7 favourite places on the Yorkshire coast holiday cottages

7 favourite places on the Yorkshire coast

Courtney Kelly 19 August 2023

Stretching from the River Humber up to the ancient fishing town of Redcar, the picturesque Yorkshire coastline passes a number of traditional seaside resorts – some with stretches of golden sandy beach dotted with colourful beach huts and glittering amusements, and others that are Victorian resorts with elegant promenades that give a certain taste of nostalgia. Then, there are the quaint old working harbours where red-roofed fishermen’s cottages tumble down from rugged cliffs to the sea below, a visual reminder of the area’s maritime past.

This stretch of wild and rugged Yorkshire coastline is superb at any time of year. Come to the beach in summer and surf or hunt for fossils and return in winter when the North Sea is crashing against the shore, inviting you for a bracing walk along the shoreline. We’ve chosen our 7 favourite places on the Yorkshire coast and 7 things we think you should do while you’re there – enjoy!

If you're after even more great places to visit, head over to our guide to days out in Yorkshire after you've finished reading this.

1. Bridlington

People on the beach at Bridlington on a sunny day

Come and spend a few days at the quaint seaside resort of Bridlington where elegant promenades overlooking great expanses of beach invite visitors to remember days gone by. With a historic harbour, glorious clean beaches and an Old Town filled with delightful little shops and cafes, Bridlington has something to offer all ages of visitors.

7 things to do:

  • Follow the Old Town Trail to discover this hidden gem with its old inns, tearooms and antique shops
  • Enjoy the annual Dickensian Festival with its performers and amusements, many in traditional Victorian dress
  • Hop on a pleasure boat out of the harbour mouth to Flamborough Head Lighthouse
  • Watch the colourful fishing boats bring in the day’s catch from the bustling pre-Roman harbour
  • Take little ones to the zoo or play a game of pitch and putt at Sewerby Hall and Gardens
  • Discover some history at the old Augustinian priory and the Harbour Heritage Museum
  • Get kids to make their own sticks of rock at John Bull's Candy Kingdom – that’s the going-home gifts sorted!

2. Filey

An aerial view of Filey Beach and Filey Brigg

When you are thinking of a weekend away with the kids and even the dog wants to come along for the ride, choose this typically Yorkshire seaside town. Traditional and full of family fun, Filey attracts swathes of visitors who descend on the beach in the summer months, yet the town still retains its nostalgic vibe.

7 things to do:

  • Stroll along the promenade and explore the artworks of the Seafront Sculpture Trail
  • Perch a colourful fishing net on your shoulder and discover the joys of rock pooling
  • Sit back on the sand with newspaper-wrapped fish and chips and smell the salty sea air from the best vantage point in the area
  • Walk part of the 109-mile Cleveland Way National Trail – just remember a picnic packed full of tasty Yorkshire produce and a good camera
  • Discover the vast array of exotic animals and wildlife at the Bird Garden and Animal Park
  • Look out for snoozing seals and porpoises on the rocky peninsula of Filey Brigg
  • Spend an afternoon exploring the Edwardian architecture and museum in the town, followed by a spot of shopping in the quirky little stores

3. Robin Hood’s Bay

A beautiful light casts across Robin Hood's Bay

This is one for those who love their Yorkshire coastline with a bit of rustic charm. Without the hustle and bustle of promenades and noisy attractions, you can discover a quieter way of life at Robin Hood's Bay. Once a smuggler’s den, you can see from the twisting alleyways and hidden steps dotted throughout this coastal town that the area wasn’t always so quiet and relaxed!

7 things to do:

  • Amble from the cliff top down to the village and take a wander through the cobbled streets, lined with fishermen’s cottages and pretty little stone-fronted shops and cafes
  • Throw a towel down on the expanse of unspoilt sandy beach for fun family games and picnics
  • Take your imagination fossil-hunting to see what ancient delights you can uncover
  • Explore the museum in the Old Coastguard Station to see how local men braved the seas in years gone by
  • Walk inland and discover the brooding delights of the North York Moors National Park
  • Hunt for the mosaic on the parapet wall overlooking the sea which depicts a timeline of events in the bay, from the Jurassic period up to the present day
  • Don’t forget the coast at Christmas, when Robin Hood’s Bay plays host to a fabulous Victorian Christmas Weekend - dress up if you dare!

4. Runswick Bay

Runswick Bay on a sunny day

Situated at the end of another delightful bay, with sweeping sands and red-roofed cottages, the pretty seaside village of Runswick Bay is the perfect choice for families who love nothing better than spending long, lazy days by the sea. Fossil hunting, rock pooling and swimming are all on tap, as are long coastal walks with or without a four-legged family member. The tranquil beach is sheltered by the lofty crag of Lingrow Knowle which towers over the bay, keeping the brutal north winds at bay.

7 things to do:

  • Pay a visit to the RNLI lifeboat station to discover the bay’s fascinating naval history
  • Visit the tiny Methodist chapel, built in 1829 by fearsome local village women and then look for the ancient village spring just behind
  • Grab a colourful bucket and a net and do a little rock pooling when the tide is out
  • Have a mouthwatering cream tea in the café after a bracing walk along the paths of the Cleveland Way
  • Watch the boats gliding around the bay from the comfort of Runswick Bay Sailing Club
  • Bring a surfboard and surf the waves or watch from afar if you don’t want to get your toes wet
  • Climb up the steep coastal path for spectacular views across Kettleness

5. Saltburn

A family walk their dogs along Saltburn Beach on a blustery day

A refined Victorian Spa coastal town, this one is different from the rest, retaining much of its original charm. With some fascinating architecture and an interesting history to discover, Saltburn is also home to over a mile of golden sands and fabulous coastal walks.

7 things to do:

  • Take a ride on the oldest water-balanced cliff lift in the UK to arrive at the beach in style
  • Stroll along the 600ft Victorian Pier with some tasty fish and chips in hand
  • See if you can catch the mysterious ‘yarnbombers’ whose knitted wonders appear during the night – the Banksys of the knitting world
  • Wind your way through the Saltburn Valley Gardens and explore the dense woods, once a haven for smuggled goods arriving off the coast
  • Watch the surfers at the annual UK Professional Surf Tour, one of the UK’s biggest
  • Get out on the water yourself by trying out some surf skiing or boogie boarding via the beachfront Surf Shop or a lesson at Saltburn Surf School
  • Check out the exhibits at the Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum and discover the people and industry behind the nation’s Iron Valley

6. Scarborough

A man walks along North Bay towards the headland that separates the two beaches

Said to be the world’s first seaside resort and still displaying a whole heap of coastal charm, popular Scarborough is home to two glorious beaches – one, a tranquil bay with lovely old buildings and colourful beach huts, and the other a typical seaside idyll – amusements, ice cream parlours and everything fun. Perfect for a family holiday, this traditional bucket and spade resort will keep all ages and pockets happy.

7 things to do:

  • Build magnificent sandcastles, just make sure you take a photo before the tide comes in!
  • Explore the English Heritage 12th-century Scarborough Castle which peers down across the bays and town
  • Waddle with the Humboldt Penguins and have fun in the Interactive Rockpool at the Scarborough Sea Life Sanctuary
  • Spend hazy summer nights at the open-air theatre, set amongst lovely gardens in the North Bay – previous performers include Elton John and Status Quo
  • Hop aboard the North Bay Miniature Railway from Peasholm Park to Scalby Mills
  • Set sail on a trip around the bay on the Hispaniola, Scarborough’s very own pirate ship
  • Take a boat ride from the harbour to watch seals playing and splashing about in the sea

7. Whitby

Whitby West Cliff and Tate Hill beaches from the air

No traditional seaside resort, this charming little town with a working harbour and abbey dominating the skyline above, is also home to a sandy beach and a charming town centre with cobbled streets and typical red-roofed fishermen’s cottages. Divided into two halves by the River Esk Estuary, Whitby has an old town on the East Bank and a new town on the West Bank.

7 things to do:

  • Watch the sunset over the ancient Whitby Abbey from the old stone harbour walls
  • Visit the Captain Cook Memorial Museum, located in a 17th-century harbourside house
  • Take a guided tour around the streets of Whitby to see how Bram Stoker found inspiration for his classic novel, Dracula, with Whitby Walks or The Dracula Experience
  • Check out all things goth at the annual Goth Weekend or join the dancers at the Whitby Folk Festival each August
  • Sample some fresh cod and salty chips at the UK’s best fish and chip shop, Quayside Whitby
  • Pop into the RNLI Whitby Lifeboat Museum to discover a treasure trove of mementoes from famous wrecks and rescues
  • Grab your binoculars and see if you can spot a pod of whales leisurely swimming along the Yorkshire coast

For more info about this lovely town, read our 'Complete Guide to Whitby'.

Relax on the coast!

When the Yorkshire coast is on your mind, there’s nowhere else that compares. You’ll need somewhere to stay on your travels, and our portfolio of self-catering accommodation in Yorkshire offers a whole range of excellent places to rest your head after long days out exploring and experiencing this lovely part of the English coast.

Perhaps you are looking for a cosy retreat for a last-minute weekend break, a family holiday with the dog by the beach, or a large house for a special family celebration. We have a superb selection of properties across all of Yorkshire to make your holiday a special one – have a peek at what we have to offer and see which one is the perfect fit for you.

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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