Beach Walk from Robin Hoods Bay to Ravenscar Seals

The moment I found out that you can see wild seals in Yorkshire I was desperate to go. There are around 300 seals that live at the bottom of the cliff at Ravenscar on the North Yorkshire coast.

There are two ways to see the seals at Ravenscar. The first is to walk down the very steep cliff from the end of the very furthest point of the village of Ravenscar or you can walk along the beach, when the tide is out, from Robin Hoods Bay or Boggle Hole (the latter is slightly closer).

Beach Walk from Robin Hoods Bay to Ravenscar Seals
Looking down to Robin Hoods Bay and across to Ravenscar

We chose the coastal walk from Robin Hoods Bay but we did spend a lot of the time wishing we’d taken the cliff route down from Ravenscar. Only because it took us a long time but if that suits you then this is a great walk for you.

For the purpose of this post, I will cover the beach walk in more detail than the cliff walk. There are two pay and display car parks in Robin Hoods Bay. The largest one is slightly further out and near to the train station. I never bother trying the other car park anymore as I’ve never found a space there.

Once parked up you have a relatively long and mostly steep walk down to the beach. Robin Hoods Bay is a historical fishing village on the North Yorkshire coast. It is my second favourite place to visit in Yorkshire, first place going to Flamborough Head. There are public toilets in this car park and at the bottom of the hill.

Beach Walk from Robin Hoods Bay to Ravenscar Seals

Walking down the main street is like stepping back in time. The road down is single track and only open for residents to drive down. Trust me you wouldn’t want to attempt it in a car even if you were allowed.

Visiting Robin Hoods Bay is something I love to do and walking from here was a bit of an excuse to visit again. There’s plenty of places to buy ice-cream, fish and chips or essentials for the beach.

The main bit of advice if you do the beach walk is make sure the tide is out. You don’t want to end up cut off by the sea. Please click here to check tide times. Ideally, you want to be setting off around an hour before low tide. That gives you plenty of time to walk there and back safely.

Beach Walk from Robin Hoods Bay to Ravenscar Seals
Looking back towards Robin Hoods Bay

I thought the walk would only take us about 40 minutes. You can even see the end of the cliff at Ravenscar from Robin Hood’s bay. It did, however, take us 1 hour 30 minutes to walk there. We then spent around 20 minutes watching the seals before walking back.

Robin Hoods Bay to Ravenscar beach walk to see the seals

It then took us around 2 hours to walk back as we searched for fossils and ate our lunch. We were flagging a bit (a lot) on the return leg.

Once you have reached the beach at Robin Hoods bay you want to start walking to your right. The walk is really varied. I must have commented at least 15 times on just how stunning the views were. Not only does the look of the cliffs change as you walk but so does what you are walking on. One minute you are on sand, the next on pebbles, the next on flat rock, the next on large rocks and sometimes we walked down streams of water left by the tide.

Beach Walk from Robin Hoods Bay to Ravenscar Seals

We even found a few waterfalls. These were great fun to play under and one of them was particularly stunning. Sometimes you’d be walking along and you’d hear a flurry of sound as small pebbles loosen from the cliff and fall down. You do pass Boggle Hole which is another option to park at and walk from. This would cut your walk by about 20 minutes. There are no facilities here though.

The beautiful Boggle Hole
The beautiful Boggle Hole
Waterfalls Yorkshire
Waterfalls Yorkshire

The toughest part of the walk is when you reach Ravenscar itself. Not only did we spot lots of people walking down the steep cliff at Ravenscar but we could see around 15 people gathered together. We figured this was where the seals were.

We tried a short cut but had to turn back due to too much seaweed hiding some deep holes. The easiest route is to stay near the cliff and then make your way up once you are almost level with the seals.

Ravenscar rocks
Tackling the hardest part of the walk

Ravenscar is named “The town that never was”. The Victorians had great plans for Ravenscar as an up and coming seaside town, similar to Scarborough. They did build a hotel and some houses but the steep walk down to the beach meant it was never popular enough for the grand plans to be carried out.

The closer we got the more we could hear the sounds from the seals. There were around 70 seals gathered on a rocky outcrop. The people that were there were sat or stood on the opposite outcrop. This was a great way to safely view the seals.

Nearly there

At one point we turned around and saw a baby seal belly-flopping its way towards us. We then spotted another baby. I don’t know if they were more inquisitive and wanted to be with us humans or if they’d made an error in where they were heading.

Baby seal at Ravenscar

There were a couple of other groups of seals but everyone was leaving them be. Everyone was very respectful of the seals, even the dogs that some people had brought. It felt so magical sitting there peacefully watching them go about their business. Most seals were arguing with each other over their spot on the rock.

The seals at Ravenscar
The seals at Ravenscar
The seals at Ravenscar
The seals at Ravenscar

After spending some time with the seals we headed back to Robin Hood’s bay. Needless to say, we totally deserved an ice-cream. There’s plenty of options at Robin Hood’s bay for ice-cream.

Accessing the seals from Ravenscar

There is no pay and display car park at Ravenscar. Instead you have to hedge your bets and try and find a space on the road. Access is the near the hotel and across the golf course. You basically want to head for the furthest point on the headland as this is where you will find the steep walk down.

There is then a relatively long and very steep walk in places down to the beach. Everyone I have spoken to has said it was a very challenging walk but children as young as 4-5 have managed it with help. The walk back up is really challenging as it is so steep.

The walk down at Ravenscar
The walk down at Ravenscar – This is just a small part of the steep walk down
The cliff at Ravenscar

Important Information about Robin Hoods Bay

Address: Station Rd, Robin Hood’s Bay YO22 4RE

Car parking at Robin Hoods Bay – The larger car park at the station is your easiest option to try for a parking space. The machines take cash, card or you can use Ring go. We paid £5 for 6 hours. There are cheaper short term charges, especially in the winter.

Facilities at Robin Hoods Bay: There are two pay and display car parks. The larger car park has public toilets. There are also public toilets at the bottom of Robin Hoods bay. You will find a choice of places to purchase food and drinks plus a variety of shops. There is a visitor centre but it is currently closed. There are no other facilities on the beach walk. The YHA at Boggle Hole may sell refreshments but I can not confirm this.

Is the beach Dog Friendly: Yes, you must clean up after your dog and it is recommended that you keep them on a lead.

Category: Beach, Walk, suitable for children who are confident walkers

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