouse in Whitby, should not be ignored; and don’t miss out on the local yoghurt, and the chef’s home-made compotes which are outstanding. A revelation to me was the use of smashed, sweet green peas instead of avocado which made for a lighter, refreshing accompaniment to my poached eggs.
After such a satisfying breakfast the temptation is to retire to a comfortable chair on the Terrace, but with the wonderful Yorkshire coast outside the front door, relaxation sometimes just has to be put on hold.
You’ll find the Raithwaite Sandsend at Sandsend Road, Whitby, North Yorkshire, YO21 3ST. www.raithwaitesandsend.co.uk
You can contact the hotel on 01947 661661 or email email@example.com.
For further information and advice when planning your trip to the Yorkshire Coast, talk to the friendly and dedicated team at the Tourism Bureau on 01723 383636.
Alternatively, you can find everything you might need to plan your trip at:
You’ll find some delightful circular walks on the national trails’ website:
And for more great ideas for things to see: www.top10trails.com
Jenny was a guest of Discover Yorkshire Coast and the Raithwaite Sandsend.
Looking to visit a different part of Coastal England? We love the South West – check out our guide to where to stay and what to do in Cornwall