It’s summer and, hopefully, that means that there will be at least a little sunshine around. Following the beginning of the year, where we were constantly battered by one jauntily named storm after another, we deserve to feel the heat of the sun on our skin, draw in the smell of fish and chips wafting through the air and witness the inimitable screeching of the seagulls fighting over one of those aforementioned fried treats.

But do you hit the resorts of Lancashire or the Yorkshire coast? For anyone living along the border of these two fine counties, there are big decisions to make. If you sit halfway between the two sides of the country, it might not be immediately obvious where to pitch up your deckchair. It also depends on what you want from a day at the seaside, so Northern Life has compiled the Battle of the Beaches: Yorkshire vs Lancashire to help you make a decision.

The Big Hitters

Blackpool vs Scarborough

Let’s start big and brash. Both coasts boast their own all singing, all dancing centre of coastal entertainment. Think neon-lit arcades, Kiss Me Quick hats, big summer shows and the very real risk of sharing a hotel with a boisterous stag party from Birmingham. Blackpool and Scarborough are the biggest and most hectic resorts on their respective coasts. If you love the trappings of the traditional British seaside, then you can’t go wrong with a trip to either of these monuments to coastal pleasure.

Blackpool has the Tower, the Empress Ballroom, the Pleasure Beach and more to keep you busy. There are three piers too, all bustling with activity during the summer months as the hordes make their way from the rest of Lancashire and beyond.

best beaches in the north

Scarborough bills itself as the original seaside resort, dating its first sunseeking visitors back to 400 years ago. The Open Air Theatre attracts huge names from the world of music to entertain the holidaymakers and locals alike. Recently, stars such as Britney Spears, The Beach Boys and Lionel Richie have wowed the North Yorkshire crowds. You can also find history at the castle and indoor family fun at the new Alpamare Waterpark.

best beaches in the north


The Quirky Alternatives

Crosby vs Whitby

Perhaps you fancy something a little different from your day out at the beach. In which case, both coasts can provide a seaside adventure with a twist for you at either Crosby or Whitby, especially if you are into your art.

The Antony Gormley statues that adorn Crosby beach in Lancashire (well, technically Merseyside now) make this an eerie and beautiful place to visit. There are a hundred of the life-size cast-iron models, all staring out to see, created in the image of their maker. Some stand above the sand, others are buried within it. Some become submerged at high tide, others simply get their feet wet. This is well worth a trip, and the pictures you take will look great on your social media too!

There is also a marine lake and a neat village with plenty of shops, bars and restaurants to keep you busy.

best beaches in the north
Statue on Crosby Beach

Whitby is a town associated with a different type of art. Novelist Bram Stoker spent four weeks in the town in 1890 and it was there that he launched into his gothic masterpiece, Dracula. Indeed, in the book, the titular character arrives in England through Whitby, making this coastal resort a go-to destination for those of a goth persuasion. The regular goth weekends fill the streets with black-clad holidaymakers looking to retrace the steps of the prince of darkness. Usually 199 steps. The 199 steps up to the impressive ruins of the town’s Abbey from where you can view the vast stretches of sand that make up the beach.

best beaches in the north
Whitby beach

Pier Pressure

St Annes vs Saltburn

Although Blackpool’s piers are the most famous in Lancashire, St Annes pier goes about its business in as quiet and dignified a way as you would expect from a resident of this refined town. Beautifully maintained with its white wooden deck and green-painted cast iron, it is one of the most pleasing sights along the Lancastrian shoreline, even though it is significantly shorter than once it was, due to the second fire it endured, in 1982.

St Annes itself is a joy to wander through. There are beautiful gardens, long stretches of sand, fantastic shopping and numerous places to eat and drink during your day out on the west coast.

best beaches in the north
St. Annes Pier

When it comes to pitching a Yorkshire pier against a Lancastrian
one, there isn’t much choice. In fact, Saltburn-by-the-Sea boasts
Yorkshire’s only remaining pier. Thankfully, the town that accompanies this jetty is also well worth visiting.

Take the funicular cliff tramway up and down between the town and beach, relax in the luscious Valley Gardens, or puff along on the famous miniature railway. There is also a town full of vibrant shops, with a real mix of independent retailers selling their wares.

best beaches in the north
Saltburn Pier