The Heritage Coast at the seaward edge of the North York Moors National Park is rugged and stunning. Running from Saltburn to Scarborough, it ranges from dramatic cliffs to sheltered harbours such as Staithes. The Heritage Coast has long been associated with exploration (Captain James Cook sailed from Whitby, where Endeavour was built), smuggling, fishing and creativity.
Its beauty and light have attracted countless painters and photographers who have tried to capture its special features, but there’s nothing like visiting each of the harbours and villages and seeing for yourself!
Whitby is one of the finest places for whale watching on the Yorkshire coast. Join a Whitby Coastal Cruise on a search for the dolphins and the minke whales that follow the shoals of North Sea herring swimming south from the Arctic.
Staithes harbour is much photographed and painted, but it’s also a working harbour – make sure you sample its lobsters. Runswick Bay is a favourite hunting ground for fossil hunters and Sandsend’s beaches provide the perfect spot for seaside fun. Staithes and Saltburn are magnets to experienced surfers who can enjoy the challenging conditions.
Housed in a former bank, ArtsBank in Saltburn has four floors of art and crafts by local and national artists and plenty inspired by the glorious coastline.
Robin Hood’s Bay’s vast sweep is renowned for its rich marine life and as the final destination on Wainwright’s Coast to Coast walk. The bay ends in the imposing headland that is Ravenscar, once the site of a Roman signal station.
The Yorkshire coast is a geologist’s dream. Also known as the ‘fossil coast’, you can wander among the rockpools at Runswick Bay and find hundreds of polished belemnites embedded in the rocks, look for the distinctive snail like ammonites that stud the stones at Saltwick Bay and if you are lucky, perhaps you’ll find a dinosaur footprint at Whitby or Robin Hood’s Bay! You can learn all about your finds at Whitby Museum or the Rotunda Museum in Scarborough.
With so much wonderful fish on offer at the many seafood cafés, restaurants and pubs you may be inspired to give fishing a go yourself. For expert advice and equipment, visit Keith Sports in Saltburn or the Redcar Fish company and then head out to one of the coves or piers, or take a boat from Staithes or Whitby.
Don’t let the one that got away show you up, you can always impress your family and friends by bringing home the catch from a fish stall at Saltburn Farmers’ Market, Whitby Seafoods, or the Whitby Fish Market!