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48 hours on the North York Moors Coast

The dramatic coastline of the North York Moors National Park is a perfect choice for those who want to experience a sense of England’s history in a truly dramatic landscape.

Explore Yorkshire’s Jurassic Coast

The coastal cliffs around the charming fishing villages of Runswick Bay and Robin Hood’s Bay and the heritage port of Whitby are formed from Jurassic rock around 200 million years old. 

After a hearty Yorkshire breakfast head to the village of Runswick Bay to start your exploration of this National Park coastline.  

Within easy reach of the seaport of Hull, and close to the heritage city of York, the coastline attracts geologists from all over the world.

Make your very own prehistoric find under the expert guidance of Hidden Horizons who run fossil hunting and geology walks at Runswick Bay.

You may be lucky enough to find one of the area’s most famed stones; black jet, formed from the remains of Jurassic monkey puzzle trees.  Enjoy the award winning beach overlooked by the only remaining thatched property on the Yorkshire coast.

It’s fun to combine your prehistoric foraging with a walk along a stretch of the Cleveland Way National Trail for the best views of seabirds and hidden fishing villages. 

Stop off for lunch in Sandsend with a choice of cosy cafes before heading back to Whitby.

Even if you don’t manage to find your own piece of jet, you’ll find it crafted into unique pieces of jewellery in the shops of Whitby’s old town, making a fabulous memento of your Jurassic walk. 

The Whitby Brewery is the perfect spot to unwind with one of their own beers, as the sun sets on the Abbey headland, then enjoy legendary fish and chips at the Magpie Café.  

Stay in the White Horse and Griffin, Whitby’s oldest coaching inn.

48 hours on the North York Moors Coast 48 hours on the North York Moors Coast
48 hours on the North York Moors Coast

Seafaring and Smuggling

The coast has a rich seafaring heritage where you will discover tales of daring endeavour and smuggling scoundrels!

On your second day, continue exploring Whitby, once a port of great maritime and commercial significance.  A stroll around the delightful town reveals a sense of its colourful past.  

Intrepid explorer Captain James Cook was an apprentice at a local shipping firm and his famous vessel, Endeavour, was built in Whitby.

The house where he lodged is now the Captain Cook Memorial Museum and worth a visit to learn about his early life.  

You can’t miss the soaring Gothic ruins of Whitby Abbey, the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula and one of the most imposing relics on the coast.

After lunch, we suggest the Whitby Deli, head to the village of Robin Hood’s Bay; with its network of cobbled alleyways leading upwards from the harbour.  During the 18th century it became a major hub for smuggling, to satisfy the thriving black market in tea, silk and tobacco.  

Take a guided walk with the Whitby Storyteller and hear how smuggled goods were passed through hidden passageways before being sold on.   Then discover more about village life at the Robin Hood’s Bay Museum or the Old Coastguard Station visitor centre.  

To really soak up the atmosphere, call into the Bay Hotel, or one of several inns, just as the smugglers did.  Enjoy a pint of Theakstons, Yorkshire-brewed beer and feast on the sensational views, whilst planning your return!