Six of the prettiest villages near Whitby holiday cottages

Six of the prettiest villages near Whitby

Julie Smith 18 August 2021

Whitby is probably one of the best known (and arguably best-loved) towns on the Yorkshire Coast and it certainly sees many holidaymakers flocking there throughout the summer to get their fill of its famous fish and chips and lemon tops (a delicious combination of ice cream and lemon sorbet for the uninitiated).

However, step just a few miles outside of Whitby and you’ll find an array of pretty Yorkshire villages just waiting to be explored. Here, in no particular order, are six of the villages we love along with a selection of our cottages to stay in.

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Robin Hood’s Bay

Robin Hood's Bay

This charming coastal fishing village is less than 6 miles from Whitby and was once a haven for smugglers. You can still see glimpses of this past within the cobbled streets and historic houses that once hid the contraband goods. 

Today, Robin Hood’s Bay has an assortment of shops, cafes and restaurants to browse as you explore the winding paths that take you from cliff-top views to the sandy beach of the bay. 

Heralded as one of the prettiest beaches in Yorkshire, this sweeping stretch of pristine sand on the Heritage Coast has long been a favourite with fossil hunters and families, and as it’s dog-friendly all year round, it’s a big hit with our four-legged friends too.

Don’t miss:

  • Follow the path of a 125-metre tiled mosaic that runs along the sea wall to learn more about the fascinating history of Robin Hood’s Bay with stories depicted in the artwork including smuggling, seafaring and shipwrecks.
  • Visit The Old Coastguard Station located on the Robin Hood’s Bay slipway which is now a National Trust site with interactive exhibits about local marine life including a recreated rockpool.
  • Call in for refreshments at Tea, Toast and Post on your way to the beach. The former village post office is now a quirky cafe with regular live music and a retro jukebox.     

Stay nearby at: Laurel Cottage, sleeps 6 + 2 dogs. This characterful stone cottage comes with a cosy wood-burner and a spot near the sea in the heart of Robin Hood's Bay.



This lovely village in Yorkshire is 9 miles from Whitby and is home to a North York Moors Railway stop that was once used as Hogsmeade Station in the Harry Potter films, and was also used as the fictional village of Aidensfield in the popular Heartbeat TV series.

It’s easy to see why it was chosen as the charming pub, tearooms and village stores are surrounded by stunning countryside (and a few wandering sheep)! Set amongst the wild and romantic North Yorkshire Moors, this picture-postcard village is perfect for walkers and lovers of the outdoors, with the Mallyan Spout Waterfall and the Goathland Viewpoint just two of the beauty spots to discover.

Don’t miss:

  • Catch a NYMR steam train from Goathland to Whitby where you can sit back and enjoy the moorland views on the way to the coast. In the other direction the train travels to the popular market town of Pickering
  • Take a wonderful waterfall walk from Mallyan Spout to the nearby Thomasson Foss before heading to the pretty woodland hamlet of Beck Hole for a drink at the Birch Hall Inn, one of the tiniest pubs in the North York Moors
  • Head to Aidensfield Garage which featured in Heartbeat and is now a charming shop selling memorabilia, confectionary and local gifts.  

Stay nearby at: The Potting Shed – Goathland, sleeps 2. This bijou hideaway for two is perfect for couples in need of some R&R, with a luxury welcome hamper, an honesty drinks tray, complimentary toiletries and fluffy white robes and slippers.



Set on a steep, winding hill, the village of Ruswarp is just a couple of miles west of Whitby in the tranquil Esk Valley. It is small and beautifully formed with a 9-hole golf course, a miniature steam railway, and Ruswarp Pleasure Boats if you fancy spending a lazy day along the river amongst the ducks and swans. 

After a bite to eat in the welcoming local pub, you can walk to Whitby from the main street in Ruswarp by following signs for the Esk Valley Walk.

Don’t miss:

  • Ruswarp is a popular spot for fishing and you can catch brown trout and salmon on the River Esk that runs through the village with day passes available from Ruswarp Pleasure Boats.
  • The circular walk from Ruswarp to Whitby include stretches along the River Esk where you can spot birds such as herons and kingfisher and The Cinder Track, which is a long-distance walking route that follows the path of a disused railway to Scarborough.
  • Exploring Whitby Old Town where you can browse quirky independent shops selling everything from Lucky Ducks to Whitby Jet jewellery.  

Stay nearby at: Crag Cottage, sleeps 8 + 2 dogs. Perfect for a large family or group of friends, this five-star retreat boasts a crackling wood burner which will soon get you warm and toasty after a day exploring the coast.



Located 3 miles above Whitby on the Yorkshire Coast with some great views of Whitby Abbey, Sandsend is a small fishing village with a beautiful sandy beach. You’ll find lots of places to sample some freshly caught fish and seafood along the promenade, perfect after a day of fossil hunting and sandcastle building! 

Lace up your walking boots and take a wander along its two trickling streams, or follow the Sandsend Trail, discovering the village’s rich industrial past.

Don’t miss:

  • Walking along the sandy beach all the way to Whitby before following the Cleveland Way National Trail on the cliff tops back to Sandsend. The beach here is a great choice to hunt for hidden treasures such as fossils and Whitby Jet.
  • Pampering yourself at the Raithwaite Spa in Sandsend where you can spend time relaxing in the sauna, steam room and heated indoor pool. 
  • Enjoying a fine dining meal at Estbek House, a Yorkshire restaurant with two AA rosettes which has lots of fresh local fish and seafood on the menu.  

Stay nearby at: The Retreat – Sandsend, sleeps 4. As if plucked straight from the pages of a storybook, this fairy-tale cottage, which dates back to the 17th century, offers elegant interiors, award-winning gardens and a peaceful, secluded location.


Egton credit: Instagram @richiesayer1

Just 6.5 miles from Whitby, Egton is a great choice if you fancy spotting some wildlife as its location in the heart of the Esk Valley and close to the River Esk is a natural habitat for birds, fish and mammals alike. Watch out for otters, voles, and kingfishers amongst others while enjoying a peaceful picnic. 

Every year in August, the village plays host to the Egton Show, one of the largest agricultural shows in the area, and you’ll find several good pubs in the village including the excellent Wheatsheaf Inn.

Don’t miss

  • Head to the Wheatsheaf Inn in the village for refreshments. This 19th-century inn has lots of fresh, local meat and fish on the menu which you can wash down with a local ale. 
  • Catch the Esk Valley train from Egton to Whitby and spend the day exploring the bustling seaside town before heading back to the sleepy North York Moors village. 
  • While in Whitby take a boat trip out to sea on a replica of Captain Cook’s Endeavour or try your luck in one of the town’s traditional arcades.

Stay nearby at: Egton Cottage, sleeps 4 + 2 dogs. With its country-chic interiors, views of the North York Moors beyond the garden fence, and a friendly pub just opposite, this is a wonderful choice for a Yorkshire holiday.


Sleights credit: Instagram @amanda._.louise

Sleights (which rhymes with heights) is another quaint little village in the Esk Valley, 4.5 miles from Whitby. It has some picturesque walks and a salmon leap where you can spot salmon swimming upstream. 

The river is a good spot for fly fishing (with the proper permissions), but if you don’t manage to catch anything head to the excellent local butcher and deli, Radfords, to get something delicious for your supper.

Don’t miss

  • Sleights is home to an excellent fish and chip shop where you can either sit in to enjoy your feast or take your freshly battered cod away to tuck into it by the river.
  • There’s a Botham’s of Whitby bakery in the village where you can stock up on local cakes and biscuits such as fruit nevilles, Yorkshire brack and ginger parkin.
  • Located just a few miles from Sleights is Falling Foss Tea Garden where you can take a woodland walk, paddle in the shallow waters of May Beck and seek out a pretty waterfall. It’s a magical place that’s a great choice to visit with little ones.

Stay nearby at: Rose and Crown, sleeps 4. After enjoying the sun, sand and surf of Whitby, this Grade II listed former sea captain’s house is the perfect place to put your feet up, relax, and soak up wonderful views of Whitby Abbey.

Map of the Whitby villages

Plan your getaway to Whitby and the Yorkshire coast with this handy map:

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Stay at the Yorkshire Coast


Have any of these pretty villages near Whitby caught your eye? If so, have a browse of our cottages in and around this gorgeous seaside resort and start planning a holiday in Yorkshire to remember.  For even more inspiration read our insider's guide to Whitby.

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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