I'm in the early stages of planning a two-week trip for my mother and I to visit the UK in June 2015 (no, that's not a typo, we're early planners). We've decided which areas we want to visit and now I'm trying to make a feasible itinerary. Because it will be our first time to the UK, budget is a consideration, but not really a huge issue (i.e. we're willing to splurge for important things, but we're not going 5-star luxury for the whole trip). Mom is in her 60s and not much of a hiker.
We'll be traveling from Edinburgh via train to North Yorkshire and plan to spend two days there (probably arriving on a Friday). Our "must see" list for North Yorkshire includes Whitby and the Goathland train station (we're Harry Potter fans). It seems renting a car will be the best way to go, but we're not keen on driving more than an hour to get from place to place.
First question: Should we (A) disembark at Darlington and rent a car there or (B) transfer to Middlesbrough and rent a car there or (C) travel from Edinburgh to Darlington to Middlesbrough to Whitby all via train, make Whitby our "home base" and use the NYMR to see the rest of the area?
Second question: If we decide to rent a car (options A or B above), in which town should we stay for two nights? We're keen on staying in smaller towns instead of larger cities (e.g. York). So, priorities will be (1) quaint, (2) walking distance to a pub, and (3) centrally located.
At the end of our North Yorkshire swing, we'll head to York. If we have a rental car, we'll probably drive all the way to York, although that might be pushing our hour limit on driving.
Third question: If we decide not to rent a car (or want to limit how far we drive), is there a recommended transportation option from North Yorkshire to York? Is there a bus from Pickering to York?