Beautiful little seaside village that’s often named one of UK’s best hidden gems

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Runswick Bay has its own website, which should tell you something given that it is a village of barely over 2,000 in peak season.

An area of just 620 hectares, it is equal parts beautiful and breathtaking, looking out onto the North Sea, where a vast sheet of blue eventually leads to Denmark and beyond.

The village itself is unlike anything seen in the UK.

Red-roof cottages are jumbled together like a broken jigsaw, a sight more familiar in the Mediterranean than in Yorkshire.

But that is exactly where Runswick Bay is, in the county’s north, just a stone’s throw away from the former industrial town of Middlesbrough.

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It has it all: a wide stretch of unspoiled sandy beach, rock pools and fossil hunting make it a star pick for families looking for a weekend getaway.

The Cleveland Way National Trail to Saltburn offers the more outdoorsy types a stunning walking route, itself a historic area of North Yorkshire, running 110 miles between Helmsley and the Brigg at Filey.

An abundance of things to do, revellers are encouraged to stop at the Runswick Bay Tea Garden for a bite to eat and something warm, or cold, to drink.

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The rise of self-catering properties hasn’t skipped over this stretch of land, either.

Runswick Bay Cottages has a pick of quiet boltholes, many of which look out onto the sea.

For those who want something hearty to eat, locals recommend The Royal Hotel.

A “traditional British pub”, its beer garden overlooks the sweeping bay and provides the perfect view of the beach and cliffs.

What’s more, in the winter off-season months, visitors can sit by a warm roaring fire inside and enjoy home-cooked meals at lunch and dinner, as well as a selection of regularly changing local ales and beers.

The Whitby Guide, a local tourist website, describes Runswick Bay as “undoubtedly one of the Yorkshire Coast’s most scenic destinations”.

Originally a fishing village in the 19th century, the Bay appears to have changed little since those times, despite the business of fishing and lifeboat rescue having moved on.

In the late 1880s for a time Runswick Bay because an art colony, a site populated by artists and the like, which may go some way to explaining the picturesque nature and quality of the village’s buildings, painted in bright, welcoming colours easy on the eye.

As are many seaside villages, Runswick Bay is at risk of coastal erosion, such is the level at which it sits to the sea.

As such, in 2018, a £2.28 million award-winning coastal erosion protection scheme was completed in the area, ensuring that the Bay and its surroundings are protected for another 100 years for visitors far and wide to enjoy the splendours of one of Britain’s best-kept secrets.

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