What film do you associate the below quotes with...?
* "Who ARE we?!"
* "Charlotte overheard Freddie say I look EXACTLY like Kiera Knightly."
* "The name's Nellis, Roger Nellis: licence to D-J."
* "To me, negotiation is like a nightclub; not something I tend to enter into."
* "I am Scottish, NOT remedial."
If you guessed Wild Child, you'd be right! 😍
Wild Child came out way back in August 2008, when I was a mere braced-up 14 year old. Alongside the legendary Angus, Thongs & Perfect Snogging, it quickly became one of the most iconic films of my teens. I had a fleeting crush on Alex Pettyfer (let's be honest, who didn't?), and I even copied Poppy Moore's trademark 'Who ARE we?!' every time I took a selfie on my Motorola Rzr. (Anyone else remember the struggle of taking selfies on a flip phone without a front camera? Also, just for context, the selfies 14 year old me took probably entailed me excitedly holding up a Jacqueline Wilson book, or a model pony.)
But Wild Child didn't only introduce me cringey catchphrases and Alex Pettyfer - it also brought me Robin Hood's Bay. Even at 14, I remember swooning over the backdrop of Poppy and Freddie's date. As a direct result, Robin Hood's Bay has sat patiently at the top of my 'UK bucket list' for 15 years.
At the end of September 2023, I was finally lucky enough to tick it off.
After the non-stop excitement of Norway, I needed a few days away on my own to chill. And how better to welcome in my 30th birthday than a solo getaway to Robin Hood's Bay?
Day one: Wednesday 27th September
Although long, my journey to Robin Hood's Bay couldn't have been smoother. I caught the train from Manchester directly to Scarborough, which took around two and a half hours. I walked straight out of Scarborough Station, and the X93 bus was already there waiting. I couldn't have timed it any better!
It cost just £2 for a single journey between Scarborough and Robin Hood's Bay, and took around 45 minutes.
My guest house - North Ings B&B - was a one minute walk away from where the bus dropped me off, so it all worked out perfectly and I arrived feeling super relaxed.
I chucked my bags in my room and bounded straight out.
Walking down the steep incline of New Road towards the beach was a real 'pinch me' moment.
My first thoughts... WOW.
A fortnight ago, I travelled around the Norwegian Fjords, and I honestly didn't think that scenery could ever be topped.
It's funny, isn't it? We voyage overseas and marvel at the coastlines and countryside of other nations, yet we so often fail to appreciate the beauty on our very own doorstep in the UK.
Robin Hood's Bay is a million times cuter in real life than it is on film. I got catfished, but in the best possible way! 😍🤣
The village is a scattering of pure perfection intertwined with narrow cobbled paths. You never quite know what you'll find around each twist and turn of the maze, but it's a prize every time. I darted between the passageways until dusk, collecting as many views as I could and falling more in love with every revelation.
The Fish Box chippy was calling me after my hefty journey.
A lovely, friendly gent served me my chips, peas and bread roll, and I sat outside under an umbrella overlooking the cove as the rain came down. I can't think of a better way to start a holiday.
Chips, peas and a bread roll by the beach in the rain... Is there a better way to spend a Wednesday night? 🤩
My imagination danced with the gathering tide, bouncing excitedly off the cliff edges. There is no feeling in the world that quite compares to the liberty of allowing your imagination to run wild.
When I was younger, I lived about 90% of my time in my imagination, and it was just the most blissful and empowering place to be. Of course, as I've got older, I don't always have time to sit still, push everything else aside and let my imagination take over. I should indulge in it more often, because it's a precious avenue of escape that I never want to lose.
'Storm Agnes' was really starting to whip up her dark magic, but the overcast sky strangely suited Robin Hood's Bay. For me, the storm only enhanced the bay's history and made it all the easier for me to picture the smugglers and fishermen of yesteryear darting in and out of the cobbled maze of houses...
After tea, I took an impromptu walk along the coast towards Ravenscar.
The paths were fringed by a roaring tangle of perfectly ripe blackberries, which I relished picking and eating along the way.
While I'm a Peak District gal at heart, I do love a UK costal walk. There's just something quite electrifying about wandering alongside our very own impressive coastline. It hits differently. Our sea breeze is an unrivalled element that has shaped endless moments. Our wind snaps with an abundance of ferocity. Our rain performs a synchronised dance that only we understand. Our rugged waves holler with a mix of familiarity and nostalgia.
Only our coast sends us home after a day well spent with sea-spray curled hair, sandy toes and salty skin.
A striking and stormy view of Robin Hood's Bay from the Cleveland Way costal path towards Ravenscar ✨
I was surprised by how quiet Robin Hood's Bay was. I'm sure it's very different in the height of summer, but on this stormy, Autumnal night, there were only a handful of people around. It was absolutely bloody divine! The lushest getaway.
Back at the B&B, I was absolutely buzzing to find that I had Netflix in my room.
Ten points to anyone who can guess what I watched...?
Wild Child, obvs!
One more quote for the superfans out there? Oh, go on then! 😉
"You shake the hand of the head girl, out of respect!"
"When the head girl has earned my respect, THEN I shake her hand be-atch."
Any Wild Child fans out there recognise this...? It's where Freddie took Poppy for her first ever 'humble chip butty!' 😄
Day two: Thursday 28th September
Oh hey! I'm currently resting my plantar fasciitis after 10 hours of walking.
Jesus, you know you're due to turn 30 in approx. 3 hours when you:
A) Start suffering from plantar fasciitis
B) Actually know the name of it.
I've basically concluded that it's all down hill from here.
People are often quick to tell me that my slim frame will be a thing of the past as soon as I hit the big 3-0, so I'm half expecting to wake up tomorrow - the morning of my 30th - in need of a hoist to scoop me out of bed and roll me to the dining room.
I'm also regularly told that my love of running will 'catch up with me' and I'll likely need knee surgery. So that's something else to look forward to, apparently! Can't wait!
Walking sections of the Cleveland Way 💚
Anyway, back to this morning: my last 24 hours to enjoy my 20's, functioning knees, and a working metabolism.
After a hearty breakfast of poached egg and avocado on toast (desperately trying to recreate those Norway memories!), I set off for Whitby via the Cleveland Way costal path.
The costal walk between Robin Hood's Bay and Whitby is just over 10km long. It's an undulating hike with some steep step sections, but there isn't one single part of the trail that doesn't boast dramatic views out to sea.
I hardly saw anybody for the majority of my walk. Apart from a cyclist, a runner, and a trio of walkers, the trail was deserted, and it only really got busy a mile or so from Whitby.
I knew I was nearing the end of the walk when the gothic, jagged stature of Whitby Abbey suddenly appeared on the horizon. The old stonework looked wicked against the grey sky. It really did feel as though I was in Dracula territory!
Whitby Abbey! Pic credit: self timer app x a bottle of water to prop my phone up 🤣
I climbed down the 199 steps into Whitby's Old Town, which instantly gave me Diagon Alley vibes. I absolutely adored the array of quirky shops. It was such a thrill to get lost down one of the narrow side streets and stumble upon an antique shop, or a an old fashioned sweet store.
I treated myself to three new books as an early birthday present: 'The Witches of North Yorkshire,' 'The Haunted Coast,' and '13 Ghost Stories From Whitby.'
Honestly, I can't get enough of books like this! It was that collection of Icelandic folklore that I got from Reykjavik that started it off.
There's something so olde worlde about Whitby. It's almost feels like the town is deliciously caught in a time warp between the past and the present, drawing elements of both to create this wonderful aura.
Strangely, the site of tourist 'pirate ships' leaving the harbour actually looked pretty authentic!
Just one of many insanely photogenic shops in Whitby! 😍
Whitby is GORGEOUS... But after a while, it just got a bit too 'people-y' for me.
I've heard people say that they avoid Whitby like the plague during the summer months, and now I understand why.
I hadn't expected it to be so hectic on a random Thursday in nearly-October, but the streets were heaving.
To escape the crowds, I dashed onto the beach, and I didn't stop walking until I'd reached the next village along: Sandsend.
Now this was a place I truly fell for.
I said in my Norway blog that some new places just immediately feel familiar. This was different. Weirdly, Sandsend made me feel almost nostalgic, for reasons I can't quite explain.
I couldn't stop thinking about my beloved Grandma, which is so strange, as we never visited North Yorkshire together. I don't even know if she ever went herself. Nevertheless, Sandsend provided me with such an inexplicable connection to her.
It might be down to the fact that my Grandma was the person who always encouraged me to use my imagination, and because of that, her house and garden were always full of pixies and dragons and sprites throughout my childhood.
And there I was, almost 30 years old and letting my imagination run amok with stories about pirates, and vampires up on the moors. But I wouldn't have it any other way.
I saw this in a shop window in Whitby this morning, and I love it more than anything. It sums up exactly how I feel, and how I hope I always feel. Forever hunting for little sprinkles of magic. A little imagination goes a long way. ✨
I chose Wits End Café in Sandsend for lunch purely because its comedic name is something I relate to on a regular basis!
As a solo female traveller, it can sometimes be a bit daunting walking into a café or restaurant and requesting a table for one. While it doesn't bother me, I've had mixed experiences over the years, and for some reason, some establishments seem very wary about letting someone in to eat alone. (I mean, I don't know what they think it going to happen, tbh. 9 times out of 10 I'll just quietly sit there writing in dog-decorated notebook with a fluffy pink Cinderella pen. Hardly likely to start causing a scene and launching plates around, am I?)
I couldn't have been made to feel more welcome at Wits End (says a lot, doesn't it?!🤣 ). I was so impressed with everything about it, from the amazing service and the décor, to the food and the quaint gardens. There was just such a nice atmosphere inside the café; I felt so relaxed.
Once again, I was hit with a powerful wave of nostalgia. I felt like I'd been there before, sat in that very café, nestled between the craggy hillsides and the sweep of the cove. I just couldn't get my Grandma out of my head, and it was really quite comforting.
I would say that I'd maybe visited in another life, but I was allegedly a worm in my most recent past life. Now there's a sentence I bet you never thought you'd read today, or ever, in fact...
(When I was 3, I told my pre-school teacher that I used to be a worm. As if this wasn't weird enough, I then supposedly went into great detail about the mound of soil I'd lived in. How I've made it to 30 without being referred to a shrink, I have no idea. 🤣🤣)
After lunch, I happily made my way back across the beach, still wrapped up in the warm embrace of nostalgia.
Once back in Whitby, I climbed back up the 199 steps and sat at the top admiring the jumble of rooftops below, while tucking into my 'Cornish pudding.' I don't exactly know what a Cornish pudding is, but I had to try it, as I'm a sucker for checking out new cakes and treats (apart from the BLUE crisps Josh tried to make me eat last week. I Googled them and found that they're actually banned in a number of countries following concerns over gallbladders, of all things).
Cornish pudding: 8/10, would eat again. It was no cornflake jam tart, but it was pretty dece, and a good accompaniment to my final few moments in Whitby.
Scenes along the Cleveland Way. 😍
I trekked back along the Cleveland Way, and then carried on past Robin Hood's Bay into Ravenscar, as I hadn't had time to complete that stretch of coast last night.
My last evening as a 20-something was spent on an empty beach watching the sunset, paddling in the sea and running up and down the sand, barefoot. I couldn't have picked a more dreamy or wholesome way to spend my birthday eve. 🥰
All in all, a 43km day cram-packed with exploring, good food, stunning hiking, and a beautiful amount of time to simply be inside my own head, delving in and out of the worlds my imagination offers me.
I've loved, loved, LOVED everything about today!
Oh, and one final thing - the last thing I will point out as a 29 year old - and I'm sorry to have to say this - but I feel the time has come for me to invest in a special t-shirt stating something along the lines of, 'Yes, I'm on my own, yes, it's by choice. and NO, I don't particularly wish to converse with you. #respecttheintrovert.'
The beach to myself, and a sublime sunset on the last day of my 20's. 🧘🏻♀️
Day three: Friday 29th September
Checking in from the dark side! I have crossed over the rainbow bridge of my 20s, and have entered the forbidden forest of my 30s! Although, as my Mum reminded me this morning, I am not 'officially' 30 until 10:20pm this evening.
... And yes, that is me absolutely milking the hell out of my 20s there, ha!
I've been listening to Scouting For Girls 'She's So Lovely' all morning, purely for the following lyrics: 🎶She's flirty, turned 30... 🎶
Finally, the song has a meaning other than symbolising Georgia Nicholson running through the streets of Eastbourne dressed a 'stuffed olive.' 🤣 (If you know, you know!)
I woke early to a glorious sunny morning in Robin Hood's Bay.
I started the birthday celebrations with a vegetarian full English in the dining room, where I got chatting with Max - the owner of my B&B - and two other ladies. They all informed me that their 30s were their favourite decade, which softened the blow of the 'milestone' a little bit! To be fair, I've heard quite a few people say that they loved their 30s.
Maybe I'll put that impending knee op on hold for a while longer, then...!
The final stop on my whirlwind Yorkshire adventure was Scarborough.
Scarborough has one of the most spectacular beaches I've ever seen in this country! The sand practically glittered and the sea appeared transcendent under the sun's gaze.
I really liked the set-up of the town, with its many layers of dimensions. The jumble of houses and shops afore the harbour rose up to the leafy hillside, where Scarborough Castle sat atop.
My birthday 'elevenses' came in the form of a two foot liquorice cable, because even at 30, you're never too old for a cheeky pick & mix. It should be a British law that you simply cannot go to the seaside and not get fish and chips, rock, and pick & mix. It's pretty much a British rite of passage, alongside losing your donuts to seagulls the size of Great Danes.
I would have liked more time to wander round Scarborough, especially given the fact that it's 18 degrees today! To be honest, I would have liked more time in North Yorkshire in general. Although Robin Hood's Bay was small and I feel I crammed a lot in, I wouldn't hesitate to go back and get to know it a little better. It exceeded my expectations in every way! 😍
I've had such a great few days! Over 35 miles of coastline walked, and yet more memories to fill the scrapbook of this wonderful life.
I'm forever at my happiest when travelling solo. Here's to another decade of exploring as much of this beautiful world as possible. 🌎
Final thoughts -
Are Scarborough, Whitby & Robin Hood's Bay safe for solo female travellers?
Based on my own experience, I would say that it's perfectly safe to visit Robin Hood's Bay, Whitby and Scarborough as a solo female traveller.
Robin Hood's Bay in particular felt exceptionally safe, and seemed to be a very sleepy little village out of season. Even the owner of my B&B said that nothing ever really happens there.
Obviously, Scarborough and Whitby are a lot bigger than Robin Hood's Bay, so just keep your wits about you as you would in any town, especially if walking around at night.
The Cleveland Way was quiet at the time of my hike in September 2023, especially between Ravenscar and Robin Hood's Bay, so just bear this in mind.
There are farms, caravan parks and cafes sparsely dotted along the trail should you need help urgently.
Be aware that some parts of the path have eroded and fallen away. Such sections had been safely cornered off when I visited.
Although I didn't take the Cinder Path, I believe this is busier walking route between Robin Hood's Bay and Whitby, so may be an option if you're worried about taking the secluded costal path alone.
Any accommodation recommendations?
Absolutely! As mentioned, I stayed at North Ings Bed & Breakfast in Robin Hood's Bay.
I have to admit, I do like a more luxury accommodation when travelling, and I don't mind paying that bit extra to stay somewhere nice. What I'm trying to say is that I wouldn't recommend anywhere that I'd felt let down by. I'm not an 'influencer,' and I would never promote anywhere I didn't 100% love in return for a discounted stay or anything like that. My blogs are thoroughly organic and that's exactly how they will always remain. My opinions are 100% my own thoughts and experiences.
North Ings ticked every box for me.
Conveniently located a 2 minute walk from the bus stop and approximately a 5 minute walk from the village, the B&B is a beautiful, classy building with handfuls of both substance and style. I had the Bay Room, where the furnishings throughout the bedroom and en-suite strike the balance between freshly minimalist and cosy.
I don't think I have ever stayed anywhere so spotlessly clean!
Max and Michael are a really lovely couple. I'm a classic introvert, but even I thoroughly enjoyed my communal breakfasts in the dining room. Michael made the most delicious dishes while Max served them with a side helping of banter and a good chat.
Staying at North Ings was just a really pleasant experience from start to finish. I can't fault it in any way!
I'd highly recommend Robin Hood's Bay if you're looking to visit North Yorkshire but want to avoid the more overcrowded locations such as Whitby and Scarborough. You can still easily get to the busier towns by bus, or even on foot, but with the bonus of basing yourself in a more rural setting. Opting to stay in RHB was definitely the best decision for me, and I cherished the peace and quiet.
... I'M FINE WITH TURNING 30, HONESTLY!!!! 🤣
Cara Jasmine Bradley ©