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Donkey Rides and Seafood Stalls: Explore These Two Yorkshire Towns by the Coast

beach front
Places to go
August 2022
Reading time 3 Minutes

They may be worlds apart when it comes to their character, but these close coastal cousins both offer the warmest of welcomes

Just 10 miles separate Filey and Bridlington – barely a thumb’s width away on the map – but they couldn’t be more different in terms of their character and style. With large, sandy and well-protected beaches (no good for surfers), both have donkey rides, seafood stalls and more rock than you can shake a stick (of rock) at, but while Bridlington is all bustle and bright lights, Filey takes a more genteel approach to seaside fun.

Filey’s beautiful bay, which sweeps grandly from the Brigg in the north past Hunmanby Gap towards Flamborough in the south, is wide and flat enough for families to pitch their deckchairs in peace and mark out their plots for long games of beach cricket. Beware though, most of the beach disappears at high tide.

In Bridlington, you can enjoy the fun fair on North Beach, take a pleasure boat from the harbour and have a watersports adventure on South Beach before repairing to the Old Town for some retail therapy and a hit of history at Bridlington Priory. High cliffs separate the bays: those around Flamborough rise vertically out of the sea to 300 feet, while those at Ravenscar are higher at 600 feet, but aren’t so vertical. Bridlington’s South Beach is possibly the best on Yorkshire’s coast. Wide and flat, there are beach volleyball nets here and the sand is regularly machine-cleaned.


Base Camp

You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to accommodation on this stretch of the Yorkshire coast. The clifftop White Lodge hotel has panoramic views of Filey Bay below, whilst Wrangham House is a charming, Grade II-listed Georgian hotel in Hunmanby. Crab Pot Cottage is a a welcoming B&B in Bridlington, and Marton Grange Country House, on the outskirts of Sewerby, offers real home-away-from-home hospitality.

Perfect Weekend

On a fine summer day, Filey beach is difficult to beat, especially if you include a spot of rockpooling in the shadow of the Brigg, plenty of paddling and sandcastle building and a stroll down to the Beach Café at Hunmanby Gap for lunch. When the tide comes in, Glen Gardens and Filey Bird Garden & Animal Park are a great choice for families. If you can tear the kids away it’s well worth walking or catching the land train from Leisure World to Sewerby Hall, Gardens & Zoo to spend the afternoon with the penguins, lemurs, monkeys and llamas. While you’re there, why not take a couple of giant strides to its neighbour, the magical Bondville Model Village, where you’ll find more than 200 miniature marvels, including a castle, ruined abbey and harbour, and Thomas the Tank Engine who pulls his carriages around the track. But take note, the village is closed on Fridays.

As you travel down the coast from Filey to Bridlington, why not pop to RSPB Bempton Cliffs – it’s quite easy to spot, thanks to the half million or so birds that make it their home every year between March and October. Gannets, guillemots and puffins all nest in and around the steep, chalky cliffs, while, below, seals and porpoises enjoy the buffeting seas. You can stroll along the five kilometre wildlife reserve, stopping off at the regular viewing points, before heading to The Cow Shed, a great restaurant just south of Bridlington at Fraisthorpe Beach, where you’ll find delicious home-cooked food and a great outdoor seating area with panoramic views over Bridlington Bay and Flamborough Head.

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