The ultimate guide to the Yorkshire Coast holiday cottages

The ultimate guide to the Yorkshire Coast

Julie Smith 11 January 2021

Whether it’s taking a scenic walk along clifftop paths, exploring the cobbled streets of a traditional fishing village or enjoying a classic family day out at the seaside, there are lots of reasons to pay a visit to the gorgeous Yorkshire Coast.

Yorkshire Coast guide

Rugged cliffs that date back around 2000 years tower high above golden beaches and hidden treasures including Jurassic fossils and precious Whitby Jet can often be found nestled amongst the sand. You can follow in the footsteps of sea captains and smugglers, explore an ancient abbey that was the inspiration for Dracula and enjoy freshly caught fish that’s battered and cooked to perfection. 

Discover the best things to do on Yorkshire Coast in this ultimate guide and start planning a memorable staycation in this wonderful part of the UK.

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Yorkshire Coast towns and villages

From bustling seaside resorts like Whitby and Scarborough to coastal coves where you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into the past, there are a range of towns and villages stretched along the length of the Yorkshire Coast. Here are just a few of our favourites:  


Whitby - Yorkshire Coast guide

Famous for its red-rooved houses, a bustling fishing harbour and an abbey that was the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Whitby is a must-visit destination on the Yorkshire Coast. Explore cobbled streets filled with independent shops in Whitby Old Town, take a scenic boat trip along the coast and then tuck into some freshly caught cod and chips from one of the town’s many restaurants. 

Don't miss:

  • Climb up 199 steps to Whitby Abbey and enjoy spectacular views over the town.
  • Step aboard a full-sized replica of Captain Cook’s HMS Endeavour to learn more about the famous explorer who set sail from Whitby to Australia in the 18th century.


Scarborough - Yorkshire Coast Guide

Britain’s oldest seaside resort, Scarborough is a delightful blend of old and new with a working Victorian cliff lift, one of the oldest purpose-built museums in the country and the lively South Bay beach which is surrounded by ice cream parlours, sweet shops and amusement arcades.

Don't miss:

  • Spend the day at Alpamare - a state-of-the-art waterpark that’s inspired by the Swiss alps.
  • Take a trip from around Scarborough’s North Bay on a miniature steam train which runs between Peasholm Park and the town’s Sealife Centre.  


Filey - Yorkshire Coast Guide

One of the Yorkshire Coast’s quieter seaside resorts, Filey is best known for a wide swathe of golden sand that was named Beach of the Year by the Sunday Times in 2018. The quaint town is full of delightful Edwardian buildings and quirky independently run shops.

Don't miss:

  • Take a walk down the historic Coble Landing slipway where you can watch the fishing pots be loaded on traditional boats and browse a range of seasonal stalls.
  • Follow the seafront sculpture trail along Filey Promenade which is also home to a collection of colourful beach huts. 

Robin Hood’s Bay

Robin Hood's Bay

One of the UK’s prettiest fishing villages, the 17th-century cottages of Robin Hood’s Bay seemingly cling to the side of a cliff as a maze of pathways weave their way through them down to the sandy beach below. Hidden treasures to seek out throughout the bay include stylish independent shops, traditional cosy pubs and top-notch bistro restaurants.

Don't miss:

  • Learn about the history of smuggling in Robin Hood’s Bay by following a tiled mosaic that stretches 125 metres along the village’s sea wall.
  • Pick up buckets and spades at Muir Lea Stores and explore the fascinating rock pools that form part of the beach.


Staithes - Yorkshire Coast Guide

Staithes is a gorgeously photogenic fishing village that’s filled with quaint colourful cottages peering out traditional wooden boats in the sheltered harbour. Staithes was featured in the CBBC series Captain Jack’s Boat and taking a relaxing wander around this peaceful village is a great option for little legs.

Don't miss:

  • Staithes is a hub for local artists and once a year many cottages in the village are transformed into miniature galleries as part of the Staithes Art and Heritage Festival.
  • Visit the Staithes Heritage Museum which has a collection of exhibits from the life of Captain Cook then search for fossils on the beach.

Yorkshire Coast walks

Yorkshire Coast walks

There are clifftop paths to follow along the length of the Yorkshire Coast including a 40-mile section of the Cleveland Way National Trail that goes all the way from Saltburn to Filey and the disused Cinder Track railway line. 

Sandsend to Whitby

Sandsend - Yorkshire Coast walks

The small village of Sandsend is around 3 miles from Whitby and you can take your pick from either following the Cleveland Way clifftop path or walking across a long stretch of sand that connects the two resorts. It’s up to you whether you catch a bus or walk the alternative route back to your starting location.

Flamborough to Bempton Cliffs

Flamborough - Yorkshire Coast walks

Take a wonderful wildlife walk along Britain’s highest chalk cliffs which are a haven for hundreds of thousands of nesting seabirds every year. The 9.5-mile walk follows the path of the Flamborough Head promontory where you can enjoy fabulous views out to sea and seek out a historic lighthouse which has been used to guide boats for hundreds of years. 

Robin Hood’s Bay and Maw Wyke

Robin hoods Bay - Yorkshire Coast walks

This 6-mile circular walk starts and ends in Robin Hood’s Bay and takes in sections of the Cleveland Way clifftop path and the Cinder Track, a disused railway line that runs between Whitby and Scarborough. The sheltered May Wyke bay is a nesting site for a colony of kittiwakes and you can also see fulmars and herring gulls during this walk.   

Scarborough to Filey Brigg

Scarborough to Filey Brigg

The final section of the Cleveland Way starts in the popular seaside resort of Scarborough where you’ll pass by the handsome Victorian spa lift on route to the clifftop path that will take you along the 10.5-mile journey to Filey. It’s worth calling at Cayton Bay which is the halfway point of your journey and getting refreshments at Lucie’s Beach Shack before heading to Filey Brigg, where you may well spot some local sea life from the long promontory here.

Staithes and Port Mulgrave

Staithes - Yorkshire Coast walks

This 4-mile circular walk features the best of both worlds by following coastal paths from the fishing village of Staithes to the high cliffs of Port Mulgrave and a woodland walk to take you back again. There are atmospheric cobbled streets to explore in Staithes and wonderful views from Port Mulgrave where you can also see traditional wooden fisherman’s huts on the beach below.

Dog-friendly Yorkshire Coast beaches

Yorkshire Coast Guide - beaches

The Yorkshire Coast makes an ideal destination for canine-friendly holidays - four-legged friends are welcome in a wide range of seaside cafes, restaurants and shops and the vast majority of beaches are dog-friendly too.

  • Cayton Bay is a quiet stretch of sandy beach that’s just a few miles south of Scarborough. Dogs can play on the sand here all year long and the large sweeping bay means there is plenty of room for everyone. The choppy waters here are a top pick for surfers so it’s probably best to keep dogs away from the sea.
  • The quaint streets of Runswick Bay are completely free of cars so we recommend walking your dog through the collection of pretty red-rooved cottages to the horseshoe-shaped sandy cove at the bottom of the village. The small beach at Runswick Bay has no dog restrictions at any time of the year.
  • There are several stretches of sand at Whitby but the best choice for dogs is the small sheltered Tate Hill Beach as dogs are welcome here all year round. Whitby is very dog-friendly and four-legged friends can join you for fish and chips, refreshments in a pub or even on a boat trip to nearby Sandsend.
  • Another popular dog-friendly destination is Robin Hood’s Bay where there are lots of places you can call in together as you make your way down the winding paths that lead through the village to the sandy beach below. There are no dog restrictions at Robin Hood’s Bay and the beach has a gorgeous backdrop of the surrounding high cliffs.

Yorkshire Coast pubs

Yorkshire coast pubs

After bracing seaside walks and days spent on the beach, you’ll find an array of lovely Yorkshire Coast pubs where you can stop for a glass of something cold and refreshing.

The Duke of York 

This Whitby pub looks out over the harbour from its prime location at the bottom of the town’s famous 199 steps. The long history of the Duke of York is celebrated with black and white photos and Whitby memorabilia that adorn the walls and you can enjoy homemade food, cask ales and a selection of wine in the pub’s atmospheric bar area. 

The Laurel Inn

This cosy little coastal pub is located around halfway between the cliff tops and the sea in Robin Hood’s Bay. Step inside The Laurel Bay’s handsome whitewashed exterior and you’ll find characterful wooden beams, uneven walls and a roaring open fire. Dogs will be welcomed warmly and it’s up to you whether you buy lunch here or bring food along to enjoy with your beer. 

The Royal

With a beer garden that looks out over Runswick Bay and local art on the walls of the light and bright bar area, The Royal is a dog-friendly pub that’s well worth calling in at during a bracing clifftop walk along the Cleveland Way. Food on offer includes fresh fish and scampi and there’s local beer on the menu to wash it down with. 

The Ship Inn

Located a few miles from Bridlington next to the grand Sewerby Hall is The Ship Inn, a traditional dog-friendly pub that makes the most of its wonderful spot with a beer garden that stretches out towards the coastal cliffs. Regular music sessions are held in the beer garden during the summer months and the food menu includes a top-notch Sunday carvery. 

The Copper Horse

With dark panelled walls, sumptuous leather chairs and a stylish copper-topped bar taking centre stage, The Copper Horse near Scarborough is an elegant choice for drinks or dinner. The pub’s extensive drinks menu includes everything from specialist gins to local beers which you can sip while sitting in front of a grand feature fireplace.

Where to eat on the Yorkshire Coast

Yorkshire Coast food

Whether you are looking for traditional fish and chips, a sandwich for lunch, or something a little fancier, here are some of the best places to eat on the Yorkshire Coast:

The Star Inn the Harbour

This Whitby restaurant celebrates the best of the North York Moors coast and countryside with a menu that includes everything from fresh cod and chips and seafood platters to roast Yorkshire lamb and a thyme-roasted celeriac ‘steak’. The man behind The Star Inn the Harbour is Michelin-starred chef Andrew Pern and huge windows in the restaurant’s distinctive octagonal building mean you can watch the boats bring in their daily catch.

Bramblewick Fish and Grill, Robin Hood’s Bay

Located just a short stroll from the sea in Robin Hood’s Bay, the Bramblewick is an elegant bistro-style restaurant that’s housed in a romantic 17th-century building. The ambience of this characterful restaurant is just right for a romantic candlelit dinner and the various seasonal ingredients used in the top-notch dishes are all sourced from local Yorkshire suppliers. 

Wits End Cafe

This casual seafront cafe looks out over the beach at Sandsend and as four-legged friends are welcome inside, it’s the perfect choice to call in after a walk across the golden sand. The Wits End Cafe is licensed so you can wash down a selection of cakes and light bites with either wine, juice or coffee and there’s a wonderful walled garden to explore while you’re here too.

San Marco Ristorante, Filey

This popular restaurant is located close to the beach in Filey and serves a range of classic Italian dishes with lots of pizza and pasta options, and there are daily happy hours available too. Generous portions, good value and a friendly atmosphere make San Marco Ristorante a great option for a family-friendly dinner.

The Seafood Social 

A social enterprise cafe in Scarborough, The Seafood Social donates all their profits to help the homeless, helps people in need learn new skills and has a pay-it-forward scheme so you can buy a lunch for someone who needs it. The food at the cafe celebrates delicious fresh Yorkshire Coast seafood in dishes that include posh fish finger sandwiches, fish goujon wraps, and smoked haddock & chive croquettes. 

Things to do

 From enjoying some traditional beach activities to exploring ancient abbey ruins, there's lots to see and do at the Yorkshire Coast:

Parks and gardens

Yorkshire Coast guide - gardens

  • The oriental-themed Peasholm Park in Scarborough features family-friendly woodland trails and a large boating lake. Hire a dragon-shaped boat and pedal around the lake’s feature pagoda then catch a miniature steam train to nearby North Bay Beach.
  • Just a few miles from Whitby is the magical Falling Foss Tea Garden which features a tumbling Yorkshire waterfall, woodland walks and a babbling brook with a bridge that’s just right for playing pooh sticks from.
  • The Valley Gardens at Saltburn date back to Victorian times and feature colourful Italian borders, benches where you can sit and look out over the sea, a miniature railway and a children’s play area. After spending time in the garden, take a short walk to the town’s historic funicular railway and catch a train down to the beach below. 

In the water

Yorkshire Coast guide - boat trips

  • There are various places along the Yorkshire Coast where you can try your hand at water sports with surf schools at Cayton Bay and Saltburn, kayaking available to try at Whitby and Scarborough, and Bay Watersports who are based at Filey.   
  • If you fancy a thrilling ride down a range of waterslides, Alpamare is an alpine-style water park in Scarborough with state-of-the-art facilities, daring rides and a tropically heated outdoor pool if you prefer to relax and take things easy. 
  • You’ll find a range of boat trips available on the Yorkshire Coast including climbing aboard a replica HMS Endeavour at Whitby for a journey full of nautical tales and sea shanties and the thrilling Wave Rider speed boat which sets off from the harbour at Scarborough.

Castles, abbeys and historic houses

Yorkshire Coast guide - Whitby Abbey

  • The imposing gothic ruins of Whitby Abbey tower high above the seaside town and the grounds here are perfect for enjoying a romantic picnic or following in the footsteps of artists and writers through the years by exploring this atmospheric spot.
  • Perched on an elevated grassy headland, Scarborough Castle is the only point in town where you can look out over both the North and South Bay resorts at the same time. The castle dates back 3,000 years and there are battlement viewing platforms and lots of space for kids to run around.
  • Sewerby House is a Grade I-listed Georgian stately home near Bridlington that’s set in 50 acres of formal gardens and parkland with an on-site zoo, family-friendly heritage trails and wonderfully restored rooms to explore.


Yorkshire Coast guide - wildlife

  • The RSPB’s nature reserve at Bempton Cliffs is one of the best places to see puffins, gannets and guillemots in the UK. The chalk cliffs here attract around half a million nesting birds each year with six different viewing platforms available.
  • The rocks of Ravenscar, a headland that’s between Robin Hood’s Bay and Scarborough, is home to a colony of around 300 common and grey seals that live at the base of the cliffs. As long as you stay at least 10 metres from them, you can watch the seals playing together and lounging on the rocks.
  • Minke whales and dolphins can be spotted off the Yorkshire Coast and regular whale watching boat trips from Whitby provide the best chance of getting up close to these majestic sea mammals.  

A day at the seaside

Yorkshire Coast guide

  • There’s lots of traditional seaside fun to be had on a Yorkshire Coast holiday - you can build a sandcastle, hunt for fossils amongst the sand or explore a series of rock pools to see what interesting creatures are lurking there.
  • You’ll find shops selling traditional seaside food all over the Yorkshire Coast. We recommend the Harbour Bar in Scarborough for delicious home-made ice cream, the Fish Box in Robin Hood’s Bay for classic cod and chips, and the Candy Rock King in Whitby for colourful sticks of seaside rock.
  • There are classic amusement arcades with push-penny machines and family-friendly games at the larger Yorkshire seaside resorts plus mini-golf courses at Scarborough, Filey and Whitby. 

Other things to do at the Yorkshire Coast include:

Scarborough spa - Yorkshire Coast guide

  • Enjoy a summer concert at Scarborough Open Air Theatre
  • Scare yourself silly on the Dracula Experience tour in Whitby
  • Visit the Old Coastguard Station in Robin Hoods Bay; it’s a National Trust site that hosts a fascinating marine life exhibition
  • Recline on a deckchair on the suncourt at Scarborough Spa and listen to a summer performance from The Spa Orchestra 

Plan your visit to the Yorkshire Coast

If you have been inspired to visit the Yorkshire Coast, you’ll find lots of lovely places to rest your head after fun-filled days of exploring. Here are just some suggestions of places to stay:

Hidden Gem, Robin Hoods Bay | Sleeps: 2 guests plus 2 dogs 

Yorkshire coast cottages

This one-bedroomed romantic retreat is nestled near the sea in Robin Hood’s Bay. Take a wander to nearby pubs and restaurants then cuddle up and get cosy in front of the fire.

Rock Lobster, Flamborough | Sleeps: 4 guests plus 1 dog

Yorkshire Coast cottages

Look out over the historic Flamborough Lighthouse from this contemporary coastal cottage that’s just 300 metres from the dog-friendly beach below.

Marina View, Whitby | Sleeps 10 guests plus 2 dogs

Yorkshire Coast cottages

Gather your family together for a seaside holiday to remember at this five-bedroom holiday home that looks out over Whitby Marina. An outside terrace with stunning views is perfect for al fresco dining or evening drinks together.

Browse our collections of romantic, dog-friendly and family-friendly Yorkshire properties to find the ideal base for your next short break or longer holiday.


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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