Runswick Bay

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 poolingfossil 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.

Runswick Bay is situated approximately 18 minutes from Whitby (approx 8.7 miles). Click here to get directions.

Runswick Bay is regularly voted one of Britain's most beautiful seaside villages.
Runswick Bay is regularly voted one of Britain’s most beautiful seaside villages.

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!

Things to do in Runswick Bay

Sandcastles on Runswick Bay Beach
Sandcastles on Runswick Bay Beach

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 sandcastles with the kids. 

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.  You can view our beach by beach guide for Whitby and the surrounding areas, including Runswick Bay here.

Try Fossil Hunting

Fossil hunting at Runswick Bay
Fossil hunting at Runswick Bay

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.

Follow the Cleveland Way National Trail

Walking along the Cleveland Way from Whitby to Runswick Bay.
You can walk from Runswick Bay to Whitby along the Cleveland Way.

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.

The walk to Whitby is a popular clifftop walk of moderate difficulty covering 7 miles. The walk takes approximately 3 hours to complete. You can follow the route here.

To find out more about the Cleveland Way, click here to visit the National Trails website.

Runswick Bay Accommodation

Runswick Bay is awash with the red roofs of traditional fisherman’s cottages, many of which have been converted into holiday accommodation. There are also several bed and breakfasts and hotels nearby.

The Runswick Bay Hotel

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.

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 that 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 too.

The Cliffemount Hotel

OYO 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. It 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.

Book via Booking.com

The Firs Guest House

The Firs Guesthouse

The Firs is a 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 here too.

Alice Hill Cottage

Alice Hill Cottage at Runswick Bay

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 a 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.

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. Find more information and book here.

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