Yorkshire's best beaches

19th October 2018

A beach in Yorkshire at sunset

Whether you’re looking for the perfect backdrop for an afternoon stroll or a bustling bay with a seafront fish and chip shop offering, Yorkshire is a fantastic place to visit. The stretches of golden sand offer both secluded spots and a more traditional UK seaside town atmosphere, meaning that there is something for everyone in this beautiful county.

 

Bridlington

Flamborough beach at sunset

The coastal town of Bridlington is the epitome of a quintessential seaside resort. For many, there is nothing better than to “sit on the harbour watching the boats come home with their catch, all whilst enjoying the sea air with a portion of fish and chips”, explains Bridlington.net, the online tourist information website. The town has a vast array of traditional seaside offerings, including having been named one of the best places in the country to build sandcastles thanks to its incredible quality of sand. What’s more is that a trip to Bridlington doesn’t mean that you are restricted to one beach, with several in the area.

The award-winning North Beach stretches for two miles, with its impeccably clean shores regularly cleaned in order to keep the water in line with the European Bathing Standards. To the south, visitors can get swept away by the breathtaking views of Flamborough headland, which can be found just a couple of miles out on the outskirts of Bridlington. The dramatic scenery here provides a picture-perfect backdrop to birdwatch or wander, with a plethora of walks for you to take over the towering cliffs.

Back in the town, there is a lot to see and do, including the Bridlington Spa Theatre which “provides a panoramic view of the beautiful South Beach, as well as hosts some top-class entertainers all year round” and the Bridlington Priory, which offers stunning artefacts and stained-glass windows for you to enjoy.

 

West Cliff Beach

Whitby harbour in the evening

Arguably Whitby’s biggest attraction is its thriving harbour which sits on the River Esk. Although the harbour itself is natural, man-made changes to the structure have made it what it is today, and, in fact, it is among one of the few places where you can watch the sun both rise and set over the sea during the summer months.

Aside from the harbour, Whitby is home to the West Cliff Beach, with access to the sand either from the town, down the long ramps from the carpark or, if it’s running, from the cliff link. The beach is lined with beach huts and is overlooked by the spa. During the summer months, the harbour is manned with a lifeguard, which means that visitors can enjoy a dip in the sea. “There is a great atmosphere at West Cliff Beach and the views out to sea and the piers are great”, says Whitby. During the high season, donkeys also can be found on the beach, with a fantastic selection of hot food on offer, too.

For those of you who enjoy walking, there are some great walks near Whitby beach, all of which can be found on iFootpath. With its connections to Dracula, a 4.5-mile circular trail takes you along many of the landmarks that were used in the novel. “The route follows a short section of the cliff top path (the Cleveland Way) with great views out across the North Sea, before looping inland on quiet rural lanes to reach the town. The remainder of the walk takes in many of the streets and landmarks of Whitby including the harbour, the swing bridge, East Crescent, the famous 199 steps and the ruins of Whitby Abbey. It doesn’t take long to understand how the beguiling beauty of the town helped to inspire Stoker’s creative flair – although on a bright sunny day there really is nothing sinister about Whitby!”

 

Scarborough

Scarborough beach seascape

This autumn, we think that there is nothing better than stopping at a hotel in Scarborough. The rolling hills and crashing waves make this a gorgeous destination to visit, and during the off-season, you can get the chance to visit the beach without the busy summer tourists. South Bay Beach is among the most popular in the town thanks to the curvature of the bay, making it the perfect suntrap. As the tide washes in and out of the bay, a strip of sand always remains untouched, resulting in soft, fine grains for you to sit on and watch the tranquil waters.

To the north of Scarborough, you will find the North Bay Beach, which has been awarded a Blue Flag for its cleanliness, facilities and safety. The rugged waves are fantastic for surfing and other watersports.

 

Robin Hood’s Bay

Robin Hood's Bay

The unspoilt stretch of beach at Robin Hood’s Bay is a perfect example of natural beauty. Although submerged under the glistening water at high tide, the jagged shore is exposed when the tide is out, creating marvellous rock pools for you to explore. The spot, which sits on the Dinosaur Coast, is also great for fossil hunting, so enjoy looking at the rock formations for a fascinating fossil or two.

The Robin Hood's Bay Tourism Association was set up over 20 years ago with aim of supporting the local community and businesses through the sympathetic promotion of tourism, whilst at the same time protecting the natural beauty and heritage of the local area. It is run entirely by volunteers from the local community. They told us “Robin Hood's Bay is a picturesque old fishing village on the Heritage Coast of the North Yorkshire Moors. It is a fantastic place for adults and children alike with a beautiful family (and dog !) friendly sandy beach, as well as rock pools to explore and ancient fossils to discover.  Wandering through its narrow, twisting cobbled streets and alleyways, you can easily imagine the sailors and fishermen, smugglers and press gangs that walked these streets hundreds of years ago. Today it is a vibrant village, with a wide range of cafes, pubs, restaurants, small shops and places to explore, as well as many stunning coastal and country walks, cycle-paths and bridleways right on the doorstep."

“A 6-mile circular walk from Robin Hood’s Bay on the North Yorkshire coast. The route joins the Cleveland Way coastal path heading north to reach Maw Wyke, before turning inland through a caravan park to join the Cinder Track, a disused railway line, for the return leg”, says Richard from iFootpath.

“The paths can all get quite muddy after periods of wet weather and the Cleveland Way has several climbs and descents through gullies. The surfaces are at some points paved with rocks as steps but these can also get quite slippery. There are no stiles, just a few gates and kissing gates. Keep children and dogs under close control on the coastal path as the cliff edges are unfenced and have very sheer drops. Where landslides disrupt the route there will be diversions into the adjacent fields which are likely to be holding both sheep and cattle (although the fields are very big, so this doesn’t really pose a problem). You are likely to be sharing the return leg along the old railway with both horse riders and cyclists.”

 

Sandsend

Sandsend beach

The cluster of beaches that make up Sandsend each offer something slightly different but are all worth exploring when in the area. Discover the caves at Sandsend Ness, nestled in the side of the cliffs. However, extreme care should be taken as the tide can cut you off when adventuring into them, with rip tides prevalent in this area. “On top of the ness are some old alum workings and a lunar landscape which is awe inspiring. There's little in the way of protection from the edge of the cliff though, so keep dogs on a tight lead”, Whitby Online shares.

If you’re looking for somewhere to swim, the freshwater pool at Sandsend beach is great for this, especially when in a dinghy. “The sea here often gets very deep very quickly, and it's still quite close to the ness, so watch for the tidal rip, and preferably don't swim here. However, the beach is a lovely sand and can become busy on a hot sunny day, creating a really good atmosphere as a result.”