Runswick Bay, a hidden gem nestled along the North Yorkshire coast, is a splendid destination for anyone seeking a relaxing and picturesque day out. Just eight miles north of Whitby and 14 miles south of Saltburn-by-the-Sea, this charming village offers a fantastic retreat for visitors of all ages.
To reach Runswick Bay, you can either drive along the A174 coastal road or take a bus from Whitby, which runs regularly throughout the day. For those who prefer the scenic route, why not hop on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway and disembark at Whitby, then catch a local bus to the bay?
As you approach the village, you’ll be greeted by a cluster of red-roofed cottages perched on the hillside. The steep, winding streets lead you down to the heart of the village, where you’ll find a lovely sandy beach. It’s the perfect spot for a paddle, or even a spot of rock pooling at low tide, as there are plenty of intriguing nooks and crannies to explore.
One of the most iconic landmarks in Runswick Bay is the thatched-roof, white-washed cottage known as the ‘White House.’ This unique building, which dates back to the 19th century, can be seen from various vantage points around the village and is a popular subject for photographers and artists alike.
For those who enjoy a good walk, the Cleveland Way National Trail passes through Runswick Bay, offering stunning views of the coastline. This well-signposted trail stretches for 109 miles, connecting Helmsley to Filey, but you can easily tackle a shorter section by starting at the Runswick Bay car park and heading north towards Staithes or south towards Sandsend.
As you stroll along the coastal path, take a moment to marvel at the extraordinary Kettleness Cliffs, a fascinating geological feature made of Jurassic-era sandstone and shale. The cliffs are home to various seabirds, making it an excellent spot for birdwatching. You might even be lucky enough to spot a seal bobbing in the waters below.
The village itself has an intriguing history. Once a bustling fishing community, Runswick Bay fell victim to a massive landslide in 1682, which destroyed most of the village. The resilient villagers rebuilt their homes on the steep hillside, creating the unique layout we see today. The Runswick Bay Rescue Boat (RBRB) is a testament to the village’s maritime heritage, as it remains an independent lifeboat service funded entirely by donations from locals and visitors alike.
After exploring the village, you can refuel at the Royal Hotel or the Runswick Bay Café. Both offer a warm welcome and a delightful selection of locally sourced dishes, including fresh seafood and traditional British fare. Don’t forget to treat yourself to a scrumptious ice cream cone from the beachside kiosk, too!
For a longer stay, there are various accommodation options available, ranging from charming holiday cottages to the elegant Runswick Bay Hotel. With its comfortable rooms, excellent facilities, and unparalleled views of the bay, it’s a fantastic choice for a weekend escape.
Runswick Bay is an enchanting destination that boasts a unique blend of natural beauty, fascinating history, and charming local character. With its picturesque beach, intriguing landmarks, and array of coastal walks, it’s the perfect spot for a delightful day out or a tranquil weekend retreat. So, why not plan your visit to Runswick Bay and discover the charm and allure of this coastal gem for yourself? Whether you’re a keen rambler, a history enthusiast, or simply seeking a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life, Runswick Bay offers something for everyone. So pack your camera, put on your walking boots, and prepare for a memorable adventure along the stunning North Yorkshire coast.