Things to Do in Runswick Bay: A Visitor's Guide to Coastal Adventures

4 months ago   •   9 min read

By More Yorkshire
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Things to Do in Runswick Bay

Runswick Bay, on the Yorkshire Coast, is a sanctuary for lovers of natural beauty and classic British seaside appeal.

It features a beautiful sandy beach flanked by cliffs, often acclaimed as one of the UK's top beaches. The bay presents a quintessential coastal village scene, with red-roofed cottages and inviting streets, offering a peaceful retreat from modern hustle.

Exploration uncovers a history-rich setting with activities like coastal walks for breathtaking views and beachcombing for fossils, highlighting the area's geological importance. Local cafes and shops provide a taste of tradition, including scones with jam and cream or a Knickerbocker Glory.

The charm of Runswick Bay comes from both its scenery and the simple joys it offers visitors, such as beach strolls, seaside picnics, or delving into village life. It embodies the essence of Yorkshire Coast's beauty, offering a tranquil getaway for those seeking the authenticity of a British coastal village.


Exploring Runswick Bay's History

Runswick Bay's heritage is as rich and captivating as its views. From the evolving tapestry of village life to landmarks steeped in historic significance, the tale of Runswick's past is etched into every cobbled street and ancient structure.

The Development of the Village

Originally a fishing village, Runswick Bay has seen significant changes through the centuries. Both the geography and the community have continuously transformed, moulded by the harsh coastal environment and the industrious spirit of its residents.

Fishing, once the lifeblood of the village, has given way to tourism but the tight-knit nature of the community endures. The village layout, characterised by narrow paths and red-roofed cottages, speaks of a heritage tightly intertwined with the sea.

Historic Landmarks

Fossil Discoveries: Due to its geological features, Runswick Bay has been a fertile ground for fossil hunters. Noteworthy discoveries tell of ancient marine life, offering a tangible link to prehistoric times and contributing to our understanding of the region's natural history.

Runswick Bay invites visitors to step through the ages, with its charming lanes leading to discoveries about its fascinating development and the remnants that bear witness to its storied past.


Beach Activities at Runswick Bay

Runswick Bay offers a variety of beach activities suitable for families and individuals alike, with its golden sands and abundant rock pools. Whether one prefers a relaxing day of sunbathing or seeks the excitement of discovery along the coastline, there are enjoyable options available for all ages.

Swimming and Sunbathing

Runswick Bay's beach boasts a beautiful stretch of golden sand that invites visitors to swim and sunbathe. The bay is known for its clean and relatively calm waters, which are ideal for a refreshing swim on a warm day.

Families with children find the beach accommodating as it provides a safe environment for little ones to paddle and play.

Rockpool Adventures

The rock pools at Runswick Bay are a treasure trove for children and adults fascinated by marine life. As the tide recedes, it reveals a hidden world where one can observe small fish, crabs, sea anemones, and other marine creatures. Explorers are encouraged to tread gently to protect this delicate ecosystem.

Fossil Hunting Tips

  • Check the local tide times: Fossils are most accessible at low tide when the sea reveals more of the beach and rock formations.
  • Be aware of safety: Beware of cliff overhangs and slippery rocks, especially after wet weather.
  • Tools to bring: A small hammer and chisel can be useful; however, one should ensure they follow guidelines for responsible fossil hunting to avoid damage.
  • Locations: Search at the base of cliffs and among the shingle and pebbles where fossils can be uncovered by the sea.
  • Respect the environment: Keep in mind that the cliffs and beaches are part of a natural habitat, so one should take care not to disturb the area.

Runswick Bay's charming seaside setting is perfect for beach enthusiasts and offers a fantastic opportunity to mix relaxation with adventure.


Coastal Walks and Hiking

Runswick Bay offers an array of coastal walks and hiking trails that showcase spectacular views and cater to walkers with different experience levels. The routes offer scenic vistas of the dramatic Yorkshire coastline and its natural beauty.

Cleveland Way National Trail

The Cleveland Way National Trail is a prime choice for hikers in Runswick Bay. Spanning 109 miles (175 km), this trail offers extensive coastal walks with wide views over the area.

A particularly accessible segment is the Runswick Bay clifftop walk. It is a 2-mile (3.2 km) linear route that is perfect for individuals of all abilities, as it does not steeply descend into the village but follows a more level path.

Scenic Routes in the Area

Walkers can immerse themselves in the coastal charm by taking the picturesque Sandsend to Runswick Bay clifftop walk. The route involves a couple of hills with steps leading down into Runswick Bay. It passes through to the beach, allowing the village to be approached from a unique angle.

Additionally, the circular walk from Runswick Bay to Kettleness is rewarding, incorporating views of historic railway structures and the serene Kettleness hamlet.

These trails not only provide hearty exercise but also a chance to appreciate the history and natural splendour of Runswick Bay's seaside locale.


Water Sports and Adventures

Runswick Bay offers a variety of water sports, with the tranquil sea providing an idyllic backdrop for kayaking and safe swimming. Adventurers can explore the scenic coastline, while families can enjoy the gentle waves at the designated swimming spots.

Kayaking Along the Coast

The serene waters of Runswick Bay are perfect for kayaking enthusiasts. Paddlers can glide along the coastline, taking in the stunning views of the cliffs and the abundant marine life.

The bay's sheltered position keeps the sea relatively calm, allowing for a smooth kayaking experience even for beginners.

  • Best Time for Kayaking: Morning hours when the sea is typically calmer
  • Kayaking Rentals: Available at local water sports outlets

Safe Swimming Spots

Runswick Bay is renowned for its sheltered, sandy beach which makes it a superb spot for swimming. The beach is shielded from the northern winds by Lingrow Knowle, which results in gentler waves suitable for swimmers of all ages.

  • Swimming Safety: Lifeguards are present during peak seasons
  • Facilities: Ample changing facilities and showers are available near the beach

Visitors are advised to be aware of the local tides and weather conditions to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience in the water.


Dining and Cuisine

Runswick Bay offers a variety of dining experiences, from quaint seafront cafes to local restaurants serving British favourites. Whether one is after a light snack or a hearty meal, there's something to suit everyone's taste.

Seafront Cafes

Visitors can enjoy a traditional seaside atmosphere in Runswick Bay's seafront cafes. These establishments typically serve light meals, freshly brewed tea, and a variety of coffee options. For those with a sweet tooth, indulging in a scone with cream is a must.

  • The Runswick Bay Cafe:
    • Cuisine: British, Cafe fare
    • Speciality: Freshly prepared cream teas
    • Distance from beach: 0.3 miles

Local Restaurants Experience

Image Source: Runswick Bay Catch Facebook Page

The local restaurants of Runswick Bay boast menus with fresh seafood and British classics. These restaurants cater to those looking for a more substantial meal, with very few disappointments in both quality and service.

  • The Runswick Bay Catch:
    • Cuisine: British, Seafood
    • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    • Note: Known for a good mix of traditional and modern seafood dishes
  • The Cliffemount Hotel:
    • Location: Upper village on Bank Top Lane
    • View: Overlooking old Runswick Bay village

Local Attractions and Sightseeing

Runswick Bay boasts a plethora of local attractions, from its idyllic sandy beaches to picturesque village shops.

Visitors can enjoy a scenic blend of coastal beauty and quaint retail experiences.

Nearby Sandy Beaches

Runswick Bay Beach is a highlight, with its beautiful stretch of sands perfect for relaxation and coastal activities.

It's recognised as one of Britain's finest beaches, where visitors can enjoy the natural charm and engage in fossil hunting.

Just a short distance from Runswick Bay is Sandsend Beach, another inviting location with expansive sands, ideal for a peaceful walk by the sea.

Charming Village Shops

The village itself presents a network of winding streets lined with red-roofed cottages that house delightful shops.

These small, locally-owned shops offer unique goods and a chance to explore distinctive wares in a tranquil setting.

Visitors can take back a piece of Runswick Bay with them, finding souvenirs that range from handcrafted items to local produce.

Adjacent to Runswick Bay is the quaint village of Staithes, offering a similar charm with additional shopping options set against its historical backdrop.

While exploring the area, it is worth visiting Whitby, just 7.3 miles away, which is home to the Whitby Distillery.

This adds a unique element to the shopping excursion, allowing visitors to sample and purchase locally produced spirits.


Tips for Dog Owners

When visiting Runswick Bay, pet owners can delight in the fact that it's a welcoming place for their furry companions.

With dog-friendly areas and beaches, it’s an ideal seaside retreat for the entire family.

Dog-Friendly Areas

Runswick Bay boasts several spaces where dogs are more than just welcome; they're part of the local charm. Furry friends can enjoy the following dog-friendly spots:

  • Shops and cafés: Many establishments in the village cater to pets, so one can take their dog along while exploring local shops and dining areas.
  • Fossil hunting sites: The coastline is famous for its fossils, and dogs can accompany their owners while they search for geological treasures along the beach.
  • Skinningrove: Just a few miles from Runswick Bay, this sandy beach is also recognised for being pet-friendly.

Pets Regulations on the Beach

Having a clear understanding of the local regulations ensures a hassle-free experience for all beachgoers. Here's what pet owners need to know about beach rules:

  • Year-round access: Dogs are allowed on Runswick Bay Beach at any time of year, allowing pets and owners to enjoy the sandy shore regardless of the season.
  • Leash regulations: It's important to keep dogs under control, particularly during busy periods or in designated areas where a leash may be required for safety and wildlife protection.

Practical Information for Visitors

Visitors to Runswick Bay will find a number of facilities to ensure a comfortable visit. From parking to public toilets, this guide will provide clear and specific details to help you plan your trip.

Parking Facilities

Runswick Bay offers several public car parks for visitors arriving by car. The main car park is conveniently located within the village, offering easy access to the beach and local amenities.

Parking fees apply, so visitors should be ready to pay for the duration of their stay.

Public Transport Access

For those preferring public transport, bus services are available from nearby towns, including the small town of Hinderwell, which is situated approximately a mile away. Visitors can use these services to conveniently reach Runswick Bay without the need for a car.

Toilets and Amenities

The village is equipped with public toilets, ensuring basic comforts for visitors.


Frequently Asked Questions

Runswick Bay offers a variety of attractions for families, free exploration options, charming local shops, delightful places to eat and drink, scenic walks, and safe swimming areas.

What are the top family-friendly activities in Runswick Bay?

Families can enjoy the sandy beach at Runswick Bay for picnics and fossil hunting. The sheltered bay also provides a safe environment for children to play and explore.

Are there any cost-free attractions to visit in Runswick Bay?

Runswick Bay's beach can be visited free of charge, allowing for leisurely strolls, sunbathing, and searching for marine wildlife in rock pools.

Which local shops can you find in Runswick Bay?

Runswick Bay is home to quaint shops where one can purchase unique souvenirs, handcrafted items, and traditional seaside treats.

What are the best places to have a meal or a drink in Runswick Bay?

The village boasts cosy cafes and traditional pubs serving fresh seafood and local ale, many with stunning views of the bay.

Can you recommend walks in the vicinity of Runswick Bay with scenic views?

The Cleveland Way National Trail runs through Runswick Bay and is known for its breathtaking coastal scenery, providing walkers with a blend of cliffside views and countryside.

Is there an area for safe swimming in Runswick Bay?

The bay at Runswick is known for its calm waters, making it a suitable location for swimming. However, lifeguards are not always present, so it's advisable to stay vigilant, especially with children.

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