I visited Saltburn today. It’s one of my favourite UK seaside resorts. I’m still living in Stockton at the moment, so it’s only a 35 minute journey by train.
Back in the 1700s, Saltburn was a favoured haunt for smugglers and the landlord of the Ship Inn, John Andrews, was known as “the King of Smugglers”. The Ship Inn is still there and it’s a great place to go for a meal or a pint of beer. With its wooden beams across the ceiling, and open fires, it retains a certain olde worlde charm and you can enjoy your chosen food or beverage while staring out the window at the waves rolling in and onto the beach. For me, any trip to Saltburn would be incomplete without a visit to the Ship and the view of the Inn from the oustside has a definite picture postcard appeal.
Saltburn is also home to one the oldest water-powered funiculars in the world. Funiculars are a type of cable railway used for travelling steep inclines. They consist of two passenger carriages that are joined by a cable. As one carriage travels up the slope, the other makes its way down, and the two exert a counterbalancing effect on each other. The funicular at Saltburn was constructed shortly after the pier opened in 1869. The powers that be thought the steep walk up and down the cliff was putting people off visiting the pier and installing a funicular was the obvious answer.
Saltburn is also popular with surfers and body boarders. There’s even a surf school within just feet of the funicular, but the North East of England can be a little chilly in autumn, so I was not tempted to hire a board or enquire about lessons. Surfers appear to be made of sterner stuff though, and a number of people had been brave enough to don their wetsuits and hit the water, even though the waves available were pretty meagre.
There are plenty of other things to do in Saltburn, but I gave the Italian gardens and miniature railway a miss. Once I’ve got my visit to the Ship out of the way I usually just wader the cliffs and beach. I visited the Smuggler’s Heritage Centre once on a former visit, and can highly recommend it, but it closes on September 31st and does not reopen until March. (UPDATE: Redcar and Cleveland Council has closed the Saltburn Smuggler’s Heritage Centre. It was damaged when a heavy storm breached the sea wall. The council doesn’t appear to have any plans to re-open it.)
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