Discover the best beaches in Yorkshire holiday cottages

Discover the best beaches in Yorkshire

Courtney Kelly 13 June 2023

One of the best things to do in Yorkshire is undoubtedly visiting the beach so we’ve compiled a list of the best beaches in Yorkshire for you and your partner/family/dog to visit.

Whether you prefer the charming seclusion of beaches like Cayton Bay or you favour the traditional seaside feel of Scarborough, you can be sure of having a superb day out in Yorkshire at one of these east coast shorelines.

Keep reading to find out all you need to know or tap the button below to find a coastal cottage near a welcoming beach.

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Whitby Beach

Robin Hood’s Bay


Cayton Bay

Filey Beach


Bridlington Beach


The cliff tramway, the pier and the beach huts of Saltburn-by-the-Sea

As you walk along the pretty promenade at Saltburn-by-the-Sea, you can’t help but feel whisked away to a bygone era where modest sea goers slowly waded their way into the sea in their bathing machines. The trappings of the Victorian era are still evident with the famous pier, the cliff tramway and the formal gardens providing entertainment for bathers who, these days, are a little less reserved.

The beach here is a mix of sand and shingle and offers a pleasant walk whatever the season. The promenade boasts plenty of facilities so it’s easy to spend a day here, safe in the knowledge that you'll have everything you need. This spot is also a popular destination for surfers as it faces north and picks up more swell than other beaches in the area.

See here for more information on Yorkshire’s top surf spots.

Why we love Saltburn-by-the-Sea

Lifeguards: Yes, during the summer season.

Dog friendly: Yes, but no dogs are allowed between the pier and Hazelgrove during the peak season.

Facilities: Beachside car park by surf shop, toilets, shops, slipway, cold-water showers.

Highlights: The formal Italian Gardens and miniature railway, and the cliff tramway which is the oldest water-balanced funicular lift in the UK.

Whitby Beach

Tate Hill and West Cliff at Whitby

Take your pick of beaches when you visit Whitby. Either head to Tate Hill, a sheltered, sandy beach where your four-pawed pal will be welcome all year around, or spread out on West Cliff and admire the colourful beach huts as you sink into your hired deck chair.

The smaller Tate Hill is located within the harbour on the east side of the River Esk and, if the swell is large enough, you may even witness the rare sight of daredevils surfing within the harbour. West Cliff is much larger and has all the signs of a classic seaside resort with beach huts to hire, donkey rides, and space for ball games and sandcastles.

Why we love Whitby Beach

Lifeguards: Weekends and Bank Holidays from 29 April-21 May; daily from 27 May-03 September.

Dog friendly: Tate Hill is completely dog friendly; West Cliff bans dogs from May to September.

Facilities: First aid centre, car parks, outdoor paddling pool, skateboard area, public toilets (including accessible toilets), crazy golf, pitch and putt, trampolines and bumper boats.

Highlights: Whitby Regatta in the summer and the Goth convention; 199 steps and Whitby Abbey.

Robin Hood’s Bay

The beach and terracotta roofs of Robin Hood's Bay

In contrast to Whitby’s vibrancy and resort feel, Robin Hood’s Bay is a beach with a natural, wild feel. Day trippers often pay visits to the beautiful bay to drink in the powerful, rugged landscape and take a photo with the terracotta rooftops of the village in the distance.

Low tide showcases a quaint, sandy beach that’s perfect for dog walks or rock pooling, although said rocks make this particular bay a little hazardous for sea swimming. The tide can come in rather swiftly so do be careful and be aware that the cliffs are prone to rock falls. There’s no need to have reservations about this Dinosaur Coast bay though; the sweeping views of this dog-friendly Yorkshire beach are worth the journey alone.

Why we love Robin Hood’s Bay

Lifeguards: Unfortunately, no.

Dog friendly: Yes, there are no restrictions.

Facilities: Two pay and display car parks in the village (none by the beach), toilets by the beach, and a plethora of shops, pubs and cafes in the village.

Highlights: The village is a delightful, picturesque place and when on the beach, you may be lucky enough to find ammonites, belemnites and footprints from the Cretaceous and Jurassic Periods.


South Bay, North Bay and Scarborough Castle

As you hop, skip and jump down the east coast, you can alternate between off-the-beaten-track-style beaches and more commercialised stretches of shoreline. Scarborough’s beaches offer a little bit of both.

North Bay is the quieter of the two bays with a long, sandy beach that is backed by hills and cliffs. The water is safe for swimming, and you’ll often find bathers and surfers towards the southern end of the bay. Make a day of it and hire a colourful beach hut to store your belongings before jumping on the miniature railway to visit Peasholm Park or the Sea Life Centre.

The two beaches are divided by a rocky promontory, upon which sits the imposing ruins of Scarborough Castle. South of this is South Bay, a livelier affair with more options for cafes, shops and ice cream parlours. There are nods to its traditional seaside resort past with donkey rides and a pleasant Victorian promenade. If you’re looking for North Yorkshire beaches to bring the kids to for sandcastle building and splashing in the shallows, Scarborough is a safe bet.

Why we love Scarborough’s bays

Lifeguards: Weekends and Bank Holidays from 29 April-21 May; daily from 27 May-3 September

Dog friendly: Dogs are not permitted on most of the beach (North Bay) or all of the beach (South Bay) from May to September.

Facilities: Plenty of parking on Marine Drive, public toilets at both beaches, and a plethora of shops, pubs and cafes near the north end of South Bay.

Highlights: There’s just so much to do in Scarborough including Peasholm Park, Sea Life Scarborough, Scarborough Spa, Scarborough Castle and the Spa Cliff Lift.

Cayton Bay

Exquisite Cayton Bay

If the bustle of Scarborough’s bays is a little much and you need to find a Yorkshire beach that’s more in tune with your zen way of life, Cayton Bay may well suit you down to the ground. Found just 3 miles south of Scarborough, Cayton encompasses an expansive brush of sand (with a few scatterings of rocks), providing the perfect platform for introspection and reflection.

The beach is backed by verdant cliffs giving the whole bay an isolated feel. There may, however, be crowds at times as it’s a popular spot for surfers and windsurfers, and even boasts one of the oldest surf schools in the country. Perfect for adults and children, this beach possesses emblems of ancient and more recent history in the form of Jurassic Period fossils and World War II pillboxes respectively.

Why we love Cayton Bay

Lifeguards: Yes, at various times – see here for more details

Dog friendly: Absolutely!

Facilities: Beach shack on the beach; toilets, shops and cafes nearby.

Highlights: Take the time to study the pillboxes. These Second World War defences, located at the foot of the cliffs, were built to protect the beach from enemy invasion.

Filey Beach

Filey Bay from Reighton Gap

Filey Beach is an excellent choice if you’re bringing small children along for a day at the seaside. There are numerous reasons for this. Firstly, there’s plenty of room; the beach stretches for 5 miles all the way down to Bempton which is home to an RSPB nature reserve (a great alternative option if the kids are all beached out). If you arrive at low tide, you’ll even have a quarter of a mile of sand from the promenade to the shoreline, so there’s no chance your frisbee will land on other bathers.

Secondly, the beach is protected by Filey Brigg, a rocky peninsula that juts out and shelters the bay somewhat from northern swells. This means paddling with little ones is more of a joy than usual. If you do walk to Bempton, you’ll pass to further beaches along the same stretch: Hunmanby Gap and Reighton Gap. Both are popular with surfers and swimmers and might prove a little quieter than Filey if you wish to get away from the crowds.

Why we love Filey Beach

Lifeguards: Weekends and Bank Holidays from 29 April-21 May; daily from 27 May-03 September.

Dog friendly: Restrictions between the Royal Parade and the beach slipway from 1 May-30 September.

Facilities: Toilets, shops, pubs/cafes, first aid point, deck chair and beach hut hire.

Highlights: A walk along the promenade is accompanied by works of art by local artists who have been inspired by the area’s natural heritage. Filey Brigg marks the end of the well-known Cleveland Way coastal walk.


Danes Dyke, North Landing and South Landing

The Flamborough Headland Heritage Coast is a collector of beaches, boasting no less than three tempting spots dotted around this eastern outcrop. North Landing is perhaps the most picturesque, comprising a small bay that is bordered by chalk cliffs that give it a very secluded feel. The descent to the sand/pebble beach and the beautifully clear waters can be a little steep; however, the views from the top are as impressive as the beach itself.

On the opposite side of Flamborough Head (the southern side, in fact) sits South Landing, a shingle and pebble beach that is a designated nature reserve. Numerous birds frequent the reserve so keep your eyes peeled for guillemots, sand martins and fulmars. Access to this beach is also via a steep descent.

The final beach on the headland is Danes Dyke, less than 1 mile west of South Landing. Again, the descent is steep, but the forest trails will keep things interesting. This is mainly a pebble beach that becomes sandier the lower the tide gets, and although the white pebbles may be trickier to traverse than sand, the views of the stunning white cliffs are worth the trouble.

Why we love Flamborough

Lifeguards: No lifeguard cover at any of the beaches.

Dog friendly: Yes, at all three beaches.

Facilities: North Landing – toilets and a cafe; South Landing – Yorkshire Wildlife Trust Living Seas Centre; Danes Dyke – toilet and kiosk; more cafes, shops and pubs in Flamborough.

Highlights: The woodland trails by Danes Dyke will be a treat for any little ones in your pack and once down by the sea, snorkelling is a great option thanks to the unblemished waters.

Bridlington Beach

Holiday makers enjoying Bridlington Beach

The last location on our list is another spot lucky enough to boast multiple beaches. Bridlington North Beach is a long stretch of sand and shingle north of the harbour that has many traditional seaside activities that make it a haven for families on holiday. It’s also home to the only mainland gannet nesting site in the UK if anyone in your group is a keen bird watcher.

To the south of the harbour is South Beach, which stretches for over a mile before turning into various beaches at Fraisthorpe, Barmston, Hornsea and Tunstall. If you wanted to really stretch your legs, you could walk all the way to the Spurn Heritage Coast by the Humber Estuary. The size of sandy South Beach means that even if it’s crowded around Bridlington Spa, you can always find a quiet spot if you’re willing to walk south a little.

Why we love Bridlington Beach

Lifeguards: Yes, at various times – see here for more details (please note that this link does cover both beaches).

Dog friendly: Dogs are not permitted in the area around the harbour between 1 May and 30 September.

Facilities: Cafes/restaurants, toilets, shops and first aid points by both beaches.

Highlights: The Princess Mary Promenade has a number of shops and eateries to peruse, and the land train is a lovely, novelty way to get from one end to another (slightly) faster.

Plan your Yorkshire coast holiday

These are the best beaches to visit on the Yorkshire coast but there are many other coves and bays worth discovering during your North England getaway. Stay in one of our self-catering coastal cottages and venture out to the beach every day.

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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