If proof were needed that seaside towns aren’t just for summer, Whitby is it. Going strong since Viking times, it looks like something out of a Hovisad, with narrow lanes, fishing boats bobbing in the harbour, and tiers of pastel-hued houses arranged around the River Esk in a cheery last hurrah as it meets the North Sea. When you’ve finished ambling about town, be sure to strike out on a bracing walk along Whitby’s fossil-studded sands or along the clifftop via its abbey ruins to Ravenscar, where colonies of grey seals winter with their newborn pups. There are plenty of ricketty inns to settle in to when you’re done roaming, including Dickens’ favourite, the White Horse and Griffin.
MAKE IT HAPPEN
Set in a clifftop Georgian townhouse with postcard-worthy views, Hotel La Rosa has eight themed suites stuffed with antiques and curios. There’s also a cafe serving homemade cake, and a cocktail bar open at weekends.
Elsewhere in town, the White Horse and Griffin is a good place for a fireside pint.
The Magpie Cafe, a local institution, serves award-winning fish and chips.
Visits are easiest via Darlington, an hour by train from Leeds, two from Manchester and 2 1/2 from London. It’s 20 minutes on to Middlesbrough and a scenic railway trip over the North York Moors to Whitby.