North York Moors

North York Moors logo
Browse section

Top 10 Coastal Experiences

Coastal view towards Robin Hood's Bay, Credit Ebor ImagesCoastal view towards Robin Hood's Bay, Credit Ebor Images

The North York Moors' coastline is dramatic and wild, punctuated with some of Northern England's best beaches and home to ancient abbeys and smugglers stories. Here's the best of the best to tick off the list. 

1. Saltburn by the Sea

The charming Victorian seaside resort of Saltburn by the Sea is home to the UK’s most northerly pier and the oldest remaining water-balanced cliff lift in the country. Now with a stylish reputation, up and coming arts and foodie scene, and a magnet for surfers, it's one not to be missed. Check out the latest knitted creations by Saltburn's yarn-bombers that mysteriously appear on the pier during the night.

2. Wildlife Encounters

A visit to the North York Moors would not be complete without getting closer to some of our aquatic friends. During the summer months the waters just off the coast become a hive of activity with minke and humpback whales along with white-beaked dolphins and porpoise. For a truly unforgettable experience, book a trip with Whitby Whale Watching and Yorkshire Coast Nature who offer fantastic whale watching and seabird experiences over summer and autumn.

Top 10 Iconic Coastal Experiences, photo credit Maaike Karremans

3. Cleveland Way National Trail

Follow the Cleveland Way National Trail from the gorgeous village of Runswick Bay to the dramatic Boulby Cliffs. This 6 mile walk clifftop coastal path takes in glorious views across the sea and the fascinating remains of the harbour at Port Mulgrave, before winding through the narrow, cobbled streets of Staithes and onwards towards Boulby.

4. Staithes

Get to know Staithes’ creative side by dipping in and out of the village’s outstanding galleries, be amazed by the eight trompe l’oeil works on the Staithes Illusion Trail or celebrate its artistic heritage at the annual Staithes Festival of Arts & Heritage.

5. Dinosaur Coast

Our rugged stretch of coastline is the best place in Northern England to find Jurassic fossils, dinosaur footprints or hunt for all manner of wildlife in rockpools. Fossil hunters should head to Runswick Bay, Ravenscar, Saltwick Bay and Whitby to spot ammonites, giant seaweed, old sponges and even shark egg cases.

6. North Yorkshire Moors Railway to Whitby

Jump on board the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, the world’s most popular heritage railway whose lovingly-restored trains will steam for 24 miles from the market town of Pickering through the heart of the National Park out to the golden sandy beaches of the coast at Whitby. A walk along the pier and up the West Pier Lighthouse is the best way to work up an appetite before trying the town’s famous fish & chips.

7. Whitby

A must visit! Take your time to meander through the cobbled Georgian old town before climbing the 199 steps to the famous abbey ruins on the clifftop (inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula). This is the town of the Goth weekend, Whitby Jet, smoked kippers, Captain Cook, whale bones… the list goes on.

8. Sandsend

Surfing is big news in the North York Moors and it’s easy to see why with an abundance of beginner friendly beaches to the more experienced rock spots and reefs. Top of the list is Sandsend. The long stretch of golden sand is the perfect playground for kids, a picturesque place to picnic and the ideal beginners surf school.

9. Robin Hood’s Bay

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... Have a go at your own smuggling adventure with The Robin Hood's Bay Smugglers Trail.

10. Dark Skies

The North York Moors is a land of wide open spaces and little light pollution offering superb conditions for seekers of dark starry skies. The coastline’s dramatic cliffs and atmospheric viewpoints are the best front seats to witness everything from the Milky Way to the Aurora Borealis. Sit back and enjoy the show.