Beautiful Beach Walks with Perfect Pub Stops
Seaham & Crimdon
As part of the Durham Heritage Coastal Path, this near 11-mile walk offers a great mix of clifftop scenery, vast empty beaches and steep wooded ravines. But perhaps the most enthralling aspects of this walk are the constant reminders of the region’s once prosperous coal industry as you pass abandoned equipment and old collieries along the way.
If you choose Seaham as your starting point, head to North Dock Marina and follow the cliff path to Nose’s Point and continue south past Hawthorn Dene, Beacon Hill and Easington Colliery into Castle Eden Dene before hitting the caves of Blackhall Rocks.
Crimdon has a long, sandy beach and the only sand dunes on the Durham Coast. Nearby Crimdon Dene boasts a Victorian viaduct but there’s not a vast amount else here so head back to Seaham at the end of your walk. North Beach, with its long sea wall, is the perfect place to grab some fresh air. Head to the dog-friendly Lookout Café on the harbour, with ample choice of snacks and an outdoor seating area.
Seahouses & Bamburgh
The walk between these coastal villages is a truly beautiful one. You are flanked by sandy dunes to one side and views of the famous Farne Islands, with their huge and important population of seabirds, on the other. Fish and chips are a go-to in Seahouses, with Lewis’ the Living North chip shop of choice. Or enjoy a pint in the dog-friendly Bamburgh Castle Inn’s beer garden, overlooking the harbour below and the Farnes in the distance before setting off.
Once you are in Bamburgh and have explored the iconic castle’s grounds, and wandered around the ancient village church, check out The Victoria, a popular choice for an early evening drinks or food. They are offering outdoor tables from 12th April on a first-come-first-served basis.
Alnmouth to Warkworth
If you choose to start in Alnmouth you need to make sure you head to the south of the Aln Estuary. It’s a relatively easy three and a half miles to Warkworth, simply follow the track through meadowland, towards the dunes of Buston Links. St Cuthbert’s Cross, high on the top of the dunes to your left, will act as your guide.
With its pretty, pastel-coloured houses strung out along the estuary, and its many red-tiled roofs, Alnmouth, once an ancient sea port, is now a bustling seaside village. Our favourite spot for pints and chips is The Red Lion, with ample beer garden with delightful views over the estuary.
If you end up walking along the beach to Warkworth, you can visit the ruin of Warkworth Castle which is great for kids to explore. The ancient streets are lined with shops, galleries and inns. Pop into The Masons Arms for some real Northumbrian pub grub – their beer garden is re-opening on 12th April, for drinks and food.
South Shields to Whitburn
You can do this walk easily either way. Starting at Sandhaven Beach this easy coastal route takes you along the Leas, past the iconic Marsden Rock, via beautiful bays, caves and coves to the famous Lizard Point and Souter Lighthouse, and on to Whitburn to the south.
Famous for its Pleasure Park, its public art, its Roman fort and more recently The Word, as well as its beaches and promenade, there’s so much to see and do in South Shields. South Marine Park has a miniature steam train, a boating lake and two soft play areas. Whether you start or end your walk here, make sure you try the town’s award-winning fish and chips at Colmans on Ocean Road.
The iconic red and white hooped Souter Lighthouse opened in 1871 and was the first to be lit by electricity. Decommissioned in 1988, and now a National Trust property, you can explore the engine room and climb the 76 tower steps for a breathtaking view. The must-visit place to eat is Latimer’s Seafood Café, with an outdoor seating area. It’s famous for the freshest fish straight off the boat!
Whitby & Robin Hood’s Bay
For a seven mile trek between these famous fishing ports, start on Whitby’s Quayside, head up the 199 steps to the churchyard of St Mary’s and the infamous Abbey, before striking out along the Cleveland Way. Pass the lighthouse and foghorn station, before dropping down as you near Robin Hood’s Bay.
This picturesque fishing village was once the busiest smuggling community on the Yorkshire coast. Its cobbled streets and sandy beach make it hugely popular. Why not pick up some fish and chips to fuel your walk, at the Fish Box on the Bay Road?
Whitby is known the world over for its iconic Abbey. There are many boat trips to be taken from the harbour – some which will take you to Robin Hood’s Bay, should you choose not to walk. Don’t miss out on the award-winning fish and chips at The Magpie Café near the harbour. The Star Inn the Harbour serves great food, right on the water front. You can book an outdoor table online now.
Sandsend to Runswick Bay
Taking the coastal path between these two villages means a walk of just over four miles along the cliffs. If you start at the northern edge of Sandsend you’ll see signposts directing you along this part of the Cleveland Way. Climb the steps past the old railway station and on to the disused railway line. You’ll climb steadily upwards to Sandsend Ness and there’s a small cliff path here which takes you down to the shale beach. Continue on through the wooded path to Keldhow Steel and through adjacent farmland to Seaveybog Hill. Head past the old Roman Signal Station at Goldsborough, and on to Kettleness where the beach is renowned for its fossils.
Runswick is in sight and you’ll start to make the descent to Runswick Bay at Hob Holes (so named because it is thought it’s where hobgoblins lived). When the tide is out, Runswick Bay is the perfect place to explore the many rock pools in the shelter of craggy Lingrow Knowle. The village is known for its red-roofed cottages, all clustered in a corner of the bay.
Sandsend is a popular destination in its own right with its family-friendly beach, and beck which bisects the village for safe paddling and boating. Head to The Hart Inn beer garden for a drink and plenty of fresh seafood.