Much like its Cornish counterpart, the Yorkshire coastline is a heady mix of rugged cliff tops, peaceful bays and pretty fishing villages. With long sandy beaches and all the traditional trimmings of yesteryear, this is proper bucket ‘n’ spade territory. That’s not to say it’s stuck in the past, the coast’s towns and villages combine the traditional with the contemporary wonderfully with trinket shops and tearooms sitting alongside upmarket champagne and oyster bars.
Gorgeous things to see and do on the Yorkshire Coast
Rather surprisingly, North Yorkshire’s coast has some of the finest surfing beaches in England. Whether you’re a complete novice or a seasoned professional, there are locations to suit every level of ability so hop on and give it a go! If adrenalin inducing wave riding is not your cup of tea, the beautiful beaches and bays along this part of the world have lots of gentle alternatives. At low tide, grab an ice-cream, take a stroll along the beach from Whitby to Sandsend and amble back across the cliff top. Paddle around in the rock pools at Runswick or Robin Hood’s Bay, build a sandcastle or just throw out a blanket and lie back with a good book.
Gastro Pubs to Gastropods
You will find some fantastic eateries within Whitby and the surrounding villages, with heavy emphasis of course on locally caught, fresh seafood. Try not to miss the Magpie Café on Pier Road beside the harbour; something of a Whitby institution, it has been serving up traditional fish ‘n chips since 1939. If you prefer your molluscs on the move, there are several seafood stalls along the harbour with pots full of whelks, winkles, cockles, mussels and all things shellfish.
Go Gothic at Whitby
This region is best known for the gorgeously Gothic town of Whitby. Straddling the river Esk and dominated by the 13th Century ruins of St Hilda’s Abbey on the East Cliff, Whitby’s crooked cobbled streets and picturesque harbour have been a magnet for artists and tourists alike for centuries. Providing the backdrop for some of Lewis Carroll’s work, it was also famously the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. For a real sense of the town’s atmospheric ambiance, climb the 199 Abbey steps at dusk and wander around St. Mary’s churchyard on the headland… You can further indulge a desire for the macabre on one of the regular ghost walks from Whale Bone Arch on West Cliff.
Nautical but nice
The training ground of seafaring legend Captain Cook no less and home to an interesting museum on his life, the Captain Cook Memorial Museum, let Whitby’s maritime heritage inspire you to take your own trip on the high seas. There are plenty of options for pleasure boat trips along the harbour to neighbouring villages or twilight trips, with private charter available on certain boats. From late summer to early autumn it’s also possible to go whale watching from here.
Robin Hoods Bay
Venture just a few miles south of Whitby and you’ll find the gravity defying picture-postcard village of Robin Hood’s Bay. Once home to the busiest smuggling trade on the Yorkshire coast, said to involve fisherman, clergy and gentry alike, today the village has adopted a much more sedate pace of life. Take some time to enjoy the heavenly view at the top before venturing down the steep streets to the sandy bay below. There are plenty of pit stops to whet your whistle on the way down, as well as some quaint shops to distract you from the steep climb back up.