For anyone with a large family like ours, finding low-cost and budget-friendly days out can be a struggle. Even a simple day at the beach can become expensive when you factor in car parking, donkey rides, fairground rides on the seafront, doughnuts and ice creams. All that stuff is great, but we prefer a more back to basics seaside experience. That’s why we go to Cattersty Sands at Skinningrove.
Skinningrove? Where the heck is that?
Whenever we tell people we’ve been to Skinningrove they invariably ask “where’s that?”. My mock response would be “next to the sea” but I can’t bring myself to do that. For those that aren’t clear on what Google is for, let me explain…
Skinningrove is a small village on the northern border of North Yorkshire. There’s not much to the place and sadly it’s not got the best of reputations. It’s just down the coast (and around a headland) from Saltburn-by-the-Sea. The next coastal town down is Staithes. It’s pretty isolated but easy to reach by car.
To be honest you aren’t likely to hang around in the village as there’s nothing there but houses. There is a bar that we once ate at that was very nice, but on our most recent visit it appeared to be closed. Thinking about it, it was Easter Sunday so maybe they just chose not to open.
The jewel in the crown though is Cattersty Sands. From the small gravel car park, that is free, next to the water treatment building you take a short walk along the sea wall. I’ll be honest, there are plenty of dog waste bins along here but they don’t appear to be well used! Do not let this put you off, just keep going. You will come to a kind of gateway that was once a bridge that carried the iron ore railway out to the waiting ships.
Stepping through that gateway is like stepping into Narnia (but with sand, not snow)…
Cattersty Sands is a long, golden expanse of lovely clean sand. I stress the clean part as I mentioned the dog mess strewn approach earlier. There’s a strip of sands where the water next quite makes it at the foot of the sand dunes and steep cliffs that overlook the beach.
When I say there is nothing here but the sea and the sand I am not kidding.
No food outlets, toilets, games, arcades, donkeys or doughnuts. Nada. Zilch. Diddly squat!
So what is there to do?
When we come here we bring some essentials:
- beach tent
- wet suits
- buckets & spades
- first aid kit
You make your own fun on Cattersty Sands. We go rock pooling, build sand castles, paddle and mess about in the sea, throw a ball for Duke, explore the dunes, or simply chill in the beach tent and read a book.
It really is the perfect place for us. And, we don’t spend a thing other than the cost of fuel getting here.
Give it a try
So, if you find yourself in the North Yorkshire area then why not give this fantastic beach a try. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.
Thanks for reading.
For more free or low-cost family days out in North Yorkshire take a look at 8 Things to do with the kids for free or cheap in North Yorkshire this summer
3 thoughts on “Cattersty Sands The Hidden Gem of Skinningrove”
Cattersty Beach is our favourite. I have travelled up and down North Yorkshire coast for years. We have only discovered Cattersty fairly recently (last 4 years). Having swam in the North Sea since childhood that initial step brrrrr, was ok. It’s so clean if you walk up the beach for a while. You can find a private spot to set up. Watch the tide though! Would love to do a coastal walk to Saltburn-by-the-Sea too, but the tide has been against us. Would love to live near here one day. Pension plans in place!
Skinningrove is a blissful secret, largely only known by local residents who take their dogs there for walks along the beautiful beach. I was with a friend who was lent a cottage in the area from 7th-11th September 2020. The dogs (two female springer spaniels, sisters from two diffent litters bred by me), were in seventh heaven, as were we. Yorkshire people we met, as well as a fortunate few other holiday visitors like us, were all so friendly. Its other claim to fame is the pigeon fanciers centre which is well known in the county and beyond.
There is a very smart new public toilet block to the right of the car park