Whitby is well worth visitng in its own right but it’s also perfect for keen walkers. Holidaymakers need not worry about poor weather as winter approaches, either – the Yorkshire Coast and North York Moors region has some of best UK year-round weather. On average over the winter, every two out of three days in winter are dry.
Start: Whitby Bridge
Distance: 11.2 km (seven miles)
Time: Three and a half hours
Map: OL27 North York Moors Eastern area (Whitby Town Map also useful)
1. Start the walk from Whitby Bridge and head east towards the Old Town.
2. Turn left and along Church Street and then right and up the 199 steps.
3. Walk past the Abbey and turn left to follow the Cleveland Way along the cliff top.
4. Follow the Cleveland Way for nearly 3 miles, enjoying the glorious coastline.
5. Turn right on the footpath to Gnipe Howe, leaving the Cleveland Way.
6. Turn left and along the track.
7. At the railway bridge go left over the stile. Follow the old Railway line to the right.
8. Cross the viaduct over the River Esk, with glorious views over the town and harbour.
9. Turn right and across the playing fields.
10. Before the road turn right. Follow round the playing field and down the steps under the road.
11. Turn right and take the track on the right. Cross the railway. Walk along the quay and back to the bridge.
Walk 2 – Linger with loved ones at Sandsend
Sandsend is a gorgeous litle fishing village found two miles north of Whitby, nestling under Lythe Bank and Mulgrave Woods.
The quaint village sits at the end of a fine three-mile sandy beach and boasts picture postcard cottages, babbling becks and beach cafés with fabulous sea views.
Originating around two inlets, the village has two historical settlements – Old Sandsend and East Row. The former extends deep into a secluded valley, sheltered away from the sea front. Here, the sandstone cottages cluster around a stream and gardens grow tumbling roses and hollyhocks – look out for the ducks and tethered goats!
Sandsend can be accessed from Whitby via the A174, about 10-minutes’ drive by car.
This route is one of the North York Moors National Park coastal ambles. It is a better alternative route for the Cleveland Way along the beach when the tide is out
The walk described below can be extended by walking straight from Whitby to Sandsend and back on the beach at low tide (the beach is fully covered at high tide), so be sure to check the tide times in advance. It’s about three and half miles along the beach.
Distance: About three miles/ five km
Duration: About two hours with a break
Difficulty: An easy walk along the beach
1. Start from The Wits End Café at the bottom of Lythe Bank in Old Sandsend and head down to the beach via the slipway. Near to the cliffs, you’ll find countless rock pools revealed at low tide and worth exploring.
2. Make your way along the beach. Over the centuries, this sweeping landscape has inspired work by many artists and authors, including, allegedly, the poem ‘The Walrus and the Carpenter’ after Lewis Carroll walked along this shoreline.
3. Looking out to sea, you may be lucky to see the odd seal bobbing on the waves. Marine life here is rich, particularly in summer and early autumn when whales arrive to feast on the migrating herring which come to spawn. In recent years, wildlife cruises have reported sightings of Minke, Sei, Fin and Humpback whales, plus numerous dolphins and seals.
4. As you travel further along the coastline, you’ll come across boulder clay cliffs. This is part of the Dinosaur Coast, so keep your eyes peeled for any fossils, but stay clear of the rock face.
5. Continue along until you reach the ramp, half way to Whitby.
6. Turn and retrace your steps. Leave the beach at the steps next to Sandsend Café.
7. Then meander into East Row, taking your time to browse in some of the craft shops over the bridge. Set further back in a quiet, wooded setting, you’ll find Bridge Cottage Bistro. Not only is it worth a visit for a lavish lunch or slice of cake, access to Mulgrave Woods is just past here. Mulgrave Woods is very picturesque with tumbling streams, roaming deer and dappled light shining through broad-leaved woodland. It’s privately owned but access is possible on certain days. Feel free to take one of the paths and explore further, but make sure you return the same way you entered.
8. Heading back to your starting point, you’ll pass a newer development that links Old Sandsend and East Row. Just along this section you’ll find Sandsend Stores, where you can buy delicious, locally-produced delicatessen fair and fine wine. Perfect for a picnic at sunset! For further treats, head to Estbek House for a sumptuous dinner. Stay longer and enjoy a couple’s spa treatment at Raithwaite Hall and Spa.
Distance 4.3 miles (7 km) or 5.9 miles (9.5 km) with optional extension.
Duration: 2.75 hours with extension.
1. From the National Trust Coastal Centre follow the main road for 100 metres, then turn left towards the sea at the wooden Cleveland Way finger post.
2. At the cliff edge turn right continuing along the coastal Cleveland Way
3. Continue beyond the old Coastguard lookout for another kilometre.
4. Turn right at the stile and footpath sign and walk along the field edge
5. Turn left at the minor road (War Dyke Lane)
6. Leave the road, turning right onto the bridleway.
7. Just before the railway arch turn right and head up the slope to join the old railway line.
8. Turn right and follow the old railway track back towards Ravenscar.
9. Drop off the old railway line into Station Square then follow the pavement back to the Coastal Centre.
10. This walk can now be extended by walking down the track passing the Coastal Centre along the Cleveland Way. Drop down this track for o.6 mile (1 km), turning left as you join the main track further down.
11. Take the right turn on the permissive path taking you to the Peak Alum Works which is owned and managed by the National Trust.
12. You can return by rejoining the track and following it through the golf course to return to the Coastal Centre.