So where do Yorkshire folk go away for their holidays? They head east to… Yorkshire. Westwards lies Lancashire, which is pretty much no-go. In the opposite direction, though, lies the safety of East Yorkshire and a spread of well-known coastal resorts, plus a bit extra to entice the more adventurous.

I’m stereotyping, of course, but there’s more than a smidgen of truth here. Rather than going east, we were coming up from Somerset, and despite lots of previous experience of the likes of Scarborough and Whitby, were easily able to find plenty more to entertain us.

Hence a packed itinerary that included visits to Spurn Point, Hornsea, Bridlington’s Old Town and Saltwick Bay – all of them new to us.

Welcome, then, to Route YC (Yorkshire Coast) and our first holiday of the year. Route YC? This recent initiative is designed to make you linger on the furthest outliers of England’s largest county.

We set off in our campervan and managed to cram everything into a pre-Easter week. I’m sure that you can do better!

If you’re looking for another great road trip to try too, be sure to take a look at our guide to the NC500.

Spurn makes a point

A great start to our explorations, with an instant highlight. These days, Spurn Point, the distinctive teardrop-shaped spur of land dropping out into the Humber Estuary, is a remote nature reserve. You can walk or cycle the three miles to its tip, or hop on a Unimog for a 4×4 guided trundle.

Spurn Point
Spurn Point is a tidal island reaching into the North Sea

You can guess what we did, enjoying a helpful commentary from former teacher Kerrie, who explained the various roles of Spurn Point, from providing a major source of gravel and protecting the Humber during World War II – as witnessed by its two lighthouses, lots of disused buildings, lookouts, searchlight stations and gun positions, even a former railway line – through to today’s nature reserve status, and the only place in the whole UK where there’s a full-time, professional lifeboat team living in purpose-built houses. One thing hasn’t changed. It’s still very remote!

I should add, too, that there’s a fantastic visitor centre and café here, which barely gets a mention, even on the official Spurn Point website.

Campsite with en suite facilities

If our first site, Withernsea Sands Holiday Park, sufficed, a treat was in store at our second, Sand le Mere, where our pitch came with its very own toilet block. En suite, they call it, a small structure housing shower, toilet and handbasin, plus heating – all for our exclusive use – as well as a handy outdoor washing-up point that we shared with the pitch next door to ours.

Withernsea Sands Holiday Park
Pitching up at Withernsea Sands Holiday Park

It’s not a service I’ve experienced before in the UK, but we’d come across it a couple of times on Dutch sites over a decade ago. It was most welcome, especially considering the somewhat mixed weather we encountered in April.

Sand le Mere was our springboard into Hornsea and even just driving in, it seemed to be that little bit more upmarket than the towns we previously visited during this trip.

The centre might hold the richer story – the Pottery Trail, the museum, Hall Garth Park and more – but there’s also a little bit of history on its outskirts, where Hornsea Freeport opened in the 1990s to become the UK’s very first factory outlet shopping village.

Markers for the Hornsea art trail
Nick and Bonnie spot one of the markers for the Hornsea art trail

As well as lots of designer and outdoor gear suppliers (easy parking for larger vehicles, too), it is also home to Brewers Kitchen and Deli. How we (OK, I) resisted the fabulous homemade cakes there remains something of a mystery.

Owner Jason Chapman explained how the café is in his wife’s maiden name, how his great great (I think I got that right) grandfather was a showman whose roles included training elephants, and how the Poundstretcher supermarket next door is the biggest draw to his relatively small eatery.

Back in Hornsea itself, we explored the beach, walked in Hall Garth Park and encountered some of the Pottery Trail, allowing us time for an early evening meal at The Green Owl, named after one of the famous designs (you’ll know it when you see it) featuring on Hornsea tableware.

The Green Owl is a lovely café-bar, where we enjoyed homemade chilli and lasagne, chatted to owners Joanne Grayson and Matt Davis, then decided – despite the temptation of live music later, as every Monday evening – that we needed to check into our next campsite and prepare ourselves for the rest of the week. So not long after that, we were Bridlington bound.

Bracing beach and the Old Town

With dog Bonnie developing a taste for beach life, Fraisthorpe was possibly her holiday highlight. Like many places on this stretch of coast, it’s predominantly sandy and huge enough to satisfy a dog who just wants to run and run. It was great to be able to park right on the beachfront, too.

Dog on Fraisthorpe Beach
Bonnie took a really good run on Fraisthorpe Beach

In case you’re wondering how you can cope with a wet, sandy dog in a camper, our answer is lots of old towels, a Doggy Bag for sitting on and drying, a Scruffs Noodle Mat and lots of ‘warming down’ on drier land (fields and streets) before taking up the travel position on the back seat (you can take a look at our guide to the dog motorhome accessories to pack in your ‘van too). Luckily, our Fraisthorpe visit coincided with the warmest, sunniest day of the whole trip.

From there, it was the shortest of drives into Bridlington, soon discovering a small car park perfectly placed to head on into the Old Town. Here the High Street is a mix of blue-plaqued historic dwellings and interesting shops (you might recognise it from the 2016 Dad’s Army film), where we spent far too long at the Georgian Rooms – the collective title for the Georgian Antiques Centre, a series of rooms and outdoor displays, and the rather wonderful Georgian Tea Rooms.

Bridlington’s historic Old Town
Bridlington’s historic Old Town

It was only when following up on this and reading the website that I saw it had a no-dogs policy – on the day, we asked and they were not just happy to let us bring in Bonnie, but one member of the waiting staff (again, after asking) fed her pieces of sausage, while we dined on their delicious jam roly-poly and custard to go with our afternoon coffees.

Oh, and a few words of praise for Bridlington Caravan and Motorhome Club Site. Well run, clean, with a great amenities block.

Bridlington CAMC Site
Pitching up at the Bridlington CAMC Site

Faring well, dining out and in

Yes, we did overdo things a bit on the dining out front (again, I blame the unseasonal weather). But I’m more than happy to recommend The Ship Inn at Sewerby (near the Bridlington CAMC Site), The Denison Arms (beef stew and dumplings!) and The Downe Arms (both near Scarborough, the latter a short walk off-site at St Helens), pubs that cater particularly well for hungry campers, as well as providing a welcome for dogs.

As for eating in, we’re always keen to try local fare and our cheese and beer meals in the ’van included the likes of Black Sheep Amber Ale, Wold Top Marmalade Porter and Yorkshire Pudding Beer (both better than they sound), as well as cheeses such as Black Bomber and Shepherd’s Purse Blue Wedge.

These can all be noted down as Yorkshire delicacies and proof you don’t have to cook in your motorhome to enjoy a tasty repast.

Ironic, then, that mid-tour was when we ran out of gas. There was something inevitable about this, especially as – despite seemingly having plenty of use – I hadn’t had to replace our ’van’s Campingaz 907 cylinder since before Covid.

A strategically placed sign in the site shower block for Abyss Caravan Supplies (and a quick call ahead to check that the cylinder was in stock) came to our rescue.

That gave us time for a visit to Flamborough Head, where the lighthouse also marks the start of the eight-mile circular walk – you’ll need to keep your dog on a lead for some of this because it’s a bit precarious in places.

Flamborough Head lighthouse
Flamborough Head lighthouse marks the starting point of an eight-mile circular walk

The weather was starting to turn against us, too. So much so, we only did a drive-through at Scarborough, for a glimpse of the bright lights of both South and North Bays, before checking into our next campsite, St Helens Park, a site that made it into our Top 100 Sites Guide in the past, where we reveal the best motorhome sites in the country.

At St Helens in The Park (its real name and so-called because it’s just inside the boundary of the North York Moors National Park), we encountered another campsite first – our pitch had a smart electricity meter.

Doubtless this is the future, but it meant we had to prepay for our mains supply, with any balance being returned on departure.

It’s certainly the ideal antidote to what we spotted on one campsite (no names, no pack drill!) – a mains-operated halogen heater left on in an awning during the day while its owners were nowhere to be seen.

You can’t escape the water

Only slightly inland, the North Yorkshire Water Park is packed with activities, both water- and land-based. A brilliant resource, from zipwire to ‘sup and pup’ (stand up paddleboarding, with your dog; I chickened out), to boating and more.

'Sup and pup’
‘Sup and pup’ is just one of many activities at North Yorkshire Water Park

We gave in to the wet, increasingly cold and windy weather, satisfying ourselves with a walk around the main, U-shaped lake.

Light lunch was along the road at Bolli’s, for a quiche (choice of three) and salad meal.

From here, it was quite a drive to reach our next campsite, Whitby Holiday Park. The touring pitches here are nearly all located at the site’s highest point – they provide splendid views out to sea, but it’s always going to be a bit windy!

My Somerset born-and-bred partner Lin loves a bit of banter. It was she who volunteered to go and get fish and chips, while I took on the harder task of trying to find a temporary parking spot in Whitby. We’d already sussed out the queues outside what we could only presume were the best outlets. The family ahead of Lin at Papa’s were in deep discussions about what to order – the son in particular wondering which type of sausage he ought to have.

Lin’s sensible advice: “It’s a chip shop. The best sausages will be battered,” was soon taken up. What Lin couldn’t fathom was the popularity of ladles of what looked like delicious gravy on the chips (all in a cardboard box).

She found out just how delicious when offered a chip by the child’s mum: “Go on, have one!”

Ending up at Whitby

Whitby Holiday Park is on the Cleveland Way, as well as lying adjacent to Saltwick Bay.

We joined the cliffside footpath and followed it the one mile or so to Whitby, via the famous abbey ruins and the last 199 steps to the bustling town. It was Good Friday and folk were out in their hordes. Church Street was really crammed, but luckily, we’d booked ahead to reserve a table at Sanders Yard – a light lunch, as we snacked on houmous, feta, salad, organic mushroom paté and more, while Bonnie made herself scarce – but not scarce enough to go unnoticed should anyone be in need of a dog to fuss over. Plenty were!

Whitby offers excellent walking, fine views – and great fish & chips

The town centre’s main museums are not dog-friendly, so we contented ourselves with a mooch around, in and out of some of the many independent shops, and a run on the beach.

It was a lovely way to round off our Route YC tour. We had a great week and we brought home lots of good memories – Spurn Point in a Unimog, the beach at Fraisthorpe, Bridlington’s Old Town, Saltwick Bay and Whitby itself are all up there among the highlights.

Anyone with a motorhome should take a Route YC trip – there’s loads to discover here, even if you think you already know the region well.

If you’re thinking of staying in other parts of the region, take a look at our guide to the best motorhome sites in the North East for inspiration.

When to go on a Route YC trip

Pre-Easter suited us, ahead of the crowds – although the weather can be rather unpredictable then.

Way to go

Route YC is a great way to introduce visitors to everything the fabulous Yorkshire coast has to offer.

Touring essentials

Where we stayed as we followed Route YC

Withernsea Sands Holiday Park

Waxholme Road, Nutmeg Grove, Withernsea HU19 2BS,

  • Open: 22 March to 4 November
  • Price: £22

Sand le Mere

Southfield Lane, Tunstall HU12 0JN,

  • Open: 23 March to 2 November
  • Price: £16

Bridlington CAMC Site

Flamborough Road, Sewerby, Bridlington YO15 1DU, 

  • Open: All year
  • Price: £47.10 (members)

St Helens in The Park

Wykeham, Scarborough YO13 9QD, 

  • Open: All year
  • Price: £27.50

Whitby Holiday Park

Saltwick Bay, Whitby YO22 4JX,

  • Open: 1 March to 14 January
  • Price: £76 (two nights)

Find out more about Route YC

Route YC

Route YC can help you discover the treasures of the East Yorkshire coast. Touted as Yorkshire’s ultimate road trip, it’s ideal for motorhomes, with a choice of six scenic routes covering Withernsea, Hornsea, Bridlington, Filey, Scarborough and Whitby.

It’s all very informal, and you can follow one, try out a combination, or as we did, complete them in one go.

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