6 of the best coastal walks in Yorkshire

Coastal, Walking, The Great British Outdoors

Posted by Kate A on 20th June 2022

Coastal walks in Yorkshire

Discover breathtaking scenery, legends of smuggling and plenty of delicious fish and chips on coastal walks in Yorkshire. Stretching for more than 90 miles from Staithes in the north to Spurn Point in the south, the epic Yorkshire Coast is a great choice for a walking holiday. Here you can follow in the iconic footsteps of Captain Cook and even Dracula, meandering across towering cliffs, sandy beaches, and rocky shores.

There are so many wonderful things to do in Yorkshire by the sea. Explore beautiful fishing villages which spill down the hillsides right into the sea, search for fossils and dinosaur footprints in the cliff faces and along the shoreline, or dip your toes in the swirling North Sea. Whether you fancy a leisurely stroll in the fresh sea air or a challenging trek along the lofty clifftops, we have put together some of the best seaside walks in Yorkshire to inspire you. And if you are looking for an equally lovely coastal retreat in which you can relax and unwind after your adventures, click the button below to browse our full collection of Yorkshire coastal cottages.

Yorkshire coastal cottages

Ravenscar and Robin Hood's Bay

Ravenscar to Robin Hood’s Bay

Beginning at the National Trust Coastal Centre on the craggy heights of Ravenscar, this 11-mile circular walk traverses some of the finest coast and countryside of the North York Moors National Park. One of the most challenging North Yorkshire coastal walks, the route winds across the wild and beautiful Howdale Moor before dropping down to the old disused Scarborough-to-Whitby railway line and along to the famous smugglers’ haunt of Robin Hood’s Bay. The reward for reaching this charming little fishing village is a great selection of pubs and cafes where you can refuel with a hearty meal before the final leg of the walk. The return journey to Ravenscar picks up an exhilarating clifftop section of the Cleveland Way National Trail via the old alum works industrial site and boasts some incredible sea views.  

  • Distance: 11 miles | Difficulty: Challenging
  • Facilities: Parking and toilets at the Ravenscar National Trust Coastal Centre, refreshments at Ravenscar, Boggle Hole and Robin Hood’s Bay.
  • Good to know: The beautiful beaches at Robin Hood’s Bay and nearby Boggle Hole are perfect for a spot of rock pooling and fossil hunting.
  • Stay nearby: Lenwood, Robin Hoods Bay | Sleeps 4 + 2 dogs

Runswick Bay

Runswick Bay Easy Access Walk

If you’re looking for easy coastal walks in Yorkshire, then this is a great choice. Following the Cleveland Way National Trail for 2 miles (1 mile in each direction), this linear route enjoys captivating coastal vistas from the clifftops over both Runswick Bay and Port Mulgrave. Starting at the upper car park in Runswick Bay, the walk takes around an hour to complete at a normal pace. Because the trail doesn’t actually descend into the village, you can also choose to extend the walk north towards the seaside village of Staithes if you so wish.

  • Distance: 2 miles | Difficulty: Easy
  • Facilities: Refreshments, toilets and parking in Runswick Bay.
  • Good to know: It’s definitely worth exploring the village of Runswick Bay after your jaunt to admire its charming red-roofed fishermen's cottages with pocket-sized gardens, and its beach which is one of the few sandy bays in the area.
  • Stay nearby: The Retreat – Sandsend, Sandsend | Sleeps 4

Staithes and Port Mulgrave

Staithes to Port Mulgrave circular

One of our favourite Yorkshire circular coastal walks, this route begins in the atmospheric fishing village of Staithes with its cobbled streets, winding alleys and quaint harbourside cottages. Set off from the sheltered harbour and follow the Cleveland Way National Trail, taking in the fresh sea air as you head along the brooding clifftops towards Port Mulgrave, once the home of an ironstone mine and a bustling fishing port. On the return to Staithes, the walk passes through fields, woodland and a nature reserve, as well as the small hamlet of Dalehouse where you can stop for a swift drink along the way.

  • Distance: 4 miles | Difficulty: Moderate
  • Facilities: Car park, toilets and cafes, pubs and restaurants in Staithes.
  • Good to know: In the mid-18th century, the young James Cook worked in Staithes as an apprentice shopkeeper where he developed a taste for life at sea, before going on to become the famous Captain Cook that we all know so well.
  • Stay nearby: Waverley House, Staithes | Sleeps 6 + 2 dogs

Great British Coast

Flamborough Head

Flamborough Head Circular

Widely regarded as one of the best coastal walks in East Yorkshire, the Flamborough Head Circular is a 3-mile loop of one of the most spectacular areas of chalk cliffs in Britain. If you love wildlife, you’ll be thrilled with the variety of seabirds nesting on these dramatic white cliffs which have been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Species include Atlantic puffins, kittiwakes and gannets – there’s also a good chance of spotting some seals bobbing about in the water. The walk is one for history buffs too, with an abundance of ancient settlements and old battlefields on the route, as well as the old and current Flamborough lighthouses.

  • Distance: 3 miles | Difficulty: Easy
  •  Facilities: There are lots of places to eat in Flamborough village or, if you’ve got a taste for the sea, there’s a very popular van parked in North Landing car park where you can pick up some freshly caught local crabs.
  • Good to know: The East Riding Heritage Way also passes through Flamborough Head so you could continue along this path to nearby Bempton Cliffs which are under the care of the RSPB with even more seabirds to admire.
  • Stay nearby: North View - Flamborough, Flamborough | Sleeps 6 + 1 dog

Sandsend and Whitby

Sandsend to Whitby

There’s nothing like a windswept beach walk to blow away the cobwebs and this beauty which starts at Sandsend not only suits walkers of all abilities, but offers some gorgeous scenery along the way, such as Whitby Abbey, made famous by Bram Stoker's iconic novel Dracula. Best of all, you can stop for tea breaks at the beginning, middle and end at Whitby as there are a variety of cafes dotted all along the beachfront. There will be plenty of seabirds and the occasional seal to keep you company and, if you’re bringing the kids, lots of hidden treasures to find amongst the sand and pebbles. For more inspiration check out our guide to Whitby walks.

  • Distance: 3 miles | Difficulty: Easy
  • Facilities: There’s a good choice of cafes on the beachfront at Sandsend as well as a plethora of food and drink options in Whitby. 
  • Good to know: Be sure to check the tide times before your walk so you don’t get cut off - these are displayed on the side of the shop next to Sandsend Cafe or you can look them up in advance online.
  • Stay nearby: Harlow Cottage | Sleeps 4 + 2 dogs

View Whitby cottages

Scarborough and Filey Brigg

Scarborough to Filey

The scenic walk from Scarborough to Filey is the last leg of the 108-mile Cleveland Way National Trail. Hugging the clifftops, for the most part, the far-reaching vistas of the Yorkshire Coast are sure to take your breath away. The path traces the coastline with its hidden coves, fascinating rock formations, and golden beaches, passing Cayton Bay, and offering views of the white cliffs of Flamborough Head, before ending at mysterious Filey Brigg, a striking rocky promontory which holds many legends as to how it was formed. It’s then a simple walk down into Filey where you can put your feet up in one of the town’s welcoming eateries before catching a bus back to Scarborough.

  • Distance: 10.5 miles | Difficulty: Moderate
  • Facilities: Plenty of parking in Scarborough, and a variety of places to eat in both Scarborough and Filey. 
  • Good to know: Most of the walk is along the clifftops, so it’s not one for those with a fear of heights!
  • Stay nearby: Sea Pearl, Scarborough | Sleeps 4 + 1 dog

Map of coastal walks in Yorkshire

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Stay with us in Yorkshire

From cosy fishermen’s cottages by the coast with toasty wood burners and mesmerising views of the sea, to beautiful barns, farmhouses and apartments slightly further inland, we have a wide range of fantastic self-catering accommodation by the Yorkshire coast. Take a look at our full collection below to find your beach haven; where will you choose to stay?

Yorkshire coastal cottages

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.