While a vast part of Yorkshire encompasses rolling moorland, historic towns and quaint rural villages, a large part of it comprises the rugged Heritage Coast of the North York Moors. It’s here you’ll discover bundles of stunning beaches where you can while away an afternoon, taking in the fresh sea air. Check out our list of the 8 best beaches in Yorkshire to explore while you’re on holiday in this northern gem. See which take your fancy.
The lovely little fishing village of Sandsend is distinguished by its cute cottages, amazing beach fossils and picturesque stream that runs into the sea. Incredibly tranquil and much less crowded than nearby Whitby, the beach here is a must-visit. Super-clean, with stunning sunsets and lovely views of Whitby Abbey, both couples and families love this sand and shingle beach for romantic strolls and beachcombing adventures. Don’t leave without visiting Sandsend café, for fresh crab with a view.
Surfers will love Runswick Bay. Home to its own sailing club, it’s the place to go for paddle-boarding, children’s sailing courses and year-round boat races which are a joy to watch year-round from the shore. If you prefer to stay dry, flip off your shoes and sink your toes into the golden sand. Or put on your wellies for some rock pooling and fossil hunting – one of the best things to do with kids in Yorkshire.
Robin Hood’s Bay
It’s a steep walk into this rugged bay, but if you don’t mind the climb back to the car, it’s so worth it for its incredible charm. Former fishing cottages perch on the hillside and the village is packed with cafes, pubs and shops selling antiques, souvenirs and local Whitby jet. The beach here isn’t really suitable for sunbathing, but you’ll be in your element if you and your gang enjoy beachcombing, photography and feeling like you’ve stepped back in time.
We can’t write about the best beaches in Yorkshire without mentioning Whitby – perhaps the most visited seaside town in Yorkshire. This popular holiday destination has two bays which are both worth a mention. Tate Hill, to the east, is sandy and sheltered and a great place to stretch the legs after exploring Whitby’s buzzy streets. Meanwhile, West Cliff is a long, beach-hut fringed bay, perfect for brisk and breezy walks to work off those fish and chips. Sound right up your street? Our Whitby Cottage is right in the heart of this charming seaside town!
There’s a feel of bygone years at Saltburn Beach, partly owing to the eye-catching cliff tramway (which you can hop on with the kids for a couple of pounds) and the Victorian Italian Gardens and 600ft-long pier which stretches out into the North Sea.
This sand and shingle beach is clean, wild and lined with brightly coloured beach huts – an absolute gem for long walks. Plus it’s a surfer’s paradise, playing home to the Saltburn Surf School and hosting one of the UK’s biggest surfing competitions. Check out the arcade and aptly-named Seaview restaurant for fish and chips with a view.
A lively and bustling neighbour to North Bay, South Bay is the most popular beach for holidaymakers in Scarborough. Sun-seekers of all ages come here in the summer, so you might want to get here early to claim your sunbathing spot. Once you do, it’s all about the quintessential British seaside experience – think donkey rides, sandcastles and all the souvenir and ice-cream shops you could ever need along its Victorian promenade.
You’ll get heaps of space to spread out and breathe in the sea air in Filey. This long sweeping bay around 8 miles from Scarborough is super-clean, packed with family beach activities (think pony trekking, paddling pool and sailing) and it’s oh-so-spacious, stretching for an impressive five miles. Once you’ve got your fill of paddling, rock pooling and beach volleyball, you can stroll the promenade and marvel at the Sculpture Trail inspired by Filey’s natural heritage.
North Landing (Flamborough) Beach
Sparkling waters, thriving birdlife and striking chalk rock formations all make North Landing beach one of the best beaches in Yorkshire for scenery and wildlife lovers. Do check this one out if you want to swerve the more touristy vibe of nearby Scarborough.
You’ll find a few coves around the picturesque Flamborough headland (a haven for walkers), but this hidden gem is the prettiest. It has an uber tranquil vibe and the conditions are pretty good for snorkelling, kayaking and swimming. Book a fishing trip or boat trip from here during summer and see the Bemption Cliffs, bird sanctuary and Smugglers Cave.
Map of the best beaches in Yorkshire
Ready to explore the rugged coastline of Yorkshire? Have a look at our collection of houses and cottages in Yorkshire – the perfect base for discovering all that Yorkshire has to offer! And if you want to be right near the beach, check out our cottage in the charming seaside town of Whitby.