The Yorkshire Coast is a place of surprise, located on the east coast of England. We live just a couple of hours drive away from the coast, and we've made sure to visit it during summer and winter. It's such a beautiful, underrated place, that must be added to every traveller's wishlist.
The Yorkshire Coast is an incredible place to visit not just because it looks stunning, but because of the variety of things you can do and visit. You have coastal towns such as Whitby and Robin Hood's Bay, gorgeous cliffs with puffins, miles of sandy beaches and epic trails in place such as the North York Moors National Park.
In this post, we're going to explore everything you need to know about the Yorkshire Coast so you can plan a fantastic and comprehensive trip. Discover Yorkshire Coast kindly invited us to explore the area this week so we can bring you an unbiased article about the destination. Let's get started!
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Visiting the Yorkshire Coast
The Yorkshire Coast has so much to offer and we recommend spending at least 3 nights there. There is so much to do, from walking in the national park to grabbing an afternoon tea in one of the coastal villages. We did a little bit of everything because we really wanted to experience coastal Yorkshire.
The Yorkshire Coast is one of the most incredible places to visit, and during the season it can get fairly popular, so we recommend booking your accommodation in advance to avoid disappointment. Alternatively, you could visit during the off-season, like we did, in December. Many coastal towns remain open during the off-season, parking is free of charge and generally, prices are better. We also loved how moody and relaxing the beaches looked, so if you don't mind the weather, it's the best time to visit the coast. During summer, you'll be able to enjoy clear skies and warm weather. We visited Filey and Flamborough during summer and while the weather allowed for sunbathing and sea swimming, it was also a lot busier.
Yorkshire coast has many beaches, from sandy to rocky. We stayed near Sandsend Beach, a wonderful location, perfect for morning walks. Here's a fun fact: you can walk on the beach from Sandsend all the way to Whitby. It takes around an hour and what a beautiful way to spend your morning. Whitby is a fantastic town, which must be visited during your trip to the coast. But we'll get to that in a second.
Where to stay in Yorkshire Coast
There are several places you could use as a base. There is good infrastructure whether you wish to arrive by car or by public transport. For your ease, we do recommend getting a car for your holiday to the Yorkshire coast, simply to be able to explore more locations and enjoy more of its natural beauty.
You could stay in one of the coastal villages and take day trips from there. We loved the Sandsend beach so much, we decided to use it as a base. We stayed in a beautiful country house hotel called Raithwaite Sandsend.
Raithwaite Sandsend is just a 5-minute walk to the beach and a 7-minute drive to Whitby. Perfect location for us and a wonderful base to explore from.
Raithwaite Sandsend is a 4-star hotel with comfortable, large rooms. It features a spa with a swimming pool, jacuzzi, steam room and sauna. You can book treatments as well, for an even more relaxing time. There's a restaurant on site which serves daily breakfast as well as dinners.
Our room was spacious, clean and quiet. There was a small desk in the room, a rendering area, a suitcase space and an amble wardrobe for our convenience. The bathroom featured a shower over bath and generally speaking, we were very impressed with the size of the room and bathroom together. It felt very airy and spacious.
We went downstairs to enjoy the spa twice. We visited once in the morning when it's the less busy time. We were lucky to enjoy the whole spa for ourselves. Then we visited in the afternoon. It was a little busier which is why the hotel recommended that we pre-book our time.
Breakfast and dinner were served in the same restaurant. Cushioned and comfortable chairs, welcoming and lovely staff made our time feel even more special. Breakfast can be hot or cold and while there is a buffet with some pastry and local fruits, you can also order pancakes, full English and more.
Since we visited during the festive period, we had the joy to order from the special winter menu. We would say the food was in the contemporary British category with some vegan and vegetarian options but mainly focused on fish and meat. There were some specials as well, to spice up the menu a little for people who wish to have dinner more than once during the stay. This served us well since we enjoyed two dinners at the Raithwaite Sandsend.
Overall, we feel it was the right accommodation for us and we can see why couples especially love this country house hotel so much. We do recommend it with love as we firmly believe it's in such a great location on the Yorkshire Coast as well.
Make sure to add this incredible beach to your wishlist. We visited twice: during the daytime and at night. During day time, it looked so eerie and beautiful. We walked on the beach, spotted large ships in the distance and welcomed the winter frost. With the right clothes, English nature is everyone's playground. This is something we learn very quickly in the UK. And so we prepared for the weather and didn't even notice the cold.
Come sunshine or rain, the Yorkshire coast is so beautiful. And given the chance to visit it during the off-season when there are not many people around will feel like a treat.
We also visited the beach at night. After dinner at the Raithwaite Sandsend, we decided to take a stroll to the beach to admire the night sky. WOW! In all our lives here in England, we have never before seen a sky so clear, so perfect. We could clearly see the milky way in all its glory. There was no light population on the beach, so needless to say, it was the most romantic and incredible experience on the coast. Something everyone must experience at least once in their lifetime!
I was born in Romania and grew up on stories about Dracula. I've visited the Bran castle more times than I can count and I could never tire of it. To finally see Whitby, the place that inspired Bram Stoker to write its masterpiece, felt like a true privilege. And there are two sides to Whitby: the gothic, where you walk around the Abbey and get chills down your spine, imagining bats and vampires, but also the joyful, as Whitby is a colourful village with layers upon layers of traditional English houses, shops and cafes.
Whitby surprised us. While we expected a quaint English village, we got so much more than that. Our journey started at the Whalebone Arch, a must-see during your visit to Whitby. This is a celebrated replica of a whale's jaw bone that replaced the original arch erected in 1853. It's also the place to glance at the Whitby beach, the pier and the lighthouses... and of course, the Abbey set majestically on the opposite clifftop.
Make your way down to the quayside to experience the more commercial side of Whitby. We recommend taking the small side streets, which are traditional cobblestone alleys, dotted with English cottages on each side.
On the quayside, you'll find an array of authentic restaurants selling quality fresh dishes. We recommended heading to the Magpie.
The Magpie Cafe is seen as an institution in Whitby and beloved by every local. You'll sit down in a restaurant established in 1954. The Magpie has been in the same family for generations and it continues to pride itself by bringing to the table freshly caught fish.
If fish is what you fancy in Whitby, this is the place to go to. And note that Magpie celebrates the world of desserts too. With delicious sundaes, Ethon messes and large portions of cheesecakes, this is a paradise for travellers with a sweet tooth.
Cross the swing bridge, to the other side of Whitby. It's time to explore cobbled streets lined with small boutiques.
Head over to Church Lane as this is the perfect place to get some local English souvenirs. You'll find several boutiques owned by local artisans and artists. There's also a few cafes where you can sit down for a cuppa, cosy tea houses ideal for afternoon teas and small snack shops that sell pasties and pastries. It's hard to not fall in love with Whitby.
For a truly remarkable souvenir from Whitby, get Whitby jet jewellery. Whitby Jet is a fossilized wood that has changed under extreme pressure. The appearance is a shiny black gem-like that looks simply stunning. It became popular during the Victorian era and can now be purchased in many shops around Whitby.
At the end of Church Lane, you'll come to the 199 steps. Climb these steps to admire the harbour and the Whitby town from above. We know 199 steps might seem daunting but they are really small steps and rather easy to climb.
Well, wroth it! If you can make it there just on time for sunset, you'll get the most epic cotton-candy skies. Besides, at the top of the steps, there's something else, even more exciting: The Whitby Abbey!
Pass the Church of Saint Marry and head over to the ruined Abbey which was the inspiration for the novel Dracula.
When you visit the abbey you’ll be following in the footsteps of many influential and creative people. Over the centuries, the abbey’s haunting ruins have inspired religious leaders, artists, writers and poets. And of course, amongst them is the writer Bram Stoker who created a legacy!
The Abbey will offer audioguides as well so you can literally walk through history and learn more about it as you explore. We visited on a moody day, with grey, heavy led-like skies. That helped us take some of those gothic photos everyone loves. And then, we purchased a couple of souvenirs from the Abbey, to take a piece of Dracula home with us.
Robin Hood's Bay
Located just 20 minutes away from the Raithwaite Sandsend, it's the gorgeous Robin Hood's Bay. Robin Hood's Bay is a small fishing village and a bay located in the North York Moors National Park.
If you've never heard of it before, this is the time to add it to your Yorkshire coast itinerary list. Because let us tell you: it's a wonderous place which must be visited.
Here's what you need to do. Park your car at the Station Car Park. Note that this is free after November, which again, makes it so much nicer to visit The Yorkshire coast off-season.
From the car park, make your way down to the bay. You'll have to take a fairly narrow and steep road down, but it's well worth it. On your way, you'll pass traditional English shops, as well as some lovely looking cottages. Stop and take as many pictures as you can, because Robin Hood's Bay is one of the most photogenic villages on the coast.
Head over to the Tea, Toast and Post for a sandwich and a scone, then walk on the beach if you're visiting at low tide. Visit the National Trust - The Old Coastguard Station where you'll see an iron fish where people can donate to charity.
Life feels slower here in Robin Hood's Bay which is part of its charm. We visited first thing in the morning when locals started getting ready for the day. Everyone greeted everyone, there was a sense of community which we truly appreciated.
After checking out all the gift shops and small boutiques in the area, make sure to stop at the Robin Hood's Bay Museum to learn a little about this village.
Make your way back to the car park and head over to the Raithwaite Sandsend for an afternoon spa session and a copious dinner with wine.
You are now ready to book your trip to the Yorkshire coast! We know you are excited and you can't wait to explore coastal villages, see stunning vistas from clifftops and take walks in the national park. It's a gorgeous place of surprise, and we are certain you are going to love it. Where will you go first?