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Whitby Walks, A Guide to Walking Around Whitby

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When it comes to walks around Whitby you’re totally spoilt for choice. This gorgeous coastal town is in an almost unique position when it comes to walking and hiking trails. Here’s our guide to walking around Whitby and its surrounding areas.

Walks around Whitby are plentiful so you don’t need to worry about your ability or experience, there’s sure to be a walk around Whitby that is perfect for you.

Whitby walk to the Abbey

In this guide of Whitby walks, we’ll start with the walks that begin in Whitby and later we’ll look at the possibilities outside of town either as places to walk to or destinations in their own right.

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Before you start – Recommended reading!

Historic Walking Guides Whitby, Robin Hood’s Bay, Runswick Bay & Staithes

Historic Walking Guides Whitby, Robin Hood’s Bay, Runswick Bay & Staithes

Discover the history of Whitby, Robin Hood’s Bay and Staithes on the North Yorkshire Coast through interesting and themed walks, illustrated with maps, pictures and colourful stories.

Short Whitby Walks

Saltwick Bay and The Coast Path

Whitby Abbey in the Winter

Starting from Whitby Youth Hostel this is a great, easy walk around Whitby for those who would like to see beautiful views of the town and the harbour. Then out into the country before returning along the coast path in the shadow of Whitby Abbey.

Follow the route here.

Walking Time: 1 Hour 20 Minutes

Length: 2.7 Miles

Difficulty: Easy

Whitby Circular Walk – Pushchair and Wheelchair Friendly

Take in a beautiful view Whitby Harbour when walking around Whitby

This easy route is almost entirely paved. The main challenge is the steep slope up Khyber Pass but is accessible for wheelchair users and parents with buggies.

We begin this walk around Whitby at The Star Inn The Harbour. This is a great leisurely walk to take in the sights and history of Whitby

Follow the route here.

Walking Time: 2 Hours

Length: 2 Miles

Difficulty: Easy

Circular Walk – Whitby to Ruswarp

View of Whitby Harbour

The Ruswarp Round Circular Walk is a fantastic Whitby walk that dives straight into the surrounding beauty of the neighbouring village of Ruswarp.

Taking in the River Esk Tidal Sanctuary, Larpool Viaduct, the Ancient Monks Trod path and the North York Moors Railway, this easy two-mile walk is one of our favourites.

Follow the full route here.

Walking Time: 1 Hour

Length: 2 Miles

Difficulty: Easy

Robin Hood’s Bay Wildlife and Heritage Walk

Walk to Robin Hoods Bay

Robin Hood’s Bay has a long and interesting history from its geology, to its former role at the heart of the local fishing industry.

This iconic landscape is a wonderful place to explore. This is a lovely, easy walk to explore all Robin Hood’s Bay has to offer.

For beach lovers, we recommend checking the tide tables to ensure that you have time to enjoy the beach section at the start.

You can follow this route here. 

Walking Time: 2 Hours

Length: 1.2 Miles

Difficulty: Easy

Staithes to Port Mulgrave Loop

Evening Light in Staithes

One of the most popular walks around Staithes is the loop route that takes the coastal road south to Port Mulgrave before returning through farmland and picturesque woodland. The route is quite easy to follow.

Port Mulgrave is a lovely place to stop and have a rest and has a number of cafes and pubs to refresh your palette before starting the journey back.

If you’re feeling a bit more energetic then you might like to carry on when you reach Port Mulgrave and visit Runswick Bay; another beautiful place well worth a visit.

Follow the route here.

Walking Time: 2 Hours 30 Minutes

Length: 4 Miles

Difficulty: Easy

Whitby to Sandsend

Walk to Sandsend from Whitby

A really popular coastal walk is from Whitby to the nearby village of Sandsend. It boasts cliff top views and a fairly flat path.

The walk starts from the atmospheric ruins of Whitby Abbey. After exploring Sandsend you could even return to Whitby along the beach but please check the tide times before you do this.

The Mulgrave Estate is located right next to Sandsend so if you want to go further it is a perfect place to extend the walk. There are miles of peaceful woodland trails taking you to becks, waterfalls and the interesting ruins of Mulgrave Castle.

You could also continue along the Cleveland Way and visit Runswick Bay. It’s another lovely fishing village with a sandy beach, sheltered bay and pretty little cottages.

Follow the route here. 

Walking Time: 1-2 Hours

Length: 3 Miles

Difficulty: Easy

Moderate Walks around Whitby

Circular Walk – Whitby Abbey, Lighthouse and Saltwick Bay

Whitby Circular Walk Saltwick bay

We love this moderate circular walk with modest uphill walking around Whitby, it climbs and heads away from the town to head along to Whitby Lighthouse.

The walk along the clifftop past Saltwick Bay affords wonderful sea and cliff views. The walk then heads back into Whitby via the historic ruins of Whitby Abbey and then down the 199 steps back into town.

Start either in town or up at the Abbey Car Park.

You can follow the route here.

Walking Time: 2 Hour 10 Minutes

Length: 5.25 Miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Whitby Cleveland Way Viaduct Loop

Whitby Walk 199 Steps

Tackle this hike along the Cleveland Way with stunning views across the North Sea in a half-day walk from Whitby.

This walk involves a rather fantastic selection of scenery from the natural beauty of the coast to the audacity of Victorian engineering – this walk has panorama like no other.

We recommend a local map for this route since there are some technical turns and place names that are beyond the ken of Google. You can buy the OL27 North York Moors Eastern area here.

Begin at Whitby Bridge. You can follow the route here.

Walking Time: 4 Hours

Length: 7 Miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Whitby to Runswick Bay Coastal Route

Whitby to Runswick Bay Walk

Enjoy a long ramble north from Whitby to the serene charm of Runswick Bay. There’s much to enjoy along the way. Especially for fossil hunters and beach lovers.

This hike up towards Staithes makes the most of the Dinosaur Coast but this slightly longer walk isn’t for the faint-hearted, you’ll definitely earn a drink or three!

More details of the Whitby to Runswick Bay coastal route are here.

Walking Time: 4 Hours

Length: 7.46 Miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Whitby to Robin Hoods Bay

Cleveland Way Signpost

This coastal walk follows a popular section of the Cleveland Way from Whitby to Robin Hood’s Bay. It’s a stunning stretch of coast with pretty bays and clifftop views.

We love this walk because it’s easy to follow on decent footpaths and can easily be extended further,  you could continue along the coast path to Ravenscar and visit Harwood Dale Forest. You can also try the Ravenscar to Robin Hoods Bay Circular Walk which perfectly combines some fine inland moorland scenery and the coast.

Follow the route here.

Walking Time: 3 Hours 20 Minutes

Length: 7 Miles

Difficulty: Moderate

North York Moors to Robin Hoods Bay

Walk to Robin Hoods Bay

If you fancy a decent size walk to Robin Hood’s bay, heading inland with fine views across the Bay this route is perfect.

After Fyling Hall and the restored watermill at Ramsdale return to the sea at Stoupe Brow. If the tide is out continue along the beach, otherwise follow the clifftop Cleveland Way by way of Boggle Hole, back to ‘Bay Town’ and devour some fish and chips.

The full route can be found here.

Walking Time: 4 Hours

Length: 8-9 Miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Robin Hood’s Bay to Ravenscar Loop

Robin Hoods Bay

This one is more for the long-distance walkers out there. If you check the tide time when you get to the Cleveland Way (the cliff path) you can walk along the beach below the cliff.

If you choose to walk up the coast you’ll reach Whitby in around an hour, whereas walking down the coast will bring you to the pretty village of Ravenscar.

The Robin Hood’s Bay to Ravenscar loop is very popular as it takes in the coastal areas and the moorlands.

With a few ups and downs and a steep climb at the end (from Baytown back up to Robin Hood’s Bay), it is given an ‘amateur’ rating so you will benefit from a decent level of fitness.

Follow the route here.

Walking Time: 5 Hours

Length: 7.5 Miles

Difficulty: Moderate

North York Moors National Park to Lealholm Circular Walk

North York Moors

All of the Whitby walks take place in the area known as the North York Moors however if you fancy going a bit further inland you’ll be able to take advantage of the true moorland walks in the main National Park area.

There are probably more walking routes documented for the park area than you could ever complete so it’s just a case of choosing the ones you really want to do.

One we love is a circular walk from Lealholm taking in three Dales in the North York Moors. This Walk takes in the stunning scenery of Glaisdale, Great Fryup Dale and Eskdale.

Follow the full route here.

Walking Time: 5 Hours

Length: 7.5 Miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Other Whitby Walks for you to enjoy

Whitby Ghost Walk

Rose Rylands Walking Tours of Whitby
Rose Rylands Walking Tours of Whitby

We round off our walks around Whitby with a local classic. The Whitby Ghost Walk is a 75-minute wander around Whitby’s iconic old town taking in the sights, sounds and smells of historic Whitby. Led by award-winning storyteller, Rose Rylands, the Whitby Ghost Walk is not to be missed.

The walk tells the story of the town’s maritime history, with sailors and shipwrecks, mystery and ghost stories from around the town. Learn about the myth of the Lykke Walk Way and how the Dracula came to find his home in the grounds of St Mary’s Churchyard.

Whitby Ghost Walk is by private booking only. Groups benefit from a generous discount and schools are welcome to discuss timetable guided walks for children. The walk begins at the top of the 199 steps outside St Mary’s Church.

For those seeking a turn-up and walk experience the Ghost Walk around Robin Hood’s Bay is a great weekly walk that starts outside the RNLI building at the main gangway to the sea.

Both are highly recommended activities on your visit to Whitby. Learn more about Rose and her award-winning walks at The Whitby Storyteller.

So, if you’re thinking about visiting Whitby in the near future don’t rule out the idea of getting out in the fresh air and discovering the real town and the surrounding areas.

Have we missed any Whitby walks off our list? Let us know in the comments below.

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2 thoughts on “Whitby Walks, A Guide to Walking Around Whitby”

  1. Staying in Whitby 12/17 June. six adults and FIVE dogs!! So walks are an essential part of our day. I’ve noted five of the walks recommended preferably with refreshment available. Looking forward to it. Terry

  2. I did the Whitby to Robin Hoods Bay walk the other day along the Cleveland trail, and that was anything but easy. 7 miles of slippery muddy paths that aren’t easy for walking. If the ground is dry then it’s a lovely walk, with some spectacular views. But if the ground is wet then that walk is a complete nightmare.


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