Magpie Café which is not really a café at all but a fish and chip restaurant, one of many in Whitby but the only one with an Egon Ronay recommendation and the only one with long queues, queues we avoided by advance booking.
This was dinner on the first day of the adventure. The fish is landed at the wharf opposite: it cannot be any fresher, and we had a superb meal with very friendly service. Between that dinner and the anticipated tea the following day, the continental breakfast included in our room price at the George Hotel would be perfectly adequate, we felt. No need to pay extra for the full English …
On the second morning we made our way to Whitby station and caught the steam train to Grosmont, where we had a couple of hours before the departure of the North Yorkshire Pullman. There was plenty to do. We explored the preserved side of the station and watched the train being prepared, a locomotive being coupled to it to provide heat and power, and we walked to the locomotive sheds where other engines were undergoing restoration or repair.
We spent some time in the gift shop, seeking an appropriate gift for the new-born baby of a young friend, settling on a toy model of Toby the Tram Engine, Toby being the child's name. We imagined it might just be too predictable and the poor boy would get nothing but tram engines to mark his birth but were later told that ours was the only one. The former village school has become a community centre and we had a cup of coffee there, overlooking the railway and river and then went back to the station to board our special train.
The train had been made very special, with red carpet laid on the platform and a pedestal of flowers by the entrance door. An attendant checked our tickets and offered to take our camera and photograph us together, and we were handed a glass of Bucks Fizz and taken to our seats in the traditional wooden Pullman car. There were three Pullman cars on this train and I had asked for this one because it is the only traditional art deco one of the three, the others being very much younger. We had a table for two with a brass lamp and fully set for a very good tea. The welcome drink, unlimited tea and/or coffee and all the food were included in the ticket price, paid with the voucher I had been given, and other drinks according to choice could be purchased from the bar, with orders taken and drinks brought by the waiting staff who were very attentive. We can thoroughly recommend this experience, and having subsequently read others' reviews on Trip Advisor it would seem that the lunch and dinner trips are also of excellent quality and well served.
The second night there was karaoke in the downstairs bar, but we were well above that and suffered no loss of sleep from the noise. We could have done without the noise made by some of the customers while waiting for their taxi after they left, though. Still, that is a hazard of town centre dwelling and is not unknown at home in Stamford.