A seaside town in the East Riding of Yorkshire, dating back to the early medieval period, Hornsea was expanded in the Victorian era with the rise of the railways. Later, the town was best known for Hornsea Pottery, which was established in 1949 but closed in 2000.
From the terminal of the Trans Pennine Trail, follow the National Byway. On your way out of town, you pass Hornsea Mere, the largest freshwater lake in Yorkshire and a great centre for birdwatching and water-based activities. After a short section on the A1035, the route follows mostly quiet roads through the countryside to Skipsea. The coast near the village to the east is the fastest eroding coastline in northern Europe.
Be mindful of fast traffic when crossing the A165 shortly after Ulrome. Close to Lissett, you will pass a memorial on the site of a former RAF airfield. During World War 2, the 158 Squadron took off from here and played an important role in defending Britain. There are twelve wind turbines on the site, with eleven turbines named after aircraft and the twelfth to commemorate the six airmen who perished on 2 July 1943 due to an explosion in the bomb dump.
Shortly afterwards, you will pass Burton Agnes Hall, an Elizabethan manor house in the village of Burton Agnes, built by Sir Henry Griffith in 1601–10 to designs attributed to Robert Smythson. You can visit both the house and the grounds all year round. As you enter the Yorkshire Wolds, the route gets hillier and continues to follow the National Byway into Bridlington.
Bridlington is best known for shellfish. The town is the largest lobster port in Europe, with over 300 tonnes of crustaceans landed there each year, and nicknamed the "Lobster Capital of Europe". Like all other towns along the coast, its main trade outside of fishing is summer tourism. A trip on the Yorkshire Belle, which sails from Easter to mid-October from the North Pier, is a great way to explore the spectacular cliffs of Flamborough & Bempton
from a different perspective. The ship has been carrying passengers since 1947 and is the only boat of its kind left operating on the Yorkshire Coast.
The route follows a spectacular cycle path to Sewerby and, from there, continues on the road to Flamborough Head, a chalk headland with sheer white cliffs. The clifftop has two lighthouse towers, the oldest dating from 1669. The steep coast provides nesting sites for thousands of seabirds, and the cliffs are of international significance for their geology. The route follows the same road out and back from and to Flamborough. From there, you continue to Bempton, where another set of white cliffs and amazing birdlife is worth a detour.
The route continues through the eastern outcrops of the Yorkshire Wolds to Hunmanby, where Yorkshire's first whisky distillery was opened in 2017. From here, the route descends back to the coast to Filey. The seaside town is at the eastern end of the Cleveland Way, a long-distance footpath, the second National Trail to open in England in 1969. Like all other towns along the coast, its seaside will be very busy in summer, but it feels less hectic than the other towns. From Filey, you follow cycle paths and roads to Osgodby. Make sure you stop just before you rejoin Sustrans Route 1 (EV12). The views over Cayton Bay from the former road are spectacular. Follow the signs for the Sustrans Route all the way into Scarborough.
The largest town on the Yorkshire Coast, Scarborough is a great place to spend a few days.
The Bike & Boot Hotel has excellent cyclist facilities: You’ll get secure bike storage, bike wash and a free afternoon cake with your room. The town lies between 3 and 70 m above sea level, rising steeply from the harbour to the north and the west. As you descend to the Foreshore Road, you pass the Central Tramway Company Scarborough Limited, a Victorian cliff railway built in 1881 and one of the oldest cliff railways still running in the UK.
Scarborough is a tourist hub with plenty of attractions and eateries. After reaching the harbour, the route follows the coast on Marine Drive around a rocky promontory, where the ruins of Scarborough Castle, a former medieval royal fortress, sit. You’ll pass Royal Albert Park and a statue of Freddie Gilroy by Ray Lonsdale. The North Bay Promenade takes you to Scalby, where you’ll climb inland to join the Cinder Track. The promenade will be difficult or impossible to cycle in high winds and spring tides. An alternative is to take Burniston Road and rejoin the route at Hillcrest Avenue.
One of the highlights of this route follows soon: The Cinder Track is a picturesque coastal route from Scarborough to Whitby on the route of the old railway line, which closed in 1965. The surface on the route is a mixed bag. Be prepared for some rocky or muddy sections, which might be challenging on a fully loaded touring bike. The scenery along the route will make up for the sometimes challenging cycling. Along the way, you pass a pub, and the tea room in Ravenscar is a great place to stop for food, with a big outside seating area.
At the turn of the 20th century, plans were made to turn the village of Ravenscar into a holiday resort to rival nearby Scarborough. Roads and sewers were laid out, and some houses were built. Because of the long trek to its rocky beach, Ravenscar never achieved popularity, and the development was left unfinished – a town with sewers and streets but no houses.
From here, you follow the most scenic part of the Cinder Track to Robin Hood’s Bay, with great coastal views. The origin of the village’s name is uncertain, but it is doubtful that Robin Hood was ever in the vicinity of the village. Today, Robin Hood's Bay is a picturesque old fishing village on the Heritage Coast of the North York Moors, with narrow, twisting cobbled streets and alleyways. When taking a detour into the village, be aware that you must negotiate a 31% incline on the way back.
The Cinder Track continues from the village, passing the Larpool Viaduct shortly before its northern terminus. The route follows Sustrans Route 1 to the railway station. Whitby is a picturesque seaside town in close proximity to the North York Moors National Park. It’s possibly best known for its association with the horror novel Dracula. The town's oldest and most prominent landmark is the abbey ruin at the top of the East Cliff.
Statues of the explorer Captain Cook, the whaler and scientist William Scoresby, and the whalebone arch at the top of the West Cliff commemorate Whitby’s maritime heritage. The town also has a strong literary tradition and has been featured in literary works, television, and cinema, most famously in Bram Stoker's novel Dracula. For your taste buds, Whitby is known for its scampi, with Whitby Seafoods currently the largest UK supplier of breaded scampi.
Leave the River Esk behind you when you climb on roads before joining the A174 out of town. The route continues on the A174 through the small village of Sandsend to Lythe, where you will leave the traffic behind again. You follow quieter roads to another stunning seaside village, Runswick Bay. At Hinderwell, the route follows the A174 to Staithes, a charming, traditional fishing village on the North Yorkshire Coast. You can connect northbound on Sustrans Route 1 (Eurovelo 12).
Other Routes nearby
For anything bike related (30)
Cliff Pratt Cycles, Hull
BL Williams, Hornsea
Priory Cycleworks, Bridlington
Wheely Active, Lebberston
Richardson's Cycles, Scarborough
EDS Bikes, Scarborough
Trailways, Whitby (hire)