Located in the East Riding of Yorkshire, the Flamborough Head to Bempton Cliffs walk is easily one of the best coastal routes in the UK. But, many walkers will miss the outstanding Drinking Dinosaur attraction, located along the coastline at Flamborough Head. The Drinking Dinosaur isn’t actually located on the typical route, as depicted in many trail descriptions online. But, it only takes a small detour off the typical route to explore this amazing natural attraction.
Exploring the Drinking Dinosaur makes the Flamborough Head to Bempton Cliffs walk even better. So, we highly recommend adding this awesome natural attraction to your coastal walk along the brilliant Yorkshire coast. Other than the phenomenal Drinking Dinosaur, you’ll also have beautiful white cliffs, stunning beaches and amazing birdlife to enjoy along this walk. Indeed, all of the highlights of the Flamborough Head to Bempton Cliffs walk will be covered in this guide.
We’ve also put together a YouTube production, which shows off the Drinking Dinosaur and the other highlights of this coastal walk. Make sure to have a watch below!
Flamborough Head to Bempton Cliffs: The Best Trail Option
The typical Flamborough Head to Bempton Cliffs walk is a circular route, which doesn’t take in the Drinking Dinosaur at Flamborough Head. This option involves completing the route by cutting inland from Bempton Cliffs to Flamborough. Of course, we’re usually all for a loop instead of doing an out and back, in order to explore new areas. But in this case, with an absolutely stunning coastline, we think it’s best to stick by the coast the entire walk!
So, for the best hiking experience, you should start by exploring the Drinking Dinosaur at Flamborough Head. Perhaps, start early so you can enjoy a sunrise, golden hour and fewer crowds. We then recommend joining the typical route to Bempton Cliffs and then completing an out and back walk. This way, you’ll stick by the beautiful coastline for longer and skip any needless road walking on your return.
Flamborough Head to Bempton Cliffs Hiking Preview
- Type: Out & Back
- Distance: 20.9km
- Time: 5 hours 10 mins
- Accumulated elevation gain: 672m
- Difficulty: Easy
- Trailhead: Flamborough Head Car Park
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The Drinking Dinosaur
From Flamborough Head Car Park, you’ll only have a short walk to the incredible Drinking Dinosaur landform. This rock formation is by far one of the most impressive natural attractions in the UK. Checking it out will make the perfect start to your Flamborough Head to Bempton Cliffs walk. If you can’t quite make it for sunrise, try to get here as early as possible. The early morning golden hour really brings this dinosaur to life.
Afterwards, you’ll join the coastal route from Flamborough Head, heading north, passing the New Flamborough Lighthouse. Almost immediately, you’ll catch sight of the Selwicks Bay Cliffs. These white sandstone cliffs are absolutely spectacular and are a major highlight of the Flamborough Head to Bempton Cliffs route.
Make sure to head down to Selwicks Bay (tide allowing) where there are incredible white cliffs and rocks scattered along the beach.
You’ll also have great views of the Selwicks Bay Cliffs from a lower position on the bay.
You’ll then rejoin the coastal path and explore along the outstanding Flamborough Headland Heritage Coast. The Flamborough Cliffs are truly stunning, with glistening white sandstone ruggedly shaped from natural erosion.
After a mesmerising walk along this section of the coast, you’ll arrive at North Landing Beach. Other than the incredible cliffs, there is an interesting cave to explore on the beach.
Further north along the coast is another beautiful bay called Thornwick Bay. Expect more epic white cliffs to surround the bay and maybe even some seals laying on the pebbles!
Heading towards the mammoth Bempton Cliffs, the coastal path begins to ascend. The cliffs become taller, as you head further north, passing farmland to your right. Without any bays to explore, this is a good section to speed hike.
Speed hiking: The relatively long stretch of coast between Thornwick Bay and Bempton Cliffs is a great section to speed hike. It’s a fairly uninterrupted track with mostly even terrain and a slight incline, so speed hiking allows for a great workout while you soak in the amazing coastal views.
As you near Bempton Cliffs, you will notice an increase in seabirds flying around and squawking. Expect many a bird watcher here gawking at these amazing sea creatures! Here, members of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) help manage the Bempton Cliffs Nature Reserve. The staff are helpful, informative and do a great job with conserving the area.
Once you’ve enjoyed a spot of birdwatching, it’s time for the return journey. We suggest retracing your steps to complete an out and back coastal walk. On the way back, you’ll see the marvellous white cliffs and serene bays from a different angle, offering a new perspective on a path you’ve already covered.
Flamborough Head to Bempton Cliffs Recap
Make sure you explore the Drinking Dinosaur as part of your Flamborough Head to Bempton Cliffs walk. Although it’s not included in the traditional route, it’s well worth the short detour to check out this incredible natural attraction. There are many stunning sea stacks and white cliffs in the UK, but the Drinking Dinosaur and Flamborough white cliffs are up there with the best. Add on the breathtaking birdlife at Bempton Cliffs, and you have one of the best coastal walks in the UK, starting with the phenomenal Drinking Dinosaur!
Getting to England
Flights: To do this trip from abroad, you’ll need to fly to England, with either Manchester or Leeds, being the most convenient airports to fly to. When booking flights, use Skyscanner to search for the cheapest flights. When flying abroad, we always get the ball rolling with a Skyscanner search. Although, with the pandemic, we recommend booking directly with the airline, because it will be much easier to cancel or reschedule flights if need be.
Additionally, if you’re UK or US-based, you should sign up to Jack’s Flight Club for the best flight deal alert service. By simply subscribing to the free weekly newsletter or buying premium membership, you could save lots of money on international travel. For the Aussies, we recommend subscribing to I Want That Flight for the best flight deal alerts.
Getting to Flamborough Head
When compared with using public transport, driving to Flamborough Head is the easiest option. If you don’t have your own set of wheels, consider renting with RentalCars.com – they have an unbeatable free cancellation policy.
There is a large pay and display car park with around 100 spaces next to the New Flamborough Head Lighthouse. Annoyingly, charges apply from 8am-6pm, so we couldn’t pay for a ticket when we arrived around 7:30am. So, after exploring the Drinking Dinosaur, we went back to the car park and paid for our ticket before hiking to Bempton Cliffs. We had trouble using a credit card with the ticket machine, so we paid £3 in cash. If you plan on parking elsewhere in East Riding after your coastal walk, you can purchase the East Riding Wide Daily Ticket for around £2 extra.
If you have no option but to use public transport, it’s possible to get a train to Bridlington from either Scarborough or Hull. You can then catch the number 14 bus to Flamborough and then walk 3.2km to Flamborough Cliffs from there.
Hiking Flamborough Head to Bempton Cliffs was one of the trails we covered during our August long weekend stay in the beautiful North York Moors. When planning this long weekend trip, we found accommodation along the Yorkshire Coast in towns such as Scarborough to be very expensive! Given most of our hikes that weekend would be in the North York Moors National Park, we decided to stay there. Because we booked only a few weeks in advance due to the COVID-19 pandemic, camping options were minimal, particularly with electric hook-up. Also, most campsites enforced a minimum 3-night stay over the long weekend.
In the end, we booked a non-electric hook-up at the lovely Middlewood Farm Holiday Park for £84 for 3 nights. The campsite is tucked away in the quiet town of Fylingthorpe, located next to the well-known Robin Hood’s Bay. Be mindful that check-in closes at 6pm, but you can call reception ahead of time to organise a later check-in. We did exactly that, checking in around 7pm. The campsite has good facilities and is very spacious. We enjoyed camping here.
It’s about an hour’s drive to Flamborough Head from Robin Hood’s Bay.
Five hiking gear essentials
These are our five hiking gear essentials for the Flamborough Head to Bempton Cliffs coastal walk. For a more comprehensive hiking gear list, check out our 66 Travel Accessories That You Must Travel With. Otherwise, for a general summary of everything you’d need for a trip, visit our Ultimate Packing Checklist.
Why do you need this?
See it in action
These hiking boots are extremely comfortable and a good choice for the Flamborough Head to Bempton Cliffs walk
This camera is hands down the best compact digital camera on the market. Lightweight, compact and durable, the Sony Cybershot RX100 VII takes brilliant photos and high-quality 4K videos
Situated on the coast, the Flamborough Head to Bempton Cliffs walk can get very wet and windy. Make sure to pack yourself a high-quality waterproof and windproof jacket for this walk
This is an awesome backpack for day hikes. It has plenty of space and a handy compartment for your hydration bladder
The DJI Mavic Air 2 is an incredible drone that takes high-quality aerial footage. We were extremely happy with the photos and videos captured by this drone whilst hiking Flamborough Head to Bempton Cliffs
Five camping gear essentials
Why do you need this?
See it in action
This sleeping bag is ideal for the colder temperatures that are to be expected when camping in the UK
With fly-screen windows, the Camping Living Room allows you to enjoy the great outdoors without the bugs!
The most convenient, comfortable and compact camping pillow you will ever find! This pocket size pillow is a must for campers who like minimalist gear
The Vango Alpha 400 is a fantastic tent for 2 people. It has plenty of space and is made of high quality material
If you're looking for a lightweight, compact, small and durable hammock, look no further than the Nakie hammock. Made from 100% recycled materials, this is the go-to hammock for any camping trip
Hiking Flamborough Head to Bempton Cliffs is quite straightforward; but, if you’re unfamiliar with the area, it may be worth having GPS directions. Feel free to use our Wikiloc GPS-guided map.
For those not so prepared, if you’re needing navigation help during your hike and don’t have any phone reception, consider using Maps.me. Although, you need to have at least downloaded the map of the general area beforehand.
- Check the weather: the Flamborough Head to Bempton Cliffs walk is a superb coastal walk; but, it’s best enjoyed in good weather.
- Hike at the nearby North York Moors National Park: there are other fantastic coastal walks further north on the Yorkshire Heritage Coast.
- Check the tide: before heading to Selwicks Bay, make sure it’s safe to do so by checking the tide.
Keen to explore this route with your hiking buddies? Please share this post on Facebook with your hiking crew #sharingiscaring
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