At the end of November we escaped for a weekend away on the Yorkshire coast. Some time to ourselves whilst Heidi enjoyed some time with Nana and Grandad. We had been hoping to go earlier on in the year as a family and enjoy the beach. However we had left it too late and everywhere was booked up. We aren’t ones to mind heading to the coast in the colder months though. It is much quieter visiting out of peek season and you get to relax and soak up the atmosphere of the town without a sea of tourists. Yorkshire is a wonderfully picturesque part of the county, encompassing the beautiful sweeping landscape of The Moors, a rich history of Roman and Viking heritage and one of my favourite cities in England, York. It is also home to some of the prettiest fishing villages in the country which we made sure to explore on our trip to the coast. Here are three of the most beautiful villages in North Yorkshire that you should include on your itinerary for travels in the area.
The Most Beautiful Villages In North Yorkshire
Nestled between the headlands of Penny Nab and Cowbar Nab, Staithes is a labyrinth of narrow streets and alley’s winding their way steeply inland. These cobbled streets once teemed with life. For Staithes was a working village. Made up of fishermen and miners, men who worked the land and the sea to make a living. Fishing is still part of the livelihood of locals. The boats in the harbour and netted lobster pots piled up outside the lifeboat station attest to that. Today however, the village relies on a backdrop of tourism. No surprise when more than half of the former fishermen cottages are now owned as second homes for those who work in the big surrounding cities or those who rent them out as holiday homes.
You’ll be hard pushed not to fall in love with Staithes. Wander the maze of streets and you’ll be sure to bump into some locals, who aren’t short of friendly conversation. It’s said that Staithes has the narrowest street in the North of England. Being about 18 inches wide, that isn’t a hard claim to dispute. Of course, we couldn’t resist squeezing on down it to see where it took us. Afterwards, when you’ve finished exploring, head down to the harbour. There are plenty of cafes and spots to whet your whistle to stop and relax in along the water front.
Robin Hood’s Bay
Another village I consider one of the most beautiful villages in North Yorkshire is Robin Hood’s Bay. This gem is set along a steep winding bank, nestled away from the stretch of beach at the bottom. It is a maze of quaint alleys leading away from the main road through the village. Streets lined with picturesque cottages and plenty a pub to stop and warm yourself through with roaring fires. The open fire in Ye Dolphin is brilliant, a great stop for a pint in wonderfully historic pub surroundings.
Robin Hood’s Bay is a little haven, attracting tourists for decades who want to escape to the coast. The views from cottage and land alike are stunning, overlooking the magnificent Yorkshire coastline. Coastline that has protected the village and kept it out of view. Handy, as this fishing village is rich in the history of smuggling. In the 17th century Robin Hood’s Bay was home to the busiest smuggling community on the Yorkshire coast. Bringing in contraband from all over Europe. Today, this is an idyllic place to spend a day or two. Soaking up the rich history, the seaside air and going on walks with fabulous views.
With it’s rows of orange roofed houses and dramatic coastline, Whitby is known to most. It is the first place that springs to mind when you think of Yorkshire seaside towns and is one of my favourite of all the coastal towns in England. It has a very different feel to it than the seaside villages of Cornwall. On a hot sunny day in Cornwall you could be almost anywhere in the world. But Whitby has a certain Northern air to it which gives it away; a gothic undertone, amplified by the imposing ruins of Whitby Abbey looming over the town from high up on the hill. Perhaps this is why Whitby was the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’. If you have time, try and go on the Dracula walk – it’s highly insightful and very interesting! But no matter what you do, don’t miss out on the fish and chips. The Magpie Cafe do particularly good ones which we always enjoy taking away to sit down by the sea front and watch the waves roll in.
This quaint little village, nestled into the cliff face is quite possibly my favourite of all the Yorkshire fishing villages. Dozens of red tiled roofs cascading down towards the water front, a whitewashed thatch cottage standing out at the edge looking out to sea. The white sands along the bay attract tourists from all over the country in the long hazy months of summer. The golden beach, perfect for fossil hunting and rock pooling, which is always a favourite in this household. I enjoyed ambling around all the narrow alleys between the cottages, an enchanting labyrinth weaving from one corner of the village to the other, finding the most beautiful corners and gardens tucked away. On our winter visit, Runswick felt like a complete escape. Somewhere peaceful and idyllic to while away the day in bliss.
If you enjoyed my list of the most beautiful villages in North Yorkshire and are looking for other pretty villages to explore in The UK then take a look at my guide to The Cotswolds. An area of outstanding natural beauty and some of the most picturesque villages in the country.
Pin For Later: