Summer is the time to head for the beach and despite the changeable weather here are our top ten beaches to visit this summer.
1. Starting at the northern end of the county is Saltburn, that makes a great day out. This Victoria gem has a beautiful sandy beach and plenty of vintage and antique shops to browse in. For the less energetic you can reach the beach by riding the oldest water-balanced cliff lift in Britain, where you'll disembark alongside Saltburn's magnificent 600ft long Victorian Pier, the sole surviving example on England's north-east coast.
2. Heading south towards Whitby along the coast road, many people whizz past Skinningrove and miss a relatively unknown spot Cattersly Sands. This is a long sandy and shingle beach intersected by a rocky pier which dates back to 1886, when iron-ore was mined in the area. The steamships would be loaded with the ore and transported back to Middlesbrough. Nearby is the Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum which makes an interesting stop to learn more about the history of the area.
3. Runswick Bay a family favourite, is a wide sweeping bay. About 9 miles north of Whitby, it is widely regarded as one of the prettiest spots on the Yorkshire coast with a backdrop of white cottages nestled into the cliffs. The sandy beach is perfect in the summer months for sandcastles, beach games, rock pooling and maybe even a dip in the waters.
Out of season it is still a perfect place for a hearty cliff-top walks along the Cleveland Way or maybe a little fossil hunting. When the tide is out there is one interesting feature that many people miss. Large circles are embedded in the rocks that look quite alien almost like a space ship has tried to land from outer space. On closer research the circles are the result of capped bore holes when in the 80s oil was discovered but not enough to make it commercially viable to extract. What a blessing that was as this lovely spot would have been ruined.
4. The picturesque village of Sandsend has a beach that stretches along the coast road all the way to Whitby. Easily accessible and good for families, there are some good cafes and pubs for refreshments.
5. Whitby has two excellent beaches on both sides of the River Esk. On the east side is the smaller Tate Hill, a sheltered sandy beach that allows dogs all year round. On the other side of West Pier is West Cliff, a larger sandy beach with colourful beach huts, deckchair and windbreak hire, a children's paddling pool and donkey rides.
6. Robin Hoods Bay once the home of smugglers, reputedly there are underground passages running between the cottages where booty could be hidden. The beauty of this fishing village and its history combine to make this a popular place for visitors. We recommend parking at Boggle Hole and walking across the beach to the village for a pint at the pub or some fish and chips. The powerful, natural beauty of this place is a mecca for photographers and artists. Whilst children love playing in the rock pools when the tied is out or fossil hunting at low tide.
7. Hayburn Wyke, Cloughton is an undiscovered gem situated on the coastal path Descending down a steep single track lane into a valley where the Hayburn Wkye Inn is situated. This little beach is hidden from view you need to walk through some woods that emerge next to two waterfalls that tumble through the rocks to the stony beach below.
8. Scarborough is one of the UK's top seaside resorts and it's easy to see why. Known as the first seaside resort in the UK, tourists have been coming here enjoy the waters, fine views and the beneficial sea-air since a spa was opened here in the 17th century. Whatever your age, whatever your idea of what makes a good day out at the seaside, you're going to find what you're looking for in this vibrant Yorkshire town.
There are two large, sandy beaches with spectacular scenery dominated by the picturesque ruins of Scarborough Castle. North Bay is a lovely beach and where the Sealife Centre is situated. You can park here and catch the North Bay Railway to Peasholm Park where there is a boating pond and tree top and high ropes activity and walk into the town centre. Recently Kylie Minogue caused quite a stir practising her routine for her hit ‘The Locomotion’ at the railway. South Bay is the busier beach, being accessible from the main part of town there are plenty or organised activities during the holidays to entertain the kids. Despite its popularity, Scarborough retains much of its charm and has a character all of its own.
9. Located around 3 miles south of Scarborough, Cayton Bay. This wide sweeping beach is usually fairly quiet, but as a fairly exposed spot but loved by windsurfers and surfers where the oldest surf school in the UK was established back in 1989. Naturists also love using the northern end of the bay, so be warned despite council signs banning nudity you may come across a few people just wearing a hat!
10. Filey is less commercial than Scarborough and its 5 mile sretch of golden sand is an ideal seaside location for young families many of who return each year. The town has a strong fishing community and even today you can watch the fishermen mending nets on the quayside and landing their fish. Filey Bay stretches down to Reighton Sands which is popular with caravaners who flock to the large sites that line the cliff tops.
11. Flamborough Head, 7 miles further down the coast. is a beautiful spot. Bempton Cliffs Nature Reserve offers excellent views as well as the opportunity to see many species of birds. The much photographed picturesque beach of North Landing is flanked by stunning chalk cliffs and grassy hills. Popular with bathers and snorkelers it is also used by kayakers and boat trips run all spring and summer to view the wildlife where cormorants, kittiwakes, razorbills and even puffins can be spotted nesting in the cliffs.
12. Bridlington just south of Flamborough Head, boasts two long sandy beaches. Our favourite spot is the North Beach around Sewerby which is quieter and combined with a visit to Sewerby Hall, with its gardens and petting zoo makes for a great family day out. John Bull World of Rock is also another attraction worth visiting and always fascinates children on how they put the words in the middle of the rock. Much has been done to revive the town in recent years, with Bridlington Spa attracting great acts and entertainment throughout the season. It is a great base for exploring this part of Yorkshire.
When you have had enough of the beach and want a break, here are our recommended attractions to visit:-
- Whitby Museum - situated in beautiful Pannett park with its fantastic playground, step back in time and learn about Whitby's seafaring past and when dinosaurs walked the land.
- Captain Cook Museum - Dedicated to Whitby's famous son and one of the greatest explorers of the world.
- Sea Life Centre Scarborough situated in North Bay the centre is a major centre for conservation along the East Coast.
- Scarborough Castle this medieval fortress stands proud on a rocky promontory above the town.
- North Bay Railway catch the train to the Sea Life Centre from Peasholm Park.
- Filey Birds Garden and Animal Centre situated in a lovely 5 acre garden this is a great day out for all the family.
- Sewerby Hall, with over 50 acres of stunning gardens to explore, a zoo, adventure playground and a host of events throughout the year, it is definitely worth a visit.
- John Bull World of Rock make your own personalised stick of rock
- Yorkshire Wildlife Trust - Living Seas Centre - spend a day immersing yourselves in nature.