From north to south, here's our top ten coastal experiences that should be on your 'bucket list' when you visit the North York Moors.
- Start at the charming Victorian seaside resort of Saltburn by the Sea, complete with pier and the oldest remaining water-balanced cliff lift in the country, and now with a stylish reputation, up and coming arts and foodie scene, and a magnet for surfers. Check out the latest knitted creations by Saltburn's yarn-bombers that mysteriously appear on the pier during the night.
- Take a circular walk along the clifftop coastal path from Staithes, with its steep, narrow, cobbled streets and winding alleys. Spot a coble in the harbour at Staithes, the traditional clinkerbuilt fishing boats; be amazed by the eight trompe l’oeil works on the Staithes Illusion Trail, before joining a highly entertaining foreshore safari with Real Staithes, tasting seaweed and sampling fresh lobster.
- Gorgeous Runswick Bay, the country's best place for beachcombing, where you’ll find anything from beautiful shells, giant seaweed, odd sponges, ammonite fossils, shiny pieces of jet, and even shark egg cases. It's a great place for a paddle in a sea kayak too.
- A paddle in the little beck that meets the sea at Sandsend's long sandy beach, a perfect playground for the kids.
- Climb the 199 steps in Whitby before visiting the atmospheric clifftop Abbey and St Mary's Church graveyard, inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula, rounding this off with fish and chips.
- Hire a bike from Trailways at Hawsker and follow the traffic-free Cinder Track for 4 miles back to Whitby for spectacular coastal views, and you'll get to pedal over the 13 arches of Larpool Viaduct. There's 17 more miles of the old Whitby to Scarborough railway line south of Hawsker to enjoy too.
- Discover Baytown’s heritage in the smugglers' bolthole of Robin Hood's Bay at Robin Hood's Bay Museum. Secretive rocky bays, fishing cottages full of hidden passageways – the storybook world of smuggling was a reality for many in the 18th century, when high import duties made the opportunity to deal in a little contraband too tempting to resist... Read our In Search of Smugglers feature to find out more.
- The intriguingly named rocky cove Boggle Hole, a 1 mile walk south along the shore from Robin Hood's Bay. The YHA Boggle Hole hostel – housed in an historic mill set deep in the ravine – is a great place for a break by the beach, with fossil-hunting and rock-pooling right on the doorstep. Just make sure you keep an eye on your towel and shoes – it’s safest that way when there are mischievous boggles about.
- Follow the Cleveland Way National Trail from the National Trust visitor centre at Ravenscar down to the Peak Alum Works. This now peaceful spot was once home to one of Britain’s earliest chemical industries from 1650 to 1862. Alum, essential to ‘fix’ and brighten dyes in textiles, was made here from locally-mined shale from the nearby cliffs. The path down to the site takes in glorious views across the sea to Robin Hood’s Bay.
- Woodpeckers, giant boulders and millions of different coloured pebbles, and a secret beach waterfall in the secluded cove at Hayburn Wyke. With a beach and woodland to discover, this hidden gem is the perfect setting for a picnic.
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