8 places to switch off in North Yorkshire

Feast your eyes on dramatic coastal scenery, historic abbeys, and hidden villages that have inspired writers and filmmakers for centuries. This is the Yorkshire coast and here are eight reasons to make it your next short break in the UK.



Ramble Robin Hood’s Bay

Rove Robin Hood’s Bay

Robin Hood's Bay, North York Moors National Park. A narrow street and village houses.

Robin Hood’s Bay is a charming fishing harbour wedged between Whitby and Staithes and is the most visited stretch of the Yorkshire coast. Drop your car at the top of the hill and descend onto its twisting cobbled streets and pink cottages that spill onto the bay. Completely walkable, with history around every corner and spectacular views of the coast, we can see why this is on everyone’s bucket list.

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See the ruins of Whitby Abbey


The sunsets behind Whitby Abbey, Whitby, North Yorkshire, UK

Adored for its inherent charm, Whitby isn’t just a sleepy fishing town. Go whale-watching, sink your teeth into the atmospheric ruins that inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and fill up on the freshest seafood at The Magpie Cafe. The gothic ruins of its seventh-century cliff-top abbey stand eerie and illuminated at night, and by day, you’ll get cracking views of the big blue. A must-do.

Wonder at Whitby Abbey

Escape to the British seaside in Staithes


With cute cottages and winding streets, Staithes is a fishing village on the far edge of North Yorkshire that’s managed to keep its secretive appeal. What was once one of the largest fishing ports on the North East coast is now a well-loved base for cliff top walks, rock pooling and fossil hunting. It's also a magnet for artists, with plenty of art experiences and shops to explore. Check out its annual arts and culture festival every September, where over 100 artists display their wares for sale. 

Get arty in Staithes

Surfin' Scar-bo-rough


Scarborough beach and Scarborough Spa from on top a cliff

Jump out of your comfort zone and ride the waves because the Yorkshire coast has some great surf spots. Scarborough's North and South Bays are gentle enough for beginners. The best time for newbies and intermediate surfers is summer and autumn when the waves are steadier and the water is milder. Fancy a challenge? If you're a seasoned surfer, you might prefer the winter months when the waves are usually at their biggest.

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Whale watching in Whitby

Whitby Whale Watching

Did you know that Whitby is famous for its whale watching? Once a long-held secret, it’s now a treasured activity in this part of the country. September is by far the best time to go for a chance to see these glorious mammals, as the herring shoals migrate to the area. Look out for all kinds of species as you take the special boat out, including porpoise, white beaked and bottle nosed dolphins, Minke, humpback, sei and fin whales - you may also see some seals, who are also partial to the bountiful sea harvest!

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Glamping at Humble Bee

Humble Bee

Row of cabins at Humble Bee Farm

If you want to explore Yorkshire’s wild side without sacrificing home comforts then Humble Bee’s wigwam camp could be just the tonic. Choose from yurts and deluxe wigwams that are warm, spacious and furnished, so you’ll wake up snug and refreshed in the morning. Dalby Forest – a 30-min drive north from the site – is a great spot for stargazing.

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Walk The Cleveland Way

The Cleveland Way

 Cleveland Way at sunset, paved walking path through heather along the cliffs of the coastline on the North York Moors, North Yorkshire, England.

This 100-mile-long national trail captures two gorgeous landscapes. From Helmsley to Saltburn is the North York Moors National Park, and from Saltburn to Filey is the coast, with Staithes, Whitby and Robin Hood’s Bay along the route. With castles, ancient stone crosses and fishing villages tucked into tiny coves, this Yorkshire walk has plenty to explore.

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Wine and dine on a steam train

North Yorkshire Moors Railway

A dazzling example of a heritage railway, if you’re longing for a dose of ‘slow travel’ why not enjoy the stunning Yorkshire countryside aboard the North Yorkshire Moors Railway's Pullman train? Stops along the 24-mile route include the chance to travel back to the 1930s at the restored Pickering station, the 1912-themed Levisham station, and Grosmont station – which film enthusiasts might recognise as the filming location for Hogsmeade in the Harry Potter films. This line takes you to one of Yorkshire’s historic gems, the coastal town of Whitby, where you can plan to see ancient ruins, walk the famous 100 steps and enjoy a traditional portion of fish and chips, a hearty traditional treat for the cooler months!

Take a train trip back in time
03 Jan 2024(last updated)

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    Rove Robin Hood’s Bay

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    Whitby Whale Watching

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    Humble Bee

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    The Cleveland Way

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    North Yorkshire Moors Railway

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