Rediscover the Yorkshire coast - where to head this summer

PUBLISHED: 00:00 07 August 2020

Scarborough Art Gallery (c) Tony Bartholomew / Turnstone Media

Scarborough Art Gallery (c) Tony Bartholomew / Turnstone Media


The real world is out there – time to make some plans to visit the coast.

Whitby Abbey (c) Tony Bartholomew / Turnstone MediaWhitby Abbey (c) Tony Bartholomew / Turnstone Media

These are uncertain times in so many ways, but one thing’s for sure – most of us are keen to be out and about and experiencing the things we were unable to during our enforced hibernation earlier in the year.

Many of us have realised what an important part of our lives heritage and culture is – and how much better it is to experience it alongside other living, breathing human beings rather than online.

Well, the good news is that, slowly but surely, the coast is definitely re-opening for business and there’s still a substantial part of the year left to enjoy it before the colder months set in.

We’d encourage you to make the most of the good weather while you can and stay outdoors as much as possible, while staying within current social distancing recommendations. There are plenty of wide-open beaches, and glorious parks and gardens, including Whitby’s Pannett Park, Scarborough’s Peasholm Park and, in Filey, the much-loved Crescent Gardens and Glen Gardens, or, for a walk on the wilder side, Filey Country Park.

Woodend Gallery Seaside Poster (c) David ChalmersWoodend Gallery Seaside Poster (c) David Chalmers

If you’re more the indoors type, please do check in advance what measures your chosen venue has taken to protect you. And please pay heed to the measures that all of these organisations have taken such great care to plan and implement – your good health, and that of their staff, is paramount.

In Filey:

The Filey Bird Garden and Animal Park re-opened a few weeks ago. Set outdoors amidst delightful gardens, it includes a ‘secret’ and a sensory garden, visit to meet a rainbow of exotic and domestic birds alongside animals including tortoises, wallabies and – everyone’s favourites – meerkats.

In Scarborough:

At Scarborough Castle, once one of the greatest royal fortresses in England, pre-booked timed tickets are essential, including for English Heritage members. The outdoor elements will be open; the indoor exhibition will remain closed for the time being.

Scarborough Museums Trust has re-opened both Scarborough Art Gallery and Woodend; the Rotunda will remain closed until further notice. At the Gallery, catch The Printmakers Council 1992–2019; the William Smith map (both until September 6); and the permanent display of fine art from the Scarborough Borough Collection. At Woodend, colourful vintage travel and tourism posters will be on show in the A Day at the Seaside exhibition until September 27.

The open carriages of the North Bay Heritage Railway make it the ideal family treat, and a brilliant scenic way to reach Sea Life Scarborough, which has introduced pre-booked time slots to enable visitors to enjoy its watery depths, including, new for this year, the Rainforest Adventure. Get up close and personal with green tree pythons, vivid poison arrow dart frogs and other inhabitants of the earth’s oldest living ecosystems.

In Whitby:

Whitby Abbey, like Scarborough Castle, is in the care of English Heritage. A similar pre-booked, timed ticket system is operating at the dramatic clifftop location, and visitor numbers are capped. The museum is open, but the ammonite trail isn’t.

Whitby Museum and Art Gallery, set amidst the beautiful gardens of Pannett Park, hadn’t announced firm re-opening plans at time of writing, but are expected to be up and running again by early August. Visit for jet, fossils, and some unparalleled Gothic curiosities.

At the Captain Cook Memorial Museum in Grape Lane, the captain himself is very much in charge – single household parties are able to book a time slot (one per quarter hour) and given a floor to themselves – but will be expected to move promptly to the next floor at the ringing of the ship’s bell! Follow the ‘Captain’s Rules’ as if you were under naval discipline!’ they warn.

6 great walks near Whitby

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