© Scott Rimmer and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
Runswick Bay, about 9 miles north of Whitby, is widely regarded as one of the prettiest spots on the Yorkshire coast. Come here in the summer months for sandcastles, beach games, rock pooling and maybe even a dip in the waters. Come here out of season for hearty cliff-top walks along the Cleveland Way or maybe a little fossil hunting. You may be lucky enough to spot seals at any time of year.
The former fishing village of Runswick nestling under the cliffs at the top end of the beach is picture-postcard pretty, with its whitewashed or natural honey-hued stone cottages topped with red roofs. It's not surprising that the place has been a hotspot for artists since Victorian times. There are no cars allowed in the village and it makes a great place for a stroll through the narrow, winding streets, although don't expect the usual tourist shops, arcades and restaurants here. In winter the place can feel pretty empty.
The beach itself is a mix of sand, with scattered rocks and stony areas. It's probably the best stretch of sand that can be found along this part of the coast. When the tide is out, the rocks which are exposed near the shoreline are frequently found to contain interesting fossils.
The bay is quite popular with canoeists and other water-sport enthusiasts including surfers when the conditions are right. In winter Runswick Bay is popular with sea-anglers as the bay has some of the best cod fishing in the area.
The narrow road leading down to the pay-and-display beach car-park is not for the faint-hearted. It is alarmingly steep and has passing places for cars coming the other way. Alternatively it is possible to walk down a steep footpath to the beach, but visitors with mobility problems may find access difficult.
Runswick Bay beach is dog-friendly and there are no restrictions at any time of year.