5 Beautiful Yorkshire Coastal Towns in England

5 beautiful Yorkshire coastal towns to visit in England: Saltburn-by-the-Sea, Staithes, Robin Hood's Bay, Whitby, and Scarborough
[The colorful beach houses in Saltburn-by-the-Sea]
Looking for some cute Yorkshire coastal towns and villages to explore before the summer’s over?

Sidenote: In England, what is summer actually??? I’ve been here since mid-June and it’s rare that it’s over 70 F LOL. #summerinengland

Well, I’ve got ya covered, babe (or dude or unicorn or whatever ya identify as)!

After spending alllll of July in northern England, I’m convinced that this region has some of the most beautiful seaside towns in the UK!

Staithes is one of the beautiful Yorkshire coastal towns to visit in England
[Staithes is so picturesque]
And I wouldn’t have heard of ANY of them had I not ventured my way up north. In fact, many people living in England haven’t even heard of all of these Yorkshire coastal towns (case in point: when I’d tell Brits that I was going to Saltburn-by-the-Sea, most would look at me like I was from another planet. I’d then have to follow it up with “Near Whitby”).

Rural farmland near Whitby Abbey in Whitby, England, one of the pretty Yorkshire coastal towns
[I walked past the Whitby Abbey and came upon this beautiful sight]
These 5 seaside towns run in a line down the east coast. They’re not very far apart, so you could theoretically choose a home base and take day trips (Whitby would probably be the best for this since it’s the biggest of the 5 and in the middle), or you could travel in a one way line on a road trip.

**Be aware that the weather in each of these small coastal towns can be foggy and cold, even during summer! So bring all your layers and probably a raincoat because it will most likely rain at least once during your visit even if the forecast says it won’t. #whatisthismadness

Map of Saltburn-by-the-Sea, Staithes, Whitby, Robin Hood's Bay, and Scarborough
[A map for reference]
[And a bigger map if you want even more of a reference!! You can see how far north they are]
For your reference, Saltburn-by-the-Sea, Whitby, and Scarborough are all towns while Staithes and Robin Hood’s Bay are villages. What’s the difference?? A town has a market, while a village has no cathedral OR market, but does have a church. If you’re curious about other classifications (like hamlets and cities), go here.

Whitby Harbor in Whitby, England - a pretty Yorkshire coastal town to visit
[Whitby Harbor is super cute]
Warning: Some of these things will get redundant – I recommend you walk little of the Cleveland Way in each place, and go to the ocean lol. But I’m still including it in each list in case someone just wants to go to one town and skips through the post.

But without further ado, here’s what I deem the top Yorkshire coastal towns to visit:

SALTBURN-BY-THE-SEA

View of Saltburn-by-the-Sea from the Cliff Tram in England - one of the Yorkshire coastal towns
[Saltburn-by-the-Sea from the Cliff Tram]

TO DO LIST:

  • Ride the Saltburn Cliff Tramway because it’s super cool and super old (and only £1.10 each way)
  • Skip along the pier because it’s England’s northernmost pier (!!!!!!!)
  • Play games at the Amusement Arcade
  • Stare at the ocean of course (Although it was never really warm enough for me to actually swim in it LOL)
  • Walk through the Saltburn Woods on the Cleveland Way (there’s even a tea house you can visit!)
  • Eat at a restaurant with #views (I ate at The Spa Hotel which was delish, but The Seaview Restaurant also looked nice and overlooked the beach)
  • Amble along the cliffs to get your sweat on (although it’s usually so windy your sweat will be pretty much nonexistant)
The Saltburn Cliff Tramway in Saltburn-by-the-Sea in England - one of the Yorkshire coastal towns to visit
[The Saltburn Cliff Tramway]
The Saltburn Cliffs along the Cleveland Way in Saltburn-by-the-Sea in England - one of the Yorkshire coastal towns to visit
[Them cliffs THO]
The view of the Saltburn Pier from the cliffs in Saltburn-by-the-Sea in England - one of the Yorkshire coastal towns to visit
[The view of the Saltburn Pier from the cliffs]
I spent the most time here – a little over a month! I was actually staying in the next town over, Skelton-in-Cleveland, but Saltburn was just a 15 minute bus ride or 40 minute walk away (and let’s be honest, my lazy ass took the bus more often than not LOL.)

STAITHES

Staithes is one of the pretty Yorkshire coastal towns, and a great seaside destination to stop at
[What you see upon walking into the village of Staithes – obsessed with that cute little yellow house]

TO DO LIST:

  • Wander the narrow streets
  • Traipse up the road for a view (head down into town, walk across the bridge, then up the road on the other side)
  • Hike along the cliffs and the Cleveland Way for more views
  • Hang out at the beach and get your tan on (weather permitting LOL)
  • Pop in the shops – lots of artist and craft shops here

I literally just went to Staithes for a couple hours – you don’t need a TON of time there as it’s a pretty small village, but it’s 10000% still worth a stop because it is SO FREAKING CUTE.

My favorite parts, of course, were the amazing views and narrow streets. I’d also recommend you spend time at the beach and walk along the cliffs above the town. There are also a ton of village stores to wander through, restaurants, and teahouses (of course – Dotty’s Vintage Tearoom seems to be the popular choice, but it was unfortunately closed the day I visited.)

Staithes Village is one of the pretty Yorkshire coastal towns to visit
[The view over Staithes Village – to get to this vantage point, walk across the bridge and then up on the hill across from the main hub of the village]
Staithes Beach in the village of Staithes, one of the pretty Yorkshire coastal towns
[Staithes Beach is small, but so pretty]
Cobblestone streets in Staithes, one of the pretty Yorkshire coastal towns to visit in England
[Cobblestone streets of Staithes]
 And if you go during the breeding season (spring/summer) you can get dive-bombed by gulls like another tourist did. Seriously – that’s their breeding season, and they can get mighty territorial! This only happened once I got out of the town and up into the hills, though. So if you stay IN the town, you should be fine if birds aren’t your thing (although I got to see their chicks in the nest and it was SO FREAKING CUTE.)

WHITBY

The view of Whitby, one of the Yorkshire coastal towns in England, from the 199 steps up to the Whitby Abbey
[View of Whitby from the 199 steps]

TO DO LIST:

  • Saunter up the 199 Steps to St. Mary’s Church and Whitby Abbey
  • Stroll over to the West Cliffs for a view
  • Eat Lemon Top ice cream!
  • Check out one of the many museums
  • See the North Yorkshire Moors Railway’s old steam trains
The view of Whitby, one of the Yorkshire coastal towns in England, from the 199 steps up to the Whitby Abbey
[Views for days bb – another one from the 199 steps]
Whitby is probably the largest town of the 5, and most well-known, especially due to the ominous presence of the Whitby Abbey.

[#tbt: visiting the Whitby Abbey when I studied abroad 6 YEARS AGO – you can go inside the Abbey if you pay the entrance fee]
Everyone in Whitby is batty (couldn’t not) about the whole Dracula thing. Bram Stoker (you know, that one famous writer guy) hung out in Whitby for a hot sec in 1890 and apparently drew a ton of inspo for his blood sucking character during his visit.

And it’s easy to see why – the town definitely has that whole creepy vampire vibe going on. Like if The Drac himself popped out while I was walking down the street I wouldn’t have batted (this one wasn’t even on purpose) an eye.

View of Whitby Abbey from the YHA Hostel gardens in Whitby, England, one of the Yorkshire coastal towns to visit
[You can get this view of the Whitby Abbey if you don’t want to pay the entrance fee by going into the garden of the YHA Abbey Hostel]
Okay, let’s change directions from our friend Drac (although are blood-sucking things that want to kill you really friends?) to the architectural beauty that is the Whitby Abbey! To get up to the Abbey, you should walk up the 199 steps (which sounds intense but literally took like 10 minutes lol) because the views are life.

You do have to pay to go inside the Abbey, but you can find the view in the photo above for free!

St. Mary's Church in Whitby, England - one of the Yorkshire coastal towns to visit
[St. Mary’s Church has a really nice view, too]
There’s also St. Mary’s Church right before you reach the Abbey, which is super pretty and also has some nice views. You also can’t miss the cool graveyard you can have a wander in that adds to the spooky vibes. Bonus points if it’s gloomy when you visit, which tbh will probably happen at least once because the weather changes constantly.

The church seems to be open at varied times (although 10AM-4PM seems to be the general consensus), so you may want to check this website or call them before visiting if you want to go inside. However, you can walk around outside of it at any time!

Pony at Whitby Abbey in Whitby, England - one of the Yorkshire coastal towns to visit
[LOOK AT THE PONY]
Oh, and did I mention the PONIES??? No, I don’t think I did. So I’m mentioning it now. There are ponies. PONIES.

View of Whitby and Whitby Abbey from West Cliff - Whitby is one of the pretty Yorkshire coastal towns to visit
[Another study abroad #tbt – Idk why I didn’t go to this view when I went to Whitby more recently. It’s sooo pretty #regret]
I didn’t have time for this, but I’ve heard that you can also walk to the lighthouse and that’s supposed to be really pretty. Or you can walk to the West Cliff, in the photo above, and snag that view.

Lemon Top ice cream, or vanilla dairy ice cream with a lemon sorbet, is popular in all the Yorkshire coastal towns
[A stand that sold Lemon Top ice cream in Whitby]
Apparently you also HAVE to have their famous “Lemon Top” ice cream (although that’s not just a Whitby thing, but a Yorkshire thing so you can get it all over) which is basically vanilla ice cream with a drop of lemon sorbet on top. I am not really a lemon ice cream person (chocolate or die, baby) so I didn’t get it, but if you like sorbet things, it is apparently a MUST HAVE.

ROBIN HOOD’S BAY

The beach in Robin Hood's Bay, one of the pretty Yorkshire coastal towns to visit in England
[Look close and you can see an ICE CREAM TRUCK and if that’s not magic then idk what is]

TO DO LIST:

  • Look for fossils on the beach (although I actually found one in Saltburn!)
  • Meander through the picture perfect streets
  • Eat ice cream on the beach (!!!)
  • Walk along the Cleveland Way
  • Visit the Coastguard station for some history (£1 entry fee) or the Smuggler’s Museum for info about that (free, but donations encouraged)
  • Go tide pooling during low tide (although be careful – the tide comes in quick, like within 2 hours, so be aware!)
Orange tiled rooftops in Robin Hood's Bay, a pretty Yorkshire coastal town to visit in England
[Obsessed with the iconic red tiled rooftops]
Ahhh this place is so cool! It’s got so much history (ok, pretty much all English villages/towns/cities do) BUT it’s particularly fascinating to me.

First of all, it’s a GREAT place to find fossils due to the differing layers in the rock.

Second of all, IT IS SO PRETTY AND HAS AMAZING VIEWS.

View of Robin Hood's Bay and its red orange tile roofs - an iconic Yorkshire coastal town to visit in England
[View of the village from the Cleveland Way]
Third of all, there’s an ice cream truck ON THE BEACH!!!!! Not next to the beach. Not near the beach. Not under the beach (although how cool would that be?) BUT ON THE BEACH. And the ice cream was pretty good!

Fourth of all, this village was (maybe still is????) a smuggler’s haven back in the day. Due to the narrow, winding streets, isolation of the town surrounded by marshland, and hidden compartments in houses Robin Hood’s Bay became a smuggler’s paradise during the 18th century. It’s said that an object could start at the bottom of the town and travel all the way through without seeing any daylight! You can read more here and here.

The Cleveland Way near Robin Hood's Bay, a Yorkshire coastal town to visit in England
[The Cleveland Way trail]
Most of these Yorkshire coastal towns and villages also have a history with smugglers, but Robin Hood’s Bay is the most famous for it.

I went to a couple museums, and they were okkkkk, but what I enjoyed the most was walking along the beach, the walk along the Cleveland Way (I wish I’d gotten to do the whole thing, but I didn’t have time) for fantastic views – especially since you pass through a town called “Boggle Hole” and that’s worth it enough in my book.

The beach at Robin Hood's Bay in England - one of the Yorkshire coastal towns to visit
[Robin Hood’s Bay beach during low tide – great time for some tide pooling!]
Also, a “boggle” is apparently a pixie/house elf if you were wondering (I had to Google that haha.)

So you’re basically bound to encounter something exciting in Robin Hood’s Bay, whether it’s a fossil, boggle, or smuggler!

SCARBOROUGH

Scarborough harbor in one of the Yorkshire coastal towns
[Sorry for the shitty quality of this photo, but it’s another super old one from my study abroad days]

TO DO LIST:

  • Explore the Scarborough Castle
  • Ride them rides, bb!!!
  • Chill at the beach
  • Peek into St. Mary’s Church
  • If you haven’t gotten enough of the Saltburn Cliff Tramway, there’s another one in Scarborough!
Colorful pastel houses in Scarborough, England - one of the Yorkshire coastal towns to visit
[Those pastel houses tho]
Ferris Wheel in Scarborough, England
[I heart ferris wheels]
I didn’t get to visit Scarborough on this most recent visit to the coast, but I did go when I studied abroad in the UK 6 years ago!!!! Wow, that makes me feel old lol. But anyways, Scarborough is a great place to go if you want to experience the fun English rides on the pier. Which of course you do!!!

Scarborough Castle in Scarborough, England - one of the Yorkshire coastal towns you should visit
[Trying to live that castle life]
House in Scarborough, England
[Love the cute British houses]
There’s also a really cool castle – we didn’t get to go in, because it had already closed for the day, but you can still get cool views there. Of course we still had to get our Vogue on and pose with it.

Scarborough is just an all-around super cute town. Plus it’s in that super famous song, Scarborough Fair. And any town that has a song named after it is worth visiting, in my opinion.

GETTING THERE

The Arriva Bus X4, X3A Sapphire, X93 MAX, or 5 Sapphire will look similar to this - key to getting around the Yorkshire coastal towns Saltburn-by-the-Sea, Staithes, Robin Hood's Bay, Whitby, and Scarborough
[My knight in shining armor, my trusty steed – behold, the bus]
It will take anywhere from 2-3 hours to get from Saltburn-by-the-Sea (the northernmost of the Yorkshire coastal towns on this list) to Scarborough (the southernmost town) by bus, 3 hours by train, and about 1-1.5 hours by car. I did not have a car, and am way too scared to even try to drive a manual car on the WRONG (yep I said it) side of the road, so I took the bus. Be prepared for some super pretty views!

If you’re feeling REAL feisty, you can actually WALK between all of these seaside towns along the Cleveland Way! It’s about 40 miles (or 64 kilometers) but I believe in you!!

If a long walk isn’t your style, you’ve got some other options: you CAN take the train, but I’d highly recommend the bus as it’s way cheaper. The trains don’t go to Staithes or Robin Hood’s Bay either, so you’d only be able to hit Saltburn-by-the-Sea, Whitby, and Scarborough going this route. And you want to see ALL the Yorkshire coastal towns, don’t you??? (Answer: YES, yes you do.)

North York Moors Railway train in Whitby, England - a Yorkshire coastal town to visit
[The old train in Whitby – this train runs on the North York Moors Railway!]
Ok, so I’m going to assume you’re going to make the smart choice and take the bus, which makes it quite easy to get between these 5 Yorkshire coastal towns. You’ll be taking the Arriva buses to travel between the cities, and will either take the X4, X3A Sapphire, X93 MAX, or 5 Sapphire (or a combination). I pretty much just used Google Maps for everything and didn’t have any issues, but you can also use the Arriva Bus Journey Planner online!

The bus system is pretty easy to navigate, the drivers carry change, and they take contactless card and cash. Just tell the bus driver where you need to go, and they tell you the cost. You can purchase a one-way ticket, round-trip ticket, or a day pass for a certain region either online beforehand or directly on the bus (I just made all my purchases directly on the bus as it was easier.)

Bus ticket for Arriva Buses in Yorkshire, England - the bus system you'll use to visit Yorkshire coastal towns
[An Arriva bus ticket with some ££££ around it]
Some of the buses are even double decker (!!!!) which is basically the coolest thing ever. They’re not too pricey, either – it’s £8.50 for a day pass from Saltburn to Scarborough. And yes, this means you can ride the bus as much as you want throughout the day, so I stopped in Robin Hood’s Bay first, then Whitby.

Be early, though, as I’ve had numerous occasions where the drivers showed up (and then promptly left) a minute or two before the scheduled time.

Arriva Buses are the perfect way to travel between Yorkshire coastal towns like Saltburn-by-the-Sea, Staithes, Robin Hood's Bay, Whitby, and Scarborough!
[Headed to Scarborough]
That was fun, especially when I was chasing after the bus waving my arms wildly at the driver like a maniac. And no, he didn’t stop. And then I had to walk from Skelton-in-Cleveland where I was staying to Saltburn like the peasant I am. Actually, I had to run in my Birkenstocks because I’d signed up for a yoga class and was now running late. #soml

So I showed up to yoga 10 minutes after class started, sweating, with no mat (I’d borrowed one last time from the instructor), breathing like a train wreck and trying to sneak in as quietly as possible.

You can imagine how well that went.

Whitby Harbor in Whitby, England - one of the coastal Yorkshire towns to visit
[I guess you could also take a boat there probably – this is the harbor in Whitby]
But in spite of the too-prompt bus drivers, I love northern England! I have a special affinity for Yorkshire (since I studied abroad in York, that whole area will always have a special place in my cold little heart), and will always be more than happy to return.

Plus, I love these Yorkshire coastal towns and am already plotting my return…

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10 thoughts on “5 Beautiful Yorkshire Coastal Towns in England

    1. Yes it’s such a pretty part of the world (at least I think so haha.) And I know! I always just used to say them interchangeably haha

    1. I’ve heard so many good things about Dorset! And yes, there’s SO MUCH of England to explore (especially if you have a car – need to rent one next time). Wish I was staying longer!

    1. Oh wow that’s so cool! Yes haha I think I’ll always have a place in my heart for Yorkshire since it was the first place I went when I first left the US!

  1. Wow, these towns all look so charming! I haven’t traveled too much in the UK, mostly just the typical big cities, but it can be so wonderful to get out of the cities and into more quaint towns. Especially with those sea views… love it. Thanks for all of this info, will have to keep in mind for the next time I’m in England 🙂

    1. Yes I’m such a quaint town lover haha! Like I’m the person that would rather spend a day in the city and then 3 days in the small town where there’s absolutely nothing to do LOL. And yes, sea views are so soothing.

      Thanks for reading! 🙂

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