Is it just me looking for north east days out for adults?
My fiance’s family are based in Teesside, so we’re up north a fair bit, and I always want to make the most of it while we’re there. I usually have a Google for ideas for things to do, but always find lots of suggestions for farm parks, soft play centres and other attractions designed for those with kids to amuse. Eventually, I found myself stroppily typing ‘North East days out for adults’ and finally found some ideas to keep me and Dave amused, without having to borrow a toddler.
north east days out for adults: saltburn-by-the-sea
Saltburn-By-The-Sea is a Victorian seaside town in North Yorkshire. Google informed me it had a long pier, some old fashioned seaside attractions and lots of pretty streets to look at.
We managed to park for free right by the train station, which was a surprise considering it’s Summer Holidays season. We fuelled up for a good walk with a visit to The Sitting Room (read my review here). From the town centre, it’s a short walk to the sea front, with plenty of beautiful Victorian buildings to admire on the way.
When you reach the sea, you can either take a gentle stroll down to the pier, or you can hop aboard the Saltburn Cliff Tramway. I recommend you do the latter, just for novelty value. The tramway is Britain’s oldest remaining water balanced funicular. This year, it’s had a massive refurbishment, costing a whopping £500,000, to return it to former glories. And it’s lovely. Quaint little carriages, with stained glass windows, carry you gently down towards the promenade, all for the princely sum of £1 per adult. A bargain for a very sweet way to travel.
On the promenade, you’ll find you’ll the usual parade of seaside tack we all secretly love, surf shops, fish and chips and a couple of nice pubs. You’ll also find Saltburn Pier, which is the last pier remaining in Yorkshire. The pier is home to the expected arcade, but currently, also to a more unusual attraction. Saltburn is the home of the original Yarnbombers (yarnbombing is a type of street art that makes colourful displays of knitted or crocheted yarn), and the pier is currently lined with a display of works inspired by books. You’ll find scenes from everything from The Very Hungry Caterpillar to Dracula.
Further along the prom is the Saltburn Miniature Railway. This 15inch gauge railway is cute as all heck, and is staffed entirely by volunteers. The mini train was first established in 1947, and has been a popular Saltburn attraction ever since. We didn’t take a ride, but thoroughly enjoyed the friendly chuffing of the steam engine as we walked alongside it.
From here, you can head into Saltburn Valley Gardens where you’ll find a maze of paths, woodland, an Italian garden, a tea room and approximately 6000,000 dogs. Bliss. We took a steep path through the woods up the cliff, arriving back in the town centre.
The town centre has a handful of pretty gift shops and some lovely small art galleries, but after a brief mooch, we’d pretty much exhausted the sites of Saltburn and were ready to head further up the coast.
north east days out for adults: redcar
Redcar is another seaside town, but think less quaint sea-front and think more beach-front tat. I like a bit of classic tacky seaside though, and was actually pleasantly surprised by Redcar. There’s the usual fairground type games and stalls selling candy floss, but there are a couple of things to do that are bit different.
We started with a visit to the Zetland Lifeboat. The Zetland Lifeboat is the oldest surviving lifeboat in the world, and is part of the National Historic Fleet, alongside famous ships like the Cutty Sark and HMS Victory. The Zetland was originally in service in 1802, and in her amazing 78 years of service, she saved a documented 500 lives (likely more, as these rescues were not always documented in the old days) and lost only one crewman. My Granddad was a lifelong supporter of the RNLI, and a family holiday in the UK is still never complete without a trip to the local lifeboat station. It was lovely to see such an important part of RNLI history. Upstairs, there’s a small museum, filled with model boats, curios from around Redcar and little bit about Redcar’s heritage.
Next stop, Dave insisted I had to try a Redcar classic; a Lemon Top. A Lemon Top (£1.90) is basically a 99′ style ice cream, topped with a swirl of lemon sorbet, and you may only buy it from Pacitto’s on the front. I would share a picture, but it melted so immediately, I couldn’t take one. Hit the vlog instead to laugh at my attempt to consume the thing. The melting was a real issue actually; why mine was so liquid, I don’t know, but it ran everywhere. It stained my hands yellow, it stained my jeans, and the cone collapsed. Tasty, but do not order the cone. Get it in a tub; tradition be damned.
Finally, we battled the traditional British seaside gale-force winds to investigate the Beacon. It might look like a weird Helter-Skelter, but is in fact a ‘vertical pier’. The cafe is currently shut, and there’s nothing much on the way up, apart from gawping in at the local radio station DJ trying to do his job from inside a fish tank. The view from the top is lovely though. There is a lift, but Trip Advisor would suggest this is often out of order, so be aware before going if you can’t do stairs.
All in all, we had a pretty pleasant day of wandering, eating and drinking. Turns out there North East days out for adults after all. Who knew.
Disclosure: We paid for everything we did in full and nobody knew I was a blogger. All words, images and opinions are my own. Prices correct at time of writing. Read my full disclosure policy here.