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Distance: 10.5 miles
Difficulty: Moderate – the walk is mostly level but there are a few steep sections
Parking: Park at Station Avenue pay and display car park in Filey and catch the train to Scarborough (prices from £3.90) to begin your walk. Alternatively, park in any of the pay and display car parks in Scarborough and return from Filey by train when you’ve finished.
Notes: Most of the walk is along the cliff tops, so it’s not one for those with a fear of heights!
The final stretch of the Cleveland Way, this 10.5-mile walk between the seaside towns of Scarborough and Filey is a relatively non-arduous route, with some beautiful coastal scenery.
Leaving behind the nostalgic jingles of Scarborough’s iconic arcades, the path traces the cliffs along past Cayton Bay and onwards, with views of the white cliffs of Flamborough Head before you make your way into Filey and the end of the walk.
The most usual starting place for this section of the Cleveland Way is Scarborough Train Station. From here, make your way to South Bay beach near the Grand Hotel. The seafront promenade stretches north of here, where you can pick up a quick fast food snack if you’re feeling peckish.
Making your way out of town south along the coast, you’ll pass the Scarborough Spa Cliff Lift and the Esplanade gardens above. The little funicular railway is the oldest in the UK, created in 1873 to transport passengers between the South Cliff Esplanade to Scarborough Spa which, in its day, was the most popular music venue outside of London. It is one of two cliff lifts which remain operational out of a total of five in Scarborough.
Beyond Scarborough Spa, the road ends and the Cleveland Way follows a tarmac path along the beach until the Star Disk which is an illuminated diagram of the 42 brightest stars visible in the sky over Scarborough. It’s worth returning here at night to see the disk glowing with fibre optic lights. The Star Disk lies where a huge outdoor swimming pool was once one of the town’s most popular attractions until its closure in 1989.
A clifftop stroll
The Cleveland Way continues along a grassy headland and along a tree-lined path before emerging at the top of the cliffs alongside Scarborough South Cliff Golf Club. The course is divided into two parts, the seaward part, which you can see from the walk, includes the fourth to tenth holes - the views providing a distraction for the lucky golfers enjoying its idyllic location.
A short distance past the golf course, the route turns inland (away from the original path) and then left to follow Osgodby Hill Road for a short stretch, descending back onto the old path down Tenants Cliff.
Follow Cayton Bay
The steep set of steps leads down through dense woodland before popping out on the path which runs along the top of Cayton Sands. At approximately the halfway point in your walk, it’s a good place to take a breather at Lucy’s Beach Shack, treating yourselves to a coffee or something more filling before you head onwards towards Filey. Cayton Bay is dog friendly year-round and harbours a variety of fossils and rock formations from around 150 million years ago, making it an interesting distraction on your day’s walk.
At the end of Cayton Bay, the Cleveland Way climbs up Lebberston Cliff, a rugged open expanse which affords beautiful coastal views for miles. Turn around to admire Cayton Bay stretching out behind you.
Sea views for miles
From here, the walk continues along the cliff tops, past a holiday park and along Newbiggin Cliff and North Cliff, all the way to Filey Brigg, the terminus of the walk. The path is high and close to the edge here, so keep an eye on children and dogs (and hapless adults!). The landscape is vast and open; with large skies and the sea stretching as far as the eye can see, it gives a magical feeling of freedom.
Wildlife watching on Filey Brigg
While the walk ends at Filey, it’s worth tacking on a little extra to wander out along Filey Brigg to see if you can spot any sea life from the craggy promontory. Back in Filey, there’s the promise of refreshments and welcoming cafes where you can put your feet up and enjoy the feeling of accomplishment at completing the final stretch of the Cleveland Way (whether or not you covered any of the rest of the 109-mile walk!).
Scarborough is the epitome of a traditional seaside resort. Curving around an inviting sandy beach, the seafront is lined with amusement arcades, enticing in visitors with their garish lights to squander coppers or ‘win big’ on the fruit machines. Interspersed with the arcades are gift shops, fast food outlets and ice cream parlours – the perfect recipe for a good, old-fashioned day beside the sea.
It's a novel bit of fun to take the tramway from the southern end of Scarborough Beach up to the shopping street which runs behind the seafront. Here you’ll find all the usual high street shops and a number of eateries to fuel you up ready for your 10-mile walk!
Scarborough Castle is one of the town’s must-visit attractions. Perched atop the headland between North Bay and South Bay, with stomach-churning drops to the sea below, the castle has stood through everything history has thrown at it, from medieval sieges and Civil War attacks to World War II German naval bombardment.
Enjoy the seaside from another perspective and hop on board the North Bay Heritage Railway which puffs through North Bay, offering spectacular views from its carriages before coming to a stop next to the Scarborough Sealife Centre.
At the Scarborough Sea Life Centre, you can journey to the depths of the ocean before you set out on your walk alongside it. Meet the inhabitants of the Great Barrier Reef, help rescue an interactive turtle, take a walk on penguin island and visit the patients at Yorkshire’s only Seal Hospital.
Much more laid back than its all-singing, all-dancing neighbour, Scarborough, Filey is blessed with a huge swathe of golden sand, perfect for family beach days and invigorating winter walks.
At the north end of the beach is Coble Landing, a historic slipway where an assortment of colourful boats make a pretty view while you’re sipping on a coffee in one of the little cafes. With your energy levels replenished, take a stroll along the seafront to admire the artworks on the Sculpture Trail. Created by artist Russ Coleman, the trail was inspired by Filey’s natural heritage.
Ornithologists are in for a treat on Filey Brigg, the peninsula which lies at the northern end of town, where you can spot all manner of seabirds and migratory birds, as well as seals in early spring and porpoises in summer.
If the seabirds aren’t forthcoming, or you fancy adding to your list of sightings, visit the Bird Garden and Animal Park which is home to a menagerie of animals, exotic birds, natural spaces and gardens.
The little town is bustling with independent shops, museums and attractive Edwardian architecture – a lovely spot to enjoy a browse at a slower pace.
Enjoyed this route? Find out more about the rest of the Cleveland Way in our Cleveland Way Guide.
Stay with us on the Yorkshire Coast
We have a gorgeous collection of cottages on the Yorkshire coast, close to Scarborough and Filey, which make the perfect base for your walk in this beautiful part of northern England. Whether you’re planning a family break, a couple’s getaway or a special group celebration, you’ll find your perfect hideaway here.
Close to the Rotunda Museum and Spa Bridge, this vintage chic holiday home is the perfect bolthole for a romantic break. The eclectic décor creates a cosy atmosphere, with some of the original character features still on show. Offering spectacular sea views and with a lawned green right outside, it has all the ingredients for a relaxing coastal break.
This light and airy apartment with subtle seaside décor is just a stone’s throw from the beach. Enjoy the coastal views of Filey Bay and Bempton cliffs from the open-plan lounge/kitchen/diner and spend your time relaxing, enjoying the beach and strolling around the friendly town.
A charming, double-fronted English home, Osgodby Cottage exudes grace and elegance. Its spacious contemporary rooms bear subtle nods to its long history, including its beautiful fireplace with wood burner, select hand-picked pieces of furniture and large AGA range in the kitchen. Its sizable garden is made for BBQs and with local amenities within just a 5-minute walk of its village location, close to Scarborough, it makes the ideal coastal retreat for a group getaway.