10 of the best beaches in Yorkshire

Beaches, Coastal, The Great British Outdoors

Posted by Clare Willcocks on 10th July 2023

Best beaches on the Yorkshire coast

The Yorkshire coast's eclectic mix of sandy bays and charming coves attract an equally diverse mix of beachgoers – some looking for a traditional bucket-and-spade holiday, others on the hunt for fossils or hoping to spot rare seabirds. 

Pay a visit at any time of year and enjoy the different facets of this section of the Great British coast; from quiet Yorkshire beaches in winter, where you and your four-legged friend may be the only souls around, to firm family favourites with fantastic facilities and plenty to keep the children occupied – even when the summer weather decides to take a turn for the worse.

We’ve put together a list of some of the best beaches in Yorkshire to help you make the most of your time in this special corner of the UK.

Cottages on the Yorkshire coast

Saltburn - best beaches in Yorkshire


Saltburn has long been a favourite destination for holidaymakers, with history as a seaside resort stretching all the way back to the Victorian era and beyond. Indeed, it’s one of the best beaches in Yorkshire for a traditional day at the seaside, made all the more inviting by the Victorian vestiges which remain along the front. The iconic Saltburn Cliff Tramway glides up and down the cliff to the head of the pier, which reaches out into the sea, providing a backdrop for many a holiday photo.

The beach is also one of Yorkshire’s top surf spots; positioned facing north and relatively protected by a headland, it gets more swell here than other locations along the coast.

Location: TS12 1HQ

Dogs: Restrictions from the Pier to Hazelgrove from May to September. There is plenty of beach on either side of the restricted area where dogs are welcome all year round.

Lifeguard: Yes, please check RNLI website for details.

Local information: Public WCs, car parks, town amenities, pier, water sports.

Stay nearby: 1 The Mews, Saltburn-by-the-Sea (2 miles) | Sleeps 2 + 1 dog

Runswick Bay - best beaches in Yorkshire

Runswick Bay

A wide arc of sand backed by pretty red-roofed cottages tumbling down to the seaside, Runswick Bay was awarded the prestigious title of Britain’s Best Beach 2020 by The Times newspaper. Whether you’re bundled up and heading off for a blustery winter walk across the bay, or settling down for a summer’s day of sun, sea and sand, you’re sure to be captivated by the beauty and spirit of this charming beach. Rock pooling, fossil hunting and coastal walks can also all be enjoyed here.

Location: TS13 5HR

Dogs: Welcome all year round.

Lifeguard: Yes, please check RNLI website for details.

Local information: Public WCs, car park, village amenities.

Stay nearby: Waverley House, Staithes | Sleeps 6 + 2 dogs

Sandsend - best beaches in Yorkshire


Sandsend is one of the most well-loved North Yorkshire beaches. Lying just up the coast from Whitby, the golden sandy beach is backed by a pretty village of the same name. A path runs all the way along the road at the top of the beach, and a selection of cafes and pubs offer the perfect spot to sit and admire the view.

Rock pools are revealed at low tide and the little rivers running into the sea make it a playground for water-loving children. Gaze down the coast, and you’ll see the atmospheric ruins of Whitby Abbey rising from the cliff top.

Location: YO21 3SZ

Dogs: Not allowed on the main beach from May to September. Parts of the beach further away from the village welcome dogs all year round.

Lifeguard: No.

Local information: Public WCs, car park, on-street parking, pubs, cafes.

Stay nearby: Clematis Cottage | Sleeps 6 + 2 dogs

Whitby - best beaches in Yorkshire


Sandy and with clear waters perfect for a paddle, Whitby is one of the best beaches on the Yorkshire coast if you like to combine your beach days with a mooch around town. A chain of primary-coloured beach huts lines the promenade along West Cliff, keeping watch over the broad beach and the smattering of rock pools which are revealed as the tide retreats. Austere cliffs rise up towards the town end, where the harbour hugs the mouth of the River Esk.

To the east side of the river mouth, Tate Hill, a smaller, sheltered beach is a scenic spot for dog walking, as well as cooling off after the climb up and down the 199 steps which lead up to Whitby Abbey.

Location: YO21 3PT

Dogs: Tate Hill Beach welcomes dogs all year round. On West Cliff Beach, dogs are not allowed from the West Pier to the east side of the beach steps from May to September (inclusive).

Lifeguard: Yes, please check RNLI website for details.

Local information: Public WCs, car parks, town amenities, beach hut hire.

Stay nearby: Rose and Crown, Whitby | Sleeps 4

Great British Coast

South Bay, Scarborough - best beaches in Yorkshire

South Bay, Scarborough

A broad swathe of welcoming golden sand with fantastic facilities close to the shore makes South Bay, Scarborough one of the best beaches in North Yorkshire for families. Hours can be spent basking in the sunshine or sculpting the perfect sandcastle, taking the occasional break to grab an ice cream or tucking into a portion of fresh fish and chips.

If the weather’s not in your favour, the lively amusement arcades with their flashing lights and nostalgic tunes promise shelter and old-fashioned fun for an hour or two. For more upmarket entertainment, book to see a show at the Scarborough Spa complex, a theatre and live music venue on the seafront.

Location: YO11 2QE

Dogs: On the majority of South Bay Beach down to Spa Bridge, dogs are not allowed from May to September (inclusive). On the beach to the south of Spa Bridge, no restrictions apply.

Lifeguard: Yes, please check RNLI website for details.

Local information: Public WCs, car parks, town amenities.

Stay nearby:  45 Phoenix Drive, Scarborough | Sleeps 5 + 2 dogs

Cayton Bay - best beaches in Yorkshire

Cayton Bay

Cayton Bay’s sweeping curve of golden sand makes it a favourite among dog walkers, especially as four-legged friends are welcome year-round. Sat between its famous seaside neighbours Scarborough and Filey, it is a naturally beautiful bay which attracts visitors to enjoy its clean water and idyllic location. Surfers, too, enjoy the spots The Point, Pump House and Bunkers, and the bay is home to one of the longest-established surf schools in the UK.

Besides the lure of the sand and surf, another popular pastime here is fossil collecting, and as warm sunny days give way to an autumn chill, it’s a good time for a stroll to see what you can find.

Location: YO11 3NR

Dogs: Welcome all year round.

Lifeguard: Yes, please check RNLI website for details.

Local information: Cliff-top car park, access via steep bank to the beach, beach shack café, surf shop and school, unofficial naturist spot (to north end near WWII pill-boxes).

Stay nearby:  Sea Views Three 37, Scarborough | Sleeps 4 + 2 dogs

Filey - best beaches in Yorkshire

Filey Beach

Many people cherish happy memories of family holidays on the Yorkshire coast, and you can bet that Filey Beach will be among the most fondly remembered beach spots. There are 5 majestic miles of golden sand unfolding along the seafront, with a pleasant promenade running along the length of the town section.

Small fairground-style amusements, crazy golf and a paddling pool open in the summer make it great for families with young children. If you make your way right over to Filey Brigg at the north end of the beach, you’ll find plenty of rockpools to explore.

Location: YO14 9RD

Dogs: Not allowed from Royal Parade to Coble Landing from May to September (inclusive).

Lifeguard: Yes, please check RNLI website for details.

Local information: Public WCs, car parks, town amenities, beach chalets for hire.

Stay nearby: South Crescent, Filey | Sleeps 4 + 3 dogs

North Landing - best beaches in Yorkshire

North Landing, Flamborough

A small, sand and shingle beach framed by towering chalk cliffs, North Landing isn’t your average bucket and spade beach, but what it lacks in size and amenities, it makes up for in character. Due to its size, it can get busy with families in the summer, but if you’re looking for a quiet beach to discover in Yorkshire, neighbouring Thornwick Bay just along the coast path is a good bet.

North Landing is famous for a range of water-based activities throughout the year, including snorkelling, fishing, swimming and kayaking. It’s not just humans who flock here though; it’s a hive of activity for birds, with cormorants and even puffins among some of the species which can be spotted here.

Location: YO15 1BJ

Dogs: Welcome all year round.

Lifeguard: No.

Local information: Car park (quite steep access to the beach), public WCs, beach café.

Stay nearby: Rock Lobster, East Riding | Sleeps 4 + 1 dog

Bridlington - best beaches in Yorkshire


If you’re looking for East Yorkshire beaches, Bridlington’s two expansive beaches offer plenty of space to set up and enjoy the sights and sounds of the seaside. South Beach stretches over a mile from the harbour, with the pleasant Princess Mary Promenade running behind it. Here, you’ll find plenty of eateries to keep you nourished, whether that be ice creams in the summer, or a warming hot chocolate in the winter. If it’s too cold to sit on the beach, South Beach is the perfect place for an invigorating stroll.

To the north of Bridlington Harbour lies North Beach, which also offers a promenade where you can take in the views over to Flamborough Head. A top choice for families, it has numerous little extras such as a land train and other summer activities providing hours of entertainment.

Location: YO15 2JF

Dogs: Dogs are not allowed in the main area of either of the beaches closest to the harbour from May to September (inclusive). On North Beach, they are welcome all year round beyond the coastguard station, and on South Beach, they are welcome all year round south of the boat launch.

Lifeguard: Yes, please check RNLI website for details.

Local information: Public WCs, car parks, roadside parking, town amenities.

Stay nearby: Les Petits Hiboux, Bridlington | Sleeps 3 + 1 dog

Hornsea Beach - best beaches in Yorkshire

Hornsea Beach

Long promenade, cafes, shops and a sandy beach – Hornsea is equipped with all the ingredients for a traditional day beside the sea. It’s been popular as a holiday destination since Victorian times and makes a change from Yorkshire’s larger resorts up the coast. The Trans Pennine Trail for walkers, cyclists and horse riders ends in Hornsea.

A short hop inland from the beach is Hornsea Mere, the largest freshwater lake in Yorkshire which offers more water sports opportunities, including rowing, sailing, boat trips and fishing. As beaches in East Yorkshire go, this one’s got it all!

Location: HU18 1TJ

Dogs: Not allowed from May to September (inclusive) between the ramp at Headland View and the steps south of Sands Lane.

Lifeguard: Yes, please check RNLI website for details.

Local information: Public WCs, car parks, town amenities.

Stay nearby:  Wortley Cottage, Hornsea | Sleeps 4 + 2 dogs

Yorkshire's best beaches on a map

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Stay with us on the Yorkshire coast

If reading about the best beaches in Yorkshire has inspired you to visit the Yorkshire coast, take a look at our wonderful collection of cottages in the area. Kick back in a comfortable chair admiring uninterrupted sea views, hunker down in a rural cottage with a short walk to the beach or book out a huge holiday home for that long-awaited get-together with family and friends. Whatever your plans for your Yorkshire holiday, your perfect cottage awaits ...

Cottages on the Yorkshire coast

The Great British Outdoors

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.