Tucked away down a secluded driveway off the coastal road from Whitby to the pretty neighbouring village of Sandsend lies Raithwaite Hall, where we recently enjoyed a two-night stay, cramming in so many fun activities that we felt as refreshed and invigorated as if we’d had a week away.
We arrived at Sandsend a few hours before our check-in time and headed straight for the dog-friendly section of the beach to let Tilly, our Westie, have a run with the other dogs and stretch her legs after the long car journey.
We had lunch at a café that was so-so, (but not worth a recommendation) and then we were off to the opulent surroundings of Raithwaite Hall where we were greeted by Peter the Porter who helped us with our check in and our luggage – and he gave us a recommendation for dinner. “Try the ox-cheek; it’s delicious.”
Our accommodation was a two-storey apartment across from the entrance to the Hall, overlooking the stream. The apartment has an outdoor seating area which is accessed via patio doors from the lounge, a luxurious ground floor shower room, and a spacious bedroom on the first floor.
After quickly unpacking and enjoying the hand-delivered welcome treats, we went to explore the estate. We’d been given a map of the estate and we followed the path from the main car park, up and round, giving us an almost bird’s eye view of the manicured gardens and the terrace as we descended the valley.
We crossed the bridge at the far end of the garden and headed towards the lake. We passed the Lake House and meandered along the shady path until we reached the bright sunshine again. After a while, we retraced our steps back to the bridge, turning left this time into the garden.
The garden is a pleasure garden in the Romantic style; ideal for afternoon promenades up and around the winding pathways but also full of modern twists, like the Egg Chair and the wrought iron gazebo – a perfect setting for photos of bride and groom. The aptly named ‘Bridal steps’ lend yet another stunning backdrop for photographs for those fortunate enough to be wed here.
As we reached the terrace, we realised it was a bit too windy to sit out and enjoy a drink so, we headed back to the apartment for tea instead of having an afternoon cocktail.
After changing for dinner, we dined in the elegant Brace Restaurant and we found the food to be exceptionally good. For starters, I had Whitby hand-picked Crab with Verjus Muscat grapes, Granny Smith, celery and walnuts. The presentation was flawless and as pretty as a picture and the taste was sensational. My husband had the in-season Yorkshire asparagus with panna cotta, poached egg and truffle. He gave it a thumbs up and was ready for his Braised Ox Cheek with Wild Garlic mash. I had a taste of it too and we and agreed that Peter had given a great recommendation: the meat was so tender it almost melted in the mouth but, I was still happy with my own choice because my wild Sea Bass and squid with orange & fennel cous cous was so delicately flavoured and perfectly cooked that I couldn’t have wished for better.
There will be no more so-so lunches in Sandsend for us any longer: we’ll be heading straight to Raithwaite Hall next time!
The next day was bright and breezy and, after a delicious breakfast in the Brace Restaurant, (where there’s a hot buffet and a Continental breakfast on offer as well as menu options), we headed to nearby Ravenscar for a walk along the headland towards Robin Hood’s Bay. This is one of my favourite views in the whole of Yorkshire: I recently voted for it in the Dalesman’s poll for the ‘Best view in Yorkshire’.
We then drove to the Falling Foss Café for lunch where we enjoyed tasty freshly prepared food in the verdant woodland setting where birds were aplenty – including a cheeky Nuthatch who was bold enough to seek out crumbs amongst the tables. I can imaging this spot getting very busy at weekends, especially with the excellent child-friendly set-up and creatively designed play area but, on a Monday lunchtime, we enjoyed the tranquillity, and chatted with a few other people who were out for the day with their dogs.
Rather than returning directly to the car park, we took the board-walk off to the right along a new stretch of the coast to coast path, which offers a slight deviation from the original in order to preserve the environment (and also to save walkers from having to paddle if the water level is high).
How nice it was to have swapped our weekend to a Monday: we could enjoy the serenity of our time in the woodland in a way in which one can’t at a weekend and it felt like an extra special treat to have the woods pretty much to ourselves. We enjoyed a spot of bird-watching and the general feeling of relaxation.
Late afternoon and into early evening was spent wandering around the old town in Whitby, before ordering fresh locally caught fish (with chips) and driving to Sandsend to sit on a seat over-looking the sea to eat our take-out dinner. From Fine Dining at Raithwaite Hall, to pretty tasty fish and chips from Whitby – the Yorkshire Coast has got it all!
After all that walking it was nice to curl up on the sofa in our apartment and watch a bit of telly on the flat-screen television before bed (although, there was another television up in the bedroom so, if you prefer to stretch out and watch TV, you could do that too). The sea air meant we slept like those proverbial logs and woke up feeling refreshed the next morning.
I opted for the fruit salad followed by poached eggs for breakfast and then it was time to pack up and head home. Because the weather was so good and we were having such a great time, we didn’t head straight home: instead, we decided to make a day of it in Scarborough first. We parked near Peasholm Park and enjoyed exploring the island, which was full of beautiful native wild flowers, and the rest of the park, which was bursting with life and colour.
We then headed for the dog-friendly part of the beach ,watching the dogs and clouds whiz by in equal measure. It was the end to a perfect mini-break and we hope to return again very soon. Perhaps next time, we’ll try out one of the cottages on the Raithwaite Estate and stay for even longer.