Back in the 18th century, the fishing village of Saltburn by the Sea (to give it its full title) was well-known for its smuggling activities. The transformation came with the arrival of the railway, and the Victorian zeal for seaside towns was played out in full at Saltburn, which still features Italian Gardens, quirky cliff tramway, and elegant pier. But there's also a vibrant, contemporary air to town, which is making a new name for itself as an arts, culture, food and surfing destination.
Things to see and do
The golden sands are as enticing as they ever were. Explore the Valley Gardensto experience something of the town's original Victorian air. Take a short ride on the Saltburn Miniature Railway that trundles from the beach-side Cat Nab station for half-a-mile to Forest Halt, while the Woodland Centre helps you discover the wildlife of the area.
The Cliff Lift (dating from 1884) is one of the world's oldest water-powered funicular railways – it operates daily from Easter until the end of September and at weekends in October, November, and December.
Wander along Britain’s most northerly surviving pier. If you’re visiting from May onwards, you’ll probably find some of the pier’s railings festooned with woollen characters created by knitting’s answer to Banksy. Each year the mysterious group of yarn bombers take a different theme for their woolly creations.
The Saltburn bandstand, with its beautiful contemporary design, was forged by a local blacksmith, James Godbold. The bandstand hosts free weekend concerts from May to September.
Saltburn prides itself on its independent shops so head for the ‘Jewel Streets’ and tucked away corners of the town to discover gifts and other retail finds.
Contemporary artists and artisans work and exhibit at Saltburn Studios & Gallery. It's usually open weekends noon to 4 pm, though there are workshops and events throughout the year too.
The Cleveland Way National Trail, which starts in Helmsley, first reaches the sea at Saltburn – it's 9 miles down the coast to Staithes from here.
Saltburn is popular with surfers and you'll see them in action throughout the year. Local surf schools offer lessons and equipment hire.
Saltburn Leisure Centre has a swimming pool.
Saltburn by the Sea Golf Club, 18 holes, on the Guisborough road.
Festivals and events
Saltburn Farmers' Market (2nd Saturday of the month), held in the station portico, is acquiring a reputation as a great place to source local produce and artisan food, arts and crafts.
There's also a very popular annual Food Festival each July.