July 20, 2023

The Route YC – A Yorkshire Coast Experience

The Route YC – What's on Your Doorstep?

The Summer Holidays are just about upon us.  Holidays abroad for families can sometimes be incredibly expensive, so why not look at something a little closer to home, after all the UK is simply full of amazing visitor attractions and activities.

Staying in the UK should also help the impact of air travel on our environment, help local businesses in particular and boost our economy in these uncertain times.

And what about something off the beaten track, maybe a location or experience you hadn’t thought of before?

The Route YC (Yorkshire Coast) website says “Are you ready to embark on a new adventure? Look no further than Route YC, the ultimate guide to exploring everything that today's Yorkshire Coast has to offer. Whether you prefer cruising along scenic drives and sailing through crystal clear waters or getting your adrenaline pumping with thrilling bike rides and hikes, this old coast is brimming with excitement, just waiting to be discovered.”

Well, this sounds right up our street!

The Scarborough Route

We set off early to reach our first destination, The North Yorkshire Water Park in Wykeham, Scarborough.  Originally a location for specialist fishing, 2017 saw the addition of an aqua park and a range of activities suitable for everyone.  From kayaking and paddle boarding, zip-lining and climbing to less strenuous activities like cycling or walking.  They have a great, dog friendly café; there really is something for everyone.

We tried our hand at paddle boarding for the very first time; take it from us, it’s great fun but definitely not as easy as some people make it look – be prepared to get wet!

North Yorkshire Water Park sign

North Yorkshire Water Park

North Yorkshire Water Park Zipline & Climb advert

Zipline & Climb

Ready for Paddle Boarding









We stopped for lunch at Bolli’s Tea Room, a lovely little spot in Wykeham just off the A170 Pickering Road and a good place to stop for a break and to stretch your legs.

I can highly recommend the ploughman’s lunch!

Wykeham Village

Wykeham Village

Bolli's Tea Room










Accommodation for our trip was the East Ayton Lodge B&B, a charming 18th Century country manor house, set in the attractive rural village of East Ayton in the North Yorkshire National Park.  It’s a good central location for heading out to the surrounding countryside for hiking, walking, cycling and other activities.  Not to mention the wonderful seaside resorts of Scarborough, Whitby and Filey.


A Dip in the North Sea

We were both a bit nervous about our next experience – Coasteering at Thornwick Bay with Scarborough Surf School.  The sport of coasteering is a combination of adventure swimming along sea cliffs, exploring gullies, caves and rock formations created by the sea, traversing the lower-level sea cliffs by foot, above deep water and then finally climbing the cliffs to different jumping locations.

Wetsuits help keep you warm and the fully qualified team are always on hand to help and encourage you if you’re feeling nervous, or like me not a very strong swimmer.

It's an exhilarating activity for all age groups and the location is simply stunning with a good chance of seeing the local wildlife too as puffins, razor bills and gulls inhabit the area.

The team also hold surf lessons and paddle boarding and cater for larger groups too so check out their website and YouTube page for a taste of what you can expect.

Special thanks to Harry and Tori for a fabulous morning!

Rachel in the North Sea

Exploring the Coast

Thornwick Bay

Mark & Rachel on the coast










Lunch was at The Farrier; situated between Scarborough and Filey, the village of Cayton is mentioned in the Domesday book as Caitune and there is no doubt it existed for many years prior to 1066.

For more than 200 years the former cottages on the corner of Church Lane and Main Street have been of service to locals and travellers alike.  After a 3-year renovation The Farrier is again welcoming guests with accommodation and a fabulous menu.

They have even been featured in an episode of Channel 4’s “Four in a Bed”.

We had the grilled steak and Yorkshire blue cheese and black truffle egg mayo sandwiches which were both delicious and highly recommended.


Golden Sandy Beaches

We later met up with a friend who lives in the area and spent the afternoon on the 7-mile golden sands beach at Filey, walking up to the café at the Hunmanby Gap.  The weather was glorious and perfect for a post lunch stroll, the beach here is without doubt one of the best in the UK.

The Beach at Filey

Catch of the Day

Dinner in the evening was at Café Fish in the centre of Scarborough.  What a find this is, the friendly staff made us feel right at home and helped us choose from the extensive sea food menu.

They have a simple philosophy, the best quality fish cooked to order.  Being centrally located, the restaurant source the best produce directly from the harbour.

Rachel had the lobster thermidor, and I thoroughly enjoyed the Spanish salmon with chorizo and black pudding, simply delicious.

Catch of the day?  Look no further.

Spanish Salmon

Fresh crab, lobster and fish on ice

Catch of the Day











A Hidden Gem

We had enough time on our last day to take a drive to the Hayburn Wyke Inn, just north of Scarborough.  From there we took a walk to the Hayburn Wyke waterfall, a secluded cove between Scarborough and Whitby.  With a rocky beach and woodland to discover, this hidden gem is the perfect setting for a picnic or a day of exploration.

Hayburn Wyke Cove

The 20 minute or so walk to the waterfall can be a little muddy and steep in places but generally suitable for most people, it’s well signposted and forms part of the Cleveland Way if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous.

It was a glorious day, so we grabbed a bench in the sun and had a quick bite to eat before heading home.

The Hayburn Wyke Inn

Dog Friendly

Excellent Food










The Route YC covers 6 different routes around the coast but there are many other locations off the beaten track that are well worth exploring.  3 days was just enough as a taster, but we shall certainly be making plans for a longer trip to explore and experience more.

The Route YC website and app will give you and ideas and inspiration to enjoy Yorkshire’s ultimate road trip or, create your own itinerary, be as adventurous and energetic as you want.  Soak up the sun on sandy beaches, explore picturesque villages and enjoy fabulous local food.

Many thanks to the Route YC team for the itinerary and opportunity to explore this beautiful part of the UK, and also to the businesses that hosted us on our trip.




Mark & Rachel Peru

Free To Be

Follow our Socials @FreeToBe50


All photographs ©Mark Peru



This blog features gifted experiences.  We are in no way obligated to review all gifts/ads/pr collaborations in a positive light. We will be 100% honest in our blogs about any accommodation, items or experiences that we are gifted.  If we experience something that we wouldn’t recommend to a friend, then you won’t find it in our blog content.

July 1, 2023

A Brief Encounter in Bahrain, Magical Maldives

A Groupon Mystery Getaway Adventure, would you take the plunge?

The Maldives is a dream destination, a once in a lifetime, bucket list holiday for most of us

In a post Covid world, foreign holidays and staycations appear to be rather more expensive as the tourism industry gets back on its feet and bids to recoup lost revenue.  If you’re adventurous like us, happy to explore and visit new places, why not try something a little different?  We booked a Groupon Mystery Getaway, where you only find out your destination once you’ve paid for your voucher.

With a choice of around 60 global destinations, we thought it would be a great way to kick off our new venture into the world of travel blogging.

We were expecting a 2-night break to Amsterdam or maybe even Venice.  We were astounded when Groupon confirmed we were going to the Maldives, one of our dream destinations, for a week!

Now, before you get carried away, whilst the voucher will cost from around £90, you’ll need to factor in additional costs.  Check-in hold luggage, transfers, additional days, preferred departure airports and a few other additional extras may not be included.  You may also travel off-season but if you read and understand the small print, you’ll probably still come away with somewhat of a bargain.

We had a pretty good experience with the whole process and have no complaints.

Unplanned Bahrain

Our dream trip didn’t get off to a great start.  An e-mail from Gulf Air advised our flight from Manchester was delayed by over 6 hours which meant we would miss our connection in Bahrain and onward flight to Malé in the Maldives.

Our unscheduled layover would mean missing a day of our holiday at the Malahini Kuda Bandos resort. Despite the seemingly interminable queuing at Bahrain International Airport, waiting for our luggage and finally a transfer to a hotel at 4:30am, we decided to try and make the most of our time in a new City.

After a few hours rest, we jumped in an Uber (BHD 4.05 / £9.00) and took a trip to the Qal’at Al-Bahrain: Ancient Harbour and Capital of Dilmun, also known as the Bahrain Fort; a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The site is a typical “tell”, an artificial mound created by successive layers of human occupation dating from around 2300 BC to the 16th Century.  Archaeological investigations show that the site was occupied over the years by Kassites (Babylonians), Greeks, Portuguese and Persians and was a key ancient trading port in the Middle East.


Malahini Kuda Bandos

Back to the hotel to freshen up and get ready for our 23:00pm flight to Malé. The Maldives is an archipelago of around 1200 individual islands grouped into 26 natural atolls where tourism is the largest industry welcoming 1.6m tourists in 2022.


The 5-hour night flight means you get to experience the most beautiful sunrise as you fly over the archipelago, make sure you get that window seat as the views are simply stunning.

dream destinantion

The Maldives Archipelago








We arrived at Velana International Airport to be greeted by our resort representative and shown to our speedboat for a quick 15-minute transfer to Malahini.

If you’ve never visited the Maldives before, it’s everything you would expect, and more.  It really is a dream destination, islands emerge from turquoise-coloured seas, palm trees sway gently in the breeze, beach villas on the shoreline entice you in.  A feast for the eyes and senses, your shoulders drop and chill-time kicks in.

We were warmly welcomed by the friendly team at reception; as we arrived at around 8am, our room wasn’t quite ready, but they provided us with a drink and cold towels to refresh ourselves.  We were then able to dump our luggage, slip into our flip-flops and enjoy a leisurely breakfast overlooking the Indian Ocean.

Protecting Nature

As we had already been in touch with the Malahini team about a Social Media collaboration, we met up with Zimaam, the resort Marketing and Communications manager who warmly welcomed us to Malahini and gave us a personal tour of the island; you can stroll around the resort in about 15 minutes.

The 4 Star Malahini Kuda Bandos Resort is now 6 years old, and in a world where environmental and climate concerns are at the forefront of our minds, they strive to reduce the impact of their guests on the environment.  From investing in solar power and water purification systems, the use of glass water bottles and reducing single use plastics, they have also left the natural foundations of the island largely untouched.  The sand moves freely under the buildings; there has been no dredging or installation of artificial wave breaks and the island has been left as natural as possible.

There is rich, natural vegetation on Malahini, a beautiful pathway leads you from one side of the island to the other.  As to be expected in the Tropics, there are a few insects, but even the mozzies are kept at bay with natural measures, no insecticide or fumigation is used at all.

Time to Relax

We stayed in a Sunrise Beach Pool Villa; located along the shoreline, these are 100 sq m luxurious modern villas with a blend of vintage Maldivian interiors, an open air shower and bathroom, a private pool, jacuzzi and a sunbathing deck whilst offering a fabulous view of the dazzling sunrise.

After such a long journey, we couldn’t help but feel relaxed and pampered in our new surroundings.  The outdoor pool and jacuzzi were just what we needed to recuperate; the peace, tranquility and privacy of our own sun deck with just the sound of the Indian Ocean waves lapping on the shore was the perfect location for a recuperating snooze in the shade.

Bucketlist holiday

Floating Pool Breakfast

dream holiday

A Warm Welcome

Man in pool looking at the maldives ocean

Time to Relax








Although this is one of the Maldives’s smaller islands with 82 rooms, the choice of accommodation, restaurants, bars, amenities, and facilities is just about right.  The main Maaga restaurant serves a good range of buffet style food, and the Bluu beach bar has evening entertainment and is perfect for watching the sunset with snacks and a long cold drink.

There is a decent sized gym, the fabulous Alizé spa offers numerous treatments and the Marine and Recreation Hub provides great water sport options from snorkelling, kayaking, jet-skiing, and scuba diving.  You can enjoy anything from a 30-minute paddleboard to a full day’s fishing or scuba expedition with expert, Padi qualified guides.  If you like swimming with sharks, turtles, and sting rays, this is a great location.

Island Life

The beaches here at Malahini are as you’d expect for a Maldivian island.  Gorgeous white sandy beaches, clear turquoise sea with plenty of sunbeds available for sun worshippers.  The snorkelling just a few metres from the shore is amazing, you can expect to see all sorts of fish, rays and even sharks close to the reef.

The coral reef can be sharp and rocky underfoot in places, we found water shoes useful to help protect our delicate city feet.

There is a relaxed, Island Life vibe here at Malahini; you’ll spend most of your time in swimwear and beach attire, no need for formal wear, posh frocks or even shoes.

On our last night, we were treated to a private tree top Evening High Tea, featuring delicious cakes, cookies, savoury pastries, and fresh fruit all whilst watching a fabulous sunset.

Maldives sunset

Maldivian Sunset

High tea menu

Evening High Tea

Cakes, savouries, fruit

Sweet Treats








As one of the smaller Maldivian islands, Malahini is perfect for a quiet, relaxed holiday; just 15 minutes from Velana airport, it is somewhere you can really embrace Island Life, lie back and switch off for a while.

Our heartfelt thanks to ALL the crew at Malahini Kuda Bandos, from the front of house, gardeners, cleaners, reception, restaurant staff and chefs we had a truly fabulous experience at one of our dream destinations and would love to come back and see you all again very soon.


Mark & Rachel Peru

Free To Be

Follow our Socials @FreeToBe50


All photographs ©Mark Peru

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