Top 10 Things to do on the Yorkshire Coast

Known for its sandy beaches and panoramic views, the Yorkshire coast is the perfect destination for a staycation. But there are plenty of other things to do on the Yorkshire coast.

Up and down the county, you’ll find theme parks, stunning hikes and medieval castles. There’s even a nature reserve that’s home to a puffin colony.

So, which Yorkshire coast attractions made the top 10? From ancient abbeys to clifftop walks and charming train rides, we’ll take you through some of our favourites…

1. Whitby Abbey

Whitby Abbey

The first stop on our list of things to do on the Yorkshire coast is Whitby Abbey. The abbey was first built in the 7th century by the Saxon King of Northumbria – and is now an English heritage site.

Visitors can wander the ruins, visitor centre and gift shop, learning all about the abbey’s fascinating history. You’ll meet the medieval monks who lived here, and hear how Henry VIII ordered the abbey to close.

Then, head outside to see the gothic ruins that inspired Bram Stoker to create Dracula. After all that sightseeing, head back to the nearby car park or into Whitby old town for a well-earned afternoon tea.

2. Saltburn Cliff Tramway

Next on our list is a North Yorkshire coast classic. Travel back to the Victorian age in the clifftop seaside resort of Saltburn-by-the-Sea, where the Saltburn Cliff Tramway connects the town to the beach below.

Visitors marvel at the smooth voyage down the cliffside, with stunning views over the sandy beaches, pier and promenade.

The lift engineers look the part in their Victorian-era outfits and will offer all sorts of interesting stories during the journey. All in all, the water-powered funicular tramway makes for a unique attraction – and saves you the 173-step climb back up to Saltburn!

3. The Cleveland Way

Cleveland Way

Next, grab your hiking boots and head out on the Cleveland Way National Trail. The 109-mile route snakes from the market town of Helmsley through the moorland, all the way to Saltburn-by-the-Sea.

Along the way, you’ll pass seaside towns, fishing villages and stunning natural wonders. You’ll visit towns like Filey, Scarborough, Whitby and Robin Hood’s Bay, taking in some of the best walks in North Yorkshire.

You might choose to design your visit around the Cleveland Way route, or simply take in a section on a day trip.

4. North Yorkshire Moors Railway

Situated in the North York Moors national park is one of the UK’s most beautiful railway experiences. Visitors to the North Yorkshire Moors railway board a diesel or steam train and head out on a 24-mile route from Pickering to Whitby.

Watch the stunning scenery roll by as you relax on a Pullman train that’s straight out of Downton Abbey. From Pickering, you’ll stop at Levisham and Newton Dale, quaint villages with cosy cottages and traditional North Yorkshire pubs.

Next, the highlight of the trip for many is Goathland station – better known as Hogsmeade Station in the Harry Potter films. From here, take a stroll into the moors and visit Thomason Foss, one of North Yorkshire’s beautiful waterfalls.

The final stops on the trip, Grosmont and Whitby, complete the two-hour journey.

5. 199 Steps

199 Steps, Whitby

Feeling active? Then we have just the attraction for you.

From the charming seaside streets of Whitby, take on the 199-steps challenge. The stairway climbs from the old town to St Mary’s Church and, eventually, Whitby Abbey. It’s rumoured that the steps were built to test pilgrims’ faith on their way to the church.

Mercifully, there are plenty of benches along the way for a quick rest. The current stone steps were laid in the 18th century, replacing the wooden steps that were first put down in 1340.

At the top, your reward is remarkable views over Whitby’s rooftops and harbour – and maybe an ice cream!

6. Scarborough Castle

In Scarborough and fancy a day out away from the beaches and arcades? Then consider the walk up to Scarborough Castle.

On the cliff tops, you’ll discover one of North Yorkshire’s best historical sites. In the castle remains, you’ll learn about its rich history – including Viking raids and civil war attacks.

Visitors can follow the walls, explore towers and take in the views of Scarborough’s South Bay. For a family day out in Yorkshire full of history, sea air and adventure, Scarborough Castle is hard to beat.

7. Flamborough Lighthouse

Flamborough Lighthouse

Next on our list is Flamborough Lighthouse. It’s one of the more unique things to do on the Yorkshire Coast, offering visitors the chance to explore a working lighthouse.

Situated only one mile from Flamborough village, the original lighthouse was built on the headland in 1669. Then, the current lighthouse was built in 1806, guiding sea traffic on its way to Hull, Scarborough and Bridlington.

Visitors can tour the lighthouse, climbing the 119 steps to the top. You can also descend the cliffs to the beach below for rock pooling and paddling, or bring a bike and cycle the headland for magnificent views of the bay.

8. RSPB Bempton Cliffs

Just a short trip from Flamborough lies Bempton Cliffs, a dramatic area of natural beauty overlooking the North Sea.

Bempton Cliffs is also one of the UK’s best, and most varied, nature reserves. Fans of wildlife will love wandering the clifftops, spotting gannets, short-eared owls, and birds of prey.

Between March and October, over half a million seabirds call RSPB Bempton Cliffs home, making for spectacular birdwatching. For a chance to see the star attraction – Bempton’s puffins – visit between April and July.

9. Sewerby Hall

For a classic slice of England’s past, visit the grand Grade I listed Sewerby Hall. It’s located on the clifftops overlooking Bridlington, surrounded by nearly 50 acres of gardens, parks – and even a zoo.

The original structure was built in 1714, with additions throughout the 1700s and 1800s. Sewerby was then restored in 2014, bringing the home back to its vibrant Edwardian best.

Families will love visiting the surrounding manicured gardens, with the Woodland Walk a particular highlight.

10. Flamingo Land

Flamimgo Land

For an exciting day out for all the family, head to Flamingo Land zoo and theme park. Located between York and Scarborough, the zoo is home to a massive range of reptiles, birds and mammals.

For the adrenaline-seekers, Flamingo Land also has a range of rollercoasters – each full of thrilling dips and twists. There’s a junior play area for little ones, and a great selection of family-friendly rides.

Finish the day with a visit to Mansion House Tea Rooms for a classic British afternoon tea.

Has our top 10 list helped you plan your next trip to the Yorkshire coast? Check our selection of cottages in Yorkshire to book your perfect stay.