One of the great things about living in Middlesbrough is its location. Close to the coast, the town is also slap bang in the middle of pretty phenomenal countryside, with the North York Moors right on the doorstep.
As Middlesbrough is a relatively small town, within 15 minutes you can be away from the noise and industry and out enjoying the scenery.
Below are a few of my favourite places to visit, which are all under an hour’s drive from t’Boro.
This has to be one of the most popular days out for Teesside residents. Even in the depths of winter we’ll head down the coast to Whitby for our fix of fish and chips and bracing sea air. Known for its quaint houses, association with Bram Stoker and Dracula, and the regular Goth festivals, Whitby actually had quite a lot going on for such a small town. Plus it’s home to my favourite bookshop, The Whitby Bookshop, which can be found along the winding, cobbled Church Street beneath the Abbey. I always have to visit the shop to climb the rickety spiral staircase and look for some new literary gems.
Just outside the town you can find this local landmark, which is a great place to go walking (or, in my case, strolling with regular breaks). It’s worth the climb to the top for the amazing views – I remember once making it to the top in winter and all the surrounding fields were covered in snow, with the light reflecting off them it was a magical scene.
This might be an unusual choice. South Gare is a breakwater constructed at the mouth of the River Tees alongside Coatham Sands, which link up to Redcar beach. This was the setting for the Dunkirk scene in Atonement. In real life, the beach isn’t the most attractive place; under the glare of the steelworks, the fisherman’s huts are dilapidated and the sand dunes are often littered with rubbish, while just off the coast an offshore wind farm in under construction. But if you can appreciate beauty in bleakness then there’s a lot to enjoy here, including a chance to explore the nature reserve.
Just outside Whitby, my family have been visiting this picturesque village for years, primarily to eat at Eskdale Fisheries, who serve some of the best fish and chips anywhere.
It’s been a while since I’ve visited Eden Camp, but it was one of my favourite days out as a child. This former Second World War POW camp is now a museum full of interesting and interactive elements and it’s both fun and educational.
Crab Manor Hotel/Crab and Lobster Restaurant
The first time I visited this quirky hotel was for a friend’s wedding and I was captivated by the stunning gardens and the unusual decor. In the hotel, each room is decorated to a different theme, while the restaurant is filled with bizarre and vintage paraphernalia, much of it tucked away in corners or hanging from the ceiling. The restaurant is also known for its seafood, which is delicious.
Last year this beautiful hotel was voted as the second most luxurious in the UK. The perfect combination of classic country house and contemporary style, the afternoon tea here is scrumptious!
Situated high up the River Tees in Teesdale, this waterfall is beautiful and surrounded by stunning scenery and public footpaths.
So from luxury hotels to beautiful landscape and great places to eat, there are some amazing places to visit just outside Middlesbrough. You’ve not go excuse, really.
Read the rest of the So I’m a Smoggie series.