The North Yorkshire coast is the southernmost stretch of a cliff-edged shore that stretches almost unbroken to the Scottish border. Scarborough is the biggest resort, with a full set of attractions and a terrific beach. Cute Robin Hood’s Bay is the most popular of the coastal villages, with fishing and smuggling traditions, while bluff Staithes – a fishing harbour on the far edge of North Yorkshire – has yet to tip over into a full-blown tourist trap. Whitby, between the two, is the best stopover, with its fine sands, good facilities, abbey ruins, Georgian buildings and maritime heritage – more than any other local place Whitby celebrates Captain Cook as one of its own. Two of the best sections of the Cleveland Way start from Whitby: southeast to Robin Hood’s Bay (six miles) and northwest to Staithes (eleven miles), both along thrilling high-cliff paths.

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