Now I could pretend that we were breezing along seeing where the wind took us, but unfortunately I'm too organised for that. As much as I wish I could be spontaneous, I like to know where I'm going and what I'm doing so I had put together a little itinerary the night before with the help of Twitter and the North York Moors National Park Authority who have the most amazing website that I've become a little addicted to. If you're looking for inspiration for the best places to visit in North Yorkshire you know where to head.
It's not hard to find the beautiful views when you're on a North Yorkshire Road Trip. The A171 that leads straight to Whitby is an easy drive and takes you right to the North Yorkshire Moors with a perfect view of the heather. It's definitely a great place to start if you want the best views in North Yorkshire.
The first stop on our North Yorkshire Road Trip was Grosmont, a sleepy little village in the Esk Valley. The village is dominated by the railway making it a great stop for train enthusiasts, there's the opportunity to spot the North Yorkshire Moors Railway steam trains as well as visiting the engine sheds and walking through the world's oldest passenger rail tunnel.
With the tourists long gone we had to make do with looking at the cute tea shops from the outside as they were all shut for the Winter.
Never fear, it wasn't long before our rumbling tummies had found us some lunch and there was a table next to the fire at the Station Tavern that had our names on it. The huge doorstop sandwiches served with chips really hit the spot and it was such a treat listening to the locals gossiping at the bar.
I knew that I wanted to be able to stop somewhere on our journey to take some photos of the Moors so did a little research into the best view in North Yorkshire and the Hole of Hocrum came out on top. Just south of Saltergate on the A169 it was a short drive from Grosmont and with a little car park just off the road was a great place to get out of the car with the camera.
The Hole of Horcum is a 400 ft valley stretching just under a mile across and legend has it that the natural beauty was created when Wade the Giant scooped a handful of mud to throw at his wife during an argument. I'm yet to tell Simon this fact, I don't want to be giving him any ideas!
The view was fantastic and I spent a little time trying to picture what it might look like with the purple heather out in full bloom. I think it's pretty inevitable that we'll be returning in the Summer months.
There are various walks you can do from the Hole of Hocrum including a short stroll to Skelton Tower, where you can climb the beautiful ruins for the best view in North Yorkshire. Definitely one to be added to my North Yorkshire bucket list. Unfortunately it was a little too muddy and cold for us, a drizzly January day is best spent admiring the views before climbing back into the warmth of the car.
Our final stop of the day was Thornton Le Dale, one of the most photographed villages in the National Park, in fact one of the thatched cottages in the village is world famous with its picture appearing on many a chocolate box and calendar.
As pretty as a postcard, we fell for the charm of the village green with its beautiful buildings, independent shops and the rushing beck that winds it way through the centre of the village.
After a day of seeing endless closed tea rooms we were really happy to discover that Lavenders was open and despite being full from our earlier doorstop sandwiches we enthusiastically made our way over to the display of cakes to see what goodies were on offer.
We were so excited to find an absolute gem, Lavenders was everything that we love in a tea room. Cute and kitsch with friendly staff and the most delicious homemade food.
I almost went for a Yorkshire Cream Tea but at the last minute changed my mind and ordered a pot of tea with a slice of Lemon Sponge.
Simon was eager to warm up and opted for the Lavender Hot Chocolate which was absolutely huge and came fully loaded with cream and marshmallows. He let me have a little sip after declaring more than once it was the best hot chocolate ever and giving the lady on the table next to us such envy that she ordered herself one.
With full tummies and slightly soggy feet our North Yorkshire Road Trip was over and it was time to make our way to Ox Pasture Hall.
We will definitely be continuing our Yorkshire adventures in the Summer so please do let me know if you have any recommendations of where we should head next time!