Ever since the lockdown rules lifted a little we’ve been trying to get out and away from the house a little bit. Adam started it all really when he suggested our first day trip to Ravenscar to see the seal colony there, something I didn’t even know existed. Now it’s like we’ve donned our explorer hats and we’re off on a wilderness adventure discovering new places left, right and centre, especially with that glorious hot snap last week.
So without further a-do, here are 5 places that we have discovered that are TOTALLY FREE and it’s absolutely 100% possible to a.) keep socially distanced if you’re sensible and b.) not an enclosed space.
1. Ravenscar seal colony, Whitby
When Adam suggested this I was so excited, to be honest I was a little miffed he had never mentioned it before as it was an absolute dream to see all these gorgeous seals in their natural habitat, but it’s one of those things that he’d known about in the back of his mind but had never really come up – we’ve discovered a few of these things in lockdown. It’s absolutely not pushchair friendly and requires a walk down the cliff side, but unlike some places it’s 99% path way. You need to check the tides for the day to avoid disappointment but once you get down there it is so worth it. Lots of beautiful seals to see, a WWII bunker and fossils galore.
2. Falling Foss, Near Whitby
Gosh it’s so beautiful here, I think that this is the most beautiful waterfall we have been to to be honest. Falling Foss is fairly well known so it can get crazy busy, but there are so many different places to set up camp and not as many people as you might expect make their way down to the actual waterfall as it’s a pretty perilous descent. You can walk all the way around to The Hermitage which is a large, naturally carved out boulder and apparently getting to the water fall is less steep that way, but we didn’t know and just followed the yellow rope to hold and walk down. Worth it 100% and the tea rooms is open to offer takeaway with toilets if that worries you.
3. Aysgarth Falls, Yorkshire Dales
I think this was the most magical day of all for me. It’s one thing to watch the children paddling in the streams down to Falling Foss or watch them enjoying themselves in the pools by the waterfall, but to actually watch them river swimming, climbing over the rocks and using the tiny rapids in the shallows as a natural slide was magical and it is a day I will never forget. Even if they kept bringing me fish in my hands when I’m terrified of fish. I’ve made it my mission to go back in a couple of weeks but be really sensible and take my swimsuit and a full picnic so we can spend all day there as it’s thirsty work all this swimming and playing. I will say that it’s very overcrowded, not beach in Brighton overcrowded, but crowded nonetheless, so we avoided the actual falls and walked further upstream where we could set up camp and stay mostly socially distanced – though there are always people who just don’t give a shit and will just get in your space.
4. Mallyan Spout, Goathland
I don’t think I’d ever been here as a child, but it was recommended to me when we went to Falling Foss. Adam remembered bits of it, and it was like a cross between watching the kids at Aysgarth Falls swimming in the river and being at Falling Foss climbing over rocky streams. It’s beautiful, one of those little hidden gems and there are so many walks around it, once you get to the bottom of the hill (not pushchair friendly) you will find Beck Hole one way and Mallyan spout the other, Goathland itself is glorious too, the kids loved seeing all the sheep just wandering about.
5. Wharram Percy, near Malton
A bit of a break from all things water based, this is a medieval village. You need to park up and walk for about a mile, often through farm animals so we leave the dogs behind. It’s been years since we’ve been, we plan to try and get there some time soon! There is a great place for a picnic, and lots of beautiful walk ways, the lake isn’t suitable for paddling though!