A brief history of Ravenscar

2nd December 2016

North Yorkshire is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful parts of the UK, as well as one of the country’s finest holiday destinations.

From the scenic North York Moors to the charming towns of Whitby and Scarborough, there is no end to what can be discovered on a trip to this special region.

Although its local charm and spectacular countryside makes all of North Yorkshire a famously rewarding place to visit, however, there is one small village near Scarborough which can lay claim to having perhaps the most interesting history of any in the surrounding area.

A Victorian dream

Sandcastle

Ravenscar, home to one of the best hotels near Whitby, is a village with a difference. The Victorian era was a time of great expansion. At the turn of the 19th-20th Century, new railways lines were being established throughout the UK, and Yorkshire was no exception.

By this time, Scarborough was already a booming example of the new seaside resorts which were turning towns across England into prime holiday destinations, and it was thought that Ravenscar could be transformed into a place that would be able to compete against its neighbour for the custom of visiting tourists.

The sleepy village – until this time known locally as ‘Peak’ – suddenly became a hotbed of activity, with roads, houses and even a sewage system being built in preparation for the great onset of visitors from the surrounding area and beyond.

For all their grand plans, however, something the Victorian entrepreneurs behind the scheme did not take into account was the limits imposed by the rugged Ravenscar landscape.

It soon became apparent to potential investors that the village could not, after all, be another Scarborough; the promised new railway line did arrive, but trains initially struggled to make it up the steep hills that characterise the area.

The clifftop location – unsurprisingly – proved to be susceptible to strong gusts of wind, meaning that it would not have been the ideal spot for sandcastles and donkey rides!

Ravenscar today

Ravenscar

These days, Ravenscar is a much loved destination in its own right, but certainly not in the way that had been envisioned by the Victorians.

Ironically, the gloriously imposing cliffs of Ravenscar and Robin Hood’s Bay are one of the reasons why it remains so popular with locals and visitors alike, with the Raven Hall Hotel (formerly a family residence known as Peak House but now among the most popular hotels near Scarborough) providing the perfect spot from which to survey the abundant natural beauty of its surroundings.

The village is known today as a gateway to the North York Moors – arguably the most beautiful natural park in England – and as a peaceful countryside location which is also conveniently close to the busier centres of Scarborough and Whitby.

Intrepid walkers and more casual visitors alike continue to find this inspirational corner of Yorkshire hard to resist.

Ravenscar may not have become the seaside resort that had been imagined, but you will be hard pressed to find any of its current guests wanting it to change now!

Image Credit: SOMEBODY 3LSE