We are just 25 miles from the beautiful heritage coastline, and we love visiting it. From picturesque fishing villages, cliff top walks to sandy beaches, there is so much to do and explore. Here are our top 5 things to do (which could so easily have been our top 20). Autumn is a great time to visit when the crowds have thinned and you can wrap up warm for a bracing walk in the sea air.
Walk from Sandsend to Whitby
Park on the road in Sandsend or in one of the car parks at the bottom of the hill. Check the tide times before you arrive so that you can time your walk to Whitby and back along the beach (with the tide out). First start with coffee and cake in the Sandside Café, and then admire the views of the Abbey as you strike out for Whitby. After all that sea air, you can then reward yourself with fish and chips. There is much debate as to the best place for fish and chips in Whitby. Our favourite is the Magpie Café. You’ll have to queue up the steps to get in, but the queue moves quickly and it’s worth the wait. Inside the Yorkshire waitresses are friendly and no nonsense; they will tell you if you are ordering too much. We recommend the small portions of fish and chips (they are normal size) with a side of bread and butter and mushy peas. All washed down with a pot of Yorkshire Tea. Then explore Whitby to burn off some of the calories; there are lots of quirky independent shops on the other side of the town over the swing bridge. Then a bracing walk back either along the beach or road back to Sandsend.
Robin Hoods Bay
Park in the car park at the top of the village and walk down the steep cobbled streets down to the beach. Stop off on the way back to explore the little cafes and shops. Look out for Berties Of Bay who sell lovely traditional heritage clothing as well as their own range of candles and gifts.
Winner of the Sunday Times Best British Beach 2020 this is a gorgeous sandy beach. They rightly described it as “close to perfection” and raved about its spacious sands, paddleboard and kayak hire centre, fresh water streams, fishing spots and fossil grounds. There really is something for everyone. The car park gets full at busy times, so get there early.
There is lots to explore in Saltburn from the Victorian pier to a ride on one of the worlds oldest funiculars which powers the cliff lift. Saltburn is really popular with surfers; hire a board to have a go or just watch them attempt to surf the waves whilst you eat an ice cream. You can book a beach hut on line before you arrive, and then you are set up for the day (the huts come equipped with plenty of creature comforts from deck chairs, wind breaker, kettle etc).
This is home to one of the UK’s top wildlife spectacles. Around half a million seabirds gather here between March and October to raise a family on towering chalk cliffs which overlook the North Sea. Ian took this photo of the gannets nesting as well as this puffin. Even in quieter times, with fewer birds nesting, it is still a spectacular walk along the cliffs.
Park at in the car park at the top of the village and then walk down the hill to explore the winding streets, cafes and shops. It’s a gorgeous fishing village with a cosy harbour; a destination for geologist and fossil hunters; and, perhaps most famously, the home of a community of well-known artists. We recommend the Staithes Gallery to look round. You’ll also find lots of references to Captain Cook who it’s claimed got his first taste of the sea when he worked in Staithes as a boy. The rest is history.