Runswick Bay was voted Britain’s most beautiful beach by The Times and it’s not hard to see why. The sweeping stretch of sandy beach is overlooked by a cluster of red roofed cottages, perched at the bottom of the cliff, with seagulls swooping overhead and the occasional fossil waiting to be discovered. We’d been to Runswick Bay once before and hadn’t been able to see further than about two feet in front of us due to the sea haar (otherwise known as fog if you’re not from Yorkshire), so we decided to head back on a better weather day to see what we’d missed out on the first time.
We decided to head over to the coast as it was the only place in a two hour radius with a decent weather forecast. Usually we go to Robin Hood’s Bay, but it’s been fairly busy there recently, so instead we had a flick through our North York Moors Pocket Mountains guide for some coastal inspiration.
We settled on a circular walk from Runswick Bay to Kettleness, a tiny hamlet further down the coast. The walk is around five and a half miles and follows a circular route, starting out along the Cleveland Way, before returning inland along an old railway track. There is a similar walk available online on the Happy Hiker website.
This walk was a pleasure in every way: easy to navigate, easy walking and fantastic views. Starting out along the beach you can investigate a series of caves, said to be inhabited by a Hob, a malevolent household spirit. You then quickly pick up the Cleveland Way with a short but steep climb up some steps to gain the clifftop, where you are rewarded almost immediately with a fantastic view back to the village.
The walk along the cliffs to Kettleness is gentle and follows a clearly defined path which is almost completely flat. When you reach the village there’s a bench where we enjoyed a nice sit down and our lunch, before heading back to Runswick Bay along the also very flat and well surfaced inland path.
There are a couple of car parks in Runswick Bay. The smaller car park at the bottom of the hill fills up early, however, there is usually plenty of space in the large car park at the top of the hill. This car park is run by Scarborough Borough Council and you can pay cash or via a parking app – it cost us £5 to park for 6 hours. I know this might sound pricey but we are always happy to pay for parking on our walks – really, if you bring your own lunch, parking is your only expense, when you could easily pay a lot more money to enter a local attraction!
There are toilets in the car park but no other facilities apart from a hotel at the top of the hill – if you fancy the obligatory seaside fish and chips I’d recommend popping down the coast to Whitby where you’ll have plenty of choice.
Dog friendly rating – 4/5. This is a great walk for dogs. The beach at Runswick Bay is dog friendly all year round and ours absolutely loved haring around and swimming in the sea. It was surprisingly quiet for a beach which has had lots of media focus in the last year or so, but that’s fine by us!
Along the cliffs we did choose to keep ours on a lead just for safety reasons, and there are signs up on the inland track asking for dogs to be kept on leads. A big bonus on this walk is that there are no stiles and very little road walking – although I’m sure the dog’s favourite part was the beach!
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