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Fabulous day at the North Yorkshire coast

- 20 April 2021 -

View from Scarborough Castle
View from Scarborough Castle

Coxwold by the Sea? A quick glance at a map and you would think that Coxwold is a long way from the North Yorkshire coast – yet we can drive there in not much more than an hour! We recommend this fabulous day out to the North Yorkshire coast seeing: fascinating seabird colonies at Bempton Cliffs; the beautiful coastline at Flamborough Head with not one, but two, historic lighthouses; the evocative ruins of Scarborough Castle with its stunning views over the town – all finished off with Fish and Chips on Whitby’s West Pier! And then a lovely drive back over the wilds of the North York Moors to Coxwold Cottages. What a  great day out… no wonder our guests are clamouring to come back and stay with us!

Bempton Cliffs is run by the RSPB who have a small car park and visitor centre set back from the cliffs. It is a truly spectacular section of the coast even without the wildlife. With around half a million seabirds gathering here between March and October to raise their families on the towering chalk cliffs overlooking the North Sea, it is a truly impressive sight. When we visited we were lucky enough to see puffins as well as many other breeding seabirds including gannets and guillemots.

Flamborough Head is wonderful place for a gentle stroll on a sunny day, with lots of parking and seats for a socially distanced picnic lunch. Located just south of Bempton between Filey and Bridlington Bays, the cliff top is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and has two standing lighthouse towers, one dating from 1669 making it the oldest surviving complete lighthouse in England. And even the new one was built before we defeated Napoleon at Waterloo… But that does mean the 1806 lighthouse was not around to witness the Battle of Flamborough Head during the American War of Independence. A curio of history, the sea battle saw a Franco-American squadron fight a pair of Royal Navy frigates a long way from the American shore!

Scarborough Castle was once one of the most important castles in the country, standing on an elevated headland with commanding views. Although the site was used as a signal station by the Romans, the castle’s heyday was in the 12th century when both King Henry II and King John undertook significant construction works. The castle is now an impressive ruin – largely thanks to a siege during the English Civil War and a German naval bombardment during the First World War (our “When the Great War came to North Yorkshire” blog tells the story). The castle is the only place in the town where you can enjoy fantastic views of both the north and south bays of Scarborough.

It has been said that a trip to Whitby isn’t complete without a visit to The Magpie Café on Pier Road. It is known throughout North Yorkshire and beyond as one of the best fish restaurants in the area and a take away is currently in operation. There are, of course, many other Fish and Chip shops to be found across Whitby and North Yorkshire generally. Our favourite is the White Horse Fish & Chip shop on Thirsk Market Place.

Recommended route to the North Yorkshire coast from Coxwold Cottages: Out via Hovingham, joining the A64 at Malton. Then take the A1039/B1229 to Bempton. Down to Flamborough Head, then up the A165 to Scarborough and the A171 to Whitby. Back over the North York Moors on the A169, joining the A170 at Pickering. Then via Helmsley, Byland Abbey and back to Coxwold for our luxury holiday cottage or shepherd’s hut. Just 135 miles in total. So many places to see on our doorstep in Coxwold, but a trip to the North Yorkshire coast is always a fun day out.

Seabirds nesting at Bempton Cliffs
Seabirds nesting at Bempton Cliffs
Flamborough Head
Flamborough Head
The impressive ruins of Scarborough Castle
The impressive ruins of Scarborough Castle
Whitby Fish and Chips. Just an hour from Coxwold Cottages!
Whitby Fish and Chips. Just an hour from Coxwold Cottages!