Here comes summer on the Yorkshire coast

Surf and sand, rock pools and crabs, fish and chips, kites and dolphins – it may not feel like it yet, but summer is nearly here (trust us). So pack your wellies, buckets and spades and shrimping nets and get ready to hit the beach. From surfing and sea-fishing to clifftop walks, cycling and kite-buggying, it’s all go at the seaside.

The wave washed coast and zingy salt air of Scarborough, Filey, Bridlington and Whitby lie just a short distance from Yorkshire’s big cities.
Whitby has to be one of the best places in Britain for old-fashioned seaside fun. Enjoy the sweeping view from haunted Whitby Abbey before traipsing down the famous 199 steps that lead to the bustling, higgledy-piggledy streets of the old town and the harbour.

This is heaven for kids. Do some serious crabbing from the old stone walls of the harbour, then head for the beach for an afternoon of kite-flying, fossil hunting and exploring the rock pools.

Magpie CaféTraditional seaside fun rubs shoulders in Whitby with more sophisticated shopping and eating. The justifiably famous Magpie Café is consistently rated one of Britain’s best fish and chip shops, or for slightly more sophisticated dining there are spots such as the waterside Moon and Sixpence Brasserie. Round off the day with a twilight cruise around the bay aboard the Esk Belle II (also known as the Big Yellow Boat).
For golden sand (and miles of it), head for Filey, where the beach is backed by an Edwardian esplanade and Glen Gardens, with its boating lake, is the perfect place for a family picnic.

Just north along the coast, Scarborough is another fun family beach. It’s guarded by the imposing ruins of the medieval Scarborough Castle, and from the battlement viewing platforms there are stunning views of the cliffs and coastline below. Hire a beach hut for the day, watch the donkeys amble up and down the strand, or take a miniature railway to the Sea Life Marine Sanctuary, where colourful tropical fish and real live sharks will thrill and delight young visitors.
Scarborough was once a world centre for tuna fishing, where fish weighing as much as 800lbs were pulled out of the North Sea, and you can still hop aboard a fishing boat and spend an afternoon on the water in search of smaller fry such as mackerel.
Picturesque Staithes is postcard-pretty, and worth a visit just for a stroll along the beach, but it’s the waves that attract bolder souls. These North Sea combers have made Staithes a magnet for surfers from all over the UK and further afield.

Heading south, Bridlington sums up the whole history of seaside tourism, from its gracious Georgian old town to brand new facilities such as the Bayside Pleasure Park. But carry on southward and you leave the holiday bustle behind to enter the wild, primal landscape of Spurn Head, a gigantic, spit of sand that is 3.5 miles long but only 50 yards wide, creating a unique environment of international importance as a refuge for migrant birds and rare plants. It’s a delight for beachcombers and wildlife enthusiasts.

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