Where is this walk?

From Whitby to Runswick Bay

November 5, 2016

Runswick Bay is a pretty little fishing village and Whitby a large town. The walk between them offers some of the most interesting coastal walking in England. Take the bus and walk it one way.

The Walk

The walk from Whitby to Runswick Bay is an undulating route along some of the finest cliffs of North Yorkshire. In fact I believe the coastal cliffs between Sandsend and Runswick Bay offer the best views and most interesting walking along the coast. On Sandsend Ness the bizarre waste deposits from the old alum industries form an unusual moonscape style backdrop to the traditional coastal backdrop. I must admit to finding it interesting, many do not. It is worth reading up on the 16th and 17th century use of alum in the textile industry. It was used primarily to hold the dye together and was extracted from the nearby shale.

Having passed through the railway cutting brings you to some more traditional cliff side walking which is highly enjoyable. From Kettleness Point the sweeping bay at Runswick Bay is surely one of the best views in the Yorkshire Coast. Take care though, the cliffs are crumbling as we speak. Runswick Bay is a real favourite of mine and this walk improves step by step, climaxing in the smuggler’s paradise at this small, still active fishing village.


The No X4 Bus runs every 1/2 hour from Runswick Bay to Whitby Bay and visa versa. I suggest parking in Runswick Bay (it is easier than Whitby) and getting the bus to Whitby and walking back. However it is just as straightforward to reverse the walk.

Navigation Tips from Whitby to Runswick Bay

Stick to the path at all times on lowland walking. You are not allowed to wander like you can on higher land.

  • Claudia says:

    We took the bus and started at the Runwick Hotel down to the Beach and then up again on 29th January. It was indeed a gorgeous walk and most places easy to manage. The winds were 30 mph which made the bluff parts of the walk a bit frightening. The gaies of wind can seem to carry a slight person up. Fortunately we were being blown to Whitby, I can’t imagine what it was like for walkers going in the opposite direction.
    As it was so windy we did not even attempt to walk on the beach from Sandsend to Whitby. There is a good trail above the Beach from the gold course on.
    I’d to his walk again but not at 30 mph, although it was a lovely sunny day.

  • Michael Wilson says:

    Hi Jonathan. I hope you are well.
    I enjoyed this lovely walk last Tuesday on a clear but breezy October day. The paths for the most part were excellent , though as the tide was out i did walk to Sandsend on the beach when i reached Whitby golf course. The last 50 metres to Runswick beach were very slippery after coming off the steps but otherwise it was a great walk with lovely views both up and down the coast and out to sea.

  • Keith Bonsor says:

    A good walk and mainly good paths but with some tricky steep stepped parts from the disused railway track (upwards heading north) and a long steep/tricky descent to the beach onto rocks and mud(not for the faint hearted).
    Extreme care needed. Pity about this.
    Watch the tides. This was late receding and higher than usual necessitating an escape from the beach (50m from the path down) through the woods above (follow a route above the cabins),which leads to the car park above the bay.
    Or upwards to the disused railway.
    Otherwise superb views.
    Good pubs at the Bay and the Runswick Bay hotel opposite the bus stops.
    Superb bus service and views going back.

  • Helen says:

    Was a great walk, we caught the bus to Runswick bay first and walked back to Whitby. Lovely scenery and met lots of friendly people along the way and took plenty of nice photographs.

    Due to tide going out was able to walk the whole way from Sandsend to Whitby along the beach.

    Just remember to check the tide times first.

  • Maria Nutty Wright says:

    Great walk . But must take in to consideration tide times at runswick bay, also at the bottom of step to the bay took us to water running into the sea. Care needed. We were caught out along with some other walkers. You think u can miss the sea but the ground around this area is soft soil u get stuck . One person was stuck had to dig himself out.
    If u time this right it is a nice walk.

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