Seaside Towns & Villages To Visit This Summer – In And Around Leeds!

As the song goes ‘Oh I do like to be beside the seaside’! With the endless ice-cream, addictive coin machines and beautiful sites, who doesn’t? There’s no better way to make the most of your summer than to soak up the sun at one of Yorkshires equivalent to Venice beach.

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Days out by the sea are a breath of ~ doughnut scented ~ fresh air! There’s a chance you’ve already visited  few of these locations, since they are truly wonderful and within easy reach of Leeds. However, we often need a reminder to take a day off and let our inner child come out to play for a nostalgic break.

From traditional seaside towns made up of donkey rides and funfairs, to little villages with un-spoilt beaches, all of the mentioned beaches are just 2 hours away.

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Keep scrolling to start planning for the sandy days ahead…

1. Scarborough

image of seaside town scarborough

Visit Scarborough – An hour & half from Leeds.

Did you know that Scarborough is thought to be the world’s first seaside resort? With an impressive history stretching back more than an amazing 400 years, it makes a trip here essential. Scarborough has not one, but two beaches that you’ll want to visit.

South Bay is traditional, with plenty of arcades, sweet treat vendors (you must grab a scoop in the renowned Harbour Bar) and shellfish galore. On the other hand is North Bay which is much more relaxed, to my personal delight.

If you can manage to pull yourself away from the beaches, there’s loads more to do here. Try some industrial-style cafes if you love trying out hearty food in cosy settings. Alternatively, you can learn about the town’s history at Scarborough Castle, which overlooks the town from the rocky headland. Whatever you do though, don’t pass up your chance to try out one of their two Victorian funicular lifts too. They make getting up and down the cliffs a lot easier than dragging yourself down the many steps.

2. Flamborough Head

photograph of flablorough head cliffs

Flamborough Head is about an hour and fifty minutes away from Leeds.

You’ll know you’re in for something special as soon as you see the rugged white Bempton Cliffs at Flamborough Head. Alike Scarborough you can take your pick of two beaches, North or South Landing that are both as equally beautiful. It’s got stunning panoramic views – some of the best in Yorkshire, and it’s a popular choice for all kinds of activities, from bird watching to sea canoeing, kite surfing and rock pooling.

It’s not just about activities on the beach though – there is plenty to see and do around town. Why not go and see the two ancient lighthouses?  Or if you’d like to go a bit out of the centre, you can spend a few hours exploring Danes Dyke Nature Reserve or checking out Rudson Monolith, an ancient hamlet from Neolithic times. All that sightseeing is bound to leave you hungry, so grab fish and chips at High Street Fisheries or go for a proper meal at The Seabirds Inn. Thirsty? End your day at The Rose and Crown for a good round or two.

3. Bridlington

photo of a tourist busy bridlington

Bridlington is a short hour and a half drive from Leeds.

If you’re looking for a traditional day out at the seaside Bridlington will provide just that. There are two beaches to choose from. North Beach is a pebble and shingle beach, lined with amusements and funfair rides, and South Beach promises glorious stretches of golden sand. Take a trek along the award-winning promenades, pay a visit to the historic harbour and take a ride on the pleasure boats out to previously mentioned Flamborough Head.

Bridlington Old Town is full of medieval charm, with tight streets, fascinating architecture and unique shops. Want a little culture? Stop by Gallery Forty Nine to see their latest exhibition. You can also catch a show or a concert at Bridlington Spa.

4. Whitby

image of seaside town whitbys habour

Whitby also takes about an hour and half of travel time.

Whitby is arguably one of the most popular seaside resorts in Yorkshire, and you’ll soon understand why. It’s a firm favourite of photographers thanks to being wonderfully picturesque with a beach that both adults and kids will love. You can also enjoy donkey rides, picnic stalls and lifeboat cruises, which sail past the fishing trawlers from the fully working harbour.

There is certainly more to explore in Whitby than just the waterfront though. It’s packed full of history and culture, from Whitby Abbey’s ruins to the Captain Cook Memorial Museum and the Whale Bone Arch. You can even take the Dracula Walk around Victorian Whitby, the inspiration behind Bram Stoker’s novel. All that sun, sea and sightseeing will have you searching for a place to eat, the Whitby Catch, Fusco’s or Fortune’s will sate your appetite with a loaded portion of fish and chips. The local farmer’s market is a must visit too and if you get thirsty, The Duke of York sits at the foot of the 199 steps that lead up to the Abbey.

5. Filey

photo of seaside town filey in yorkshire

Filey will take you around an hour and a half to arrive.

With its glorious sweep of soft sand, this seaside resort offers a gentle pace of life, making it the perfect place to visit for a relaxing day out. Filey beach is one of the best in the country for families – it’s so huge that, no matter how busy it gets, it never gets too crowded.

It’s the perfect place to take a walk, fly a kite, build a sandcastle, snooze in a deckchair, or maybe do a spot of birdwatching. Why not follow it up with a trip to the much-loved Coble Landing, a slipway with a picturesque jumble of boats and kiosks, for a cuppa and a bacon buttie?

The town, too, is full of gentle pleasures, with its Edwardian architecture, quirky shops and intriguing museum.

6. Sandsend

photograph of sandsend village in yorkshire

Sandsend is an hour and fifty minutes worth of a drive.

Many of Yorkshire’s coastal destinations are well known, unlike Sandsend. It’s a hidden escape thanks to its quiet nature, which makes it perfect for romantic getaways. This little slice of heaven is just north of Whitby – you can even see Whitby Abbey in the distance. It’s a tiny village, with breathtaking golden beaches split up by a stream that runs right into the North Sea. Along the waterfront you’ll find beach shacks selling traditional food and drink.

You should definitely come hungry, as Sandsend is a foodie landmark. Estbek House is the best find, a restaurant in an old Georgian cottage with a seasonal menu of British classics. Elsewhere, you can get great eats at Bridge Cottage Bistro and a quality pint at The Hart Inn. The Lake House is a must to stay in, but the real secret here is their spa – they have one for humans and one for dogs, so make sure you bring the pooch.

7. Hornsea

image of the beach in hornsea

Hornsea will typically take you 90 minutes to get there from Leeds.

Hornsea is pretty small but as charming British coastal resort that’s perfect for weekends away. This is a picture-perfect village with a quaint promenade and a towering Yorkshire folly that overlooks an awesome beach – sit back, relax and enjoy the views, or jump straight in and go for a swim. Keep an eye out for the sailing and fishing boats too.

There is loads to see and do in Hornsea. The standout landmark is Hornsea Mere, the largest freshwater lake in Europe, but you can also visit a host of natural attractions – Hall Garth Park and Tophill Low Nature Reserve are great if you’re looking for a walk surrounded by greenery. Bringing the kids? Spend a few hours at Bugtopia, a hands-on insect experience, and follow it up with a trip to Mr Moo’s Ice Cream Parlour. The adults can find drinks at the Stackhouse if you’re not driving home – they have a cracking craft beer and wine offering.

8. Staithes

photo of staithes in yorkshire

Staithes is just an hour and forty minutes away from Leeds.

Staithes is one of Yorkshire’s best kept secrets, a lovely coastal village that overlooks the North Sea. It promises stunning views of the coast as well as a picturesque village worth exploring. A throwback of past times, it boasts narrow streets, ginnels and tall houses built into a sheltered cove at the base of a cliff. But it’s not just character, Staithes has loads of history too, because it was once one of the biggest fishing ports on the North Sea.

There’s plenty to see and do while you’re here. Relax on the small, sandy beach, take one of the old fishing boats out or nip into The Cleveland Corner Bistro, which has a reputation for working magic with fresh local seafood. It’s quite an arty town too, so Staithes Gallery and Staithes Studio are both worth a visit. It’s also the perfect place to start a nice long walk, with coastal pathways taking you to Boulby Cliffs or Runswick Bay.

9. Runswick Bay

photo of runswick bay thats in yorkshire

Runswick Bay is a good 2 hours away from Leeds Centre.

If you’re looking for a hidden gem, pay a visit to Runswick Bay. It’s one of the prettiest places in Yorkshire – a sheltered bay with a well-kept beach and cottages. It’s a great trip to go on with the little ones, because the beach, once used as anchorage for brightly coloured fishing boats, is now a prime destination for rock pooling, fossil hunting and coastal walks.

The village is just as charming as the beach. There’s just the one pub and two tiny cafes that are open here – you can go for a pint in The Royal Hotel or grab a bite to eat in either the Sandside Cafe or Runswick Bay Tea Gardens. Afterwards, explore the area’s naval history with a trip to the old RNLI Lifeboat Station museum, climb the old stone steps to get a brilliant sea view and visit the ancient village spring. It’s also on the Cleveland Way, so if you fancy a big ramble up and down the coast, you’re in the right place.

10. Robin Hood’s Bay

photo of robinhoods bay by a tourist

Robinhoods Bay is just under 2 hours away.

If you want to see the Yorkshire coast at its most beautiful, Robin Hood’s Bay is the place to go. It’s the perfect antidote to busy city life. Look out over the scenic village, where cliffs meet fishing cottages and cobbled pathways lead to a rugged, unspoilt beach – it’s one of the best spots in the UK for fossil hunting.

Despite its isolation, Robin Hood’s Bay has plenty to see and do. It’s known as Smuggler’s Town, because in the 18th century it was used to smuggle alcohol, tea, French lace and cigarettes into the country, to be sold on the black market. There’s Smuggler’s Tours all year long, telling their interesting stories, or you can visit the Old Coastguard Station, which is now a local museum. If you want to do something a little bit different, take the short walk inland to Sneaton Forest and Falling Foss Waterfall before heading back into the village for a pint at The Laurel Inn – its unique bar is made out of rock, cool, right?

Thanks to Welcome To Yorkshire for being a helpful resource for discovering all that Yorkshire has to offer.

What’s your favourite seaside to visit? Let us know and tell us about some of your best memories.