Sometimes it’s enough to go to a place once to know you love it and will return. An invitation from an old childhood friend led to my most recent discovery or rather re discovery of the great British seaside experience Saltburn by the sea . For some this might mean windy picnics and cramped car journeys for me it means cold surf, scolding fish and chips and the collecting of “things”. Said “things” have diversified over the years, they used to be pebbles and shells but they have evolved to board games, mismatched china, chairs, records, paintings etc etc. Sorry, I digress. Lets talk about my latest discovery Saltburn by the sea, the towns rich history dates back to Roman times and includes story’s of smugglers, Victorian splendor and war tragedies. Its smuggling past was even immortalised by Rudyard Kiplings “Smugglers song”. Saltburn really came to life when it was developed by a Victoria entrepreneur who built many of the attractions still seen today namely the Valley Gardens, the Cliff lift and Pier. The Victorians believed the fresh sea air to be therapeutic and who am I to dispute this 200 year old claim. for more history and local info take a look at this well researched site www.salburnbythesea.com.
Saltburn by the Sea is incredibly well-connected with the train station lying smack bang in the middle of the small village and trains regularly departing to Middlesbrough with connections to York, London, Manchester and beyond.
Once you jump off the train a short walk takes you to the seafront where you’re presented with a sprawling beach and the stunning cliffs of Huntcliffe, a dramatic background to your beach walks. The cliffs are over 360 feet high and change with the seasons, on our spring day covering them in a rich yellow carpet of rapeseed.
The village is littered with curiosities from yarn bomber public art, the famous Funicular cliff lift, a miniature railway it also boasts a fine selection of cafe’s, antique shops, book shops and some excellent charity shops. There is certainly enough to keep you occupied for a long weekend. While we were visiting a 1st world war re-enactment was taking place on the beach along with a vintage clothes fair. For up to date information on more special goings on check out the online version of Saltburn’s lovely local magazine Talk of the Town click here….
Here were a few things we particularly enjoyed and shouldn’t be missed.
A ride on the Funicular cliff lift
50p for children and 1£ for adults buys you a once in a lifetime chance to ride the splendidly maintained Funicular. It’s a short and relatively uneventful trip but the Saltburn Funicular Railway is the oldest working water-powered inclined tramway in the world and how many people can say they’ve been on one of those?
Fish and Chips at the Seaview
Fish and chips are a British institution and arguments will erupt on the correct way and day to consume fish and chips, do you vinegar the chips? is tartar sauce too posh? should they only be eaten off newspaper? In Saltburn thankfully all these options are available especially at the aptly named Seaview right on the waterfront facing the pier. Seaview offers a takeaway service as well as a very beautiful and affordable restaurant experience. Our portions were handsome and our plates totally clean to finish a testament to both the effects of the sea air and the fantastic food!
Explore the shops
The town has lots of hidden gems I wont reveal them all of course as half the fun is in the discovery. The bookshop and fishing tackle shop were entertaining for us all though. Make sure you take in all the little streets and see what you can find!
You don’t have to be a professional to enjoy surfing even in the chilled North Sea. This school offers boogie board and paddleboad hire as well as the standard surfing lessons. Located right by the old pier the school is easy to find and has a great reputation. A day of hire including morning lesson and the afternoon left to your own devices costs 50£. For more information and bookings check out there site or just show up. http://www.saltburn-surf.co.uk/