8 Best Things to Do in Stunning Saltburn on Sea

Saltburn-by-the-Sea is an enchanting little seaside town. Booming in popularity as a staycation spot thanks to its Victorian charms, great watersports, and endless sandy Blue Flag beach, there’s plenty to see and do in Saltburn on Sea.

Whether you’re visiting Yorkshire, Northumberland, or County Durham, this little seaside town in glorious North Yorkshire is a gem, and it’s one place you really shouldn’t miss.

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This image shows the stunning Victorian pier at Saltburn on Sea

The 8 Best Things to See and Do in Saltburn

There’s nowhere else in England with an original water-balanced cliff lift, a Victorian pier, a thriving art and crafts scene, and incredible watersports, all within a tiny town with just six thousand residents. It’s no surprise that pretty little Saltburn-by-the-Sea has become such a draw for visitors.

1. Ride the Saltburn Cliff Lift

No trip to Saltburn would be complete without seeing Britain’s oldest water-balanced cliff lift. Since 1884, the cliff lift has transported passengers up and down the 120 ft high cliff between the town and the pier in just 55 seconds.

The pair of 12-person cars run on a 207 feet long track from March and October each year, carrying around 150,000 passengers every year.

Pro Tip: Before you travel, check whether the cliff tramway is operating (it was closed throughout the 2021 summer season due to the pandemic). The alternative route to the beach involves over 170 steep steps in each direction!

Location: Lower Parade TS121HQ

Related Post: Discover the 20 Most Beautiful Towns in Yorkshire.

2. Take A Stroll on the Victorian Pier

This photo shows the Victorian Saltburn on Sea cliff tramway from the top of the cliff, looking down to the pier
The Saltburn cliff tramway from the cliff top

When it opened in 1869, the pier was 1,500 feet long, with a steamer to Middlesborough landing at the head; however, part of the pier was destroyed in a gale in 1875.

Today, the remaining 681 ft pier is the only remaining pier in Yorkshire, winning the coveted title of Pier of the Year from the National Piers Society.

3. Saltburn Beach

This photo shows the sandy beach at Saltburn on Sea
The wide sandy expanse of beach at Saltburn

The beach at Saltburn on Sea is a photographer’s dream and a dog walker’s paradise. The wide sweeping sands and shingle stretch into the distance, bordered by soaring cliffs and the clear (but oh-so cold) waters of the North Sea. Bertie the Sprocker loved it here – dashing in and out of the waves!

Sunrise and sunset are incredible here – with shots of the pier particularly popular as they really show off Saltburn at its best.

4. Rent One of the Candy Coloured Beach Huts

This photo shows a row of brightly coloured beach huts looking out to the sea
The joyfully bright colours of the beach huts on the promenade

The cheeriest parade of pristine beach huts lines the eastern end of the promenade, mere moments from the beach and the cliff lift at Saltburn.

Each one of the Saltburn beach huts comes with electricity, running water, indoor and outdoor seating, and basic kitchen utensils. Discover how to hire a beach hut for a day, a week, or even a month here.

5. Take a Trip on the Saltburn Miniature Railway

Cute little Saltburn Miniature Railway is a volunteer-run 15-inch gauge railway that runs along a 1km track from the Cat Nab car park to Forest Halt. The route passes along a wooded valley next to Skelton Beck, where you can stop off to visit the Italian Gardens or have a cuppa and a cake at the Victorian Tearoom.

It’s not a long journey (about 20 minutes return), but it’s great fun to see the cheery steam locomotives and the volunteer staff are super friendly. It’s also a good way to save your legs from the very steep climb up from the beach, and it’s dog-friendly too!

Related Post: 15 Sensational UK Heritage Railways You Will Love

6. Have a Go at Watersports

Watersports at Saltburn on sea

With such an outstanding, clean beach, Saltburn excels in water sports. Paddle-boarding, kayaking, and surfing are very popular, and you don’t need any previous experience (or kit) as there are two excellent surf schools where you can take a lesson and get out on the water quickly. You can also hire a wetsuit!

7. Discover the Cleveland Way

The 109-mile Cleveland Way National Trail starts inland at Helmsley and ends on Filey Brigg; however, the coastal section of the route starts at Saltburn. For keen hikers, the 17.5-mile stretch of the Cleveland Way from Saltburn on Sea to Sandsend, via the picturesque harbour village of Staithes, is exceptionally scenic.

Heading south from Saltburn, the path rises quickly onto the clifftop, where you will find several art sculptures, including “The Ring” – a metal circle with ten objects hanging and clanking in the breeze!

There’s also Boulby Cliff – the highest cliff on the eastern coast of England, and plenty of pubs and cafes to enjoy along the way.

8. Wander Through the Valley Gardens

This photo shows the sloping walkway towards the cliff lift station at Saltburn on Sea, with immaculate flower gardens on one side and the ocean on the other
The upper promenade at Saltburn on Sea has unbelievable views and immaculate flower beds

The promenade along Marine Parade towards the cliff lift is lined with beautifully manicured flower beds and accessibility-friendly paths. Further into the town, along Skelton Beck, the Valley Gardens provide a scenic, and tranquil retreat perfect for nature strolls through the Valley and along the river banks.

One of the best routes to follow is the trail to the Viaduct – preferably finished off with a trip to the Valley Gardens Tea Rooms for a slice of their unbelievably good cake.

3 Tips For Visiting Saltburn on Sea

  1. Take a jacket: This is North Yorkshire – even on the warmest days, it’s best to have a jacket with you. Check out: What to pack for a trip to Yorkshire
  2. Pack sun protection cream: The beach can be quite breezy, even in high summer, and it’s easy to underestimate the power of the sun’s rays here.
  3. Wear comfortable walking shoes: The beach is too tempting not to take a stroll along – and there are 176 steps back up to the town if you choose not to take the cliff tramway.

How to Get to Saltburn

By Train: Saltburn has its own train station and is well connected. Travel time from London stations is about 3 1/2 hours, while trips from York take about 1 1/2 hours.

Read Next: How to book and manage train travel in the UK

By Car: There are several places to park:

  • Cat Nab car park, Saltburn Bank, Saltburn-by-the-Sea, TS12 1HH (Payable Mon-Sun 08:00 – 18:00, from £2.50 per hour)
  • The Pier car park, Saltburn Road, Saltburn-by-the-Sea, TS12 1NY (Maximum stay 2 hours at £4)

If you’re happy to walk for a few minutes, head for Marine Parade ( postcode TS12 1DP ), where you can currently park for free.

Where to Eat in Saltburn

Fish and chips is a hugely popular British meal, once regarded as the national dish. Traditionally eaten on a Friday, it was one of the few foods in the UK that wasn’t rationed during the First and Second World Wars as the British Government safeguarded the supply of fish and chips.

By the 1950s there were more than 35,000 fish and chip shops (“chippies”) across the United Kingdom, but tastes change, and there were about 10,000 by 2009.

This photo shows a meal of fish and chips

A trip to the coast is one of the best times to enjoy really tasty fish and chips, and Saltburn on Sea has good chippies located right on the seafront. The Seaview Restaurant, Saltburn is particularly good.

Related Post: The 17 best things to eat and drink in Yorkshire

Places to Stay Saltburn by the Sea

Brockley Hall Hotel is a stunning boutique-style hotel with stylish rooms, a great breakfast, and helpful staff. The decor is marvellously quirky, and the restaurant serves excellent evening meals. The location is perfect too for the valley gardens, the cliff lift, and the beach.

Find more places to stay at Saltburn by the Sea here.

If you’re planning a trip to North Yorkshire, visiting the charming town of Saltburn on Sea is highly recommended. For such a small town, there are plenty of memorable things to do in Saltburn.

Before you go

If you’re ready to explore Saltburn at its best, be sure to bookmark this page or pin it using the link below so you can revisit this guide!

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Until next time

Until next time Grey Globetrotters

Find all of our posts about Yorkshire here.

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This photo shows the victorian cliff lift at Saltburn on Sea, looking up from the pier, and a view of the pier

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Coralie Thornton

Coralie is an over 50s travel writer based in Yorkshire in the UK who writes engaging travel tips, destination guides, and detailed itineraries about the UK, Europe and beyond to inspire boomer travel. When she's not travelling, she's either planning a new trip, exploring locally in the UK, visiting castles and cathedrals, or finding somewhere new to enjoy afternoon tea.

4 thoughts on “8 Best Things to Do in Stunning Saltburn on Sea”

    • Thanks Robert – you’re absolutely right! Working with so many lovely Scottish colleagues has obviously had an effect on me 🙂 And we do love scraps with our fish and chips here in Yorkshire 🙂

      Reply
    • Hi Mike, I only write about places I’ve actually visited 🙂 Saltburn is somewhere my son and I really enjoy – we’ve visited often (especially this year), and my spaniel loves the beach!

      Reply

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