Runswick Bay is undoubtedly one of the Yorkshire Coast’s most scenic destinations, with its picturesque bay and red-roofed fishing cottages nestled against the surrounding cliffs.
The sandy beach, which once provided anchorage for brightly coloured fishing boats, is now a family favourite for rock pooling, fossil hunting and coastal walks, where you can admire the breathtaking sea views. Runswick Bay has been voted in the top 5 ‘Best Beaches in the UK’ by readers of the Guardian readers and Britain’s best beachcombing location by Miranda Krestovnikoff, one of the presenters of the BBC series Coast. It’s loved by tourists and locals alike and is the perfect Yorkshire coast holiday destination for families and couples looking to get away from it all.
History of Runswick Bay
Runswick Bay was originally a fishing village and although it appears to have changed little over the centuries, it has gone through considerable changes in the past. The most dramatic of these was when a landslide destroyed the entire village (except for one house) in 1682 and it had to be rebuilt. Fortunately, no one was hurt in the disaster. Legend has it that the entire population of the village was at a wake for a recently departed comrade…and that, ironically, it was the deceased man’s house which was the only building left standing!
Pubs with accommodation in Runswick Bay
The Runswick Bay Hotel
The Runswick Bay Hotel is located in the upper village on Hinderwell Lane and is only a five-minute walk from the beach. In the bar, there are two ales to choose from (Thwaites Wainwright or Wold Top Five Wold Rings), eight different wines by the glass and tea and coffee (they make a great espresso by all reports!) And if you’re looking for a comfortable and convenient place to stay, they have six double rooms, all of which have en-suites. One is a family room which sleeps four in a double bed and a set of bunks, and there is another room with a four-poster bed that’s perfect for couples looking for a romantic getaway or a bit of luxury. All rooms include breakfast for each guest, free Wi-Fi, free parking and are non-smoking. Dogs are welcome.
The Cliffemount Hotel
The Cliffemount Hotel is located in the upper village on Bank Top Lane and, as the name suggests, it’s set on top of the cliff above the old Runswick Bay village and offers spectacular views of the coastline below. This warm and friendly hotel is famous for its Yorkshire hospitality with log fires, fine ales and wines and excellent cuisine, and is the only AA star-rated hotel in Runswick Bay. The stylish rooms are a mixture of traditional and contemporary decor and feature en-suite bathrooms, tea and coffee making facilities, flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi. Most rooms have sea views and upgraded rooms have private balconies. The hotel also has a restaurant with coastal views, a casual bar, outdoor picnic tables, free parking and is dog-friendly.
The Royal Hotel
This Royal Hotel is located in the old village of Runswick Bay and has excellent views of the bay from its outside terrace overlooking the sea. This pub has been serving Black Sheep beers for many years and they take great pride in serving it as their permanent real ale. They also serve a small selection of guest beers in the summer and serve lunchtime and evening meals (their fish and chips are popular due to its generous portion size). The hotel is dog-friendly and there is accommodation available upstairs in a two-bedroom flat.
Runswick Bay Bed and Breakfasts
The Firs Guest House
This family-run guesthouse is located in the upper village on Hinderwell Lane and is only a 10-minute walk from the beach. The quaint, country-style rooms have en-suite bathrooms with showers, free Wi-Fi, iPod docks, and tea and coffee making facilities. Some rooms include four-poster beds and sofas, and you can upgrade your suite to include a free-standing tub. A full English breakfast is available in the property’s casual dining room each morning and there is free off-street parking on site. Pets are welcome.
Self-Catering Holiday Cottages in Runswick Bay
Alby House is located in the upper village on Hinderwell Lane and is near Cleveland Way, which leads down to the lower village and beach. Inside the house, there are two king-size double rooms, one regular-size double room, one large twin room and one single bedroom. These can easily accommodate up to nine people, and there are two well-appointed bathrooms, one with a bath, toilet and washbasin, and another with an electric shower, toilet and washbasin. The kitchen is well-equipped with a fridge/freezer, ceramic hob electric oven, microwave, washing machine and dishwasher. It overlooks a large enclosed back garden that has a patio and barbecue, as well as a lawn with garden furniture. Off-street parking is available on site.
East Cottage is a stunning, contemporary holiday home located on Top Bank Lane in the upper village. The cottage is five-minutes walk away from the sweeping sandy beach of Runswick Bay and its quaint fishing cottages, The Royal Pub and the village’s excellent seaside café. The cottage has accommodation for two people and has a contemporary wood burning stove, central heating and a kitchen with fridge/freezer, oven, electric hob and microwave. There is also a bathroom and a washing machine, and linen and towels are provided. There’s free Wi-Fi and free off-street parking as well. It is available for Friday to Friday bookings only and is strictly non-smoking inside and outside. Pets and children are not allowed.
Seacot cottage is located in the upper village on Ellerby Lane and enjoys views across the cliff tops down to the sea. The first floor of this property has a spacious living room with open fire, large well-equipped farmhouse-style kitchen with breakfast area and an AGA cooker, double and twin bedrooms with TV/DVDs, and a bathroom with double corner shower and toilet. On the second floor, there’s another double bedroom with an en-suite bathroom and toilet, and a balcony with stunning views of the bay. Bed linen and towels are provided for guests to use, and there is also free Wi-Fi, free satellite TV, an outdoor patio area with barbecue, and off-street parking on site. The property is strictly non-smoking and pets are not allowed.
Fuchsia Cottage is located in Runswick Bay’s lower village and is the perfect place for a family getaway, with accommodation for up to seven people over three floors. Inside you’ll find a king-size bedroom with en-suite, a double room with single bed, and bunk bedroom, and a main bathroom with a roll top bath, double washbasins and toilet. There’s a spacious living area with a stone fireplace, flat-screen TV with Freeview, DVD player and selection of DVD’s, comfortable sofas, window seats and a dining table with chairs. The large kitchen is well equipped with a ring induction hob, oven, dishwasher, washing machine, fridge/freezer and microwave. Outside is a patio with seating and you can bring a small well-behaved pet to stay in the cottage with you. Parking is available nearby in the resident’s car park and a parking permit for one car is included in the rate. Additional vehicles can be parked in the public car park.
Sandside is the ultimate one-bedroom couple’s retreat and is located on the top floor of a larger home, just behind the café in the heart of the old Runswick Bay village. It’s only a stone’s throw from the beach and offers panoramic views of the bay and surrounding hills. It has a spacious living area with feature gas fireplace, flat-screen TV with Freeview, DVD player, comfortable sofas, writing desk, dining table with chairs and picturesque views. There’s a cosy double bedroom with linen and fresh towels and plenty of wardrobe space, and a hairdryer, iron and ironing board are available on request. Guests also receive a sumptuous welcome pack on arrival and free Wi-Fi is available. No smoking or pets are allowed and one car parking permit is included within the rate for the resident’s car park.
Beach House Top Flat
The Beach House Top Flat offers totally self-contained accommodation in the older part of Runswick Bay and is suitable for up to six people. This cosy home can only be booked for a week-long stay and is located on the upper floor of a larger private property. The entrance staircase leads to well-equipped kitchen with a dishwasher, full-sized oven, microwave, fridge/freezer and dining table with chairs. The lounge area has a large sofa, dining table and fireplace, and the bathroom has a shower over bath, toilet and washbasin. There are two twin bedrooms (one with ocean views you can enjoy while lying in bed) and each has a washbasin. Bed linen is provided and free Wi-Fi is available. The property is strictly non-smoking and pets aren’t allowed. One car parking permit for the nearby residents’ car park is included in the rate.
This charming cottage is tucked away in the heart of the old Runswick Bay village, less than a minute’s walk from the Royal Hotel. It has partial views of the sea and many rustic features like a beamed ceiling, stone fireplace with woodburning stove and stable doors. It’s suitable for up to four people (including children) and split between to floors. On the ground floor, there is a lounge area with a TV, DVD/CD player, extending dining table and chairs. The kitchen has a fridge, electric cooker with grill, oven, microwave and washing machine. On the first floor, there are two bedrooms. One with a double bed and TV, and another with a single bed, a pull-out bed and a built-in wardrobe. There is also a bathroom with bathtub, hand shower, toilet and washbasin. The property is strictly non-smoking, Wi-Fi is not available and there is no mobile phone signal here. Guests are welcome to bring one pet with them and a parking permit for the residents’ car park is included in the rate.
Castle House is located in the old Runswick Bay village and offers breathtaking views and a high-end finish. You’ll certainly feel like the “King or Queen of the Castle” when you stay at this property. It can accommodate up to six people and boasts an upstairs master bedroom with a king-size bed, private glass balcony and TV. There is also a bathroom (which can be turned into an en-suite for the master bedroom if the door is closed) with a large walk-in shower, sink with waterfall tap and toilet. On the ground floor is an open plan area that includes a lounge with comfortable sofa, feature fireplace and log-burning stove, and a kitchen with quality appliances including an induction oven, fridge/freezer, dishwasher, washing machine and crockery. And large bay windows and sliding sash windows let you appreciate the view while your preparing and enjoying your meals. Bed linen, towels, free Wi-Fi, a welcome hamper, and one parking ticket for the residents’ car park are provided. Smoking, pets and children under seven are not allowed.
Located in the centre of Runswick Bay lower village, Royal Flat offers spacious accommodation and sleeps up to 4 people in two bedrooms. The first of these has a king-size bed and offers sea views, and the second has a double bed. The bathroom has a bath with shower over, washbasin, toilet and towels are provided. There is spacious lounge/kitchen/dining room with amazing views of Kettleness, the sea and the beach. The kitchen includes ad oven with grill, microwave, dishwasher and Tassimo coffee machine. And the flat also has a breakout area with daybed, TV with Freesat, a washing machine and free Wi-Fi. Guests are welcome to bring one well-behaved pet with them and one car parking permit is provided.
Crab and Lobster Cottage
Nestled in the heart of the old village, Crab and Lobster Cottage is an ideal destination for anyone seeking a peaceful or romantic break away from it all, without having to compromise on home comforts. It’s the ideal base for one or two people and is spread over three levels. There’s a sitting room with dining table and log burning stove, and a lounge room with a sofa and TV with Freeview. The cottage also has a well-equipped kitchen with a full-size oven, four-ring hob, microwave and large fridge/freezer. You can lie in bed and look out to sea from the double bedroom, and the bathroom combines the property’s original Art Deco bath and shower over, with mod cons like a heated towel rail and shaving point. Outside, there’s a private patio set with views towards Kettleness Point and the sea, which guests can enjoy year-round. The cottage has free Wi-Fi and a car parking permit is provided for one vehicle to park in the residents’ car park. Pets are not allowed.
Beach House, Middle Flat
This charming home is located in the old village and occupies the middle floor of a larger private property. With its whitewashed walls, rustic furniture, and sea views from nearly every room, the Beach House is the perfect base for your seaside holiday. It has room for up to four guests in a double bedroom with sea views and a twin bedroom with two full-size single beds. In the bathroom, you’ll find a shower over bath, washbasin, toilet and washing machine, and the kitchen has a dishwasher, full-size oven, microwave and small table. And the lounge room has a dining table, sofa, TV with Freesat and lovely ocean views. There’s also free Wi-Fi and bed linen is provided but guests will need to bring their own towels. One well-behaved pet is welcome by prior arrangement and one car parking permit included in the rate. Beach House, Middle Flat is a non-smoking property.
Alice Hill Cottage
This charming property in a quieter part of the old village offers accommodation for two people, and a well-behaved pet, and features a private roof balcony with panoramic views of Runswick Bay. It’s spread over two floors and has a double bedroom with wrought iron bed, and a bathroom with a shower over bath, underfloor heating, toilet and sink. There’s a generous-sized open plan lounge with TV and Sky Freeview, DVD Player, Wi-Fi, sofa and dining table with six chairs. And the kitchen has a dishwasher, fridge/freezer, electric four-ring hob, electric oven and grill, microwave, toaster and cafetiere. Under the house is a cellar area with a washing machine that guests can use and space for storing bikes, kayaks and muddy boots. Be aware that there are 25 steep steps that lead to the front door so this cottage may not be suitable for the less agile. A car parking permit for one vehicle is included in the rate.
Stowaway cottage is located on the grounds of Stowe Lodge in the upper village and is a 10-minute walk away from the beach. This lodge-style property has beautiful open plan interiors decorated with a seaside-themed chic and includes a lovely outside space perfect for an al fresco dining or a morning coffee. A well-behaved pet is welcome by prior agreement, and bed linen, towels, a welcome pack with wine, off-street parking and free Wi-Fi are all included in the rate. The property has a cosy double bedroom, hairdryer, dressing table and occasional chair, and the bathroom offers a walk-in shower, toilet, sink and underfloor heating. The spacious kitchen has an oven, fridge/freezer, dishwasher, microwave, cafetiere, iron and ironing board, and the lounge area has a dining area, sofa, TV with Freesat, iPod docking station and heating. Outside, there’s a grassed garden area with table, chairs and a small orchard and is the perfect spot for al fresco dining. Stowaway is a non-smoking property.
Things To See And Do In Runswick Bay
Explore the Beach
This long sandy beach is a lovely place to spend a few quiet hours. It has plenty of room for children to play and for your dog to have a good long run. Although there is no lifeguard, the beach is regarded as a safe swimming spot or if you prefer to stay on dry land, you can pitch a deck chair, explore numerous rock pools or make sand castles with the kids. (Learn more beach games here) Fishing, boating, kayaking, canoeing, water skiing and sailing are also popular in the bay. And if you’re looking for something a bit different, you can explore Hob Holes (small caves where hobgoblins are reputed to live) or hunt for fossils. (see below).
The beach at Runswick Bay is a well-known hot spot for collecting ammonites and other fossils from the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. It’s classed as a very productive location when the conditions are right, and collectors seldom go home disappointed. Most fossils are found on the foreshore. For more information on finding fossils in this area, click here.
The Cleveland Way National Trail
The Cleveland Way is a long distance footpath that passes through Runswick Bay with cliff walks and stunning sea views, taking you north to Staithes and south to Sandsend and Whitby. To find out more about the Cleveland Way, click here to visit the National Trails website.
How far is Runswick Bay from Whitby?
Runswick Bay is situated approximately 18 minutes from Whitby (approx 8.6 miles). See the map below.