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North York Moors, Whitby, Durham, & Harrogate

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Mar 29th, 2013, 07:27 PM
  #1
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North York Moors, Whitby, Durham, & Harrogate

My wife and I will be flying into Manchester on 15 May. We will pick up a rental car and will have the next 6 days open. We need to be in the vicinity of Leeds, Bradford, and Brighouse by the following Wednesday, 22 May.

A friend suggested driving from Manchester to the Whitby area and the North York Moors National Park. He said Whitby was a whaling village on the east coast. If we stop there for a few nights, I think we would like to take a ride on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway that runs from Whitby to Pickering and back. From there during the rest of the week, I would like to see Durham and Harrogate before returning to the Brighouse area.

I would appreciate comments from folks who have visited these places, know something of the drive times, etc. I also would like to try to avoid changing our sleep stops every night. Being in Durham on Sunday, 19 May would be great so we can attend services at Durham Cathedral.

We are both 68, love history and music, and enjoy photography. Thanks in advance for help in planning this part of our UK visit.
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Mar 29th, 2013, 07:39 PM
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Are you flying in long haul? If so,it is a VERY bad idea to get off the plane and drive to Whitby (or anywhere else)

MAN to Whitby is nearly 150 miles and at least a 3.5 hour drive. A much better idea is to take the train to York and stay that night car-less, see the city, get over the jet lag, and pick up you car then next day. Or even stay two nights in York and get the car the 3rd morning.

Then Pickering/N.Yorks Moors railway/Whitby the next day. Then on to Durham - I'd also plan on exploring Hadrain's Wall. Then back down to Harrogate before going to Brighouse. Durham > Harrogate > Brighouse is only about 90 miles.
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Mar 29th, 2013, 08:11 PM
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From your other thread . . . you say you've been to York before so no need to stay two nights. But the first night would still be a good idea.
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Mar 30th, 2013, 12:34 AM
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Between Whitby, Durham, Harrogate and Pickering the driving distances are short and a lot of the road system very fast (the result of a quite unBritish period of pork-barrelling in the 1960s and 1970s, creating lavish expenditure on new roads in the area at the request of a crooked group, lobbying partly for economic stimulus and partly for bribe-fodder. Google T Dan Smith).

Inside the area they bound, Thirsk and Northallerton are pleasant market towns with frequent direct train services from Manchester airport (as is Pickering, except that you have to change to a bus at York).

Personally, I'd get a train to, say, Thirsk and stay there the whole time, getting a train on day 2 to Durham (or possibly York) to collect a hire car.

A lot of small towns in the area that sound like English rural market towns are actually postindustrial hellholes (Newton Aycliffe for example), or formerly nice rural market towns with quite a bit still worth seeing but possibly more bits of postindustrial purgatoryhole (Bishop Auckland) than most people would like in a town they were staying in. Nothing really worth avoiding altogether, but just do a bit of due diligence before committing to what sounds a nice B&B but turns out to be opposite a slag heap.

The area's got a huge amount of the history of the West (from Roman occupation, through guardianship of Christian monasticism during the Dark Ages, to the invention of industrialisation to its mass offshoring) compressed into a tiny amount of space. Not all of that history makes a comfortable neighbour for a visitor.
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Mar 30th, 2013, 02:55 AM
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We've had two wonderful one-week holidays in North Yorkshire, one in a cottage in Wombleton, outside Helmsley and another in a National Trust property on a working sheep farm above Kirbymoorside.

Both were great locations to explore the area, very close to Pickering for the steam rail.

We took day trips to Whitby, Scarborough, York, Castle Howard, Rievaulx Abbey, etc. I liked Whitby but preferred the area around Helmsley.

www.holidayhomerental.co.uk (Rosebud Cottage, Wombleton) Immaculate, very attractive

www.nationaltrustcottages.co.uk High Lidmoor Farmhouse, amazing
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Mar 30th, 2013, 08:01 AM
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Thank you for the replies. For janisj: You have been extremely helpful on previous trips to the UK, particularly Scotland in 2010.

I wish our schedule was a little more flexible but I have some fixed activities. I need to be back in the Brighouse vicinity, probably by Tuesday night (21st). I am participating with a British brass band in their Whit Friday Marches (24th) and have a scheduled rehearsal on Wednesday night. The North Yorkshire Moors Railway trip is not an absolute must. It would be interesting and fun and would probably require us to spend 2 nights near the railroad (Whitby to Pickering). We've wanted to visit Durham Cathedral and would like to be there on Sunday, the 19th.
I have not had any difficulty driving in the UK on 3 previous trips but I certainly understand the warning about driving after a long flight from the US. Last year, we spent 4 nights in Rishworth, a small village SW of Halifax. I could drive from the airport and stay at the same place as in 2012. Then we would be more rested on Thursday, the 16th.
Maybe I should think about reversing the order and heading to Harrogate and then Durham on the nights of the 18th & 19th. On Monday morning, we could then head over and down to Whitby.
I'll have to spend some time with Google Earth and my maps and give that some thought.
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Mar 30th, 2013, 09:38 AM
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>>The North Yorkshire Moors Railway trip . . . would probably require us to spend 2 nights near the railroad<<

I really don't understand that. I once stayed a week just outside Thirsk (Sutton-under-Whitestonecliffe) and easily did the Moors rail excursion as a day trip from the cottage. It wasn't even a full day since if I remember correctly we also visited Whitby Abbey and Rievaulx Abbey that day. Also did York by train, Durham, Fountains Abbey, and a ton of other things in the area as day trips by car from that single base.

Just saying - you don't have to stay in Pickering or Whitby overnight to take the train.
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Mar 30th, 2013, 02:04 PM
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I lived in Harrogate for 20 years and it's very nice but I'm not sure where it fits in with your trip. Do you have a particular reason for wanting to visit? The famous Turkish Baths?
There's so much to see and do up here so I think you'll have to make some decisions. The north yorks railway is great - in fact I saw it today as we drove across the Moors.
Janis's advice is as always spot on.
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Mar 30th, 2013, 06:40 PM
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Only because two UK friends here in the states suggested we visit Harrogate. That is the only reason I mentioned going there.
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Mar 31st, 2013, 01:04 AM
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Well this is YOUR trip not you friends so you need your own reasons for going to Harrogate. I think you need to do some more research about what you want to see and do based on your own interests. Harrogate is a famous spa town with good shopping, gardens, Pump room museum etc. But it's not in the Dales or Moors.
Janus suggests Thirsk as a base and I would second it. It's situated in the Vale of Mowbray near to the Moors and is a bustling little market town with good road and rail links.
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Mar 31st, 2013, 12:53 PM
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Thank you for all of the great advice and suggestions. We will be working on this for the next few weeks.

This is for flanneruk: I appreciate your kind advice. I have made reservations at the Premier Inn at Manchester Airport for the first night in the UK.
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Mar 31st, 2013, 03:49 PM
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Im not the biggest fan of Harrogate and you would benefit from extra time around Whitby - Robin Hoods Bay near Whitby is overlooked here and yet is as atmospheric (probably more so) than Whitby. Or swap for more time near Rievaulx Abbey - nearby Masham voted as one of the best places to live in the UK (Times survey) and is a nice place to visit (if you like beer).
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Apr 6th, 2013, 08:57 PM
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bu67

For what it's worth, I would also give Harrogate a miss, traffic terrible coming in, although we spent a lovely time at Betty's.

We spent a wonderful six days outside of Thirsk a few years ago and would go back to the area in a heartbeat. I was going to bookmark the cottage at Wombleton, Cathinjoetown, but it has a bathtub with a hand shower attachment. We rented a cottage like this in Scotland last summer, and had a terrible time controlling the water without a shower curtain. The rest of the cottage at Brodie Castle was heaven!

Loved Whitby, had a hard time walking the steep path in Robin Hood's Bay, and adored Helmsley. We visited the Brewery shop in Masham, and will look for cottages near those two areas when we return someday.

One of my biggest regrets was not taking the train. We just ran out of time. I loved Yorkshire very much and one of my dreams is to spend an entire month in that area someday very soon.

May you have a great time whatever you decide and you can't go wrong with Morgana and janisj's advice!
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