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In North Yorkshire the seaside town of Whitby may be small but it has a lot to offer. Sea air, a beautiful setting, a ruined abbey, excellent fish and chips, and it was here that Captain Cook served his apprenticeship, his vessel HMS Endeavour was built and from whence he set sail to discover Alaska and Hawaii. The town was also one of the settings for Bram Stoker's Dracula, and it still maintains an association, albeit largely commercial, with the cloaked bloodsucking villain.

We went up to Whitby for a day trip from York, renting a car and driving through the North Yorkshire Moors. On the way back we stopped off at the Aidensfield Arms of "Heartbeat" fame, and watched the steam trains coming through Goathland Station. Almost like going back to the 1960s.

Fiddler by the lobster pots

When we arrived in Whitby and had finally found somewhere to park, we were greeted by this shanty-playing salty sea dog by the lobster pots.

St Mary's Church sits on the hillside above the valley of the River Esk. The town has good higgledy-piggledy appeal.

St Mary's Church above east Whitby

Magpie Café fish and chips

The world famous Magpie Café, which was queued out the door as usual for their tasty fish and chips. As hungry as we were, we waited in the takeaway queue which was almost as long, then walked out along the pier fending off seagulls.

Whitby beach and the North Yorkshire cliffs in the distance.

Whitby beach

One of Whitby's twin piers

We walked right out along one of Whitby's twin piers, enjoying our fish and chips.

Whitby maintains its association with Count Dracula, being the setting for parts of Bram Stoker's novel as it is.


Local Whitby characters

We met some colourful local Whitby characters during our wanderings, including these folks who appear to have been wandering the pier for at least a hundred years. It helped that it was "goths and freaks weekend".

This poor chap looked to be in a particularly malnourished state, but it was the wares he was pedalling which were all the more disturbing. Latex human babies, designed to be as lifelike as possible, you can just see one asleep in the background.

Not in the best of health

Whitby harbour

Whitby harbour with its cacophony of boats and buildings makes for a pretty scene.

It wasn't half busy that weekend in Whitby, particularly on Church Street as we walked up to the abbey.

Church Street, Whitby

Whitby Abbey gravestones

Eerily stained gravestones in the grounds of the ruined Whitby Abbey gave the place a particularly atmospheric touch.

Whitby Abbey itself was founded in the mid 7th century and operated for the best part of nine hundred years until being disestablished by Henry VIII in the 16th century. The ruins still stand imposing on the cliff top, but as for the statue of the naked bloke in the foreground, I have no idea who he is.

Whitby Abbey statue

Whitby town density

The density of east Whitby as seen from the path back down to the River Esk.

On our way back to York we stopped off at at the village of Goathland, one of the stops on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway and the filming location for the 1960s-set TV series "Heartbeat".

Goathland Station

All tickets to be shewn

Goathland Railway Station has remained largely preserved as it was many decades ago, complete with old-school signage.

Even the advertising posters are from a bygone era - in reality advertising of cigarettes and tobacco was outlawed in the UK in the early 21st century.

Woodbine advert poster

Steam train on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway

As well as in Heartbeat, Goathland Station is also used as the station for Hogsmeade in the Harry Potter films, where the Hogwarts Express stops off. Here one of the old steam engines that still ply the lines prepares to head off.

The village of Goathland itself, recognisable to any avid Heartbeat fan, hopefully. It's a pleasant place but unfortunately as I hadn't watched the TV programme since the mid 90s I couldn't claim to recognise any of it.

The Aidensfield Arms, Goathland

The Aidensfield Arms is the pub setting of Heartbeat, its real name is the Goathland Hotel yet it does bear its fictional name on the side. We stopped in for a pint of Black Sheep ale, lovely.

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