6 beaches near York: Where to go for sun, sand, and surf
If you have planned a trip to York, you probably have lots of sightseeing and other kinds of adventures on your schedule already. However, what if you knew that you could head to a sandy beach during your trip to the UK? There are lots of really scenic places to have a beach day along the Yorkshire coast, and you will be able to pick and choose from many great places to head to for a day of fun in the sun or to walk along the shore and enjoy the beautiful views.
Before you select the perfect beach location for your fun day away from the city, you will need to be sure that you don't have to worry about your luggage. Bounce can store your luggage safely while you head out to the beach for some relaxation and rest. Having your bags in secure storage can make all the difference when it comes to having a great day at the coast, and we can help you to make the most of your hours of fun on the sand.
Robin Hood's Bay
Just south of Whitby, this picturesque cove was once a haven for smugglers and pirates. Today it is one of the best beaches in Yorkshire to head to if you love charming little villages and steep and beautiful cliffs above the sea. The secretive nature of this little coastal hamlet has been preserved in some parts of the town, and you can take a ghost walk or learn about local lore when you sit down to eat at a pub by the water.
Whitby, North Yorkshire, is also a really lovely place to visit and is considered one of the most special towns along this part of the coast. You could choose to combine your trip and see Robin Hood's Bay as well as Whitby Beach on the same trip. These are some of the best beaches in Yorkshire and are ideal for a visit to the waterfront.
Robin Hood's Bay travel distance from York
Robin Hood's Bay is about an hour and 20 minutes from York by car. public transportation is difficult and will take two and a half hours involving two buses.
There is a lovely sandy beach here to walk along, or you can climb up onto the sea wall and walk to many of the charming little shops and eateries that line the coast. This is one of the most beautiful and picturesque hamlets, and coming here to stay for a couple of days could be just the right way to enjoy the coast in this part of the world.
The pubs and cafes offer delicious local fare and are staffed by welcoming families who usually own the shops. You will feel like you have stepped right into the heart of history here, and you will have a lovely time shopping and touring this area.
Head over to Whitby Beach if you have time and consider checking out the Gothic Whitby Abbey, which was the inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula. There are lots of really amazing things to see in both of these locations as well as classic seaside resort options. The North York Moors are close to both of these areas, and they offer stunning scenery and a chance to tramp through the countryside like a true Brit.
Bridlington Beach (South Beach)
There is parking right across from the expanse of sand here, and you can head to Bridlington Beach to walk along the quiet beach or just sit in the sun and admire the view. There are lifeguards on duty here if you want to swim, and this is one of the best beaches in Yorkshire for those who want to also experience a thriving local hamlet with lots of places to eat and shop. Grab a coffee and walk along the beach or tour the town and make a stop at the beach as part of your experience.
This is a shingle beach and one of the best of this type in the area.
Bridlington Beach (South Beach) Travel distance from York
You will need about an hour to get to Bridlington South from York by car. Since there is a convenient car park here, there's no reason not to take the car.
While this is not a resort-style beach like some of the others in this guide, you can head here to get a spade and shovel and play in the sand, or you can get a coffee or a tea and walk along the beach. There are street food vendors here to enjoy as well.
This location can be pretty crowded during the summer months, but you can head here for some peace and quiet when it is colder. This beach is like the North Yorkshire beaches in that it is a flat stretch of sand that can be used for many purposes. You can also climb the cliffs and walk along the oceanfront with a unique perspective. A shingle beach can offer a variety of benefits for those who love hiking and walking along the cliffs, and this is one of the best of them.
South Bay Beach
This beach is iconic in Scarborough because of the soft sand, the amusement rides and park nearby, and the lovely places to eat and drink near the water. You will find few places that are so beloved in all of the UK as this beach area. This is one of the best beaches in Yorkshire for so many reasons, so there's really no reason not to put it at the top of your list.
South Bay Beach travel distance from York
It will take you about an hour to get to this beach location by car, or the bus will take roughly an hour and 45 minutes.
While it is really chilly in the water, you can still wade here in the North Sea. This is also a great place for beach volleyball, walking along the soft sand, or renting an umbrella and some chairs to get a tan. You will enjoy the Mediterranean feeling of this location very much, and the fact that there is shopping and dining so close to the sand is a pleasant aspect of choosing this beach as well.
There are also donkey rides near the water, and you can choose to stay here at the Grand Hotel if you want to feel like you have gone back in time. The Scarborough Castle is also a really fun attraction looming over the beach if you love history and want to take a break from the sun and sand to learn about the local area.
One of the other reasons that people find this area so charming is that the colourful beach huts from the Victorian era have been preserved, making it feel like you have wandered into a postcard of the past. Pop into these little spaces to change clothes before you lay down on the sand, or just take pictures posed next to them. You can also find facilities like restrooms and traditional changing rooms nearby if you need them.
This beach area actually belongs to a bay in the Scarborough borough of North Yorkshire. Runswick is the nearby little town, which is charming and can offer you access to lots of fun things to do and see as well. Runswick Bay has a stretch of beach, but the view from above the beach is often what people comment upon when talking about this area. This is one of the places along the cliffs where the town offers a vantage point over the water that is truly amazing.
Runswick Bay travel distance from York
This beach area is 1.5 hours from York by car, but it can take a long time to get here on public transport - three hours, in fact. It's best to drive rather than deal with the two buses required to get here.
Runswick Sands is the best beach area near Runswick, but you can also choose to hike or climb along the cliffs rather than walk down to the beach. Lots of different access points to the beach dot the area of the town that faces the water, and it is easy to come up off the beach to get warm in a pub or to have a snack at a cafe. You can also often find street food vendors along the water selling their tasty dishes to those enjoying the sandy beach area.
Fossil hunting is really common here as well, and you might elect to have a guide take you out to participate in this classic activity. There are also some seaside resort options here if you want to stay for more than an afternoon in this cute area.
West Pier and West Cliff
This is a dog-friendly beach, at least on the West Cliff side of the beach. Dogs are not allowed on the West Pier portion of the beach area. For those traveling who are missing their canine companions at home, this dog-friendly beach is a great place to make a stop. The West Pier ruins date to the 1970s, when the pier used to be open for use. Now the beach area is wide-open, and the pilings for the old pier are all that remain.
West Pier and West Cliff travel distance from York
It will take you about an hour to get to this beach area from York's downtown. You can ride the train from York Station as well, which will take about three hours, but which offers a very lovely experience of the countryside along the way.
You can wander along the sand here or head into Brighton to explore this well-known English seaside town. Eat a snack at a cafe, or get some coffee to take with you as you wander along the sand. This used to be one of the primary places to come to enjoy the sea during the Victorian period, and you will see why when you get to the beautiful expanse of beach.
Whether you walk along the West Cliff side or the pier side of the beach, there is nothing but beautiful water, seagulls, and a sense of the past to experience. The Victorians loved to come to a seaside resort for their health, and you will feel rejuvenated as well once you have visited this charming beach area outside the city.
North Bay Beach
This is a beachside resort area, and you can count on ice cream, food vendors, and lots of lovely little shops near the water when you head here. This is a seaside town that has been around for a long time as well, and there are seaside resorts here to enjoy if you want to spend a few days at a family-friendly beach.
North Bay Beach travel distance from York
Driving to North Bay Beach takes roughly an hour, and the train has a journey time of an hour and 45 minutes.
Some people head here to surf or kite surf, and there are surf shop locations to visit all around the water. The coast path will take you out to some hiking areas as well, and you can choose to visit the gorgeous beach and sun yourself. There is no wrong way to enjoy this location, and you can walk quite a distance at low tide if you love to hike along the beach.
Exploring the coast from York is a fun way to spend your time in the area, and if you don't mind venturing further afield, there are plenty of additional beaches that make great weekend trips from the city. The best beaches near York that we've mentioned also make excellent affordable day trips if you're visiting York on a budget.
If you haven't already sorted out plans for your luggage, make sure that you don't bring your heavy bags with you on these adventures. Let us take care of your things while you travel around from South Bay to South Beach to North Beach. Having your hands free can make any vacation so much more rewarding.