Yorkshire Coastal Resorts – Which is your favourite?? Filey, Scarborough, Robin Hoods Bay or Whitby…

What a delight it’s been discovering that there are even more beautiful beaches in our amazing country than we were aware of! These resorts tend to be a little quieter than their counterparts in Cornwall – with the exception perhaps of Whitby 🙂

I thought I’d pop this poll on to see if people agree with our personal favourites 🙂

Okay, so over the course of the last week or so we have visited all 4 of these resorts from our base in Flamborough – meaning that Filey is closest to us, then Scarborough, then Robin Hoods Bay and finally Whitby.  (You might want to get a cuppa before continuing with this post!  Or read it in shifts.  Sorry…!)

The first resort we visited was Filey over a week ago now.  We were totally charmed by this place.  We parked by the side of the road in Church Ravine (there are parking charges, and make sure to keep those kids safely in the car until you’re ready to cross over to the pavement).  Walking down towards the beach one of the 1st things we saw were the donkeys taking kids for rides – it’s been years since I saw donkeys on the beach.  I also have a feeling that my own kids may never have experienced this particular delight – put me right boys if I’m wrong here!

To the left of this entrance to the beach, and the donkeys, is the area where you will find a small number of amusements and traditional seaside shops and cafes, as well as another section of beach (not quite so sandy) and the traditional fishing cobles parked up.  The lifeboat station is also here.

We turned right for a very pleasant wander along the seafront.  Along here there was a crazy golf course, a number of sculptures, a paddling pool, a hopscotch outline with fish sculptures to jump on and deckchairs & beach huts for hire!

Part of Filey’s history involves early planes taking off and landing on the beach, and an early flying school being established here.  The following information board is really interesting and well worth a read 🙂


From the end of the promenade we went up the cobbled Crescent Hill making our way towards Crescent Gardens.  This makes for a very pleasant walk with lovely views towards the sea.

On our way back to the car we headed up the steps on the hill and visited St Oswald’s Church.  Once again we were unable to access the church itself but the grounds were well kept – apart from a large 19th century family memorial that was, unfortunately, being used as some sort of dumping ground 😦

Filey wasn’t finished with us yet though!  We headed up to the country park in the car.  Stopping at the far end of the park we could see the Brigg, but we didn’t park as the charges were quite high.  We fully intended to return to walk the brigg, but we’re running out of time now and the weather has turned against us with a vengeance…

A couple of days later we visited Scarborough.  We had no great expectations and we certainly weren’t expecting it to challenge Filey for our affections.

The main photo shows one of our first views of the bay, having parked at the top of the cliff on The Promenade.  We were instantly smitten 🙂

We headed down a series of steps until we came to The Clock Café where we had a cuppa before heading along the promenade and falling more and more for this resort.


View back to The Clock Café from the promenade


Scarborough has cliff railways (or tramways).  Originally there were 5, but only 2 are still in operation and cost either 90p or £1 per person each way, depending on which you use (the South Cliff by the spa is best if you’re parked on The Promenade – we took the Central and struggled to find our way back to the car!!)

There is evidence of much grandeur in Scarborough’s past, with wonderful old buildings.  Some have been put to new use and some are waiting for redevelopment, such as the Sea Bathing building.

Walking further along the promenade we saw donkeys on the beach (which is a beautiful stretch of sand btw), a steam coach filling up with water before setting off on a trip along the seafront, an open-topped bus, amusements, fish and chip shops & pubs galore, glimpses of the old town along Quay Street which runs behind the seafront buildings, the harbour and it’s fair and, of course, overseeing everything that’s going on – the castle.

Reaching the harbour we could also see a strange building with a walkway through the middle.  It turned out to be part of the old toll road for the Marine Drive, which was built between 1897 and 1904 at a cost of almost £125,000 (almost double the original quote), and it links the North and South Bays around the base of the promontory on which the castle stands.  The tolls were 1d for anybody using the road, except for motorcyclists.  They had to pay 2d for their bike and 1d for themselves, and another 1d for any passengers!  Tolls were finally abolished in total in 1950 (at the start of the war for pedestrians).

We decided to eat out and spent ages looking for a Chinese or Indian (on foot) – we ended up eating when we got back to the van, having been unsuccessful in our quest.  Maybe there’s an opening there??!!

You may have guessed – we also loved Scarborough.  It was so totally unexpected!

Now, finally, yesterday we visited Whitby via Robin Hoods Bay.  This entailed a slightly longer drive into new territory – the North Yorkshire Moors National Park.  For us, this was very reminiscent of the Cornish countryside, as were Robin Hoods Bay and Whitby themselves, especially Robin Hoods Bay.

The drive was fun!  A decent main road but lots of bends and twists and ups and downs – at times I thought the poor little white car wasn’t going to make it back to the top!

Accessed along a long narrow road look out for the viewpoints near the top of the road.  We missed them but I guarantee they will provide a spectacular view.

We parked up in the, extremely busy and not particularly cheap, main car park on Station Road, and walked down to the bay.  We then took the path down towards the beach rather than walking on into the village.  If you struggle with steep climbs then you’re best to carry onto the village as I imagine that there’s less of a climb.

At the bottom of the slope and steps is an extremely steep, and rather long, slipway, with boats parked in bays along it’s length!  This takes you down to the beach which was an absolute hive of activity.  Walking along the beach you cannot miss the massive sea wall, which, built in 1970, is itself a listed structure.  Robin Hoods Bay has lost many dwellings to the sea, including 22 cottages in just 1 night.  There is also a story about a lady sitting drinking tea in her front room who, on hearing a noise, opened the door to the back room only to find it had disappeared into the sea!

Read a little of the history of Robin Hoods Bay here.

We walked along the beach which was busy with families searching rock pools and also scouring the cliffs for fossils.  It was a hive of activity and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Eventually we tore ourselves away to head up to the village itself.  There is a really good little museum/information point here in the old Coastguard station (especially good for explaining things to the children).  From here you have a really good view of the steep narrow roads of the village, and also some of the many steps that you will see everywhere!  Along with the well-documented history of smuggling in the area this is one of the things that helped us to draw links with Cornwall.

Before heading back to the car (we’d only paid for 2 hours), we had a cuppa and slice of cake in Elle Estelles, a tiny little teashop opposite The Little House – a tiny place (that can be rented as holiday accommodation).  There was an awful lot of choice in this regard, but we were more than happy 🙂


The Little House – I like to think this place had a role in Robin Hood’s Bay’s smuggling history….


Our final destination was Whitby, and our first stop when we got there was Whitby Abbey (English Heritage but no free parking, even for members 😦 ).  So we just paid for 1 hour, and then moved after seeing the Abbey – this was just as well as neither of us was really ‘feeling it’ while looking round the abbey.  We were both listening to the audio guide but not really taking anything in – that’s no reflection on the quality of the guide, it was actually really good.  It was simply our state of mind!

We could have stayed parked at the abbey and walked down the steps to Whitby itself – it’s not too far but would, no doubt, be a hard slog back up!

Instead we took the car and parked on the road near the harbour.  For nothing…   We were parked near to Whitby’s Seaman’s Hospital, founded in 1675 it now has 20 dwellings available to ex-seafarers and their widows or dependants aged 60 or over.  They are still providing charitable housing today and were, in fact, refurbished in 1996.


We entered Grape Street beside the Captain Cook museum , which is housed in the building in which he served as an apprentice.  From here we took in the plentiful narrow lanes, alleys and passageways on offer, filled with numerous independent retailers – including a fair number of teashops, pubs, jewellers selling Whitby jet pieces (some of them at quite a price I have to say…) and sweet (particularly rock) shops.

Whitby has a swing bridge across the harbour (see photos above) which we were lucky enough to see (or rather wait for) opening.  Traffic can only travel one way at a time and, of course, the vehicles had to wait for the pedestrians who swarmed back onto the bridge when it re-opened!

This took us over to the other side of the harbour with it’s amusements, shops, pubs, fish & chip shops, fresh fish stalls and boat trips.  Not to mention a small fair and the beaches (although we didn’t see the beach properly as the tide was almost fully in).

We climbed up a series of steps to the West Cliff which was a quieter area and has access to the main beach, as well as wonderful views and this arch made from the lower jaw-bone of a whale!


Lower jaw-bone of a whale on Whitby’s West Cliff


We had a quick drink in The Pier overlooking the harbour, and then fish and chips in the Quayside restaurant, which was very nice – but we’ve eaten in The Frying Farmer now and don’t think any fish and chips will compare favourably again.  In fact we may as well give up now until we can visit them again!


View inland from Whitby Abbey


Whitby was much busier than the other resorts we visited, and noisier too.  Whilst we enjoyed our day and had a pleasant wander around taking it all in, we wouldn’t be in a hurry to return.  This is a shame as it is always where people ask if we’ve been (I’m talking about locals here!)  Our favourite resort out of the 4 was…………Filey 🙂

Look out for posts dealing with our days out in Beverly, Hull and Spurn Point (as well as Bogle Hole where we stopped on the way home from Whitby 🙂 ).



Author: MandoraTheExplorer

Having given up full-time work we currently work a year to travel for 4-5 months, and we're hoping to continue this until we can retire properly! Currently living, and loving, life to the full :)

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