Yorkshire Coastal Resorts – Bridlington, Filey and Thornwick Bay

This article brings to the reader some of my favourite areas of the Yorkshire Coast.

Thornwick Bay

It is said that Thornwick Bay takes its name from “Thor” the god of thunder because this is likened to the roar of the waves breaking on the cliffs during one of the frequent North Easterly gails. The cliffs are simply magnificent. White chalk against the azure blue sea go together to make stunning scenery whichever direction you look. The stretch of water close to Thornick Bay is nicknamed “the graveyard” by local fishermen due to the large number of shipwrecks in the area. Situated not far from Flamborough Head and Bempton Cliffs, a vast abundance of birdlife can be seen in and around Thornwick Bay including Puffins, Kittiwakes and Guillemots. There are actually two bays here, separated by a headland. The larger is called Thornwick Bay and the smaller Little Thornwick Bay. At low tide it is possible to walk between the two bays along the pebble and flint beaches. There are many caves in and around Thornwick Bay but the largest three are: Smugglers Cave (the largest on the East Coast), Church Cave and Thornwick Cave.


It would be hard to find a more traditional English seaside resort than Filey, with its long sandy beach set in a wide bay, long promenade with Sculpture Trail and pretty little beach chalets it is easy to connect with its Victorian heritage. The name Filey derives from “Five Leys” meaning a clearing of forest or meadow and is Anglican in origin and suggests that there has been a community there for around 12 centuries. For many years Filey was a small fishing village with just a few inhabitants living in Queen Street. The oldest building in the town is the Filey Museum which is also situated on Queen Street and was built in 1696.

Filey remained small until the 18th century when visitors from Scarborough started to look for places to stay away from the hustle and bustle of such a busy seaside resort. They stayed in local peoples houses until the Foords Hotel was built in the early 19th Century. In 1835 a Birmingham solicitor named John Wilkes Unett purchased 7 acres of land and built the Crescent, later renamed the Royal Crescent. It was opened in 1850 and for over 100 years was the most fashionable address in the North of England. The railway reached Filey in 1846-7.

A perfect family day out can be spent in Filey with Glenn Gardens, paddling pools and fantastic soft sand beaches at one end of the resort leading to the Cobble Landing with its Lifeboat station, beachfront cafes and amusement arcade at the Northern end. The hot chocolate with marshmallows and a flake from the caf on the corner of Cobble Landing is worth the visit as is Sterchis chocolate shop in the town centre! From the Cobble Landing you can walk along the beach to the Brigg which juts out into the sea and has some interesting rock pools to find and explore!


Bridlington is a seaside resort and small seaport, it lies just south of Flamborough Head on the East Yorkshire coast. Full of character and charm, Bridlington boasts two award winning beaches with golden sand which stretch out either side of its historic harbour. With wide promenades along its length it is possible to experience the hustle and bustle of the fun fair or the simple quiet of a seaside walk where the only disturbance is the sound of the waves rushing to shore.

Whether you choose to visit one of the cosmopolitan towns, small fishing villages or simple bays of the Yorkshire Coast you will discover rugged but beautiful scenery which easily rivals any other coastal area of England.