Whitby, Goathland and Robin Hood’s Bay star in the best road trip route in the North of England

Whitby, Goathland and Robin Hood’s Bay take centre stage as part of one of the best road trip routes in the North of England according to a new guide book.

Travel aficionados Lonely Planet have revealed their top six recommended road trips for exploring Great Britain, in its new guidebook - Great Britain’s Best Trips. Out of the five road trip routes recommended for exploring the north of England, the North York Moors and Coast route has been ranked as number one for the region.​ Reporter Louise Perrin drove the route so see if it lived up to the hype.

I started in the ancient walled city of York where high street stores merge with an eclectic mix of historic buildings, wide open spaces, the tightly woven Shambles and of course the river.

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In truth, you could spend a week in York alone, river trips, museum visits and of course, a tour of the impressive Minster, certain to captivate anyone who visits.

The approach to Castle Howard
The approach to Castle Howard

For the purpose of the trip though, I contented myself with capturing a few images of the city before heading towards Castle Howard.A mix of wide open spaces, a fragrant rose garden and luxuriously decorated rooms makes Castle Howard a great place to explore and with a farm shop and restaurant on site it’s easy to lose yourself for half a day or more.

Leaving Castle Howard a short drive takes you to Malton, Yorkshire’s self-styled food capital, with a fantastic range of delis, cafes and fresh produce stores.

Food is certainly a theme with this trip, because from Malton you travel along the B1257 to Helmsley, arguably the most scenic part of the trip.

If you’re looking for an unusual gift, Helmsley is certainly a great place to start.

A drive through the picturesque village of Hutton-le-Hole continues past the remote Lion Inn at Blakey Ridge, offering the visitor dramatic views across remote moorland and lush green

dales, before finally delivering the explorer to the Moors Centre at Danby.

Leaving the Moors Centre, make sure you take the time to drive up to Danby Beacon, where it feels as though you can see all that North Yorkshire has to offer from that single vantage point.

The road to Goathland passes through the pretty villages of Lealholm and Glaisdale, before you encounter the inevitable sheep that wander around the Heartbeat village.

With a Harry Potter connection (Hogsmeade Station is at the bottom of the village) and the famous Goathland Hotel (better known as the Aidensfield Arms), a wander around the village can easily last an afternoon.

The Lonely Planet route advises a brief stop at the top of Blue Bank as you enter Sleights, and you get a fine impression of what it must have been like to see Whitby Abbey in the distance, long before cars and road trips were invented.

With its gothic heritage, attractive harbour and world famous fish and chips, spending anything less than a day in Whitby would be positively criminal.If you’re there in the morning, a visit to Fortune’s Kippers is a must, and don’t forget to take in the multitude of Whitby jet jewellers on church street.

The road trip concludes at Robin Hood’s Bay. The view out to sea is enticing as you approach one of the Yorkshire Coast’s best known visitor spots.

The steep hill down and the tight streets are reminiscent of the Shambles in York and it is worth noting that cars are not welcome here.

While the walk down is steep, the walk back up is a killer, so look out for the zig-zag path for a more gentle (if slightly longer) stroll up the hillside.

Is this road trip the best in the North of England? I’m probably biased when I say that it certainly has to be up there with the best.

I set out thinking that four to five days was excessive to cover the 87 miles of the trip, however, in truth it would probably be about perfect.

The Lonely Planet book offers simple guidance and a few pointers for great views and places to stay.