The Yorkshire Coast is one of the UK's most popular seaside coasts, with a mix of designated heritage coast around Flamborough Head and a choice of Britain's best holiday seaside resorts. The country's oldest historic seaside resort is at Scarborough which saw the arrival of the first bathing machines in 1735 followed by fame as spa town after the discovery of mineral spa waters at South Bay.
Scarborough is a veritable feast of seaside Victorian architecture alongside two fine beach bays, a superb choice of theatres, cinemas, clubs, bars and restaurants and a host of holiday attractions. Maritime Whitby, with its close links with Captain Cook and courtesy of Bram Stoker - Dracula is another Yorkshire Coast holiday hotspot. The Cook Memorial Museum in Whitby pays due homage to the town's famous apprentice who went on from Whitby to undertake his three epic voyages. Whitby is also a feast for the specialist shopper with a fine choice of arts and crafts shops including jewellers selling the famous Whitby Jet. Whitby Abbey ruins, relatively intact compared to others in the UK, stands as a magnificent gothic feature high above Whitby town on the east cliff.
Blue Flag beaches along the Yorkshire Coast are numerous and include Bridlington North and South Beaches, Hornsea Beach, Withernsea Beach, Filey Beach, Scarborough North Bay and Whitby West Cliff Beach. Peaceful Filey is retracing its maritime links with John Paul Jones via the Filey Bay Heritage Initiative whilst Bridlington is a mecca for family holidays with its fine beach and choice of family holiday attractions, especially its beach front funfairs and amusements. Pushing south of Bridlington more fine beaches await on the Holderness stretch at Withernsea and Hornsea. Further south still sits the stunning Spurn Point Spit, a haven for migratory birds which juts out across the Humber Estuary.
Historic maritime Whitby with stunning Whitby Abbey ruins high up on a ridge overlooking the coast (still used as a navigation marker by shipping) is the perfect coastal holiday destination. Captain Cook trained here, and Bram Stoker was inspired by the church yard and abbey in Whitby to write 'Dracula'. Whitby jet stone, the town's iconic deep black stone popular with the Victorians, is on sale in many unique craft shops and the Victorian bay offers fantastic sandy seaside fun for the kids including boat trips from Whitby's historic harbour.
The River Esk cuts through Whitby and a swing bridge connects the two West and East sides of the town. To the East you've some of the best arts, crafts and specialist shopping in Yorkshire alongside fine tea rooms, atmospheric inns and the Cook Museum. To reach the abbey the only way up is via the 199 steps (Caedmon's Trod). To the West sit Theatres, cinemas, Whitby Sands beach, the Whitby Museum, the Lifeboat Museum, parks, a boating lake and mini golf and high on the cliff the Captain Cook Monument and distinctive Whitby whale bones. Whitby offers a superb choice of accommodation from hotels to B&Bs, particularly around the West Cliff area.
The town appeals on many levels, including fun family beach holiday to arts and crafts shopping mecca to exploring Whitby's maritime heritage at the Cook Museum and around the old harbour to touring the historic Whitby Abbey ruins and visitor centre high on East Cliff which date from 1220 AD. Stunning coastal walking is on the menu both east and west of the town, particularly east with the popular coastal walk between Whitby and Robin Hoods Bay. A good introduction to Whitby is to take a ride on the Whitby Open Top Bus Tour. A choice of festivals run annually including two Whitby Goth Weekends, Whitby Folk Week, Whitby Regatta and 1940's Weekend. You're in the right place in Whitby for the best of Yorkshire heritage steam railways. Both the North Yorkshire Moors Railway and Esk Valley Railway lines are accessible from Whitby Station.
Robin Hood's Bay is a uniquely beautiful little fishing hamlet situated on the coast just south of Whitby. One of the prettiest villages along the Yorkshire Heritage Coast, Robin Hood's Bay makes for a quieter idyllic coastal base compared to Whitby, yet within easy reach of Whitby's many attractions. Robin Hood's Bay has a fine selection of its own attractions including arts and crafts shops, atmospheric pub inns, fine dining restaurants, a museum, horse riding and off roading, stunning coastal walking and a superb choice of B&B, Group Accommodation and small hotels.
Coastal walking between Whitby and Robin Hood's Bay is one of the highlight stretches of the Cleveland Way National Trail. The Old Coastguard Station serves as one of the North Yorkshire Moors National Park Centres with exhibition and tourist information on-site. Robin Hood's Bay bursts into life annually in early June when it celebrates its famous folk weekend.
There's a reason why Scarborough is essentially Britain's first seaside resort. A 1736 engraving by John Setterington depicts people bathing using bathing machines in the town, and records show that bathing machines were first used in Scarborough in 1735, the very first recorded town to see the bathing machine in use! Scarborough's growth as seaside pleasure haven grew from there, boosted too by the discovery of Scarborough Spaw waters with their healing properties - Scarborough became one of Britain's celebrated spa towns and Scarborough's historic spa buildings are currently seeing exciting regeneration. The town's striking Victorian architecture, particularly the esplanade, Grand Hotel and spa buildings all along the seafront, hint at its popularity as Victorian seaside spa mecca. The spectacular Grand Hotel, New Spa Grand Hall and Peasholm Park all date from the Victorian and Edwardian period. Scarborough's sublime Victorian architecture coupled with its two beautiful beach bays - South Bay with its more seaside entertainment feel and quieter North Bay with its blue flag beach status give Scarborough a special edge.
Scarborough boasts a fine selection of attractions including acclaimed museums and art galleries, a historic mini railway and spectacular headland castle, beach bays and watersports especially great surfing opportunities, two fine golf courses, numerous boat trips, ghost walks and guided walks and bus tours, a selection of seaside attractions right on the beach including funfair rides, mini golf and amusements and a superb choice of theatres including the stunning art deco Stephen Joseph theatre - the home of Alan Ayckbourn who is artistic director here. Once visited you'll find yourself returning again and again to Scarborough - one of Britain's finest seaside treasures. New exciting regeneration projects for many of Scarborough's most historic buildings including the Spa Buildings and the Rotunda Museum alongside new attractions planned for North Bay are set to ensure the town's continuing success as seaside holiday hotspot.
Holiday attraction choice around Scarborough is impressive, with everything from outdoor adventure activity centres and family farm/animal parks to sublime coastal walking on the menu. Move just a few miles inland around East and West Ayton for a superb choice of family animal farm parks, farm shops and further into the park for outdoor adventure activities at Dalby Forest. Just 2 miles south of Scarborough town centre sits Oliver's Mount Road Racing Circuit - a mecca for motorcycle and car racing fans. Oliver's Mount plays host to Scarborough's annual Festival of Speed in April.
The Coastline south and north of Scarborough offers more holiday treats. The 109 mile Cleveland Way National trail skirts round the North Yorkshire Moors National Park from Helmsley, across and down the Yorkshire Coast from Saltburn to Filey. You're in designated UK heritage coast territory here and stunning coastal walking is to had particularly between Whitby and Scarborough taking in picture postcard villages such as Robin Hood's Bay, Ravenscar and Cloughton. The Ravenscar and Robin Hood's Bay coast is rich in the industrial history of alum, jet and ironstone mining. Move south of Scarborough to Cayton Bay for superb surfing conditions. Championship golf, Bronze Age burial sites and the historic Scarborough to Whitby Railway line are all in the area. The railway line, which closed in the mid 1960s, passes through Cloughton village and Ravenscar and is now popular for horse riding, cycling and walking.
Filey was once home to one of the most famous and biggest Butlins Holiday Camps in the country - the town still boasts an impressive choice of large family caravan parks. Today Filey pulls on its historic Victorian fishing and Edwardian seaside resort roots. The town is a wonderfully restful seaside base with miles of sublime sandy beach space, local golf courses, award winning gardens, birdwatching and walking around Filey Brigg and a spot of fishing, surfing and sailing are all popular in the area.
Filey Museum, which takes a close look at the town's fishing heritage and local history, is a recent award winner. Five miles of beautiful sandy beach area is Filey's main attraction for swimming, diving, sailing and surfing. Filey's annual Regatta, hosted by Filey Sailing club, takes place in July. Golf is also on offer at Filey's outstanding links course.
Bridlington is a superb family holiday base, one of the best for families in Yorkshire, and is packed with fun seaside activities for the kids. Bridlington's fine promenade is crammed with kids rides and amusements and the town lays claim to two award winning sandy beaches which straddle either side of Bridlington's harbour. Bridlington North Beach has the highest Blue Flag award for water quality.
Bridlington's historic harbour area, which bustles particularly in Summer, hints at Bridlington's fishing heritage and the old town area further boosts its appeal. If you're looking for a novelty way of touring the sights of Bridlington then look no further than the famous Tuk-Tuk rides! (see webguide right). Bridlington also offers easy access into the Yorkshire Wolds, and north to coastal walking around Flamborough Head and for visits to Bempton cliffs Nature Reserve. This Nature Reserve is a family favourite too and Flamborough Headland with its dramatic chalk cliffs which reach upto 130 metres at Bempton is one of England's treasured designated heritage coasts. Hop aboard the Yorkshire Belle for pleasure boat trips around the Flamborough Head coast from Bridlington Harbour.
The pretty beaches of the Holderness Coast continue south of Bridlington at Hornsea and Withernsea. Both are popular seaside holiday resorts and Hornsea's beach has blue flag status. Hornsea serves as a more peaceful beach base to Bridlington's bustle and attractions are numerous including an award winning folk museum, a large freeport shopping village just outside the town, plus plenty of seaside frolics including crazy golf and a model village. The town celebrates its annual Carnival in July. Hornsea's particular edge is its freshwater lake Hornsea Mere, the largest freshwater lake in Yorkshire, which is both RSPB reserve popular with birdwatchers and site for gentle watersports such as rowing, fishing and sailing.
Withernsea's seaside promenade offers a host of amusements and the Pavilion Leisure Centre is seeing extensive renovations and promises a choice of swimming and leisure facilities. Withernsea's famous inland lighthouse is now a museum. Built as a response to the numerous shipwrecks happening off Spurn Point, the lighthouse hosts exhibits on the RNLI and local history with feature exhibition on the 1950s British film star Kay Kendall who was born in the town in 1926. The stunning Holderness coast stretches all the way from Flamborough Head in the North to the National Nature Reserve and unique coastal feature of Spurn Head spit. A walk along Spurn, one of the UK's most fascinating spits pushing three and a half miles out across the mouth of the River Humber, is a bracing walk indeed exposed as you are to the North Sea. Spurn Head is a popular site for migratory birds, perfect for birdwatching opportunities.