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A Circular Walk From Whitby Whalebones to Ruswarp

  • Jack Barber

This circular walk is around 4.5 miles in length, and takes about 1 1/2 hours to complete. It is partly on urban footpaths, and partly on a footpath which follows the railway line. It’s quite easy going, but because of the footpath section is not suitable for prams, or bikes.

Starting at Whitby’s Whalebones

Having enjoyed the view from the Whalebones, across the harbour to the Abbey, turn and face west. Follow the footpath to the left of Clara’s. It’s a bit soon to stop for a coffee break, but if you fancy a take-away hot drink or an ice cream, now’s your chance!

Following the cliff top you’ll pass Whitby’s Arnold Palmer Crazy Golf course. This is a really popular activity with visitors and local throughout the summer. Also lookout for one of Emma Stothard’s sculptures next to Trillo’s Ice Cream Hut.

You’ll pass the Cliff Lift which provides easy access down to the beach in the summer. After this you’ll see a couple of traditional shelters. They’re the perfect place for sitting and enjoying the view, especially if the weather’s poor!

After passing The Metropole on the left you’ll reach a grassy area along the cliff top. You’ll pass a couple of hotels, and then a terrace of smart-looking town houses which curve round to the left. Follow the road.

The Parade

Your now at The Parade. There’s a Costcutter Supermarket, a good place to pick up supplies for a picnic. Keep following the road to the right, you’ll cross bridge. The railway line used to run under here.

At the mini roundabout, turn left. Follow the footpath along Love Lane. When you reach the junction at the end of the road (with Lidl opposite), turn left. Passing the Shell Garage head up the hill. 

The road forks at the top, take the left turning (which is more like straight on!) The road heads down hill, then up again as it approaches a large roundabout. 

When you reach the roundabout, head straight over, onto Ruswarp Lane. Beware of traffic and make use of the crossing islands.

Ruswarp Lane

Ruswarp Lane heads gently down hill. As you pass the houses to the left, see if you can spot the Viaduct and the view across Ruswarp Fields. You’ll be passing directly underneath the Viaduct a little later on!


As the gradient increases you’re heading down into Ruswarp Village itself. The steep hill is called Ruswarp Bank. Keep to the left hand footpath.

At the bottom of the hill you’ll pass Jackson’s Butchers. They do the most amazing sausage and bacon sandwiches in the area. It’s definitely worth timing this walk in time to pick up a sandwich. At busy times the queue can be quite long – so be prepared to wait a bit.

Ruswarp Railway Station

As you carry on through the village you’ll pass Ruswarp Primary School on the left. Just after this you’ll see the train station. This is on the Esk Valley line which runs from Whitby to Middlesbrough.

Cross the railway line. Immediately after the crossing there’s a gate to the left. Go through the gate and onto the footpath which runs along the side of the railway line. Make sure you close the gate behind you.

Keep following the footpath. You’ll have the River Esk to your right, and the railway line to your left. If you’re lucky you might get a close up view of a steam train!

You’ll no doubt see some wildlife on the river. Gulls, ducks and geese are common and as you get towards town you might see wading birds in the mud.


Pass Under The Viaduct

Enjoy walking under the Viaduct. It’s an amazing structure – whether you’re walking across it, or beneath it.


As you near Whitby you’ll begin to see boats on the river bank to your right. You’ll reach the end of the footpath and the Abbey and St Mary’s Church will appear on the headland in the distance.

If it’s quiet, you can cross straight through the pay and display car park. If it’s busier, stick to the footpath which runs around to the right. You’ll be approaching the Co-op.


Pass Through Whitby Town Centre

As you walk down Langbourne Road, The Fish Box will be on the right. Peckish? You’re now back in Whitby.

After passing the Fish Box, you’ll see the War Memorial on the right, and the Endeavour moored in the harbour. Stick to the footpath which runs along the harbourside to the Swing Bridge.

Cross the road next to the Swing Bridge, keeping the river on your right. Follow the road in front of Mountain Warehouse, heading towards the Piers.

You’ll end up on Pier Road. Take-away kiosks line the right hand side of the road, pubs, The Magpie Cafe and the amusement arcades on the left.


Take a Detour Down the Pier

When you reach the Bandstand you can take a detour along the pier, if you wish. You don’t need to go far along the pier to get an amazing view up the coast to Sandsend.

Back to the Whale Bones

Detour complete, head up the Khyber Pass from the Bandstand. You’ll pass the Fisherman’s Wife fish and chip shop and restaurant on the right. A little further up you’ll find some steps which will take you back to your starting point – the Whale Bones. Alternatively, cross the road and keep to the footpath as it winds its way up the hill.


Coffee Time!

If you didn’t treat yourself to a coffee as you set off, now’s you chance! Clara’s are open year-round. They sell hot drinks and snacks including locally produced ice cream. They also have some sheltered outdoor seating, so you can rest weary legs. The Sunken Gardens are also a great place to get out of the breeze and enjoy a well-earned rest.

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