Hidden secrets of the Yorkshire Coast

Hidden secrets of the Yorkshire Coast

by Stacy Roman
Stripes Europe

Surrounded by the frigid waters of the North Sea, Atlantic Ocean, English Channel and Irish Sea, the beaches in the U.K. aren’t quite as warm as those in the sun-drenched Mediterranean. However, there are plenty of stunning gems to be found, particularly along the eastern coastline. With picture-perfect villages, serene pastures and rolling hills, the Yorkshire coast is a must-visit. Approximately four hours northwest of RAF Alconbury and RAF Lakenheath, it makes a fantastic weekend staycation.


Summer heather in bloom on the North York Moors national park at Ravenscar and looking out to Robin Hood's Bay.

Robin Hood’s Bay

This once-sleepy fishing village is sandwiched between two steep cliffs. Named after the well-known philanthropic outlaw, the legend tell the story of Robin Hood rescuing local fisherman from pillaging pirates and returning the stolen booty back to the villagers. While known for its maritime activities, Robin Hood’s Bay was also home to goods smuggling in the 1700s. Today, it is a charming village with boutiques and cafes lining the winding, narrow cobblestone streets. Take a walk down to the beach and find tiny fossils along the sandy beach.


The 199 Steps at Whitby on the North Yorkshire coastline.

Whitby

A mere six miles north of Robin Hood’s Bay is Whitby. Full of “Dracula” lore, the imposing Whitby Abbey ruins pierce the landscape, making it easy to see how Bram Stoker was inspired. Maintained by the English Heritage organization, the crumbling remnants of the abbey are breathtaking.  Visitors can walk through the site. At the exit, the sheer beauty of the area is on full display with a panoramic view of the city and surrounding coastline. If you’re feeling up to it, traverse the steep 144 steps to the embankment and enjoy a hearty meal of fish and chips – known to be the best in the U.K.


North Sea Coast in North Yorkshire.

Runswick Bay

Recently named Britain’s best-kept secret beach, Runswick Bay is located 20 minutes north of Whitby. This crescent-shaped bay has limited parking, which helps keep the crowd to a minimum. Lined with cliffs, the hike down is a bit taxing but absolutely worth it. The calm, clear waters are perfect for kayaking and paddle boarding. Or just take a stroll along the beach and collect the frosted pieces of sea glass or smooth rocks which wash up on shore. Reward yourself for the trek back up the hill with a spectacular view and a pint at the Cliffemount Hotel.


Lobster Pots piled up on the quayside in Staithes.

Staithes

With the Staithes Beck River cutting through town and leading to a sheltered harbor, it’s no surprise Staithes was once an important fishing and mining town for the north east part of the country. The sheer cliffs nearby were rich in minerals such as alum, which provided a financial boon to the town. Today, the quiet hamlet is also known for ill-fated explorer Captain John Cook. The future sailor worked in the village before joining the Royal Navy in Whitby. Learn how he and the town’s history intertwined at the Captain Cook & Staithes Heritage Centre. For nature lovers, head down to the rocky shores and discover the teeming marine life in tide pools and in the harbor.

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