10 Unmissable Things to Do in Yorkshire by the Sea

From its quaint fishing villages and kiss-me-quick seaside towns, to its rolling moors and rugged shores, Yorkshire’s coastline is smattered with quirky, adventurous and thrilling things to do. Not sure where to start on your next holiday to the UK’s North East coast? Whether you want a full-throttle day out or a serene sightseeing tour, here are ten of the best things to do in Yorkshire during your seaside stay. 

1. Go Surfing at Saltburn-by-the-Sea

Saltburn Surf
Photo courtesy of Saltburn Surf

Many folk are lured to Saltburn-by-the-Sea to stay over, stroll along Yorkshire’s last heritage pier, ride its funicular cliff railway and dig into its kitsch Victorian charm. However, what fewer people know – and come here for – is that it’s been luring surfers since the 90s. So by all means enjoy its more traditional attractions, but we’d suggest immersing yourself in the town’s scene by donning a wetsuit and hitting the waves with the experts at Saltburn Surf. While you may want to stick to the easier breaks on each side of the pier, you can watch the local pros tackle more challenging waves at Penny Hole and Saltburn Point. 

2. Go Rockpooling at Boggle Hole, Robin Hood’s Bay

Every trip to Yorkshire should include a trip to the spectacular smuggler’s haunt of Robin Hood’s Bay. As well as being steeped in legend and history, it’s one of the loveliest seaside villages in all of Yorkshire – with charming streets crammed with cool bistros and proper chippies, and a beautiful, cliff-backed beach made for picnics and paddling. Wait for the tide to ebb and follow the shore to Boggle Hole – where mythical hobgoblins with healing powers were once said to have lived in caves. While you might not clap eyes on these mischievous little goblins (or find any contraband hidden by smugglers for that matter), you can find all sorts of other critters in the rock pools, as well as belemnites and ammonites along the fossil-rich shoreline. Why not make a holiday of it and base yourself in one of our lovely cottages in Robin Hood’s Bay?

3. Go Stargazing in the North York Moors

Photo courtesy of northyorkmoors.org.uk
Photo courtesy of northyorkmoors.org.uk

Did you know that the North York Moors is one of only 21 International Dark Sky Reserves? This means there are very few places in the world that are better to kick back under the pristine night skies and stargaze. While there are various annual Dark Skies events in the area, we’d suggest booking yourself a coastal cottage where you can soak up sea views by day and stargaze by night. How about this luxury barn conversion in Easington, where you can even wish upon a shooting star from your hot tub?

4. Visit South Cliff Gardens, Scarborough

Staying over in Scarborough is one way to soak up one of Britain’s first beach resorts, still flaunting bucketfuls of traditional charm with its heady mix of arcades, beaches, chippies and ice cream parlours. For a slightly quieter scene, nestled on the edge of town you’ll find the Italianate terraces of the South Cliff Gardens, where you can soak up sea views, discover sub-tropical treasures, hop aboard the Cliff Lift and visit the magnificent Grade II listed Spa. If you visit in winter and you’re lucky enough to witness snowfall at the Gardens, the views are even more magical.

5: Hop Onboard a Boat Trip to Bempton Cliffs Nature Reserve

Bempton cliffs nature reserve photo rspb.org.uk
Bempton Cliffs Nature Reserve. Photo courtesy of rspb.org.uk

Come nose-to-nose with the incredible marine life of North East Yorkshire on a Sealife Safari to one of the UK’s largest seabird colonies. Wrap up warm, keep your binoculars and camera handy, and keep your eyes peeled for puffins, gannets, kittiwakes, gulls, seals and even minke whales, as you explore Bempton Cliffs Nature Reserve. Your comfy, 12-seater boat ensures comfort and plenty of photographic opportunities. But if you don’t want to test your sea legs and prefer to explore with your feet on dry land, you can set off on a choice of way-marked trails from the RSPB centre (one of our top coastal walks in Yorkshire).

6. Tuck into Fish and Chips in Bridlington

Where Whitby is steeped in history, Bridlington is dipped in the candy-floss colours of an archetypal British seaside town. If you want fairground rides, helter-skelters, arcade games, sticks of rock and pebble beaches, Bridlington has it all. Delve a little deeper and there are also train rides, sandy beaches and an old town packed with bistros and antique stores. Once you’ve filled your thrill quota, soak up panoramic views of Bridlington Bay and the white cliffs of Flamborough over a hearty portion of haddock and chips from North Beach Fish and Chips before heading back for a long soak and feet up by the fire in a stunning Bridlington self-catering cottage.  

7. Take a Whistle-Stop Train Ride to the Coast

North York Moors Railway
Photo courtesy of North York Moors Railway

Sit back and experience the wonders of the moorland scenery on an old-fashioned steam train ride on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. While it’s tempting to trundle the entire 18-mile journey from Pickering to the seaside town of Whitby, there are plenty of places to alight and stretch your legs, including Newtondale Halt in the heart of the Moors. If you’re a Harry Potter fan, be sure to stop and explore Goathland Station – which became Hogsmeade in the first film. At the end of a long day, put your feet up in one of our luxurious Whitby cottages.

8. Discover the Underwater Kingdom at The Deep

Fancy an underwater adventure without getting your hair wet? Head to the shores of the Humber in Hull, and explore ‘the deep’ at this epic acquarium, where you can dive into the fascinating world of the oceans, whatever any weather. From rays and sharks to turtles and penguins, there are over 3,500 aquatic creatures to discover in an interactive, ocean-focussed experience for the whole family.

9. Climb the 199 Steps to Whitby Abbey

Whitby Abbey

Yorkshire’s well endowed with heritage landmarks, one of the most iconic being the cliff-top ruins of Whitby Abbey. Follow in Count Dracula’s footsteps up the 199 steps to step foot beneath the soaring arches, and clap eyes on cracking views over rolling moors and the colourful harbour where Captain Cook once set sail. Regardless of its historic status, Whitby really is one of Yorkshire’s most idyllic destinations (and one of most Instagrammed locations on the British coast) for a day out at the seaside. It’s the perfect place to explore, with its narrow harbour-side streets lined with eclectic boutiques, beach huts, ice cream kiosks and a traditional kipper smokehouse – and all on the doorstep of a necklace of sandy bays and the North York Moors National Park.

10. Waterfalls and Fossil Hunting on Kettleness Beach

Kettleness is a remote cove and one of the most northern beaches on the Yorkshire Coast. Tucked just a pebble’s throw east of the better-known beauty Runswick Bay, it’s well worth the scramble down a steep track to see a mighty waterfall tumbling down the cliffs onto golden sands. Aside from the spectacle of the falls, this curvy bay is quite a sight to behold, and if you look closely you might find ammonites and other fossilised beach treasures. 

Book a Seaside Cottage in Yorkshire 

So what do you fancy – surfing, fossil hunting, fish and chips or fair rides? Check out our collection of coastal cottages and book your next seaside holiday to Yorkshire.  

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