This six-day Cleveland Way National Trail break visits the ancient city of York, the haunted town of Whitby and the dramatic North York Moors. You’ll hike ‘The Yorkshire Matterhorn’, travel by train across England’s finest National Park, explore the famous Whitby Abbey and eat fish & chips by the sea.
Walking the entire 175km/109-mile length of the Cleveland Way is a challenge. For adventurous hikers, it’s a long journey on rugged coastal and moorland trails that requires nine days of walking. So we’ve put together a condensed six-day itinerary that explores some of the main highlights. It covers a total of 35km/22 miles on foot and visits some of the most historic and spectacular locations on the Cleveland Way National Trail route. The trip starts with two days in York, where you’ll take a spooky ghost tour, walk the ancient city walls, visit the Jorvik Viking Centre and marvel at York Minster. From York you’ll travel on a scenic bus route across the North York Moors to the seaside town of Whitby, famous for its beautiful harbour and as the birthplace of Dracula. The final three days explore some of Britain’s best coastal walks around the fishing village of Robin Hood’s Bay, the iconic peak of Roseberry Topping, and the sweeping sands of Runswick Bay.
The icons below highlight the distance, difficulty and theme of this itinerary.
History / Coastal
By Water / Hills and moorland
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This itinerary breaks down the six-day trip into daily sections. The first three days are spent exploring the city of York and the town of Whitby, and the final three days involve more challenging walks on hilly and coastal trails totalling 35km/22 miles of hiking.
York and Whitby have plenty of accommodation options, ranging from hotels and B&Bs to self-catering cottages and traditional pubs. The Visit York website www.visityork.org/book is a good place to start looking for days one and two, while the Discover Yorkshire Coast website www.discoveryorkshirecoast.com/where-to-stay has plenty of great suggestions around Whitby.
With a busy city and one of Yorkshire’s biggest coastal towns as a base, accommodation is readily available but York and Whitby are both popular with tourists all-year round so book early to avoid gaps in your itinerary.
The coastal walks and the ascent of Roseberry Topping can be done at any time of year but be warned: it gets very cold on the Yorkshire coast in the winter months! Spring is the best time to visit, with warmer temperatures and the sea cliffs are alive with thousands of nesting seabirds. This itinerary is comfortably within the capabilities of all experienced walkers with good levels of fitness.
York and Whitby are perfect for lovers of good food and beer. Fish and chips is a must on one of your trips to the coast and the street food scene at the Shambles Market and Food Court in York is excellent. Whitby is full of good pubs and restaurants serving everything from seafood and stews to pie and mash, plus the popular Botham’s of Whitby on Skinner Street that manages to combine French-style patisserie and traditional Yorkshire bakery! Beer is a big deal in these parts too, with a bewilderingly large range of local ales. Try the great local beers from Whitby Brewery from their Taproom right by the Cleveland Way.
The official guidebook and map for the Trail are available from the National Trails Shop along with a wide range of gifts and other merchandise.
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