Things to Do in Sandsend

When it comes to beaches in North Yorkshire, all sorts of images spring to mind. Scarborough, Whitby, Bridlington – but what about the smaller beaches? If you’re looking for somewhere a little more private, check out our list of things to do in Sandsend.


Sandsend is a popular summer location, just along the coast from Whitby. With its 3-mile-long sandy beach, charming beach cafes and plenty of walking opportunities, Sandsend is a great place to enjoy a family staycation.

The small fishing village was formerly two villages – Sandsend and East Row – and is one of the most affluent areas on the Yorkshire Coast.

Sandsend Beach.

Where is Sandsend?

Sandsend is located three miles north along the coast from Whitby. It’s located in the Scarborough district of North Yorkshire. Sandsend Train Station was closed down in 1958, but it is easily accessible by car from Whitby.


Things to do in Sandsend

From roaming rock pools to exploring castle woods, there are lots of things to do in Sandsend for the whole family. You can even bring your loveable pooch! Here are our favourite four things to do in Sandsend…

1. Build a castle on Sandsend Beach

One of the smaller beaches in Yorkshire, Sandsend Beach is nonetheless brimming with sand and shingle, ready to be crafted into your little ones’ masterpiece. The clue is in the name, and with shallow seas and clean sands, there’s plenty for the whole family to explore. The beach is dog-friendly, too – just make sure they don’t get overexcited near those castles!

Sandsend Beach

2. Go rock pooling

Set within three miles of sandy beach, you’ll also find a range of rockpools in Sandsend. Using the Wits End Café as a starting point, head to the cliffs during low tide. Here you can safely explore the rock pools (at low tide only) and get a glimpse of Yorkshire wildlife. You might even encounter some fossils.

3. Follow the Sandsend Trail

With the seaside town of Whitby in such close proximity, the Sandsend Trail is one of the best things to do near Sandsend. Here you’ll find bumpy terrain and gorgeous clifftop greenery, so bring your best walking shoes. You’ll need these especially in the Sandsend Ness area as you make your way up to Kettleness Beach.

You’ll also discover an abandoned railway line, with a spooky hatch that you can peer into. Discover fossils, caves and waterfalls on this picturesque walk not for the faint-hearted.

4. Venture into the Mulgrave Castle Woods

While Mulgrave Castle isn’t officially open to the public, you can access the sprawling 15,000-acre woodland around these 14th-Century ruins. The castle is made up of three separate properties and features walled gardens amongst a wealth of greenery.

You can access the woodland in just six minutes from the coastline, stopping off at attractions like St Oswald’s Church as you pass.

Things to do near Sandsend

With some of the best places to stay in Yorkshire nearby including Runswick Bay and Whitby, there are plenty of things to do near Sandsend. Make a trip of it and stop off at these famous tourist favourites.

1. Visit Whitby Abbey

Whitby Abbey is famous for so many things, including its inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula and its stunning 1,500-year-old ruins. Scale the 199 Steps and make your way around the Abbey, where you can visit the museum and find out more about the Vikings and Saxons.

Once you’re at the top, look out over the gorgeous Yorkshire coast. You can also pop back for seasonal events including Dracula celebrations and half-term fun. Tickets start from £11.20 for adults, £10.10 for concessions and £6.60 for children, with a donation.

Whitby Abbey

2. Explore the North York Moors

With almost 1,500 square kilometres to explore, there’s a whole lot to see in the North York Moors National Park. If you’re visiting during the summer months, be sure to go biking around Dalby Forest or head down to the Hole of Horcum.

Indoor attractions in the North York Moors include the Thornton le Dale Motor Museum, as well as the Old Coastguard Station in Robin Hood’s Bay. And of course, there are no end of walks in the North York Moors, from the Wheeldale Roman Road to the Wainstones Walk. You’ll also find a vast collection of ancient churches.

3. Wander around Kettleness Beach

Just outside of Runswick Bay lies Kettleness Beach, a remote cove that’s tucked away but worth the trek. This one is for experienced walkers only as it requires a meander down a steep and uneven path, which involves holding onto a rope. Once a village back in the 19th Century, Kettleness finally succumbed to coastal erosion and fell into the sea. What remains is a beautiful, hidden beach.

The cove is popular among fossil hunters, and ammonite discoveries are regularly made here – with some even unearthing dinosaur bones. If you’re brave enough to bring a camera, take a moment to capture the Kettleness Beach Waterfall. You can also make your way down the ‘Cinder Track’ disused railway.

Kettleness Beach

4. Ride the North York Moors Railway

The North York Moors Railway is a hugely popular attraction for families in Yorkshire. It takes visitors from Pickering to Whitby, stopping off at areas such as Levisham and Grosmont along the way. Running both diesel and steam trains, the railway offers a step back in time, with lots of seasonal events on.

You can choose your itinerary from coastal trips to ‘Moors Explorer’ and many more. The railway also holds seasonal events, such as light shows, annual steam galas and Christmas specials. You can even take part in workshops such as photography experiences and engine shed tours. Ticket prices range from £15.00 to £45.00 and up, depending on the type of trip and whether or not you’re a member.

A vintage steam train - North Yorkshire Moors Railway

5. Walk The Cleveland Way

Ideal for both serious walkers and just those looking to sample a small part of Yorkshire, The Cleveland Way is a 110-mile stretch. It runs between Helmsley and Filey Brigg, stopping off at points of interest throughout the North York Moors National Park.

The full trail takes around nine days, and is split into different phases including Hemsley to Sutton Bank, Kildale to Saltburn and many more. Be sure to look at our list of Yorkshire coastal cottages to stay at along the way!

Explore Sandsend with a stay at one of our Yorkshire Coastal Cottages

Are you itching to visit this tucked-away seaside town after reading our Sandsend guide? Discover all the things to do in Sandsend with our range of accommodation in Sandsend.