Inside York

Yorkshire Coast

Just like its inland scenery (which includes the wild heather moors of Bronte Country and the lush limestone scenery and windswept fells of the Yorkshire Dales), the region of England which is known as Yorkshire has a coastline which is frequently spectacular, varied, and interesting. From south of the mouth of the Tees and where the Cleveland Hills and the North York Moors meet the sea the coastline is rocky and wild, with numerous fishing villages and resorts including Staithes, Whitby and Robin Hood's Bay.

Further south are the popular seaside resorts of Scarborough and Filey (positioned at the head of a broad bay which sweeps from the rocky prominentry of Filey Brig to the spectacular seabird colony of Bempton Cliffs on Flamborough Head).

To the south of Flamborough Head is the resort of Bridlington - beyond which the cliffs give way to the much flatter Holderness coastline, and the smaller resorts of Hornsea and Skipsea. Inland from here are the hills and valleys of the Yorkshire Wolds (which sweep in a broad arc to meet the sea at the chalk cliffs of Flamborough Head). At the southern end of the Yorkshire Coast is Spurn Head, a constantly evolving peninsular of sand dunes and sand banks at the mouth of the Humber Estuary, and the famous sea ports of Kingston Upon Hull (better known as just "Hull") and Goole.


Scarborough is a town on the North Sea coast of North Yorkshire, England.

Scarborough won the 2008/2009 award for the most creative and inspiring entrepreneurship initiative in Europe. This is on top of winning the most enterprising town in Britain in 2008.

The modern town lies between 3 and 70 metres (10 and 230 ft) above sea level, rising steeply northward and westward from the harbour onto limestone cliffs. The older part of the town lies around the harbour and is protected by a rocky headland. Scarborough is served by Scarborough railway station, with services from York on the North TransPennine route and from Hull on the Yorkshire Coast Line.

With a population of around 50,000, Scarborough is the largest holiday resort on the Yorkshire coast. It is home to residential communities, business, fishing and service industries, plus a growing digital and creative economy.

The most striking feature of the town's geography is a high rocky promontory pointing eastward into the North Sea. The promontory supports the 11th-century ruins of Scarborough Castle and separates the sea front into a North Bay and a South Bay. The South Bay was the site of the original early medieval settlement and the harbour, which form the current Old Town district. This remains the main focus for tourism, with a sandy beach, cafes, amusements, arcades, theatres and entertainment facilities. The modern commercial town centre has migrated a quarter mile north-west of the harbour area and a hundred feet above it, and contains the transport hubs, main services, shopping and nightlife. The harbour has undergone major regeneration including the new Albert Strange Pontoons, a more pedestrian-friendly promenade, street lighting and seating. The North Bay has traditionally been the more peaceful end of the resort and is home to Peasholm Park which has recently (June 2007) been restored to its Japanese-themed glory, complete with reconstructed pagoda. The park still features a mock maritime battle (based on the Battle of the River Plate) re-enacted on the boating lake with large model boats and fireworks throughout the summer holiday season. The North Bay Railway is a miniature railway which runs from the park to the Sea Life Centre at Scalby Mills.

The North Bay is linked to the South Bay by the Marine Drive, an extensive Victorian promenade, built around the base of the headland. Overlooking both bays is Scarborough Castle, which was bombarded by the German warships SMS Derfflinger and SMS Von der Tann in the First World War. Both bays have popular sandy beaches and numerous rock-pools at low tide.

Slightly less well known is the South Cliff Promenade situated above the Spa and South Cliff Gardens, commanding excellent views of the South Bay and old town and from which many iconic postcard views are taken. Its splendid Regency and Victorian terraces are still intact and the mix of quality hotels and desirable apartments form a backdrop to the South Bay. The ITV television drama The Royal and its recent spin-off series, The Royal Today, are filmed in the area. The South Bay has the largest illuminated "Star Disk" anywhere in the UK. It is 85 feet (26 m) across and is fitted with subterranean lights representing the 42 brightest stars and major constellations that can be seen from Scarborough in the northern skies.

To the south-west of the town, beside the York to Scarborough railway line, is an ornamental lake known as Scarborough Mere. During the 20th century, the Mere was a popular park, with rowing boats, canoes and a miniature pirate ship – the Hispaniola – on which passengers were taken to "Treasure Island" to dig for doubloons. Since the late 1990s the emphasis has been on nature, with "Treasure Island" being paved over to form a new pier area. The lake is now part of the Oliver's Mount Country Park and the Hispaniola now sails out of the South Bay.

(Scarborough Information from


Bridlington is a seaside resort and minor seaport on the North Sea coast. It lies just south of the promontory of Flamborough Head. It is served by Bridlington railway station which is on the Yorkshire Coast Line that runs between Hull and Scarborough.

Bridlington sits on the Holderness Coast, an area which is known to have the highest erosion rates in Europe. Southward the coast becomes low, but northward it is steep and very fine, where the great spur of Flamborough Head projects eastward. The sea front is protected by a sea wall and a wide beach encouraged by wooden groynes which trap the sand. The beaches are part of a large deposit of Smithic Sand which stretches out into the bay in sand banks which are an important habitat for many marine species.

The civil parish is formed by the town of Bridlington and the villages of Bessingby and Sewerby. According to the 2001 UK census, Bridlington parish had a population of 33,837.

The town is divided into two parts:

* The Old Town, the ancient market town (once known as Burlington) lying about a mile from the coast. The old town contains the historic site of the town’s market and The Priory Church of St Mary, on the site of an Augustinian Priory which was dissolved by Henry VIII when the last prior was executed for taking part in the Pilgrimage of Grace.

* Bridlington Quay, which is the home of the tourist area and the harbour. It has excellent sea-bathing, and the parade and ornamental gardens provide pleasant promenades. The Bridlington Harbour is the key feature of the Quay, which is enclosed by two stone piers. Recently extensive works have been carried out along the sea front and after some struggle with planning permission, a 'London Eye'-style wheel has been built.

(Bridlington Information from


Many interesting fossils have been found in the Whitby area including entire skeletons of pterodactyls. Whitby is known for its well preserved ammonite fossils, which can be found on the seashore or purchased from stalls or shops in the town.

Three green ammonites are featured on the coat of arms of the Whitby Town Council. These ammonites are shown with a head carved on, as "snake stones", which were sold as religious souvenirs in memory of Saint Hilda of Whitby.

Early-medieval Whitby

In about 656, Oswiu or Oswy, the Christian king of Northumbria, fulfilled a vow by founding a monastery there.

Faced in 655 with the mighty army of Penda, the pagan king of Mercia, which greatly outnumbered his own, Oswiu asked God to grant him victory, promising to consecrate his infant daughter Ælflæda to the service of God and to give land to found monasteries. Penda and most of his nobles were killed in the battle. Oswiu honoured his pledges by granting 12 small estates of 10 hides each in various places for monasteries to be built. One of them was at Streanæshealh, later known as Whitby Abbey. This was the house that Ælflæda herself entered as a pupil and of which she later became abbess.

The first abbess was Hilda, a remarkable figure, later venerated as a saint. Under her influence, Whitby became a centre of learning, and the poetry of Cædmon is amongst the earliest examples of Anglo-Saxon literature. It was the leading royal nunnery of Deira, and the burial-place of its royal family. The Synod of Whitby, in 664, established the Roman date of Easter in Northumbria at the expense of the Celtic one, an important and influential decision.

In 867, Danish Vikings landed two miles west of Whitby at Raven's Hill, and moved on to attack the settlement and to destroy the monastery. It was only after the Norman Conquest of 1066 that William de Percy ordered that the monastery be refounded (1078), dedicating it to St Peter and St Hilda. Later it became Presteby (meaning the habitation of Priests in Old Norse) then Hwytby; next Whiteby, (meaning the "white settlement" in Old Norse, probably from the colour of the houses) and finally Whitby.

Late-medieval and Tudor periods

According to Langdale's Yorkshire Dictionary (1822) and Baine's Directory of the County of York (1823), even up to the reign of Elizabeth I Whitby was little more than a small fishing port. In 1540, it had consisted of only around twenty to thirty houses and had a population of about two hundred inhabitants. In that year Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries, including Whitby Abbey.

At the end of the 16th century, Thomas Chaloner of York travelled to Italy and visited the alum works in the Papal States. He recognised that the rock from which the alum was made was identical to that abundant in several areas in and around his Guisborough estate in North Yorkshire. Alum was a very important product at that time, used internationally, in curing leather, fixing dyed cloths and for medicinal uses. Up to this period the Vatican had maintained a virtual monopoly on the production and sale of the product.

Chaloner secretly brought some of the Pope's workmen to England to develop a thriving alum industry in Yorkshire. (It is said that this significantly lowered the international price of alum, impacting the profitability of a traditional source of revenue for the Vatican, and that Chaloner was excommunicated).

Whitby Abbey

Over the centuries, the town spread both inland and onto the West Cliff, whilst the East Cliff (sometimes called the Haggerlythe) remains dominated by the ruins of Whitby Abbey and St Mary's Church. The way into the interesting ruined Abbey is through the historic Banqueting House alongside. The Abbey is owned by English Heritage, which restored the Banqueting House to contain exhibitions and museum displays about the Abbey and Whitby and opened it in 2002.

The East Cliff is at quite a distance by road, the alternative being to climb the famed 199 steps. Many who make the climb can be heard counting on the way up. 2005 saw the completion of the first major restoration of the 199 steps since the 19th century. To raise funds, each step was offered for sponsorship at £1,000, which was raised from visitors as well as locals. The project culminated in a service at St Mary's Church on Sunday 1 October 2005. A commemorative book, available on request at the church, contains a page dedicated to each sponsor.

Modern history - since 1605

Several alum producing centres were established close to Whitby including, in 1615, one near Sandsend (now Sandsend Ness) three miles from the town. Two new industries thus arrived in the port of Whitby—the transport of alum and that of the coal used in its production.

Whitby thereby grew in size and wealth, extending its activities to include shipbuilding, using the local oak timber as raw material. Taxes on imports entering via the port raised the necessary finance to improve and extend the town's twin piers, thereby improving the harbour and permitting further increases in trade. (They are working piers, not the variety which caters elsewhere to holidaymakers.)

In 1753 the first whaling ship set sail from Whitby to Greenland. This initiated a new phase in the town's development, and by 1795 Whitby had become a major centre for the whaling industry.

George Hudson completed his railway network connecting Whitby and the towns of the East Riding with York in 1839. It is thought to have played a vital part in the development of Whitby as a tourism destination. George Hudson was also responsible for building or, rather, half-building the Royal Crescent. Plans to complete the project were abandoned due to insufficient funds. The Crescent still remains a popular tourist attraction.

Whitby was the site of the Rohilla disaster of 30 October 1914, when the hospital ship Rohilla was sunk (either by running aground, or hitting a mine; accounts differ) within sight of shore just off Whitby. Eighty-five people lost their lives in the disaster; most of them are buried in the churchyard at Whitby.

Also in 1914, Whitby was shelled by German battlecruisers Von der Tann and Derfflinger, aiming for the signal post on the end of the headland. Scarborough and Hartlepool were also attacked. Whitby Abbey sustained considerable damage during the attack, which lasted only 10 minutes. The attack on Whitby was the final assault on the Yorkshire coast. The German squadron responsible for the strike was able to escape without capture despite an attempt made by the Royal Navy. The Navy reported poor visibility and signalling as a determining factor.

The modern Port of Whitby, strategically placed for shipping to Europe, with very good proximity to the Scandinavian countries, is capable of handling a wide range of cargoes, including grain, steel products, timber and potash. Vessels of up to 3,000 tonnes DWT are received on a routine basis at the Wharf, which has the capability of loading/unloading two ships simultaneously. 54,000 square feet (5,000 m2) of dock space is currently (2004) allocated for storage of all-weather cargo and a further 17,000 square feet (1,600 m2) of warehouse space is reserved for weather-critical goods storage.

The town is served by Whitby railway station which forms the terminus of the Esk Valley Line from Middlesbrough, formerly the northern terminus of the Whitby, Pickering and York line. Whitby is also served by the Yorkshire Coastliner bus line, which can take travellers to and from Leeds, Tadcaster, York, Scarborough, Bridlington, Pickering, Malton and many more towns in Yorkshire.

The town was awarded "Best Seaside Resort 2006", by Which? Holiday magazine.

The town's college, Whitby Community College was granted specialist school status in September 2002, specialising in Technology.

Whitby has a fish market on the quayside which operates as need and opportunity arise. The ready supply of fresh fish has resulted in an abundance of "chippies" in the town, including the Magpie Cafe which Rick Stein has described as the best fish and chip shop in Britain.

(Whitby Information from


Filey is a small town and civil parish in North Yorkshire, England. It forms part of the borough of Scarborough and is located between Scarborough and Bridlington on the North Sea coast. Although it started out as a fishing village, it has a large beach and is a popular tourist resort. Until 1974 it was an urban district in the East Riding of Yorkshire.

According to the 2001 UK census, Filey parish had a population of 6,819.

Filey is at the eastern end of the Cleveland Way, a long-distance footpath; this starts at Helmsley and skirts the North Yorkshire Moors. It was the second National Trail to be opened (1969). It is also the northern end of the Yorkshire Wolds Way which starts at Hessle and crosses the Yorkshire Wolds. Filey is the finishing point for Great Yorkshire Bike Ride. The 70 mile ride begins at Wetherby Racecourse.

Filey has a railway station on the Yorkshire Coast Line. Previously Filey also had a second station Filey Holiday Camp railway station to the south of the town serving the former Butlins holiday camp. This camp has now been re-developed into a 600-home holiday housing development, The Bay Filey. It is one of the largest coastal developments of this kind in the UK and the first homes began to be handed over to buyers in 2007.

Filey parish church

The town has recently had a boom of house buyers due to a Persimmon estate being built in the area of Seadale. It was predicted to add significantly to the population.

Filey has two wishing wells, located in the Crescent Gardens. One is a traditional looking type, and the other is smaller, with a concrete model of a church and houses set around it, with a bell to ring and make a wish. The former is a popular site for tourist and family photographs.

In July 2007 Filey was hit by flash floods which caused major problems in the town, with various areas suffering damage.

(Filey Information from

Robin Hood's Bay

Robin Hood’s Bay is a small fishing town or village located five miles south of Whitby on the coast of North Yorkshire, England. Bay Town, as it is known to the locals, is in the ancient parish of Fylingdales and in the wapentake of Whitby Strand. The origin of the name is uncertain, and it is doubtful if Robin Hood was ever in the vicinity.

The town, which consists of a maze of tiny streets, has a tradition of smuggling, and there is reputed to be a network of subterranean passageways linking the houses. The main legitimate activity had always been fishing, but this started to decline in the late 19th century. These days most of its income comes from tourism. Robin Hood's Bay is also famous for the large number of fossils which may be found on its beach.

Robin Hood's Bay is the setting for the Bramblewick books by the author Leo Walmsley, who was educated in the schoolroom of the old Wesleyan Chapel, in the lower village. Robin Hood's Bay is a poem by children's poet Michael Rosen.

The town was once served by Robin Hood's Bay railway station however this closed in 1965 and now the nearest railway station is in Whitby. The town connects to the A171 allowing access to Whitby and Scarborough. Robin Hood's Bay is the terminus of Wainwright's Coast to Coast Walk.

The Bayfair newspaper contains news and local information on the town. Wireless internet access is provided for visitors all around the town by The Bay Broadband Co-operative.

The Wine Haven-Profil near Robin Hood’s Bay is Global Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) of Pliensbachian Epoch (183,0–189,6 mya), one of four chronographic substages of Early Jurassic Epoch.

A plaque in the town records that a Brig named "Visitor" ran ashore in Robin Hood's Bay on 18 January 1881 during a violent storm. In order to save the crew, the lifeboat from Whitby was pulled 6 miles overland by 18 horses, with the 7 feet deep snowdrifts present at the time cleared by 200 men. It was launched two hours after leaving Whitby, with the crew and the Visitor rescued on the second attempt.

(Robin Hood's Bay  Information from


The York Pass