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Finding hygge on the North Yorkshire coast

Storm watching from indoors Credit Ceri Oakes PhotographyStorm watching from indoors Credit Ceri Oakes Photography

Part two: Shelter - by guest blogger Clare Gogerty

Sometimes it’s good to see the rain. The start of a downpour might curb exploration of your surroundings but it offers the perfect excuse to scurry somewhere warm to shelter and wrap your hands around a mug of tea. Little is as cosy as watching windy and wet weather from a comfortable perch, safe from the elements and with plenty of time to enjoy it.

Castle House at Runswick Bay Credit Romantic Cottage HolidaysThe white-painted cottages that tumble down Runswick Bay on the North York Moors coastline between Staithes and Whitby, overlook a curl of sandy beach and the wide-open ocean beyond. Stay for a few days at Castle House at the top of the village and watch the wind whip up the waves and seabirds wheel over the headland through binoculars from the comfort of the window seat.

The cottage, with its wood-burning stove, heaps of throws and deeply comfortable beds, is the perfect place to hole up with your favourite person, a book and a warming drink and listen to the rain patter against the window. 

When the weather clears, pull on an overcoat and a pair of boots and step out on to the terrace to breathe the clean, crisp air, watch the moon rise over the sea and listen to the mournful hoot of the owl.

The pretty cottages of Runswick Bay huddle together companionably, linked by paths and walkways rather than streets. Once the homes of herring fishermen and their families, many are now holiday accommodation. At the heart of the village is The Royal Hotel which offers home-made baked treats including cherry and almond scones, and orange and walnut sticky flapjacks, and a simple but tasty bar menu (moules marinière, roasted red pepper and tomato soup), dished up in front of a blazing fire. Served alongside a mug of coffee or a pint of local Black Sheep Best Bitter, the food will warm and fortify you before you set off back into the elements.

A perfect stopping-off place in blustery weather is Dotty’s Tearoom in the nearby harbour village of Staithes. Walk through the doors and immediately you are enveloped in cosseting warmth. This partly comes from owner Trudi and her welcoming staff and partly from the cosiness of the interior and the irresistible, freshly-baked cakes. Hunker down with a mug of hot chocolate – marshmallows, cream and chocolate buttons are recommended extras – and a buttered tea cake, and you will find it hard to leave, especially as there are many vintage collectibles to pore over and, potentially, buy.

Tea, Toast and Post in Robin Hood's Bay Credit Tony BartholomewSimilarly, Tea, Toast and Post, a small and surprising café in a converted post office in Robin Hood’s Bay, is a place to stop for a while if the weather gets the better of you. Sip a cup of fine coffee (sourced from local Baytown Coffee Company) and listen to the chatter of locals and visitors as the windows fog up. The café also holds live music events in the evenings including some notable acts enticed by the café’s intimate setting and its charming, historical setting. For a more bracing option, head to Camfields Espresso Bar at Saltburn by the Sea, sit on the terrace wrapped up in a thoughtfully provided blanket, and watch the waves roll in across the expansive, sandy bay.

At the end of the day, little beats shutting the door, drawing the curtains, putting a log on the fire and settling in for the night. To give your nest maximum hygge, pop into Lillian Daph in Saltburn, an artisan interior store with more than a touch of Scandi style, and stock up on mohair throws, scented candles and plump cushions. Pick up a couple of ceramic mugs and dishes, then pop into Real Meals Delicatessen around the corner to buy local produce to turn into bowls of deliciousness. Then all you have to do is watch the flames flicker and welcome the opportunity to take time out before the next day on the North Yorkshire coast, when its fresh adventures begin.

Clare Gogerty is Associate editor for The Simple Things and has also written The National Trust Book of the Coast. You can also follow Clare on twitter.

Clare stayed at Castle House in Runswick Bay, one of the handpicked range of Romantic Cottage Holidays properties.

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