Things to do in Filey
A few miles southeast of Scarborough you’ll find the quiet seaside town of Filey. The town sits close to our Primrose Valley, Reighton Sands, and Blue Dolphin holiday parks. It’s about a 15-minute drive from each!
As well as being conveniently situated, Filey offers a variety of attractions including a sandy beach, a bird garden and animal park, and even a distillery to tour. Below we’ve highlighted a handful of the best things to do in Filey.
Thought to have been the site of a Roman settlement, Filey has been a fishing village for centuries, with the traditional coble ships bringing in catches of sea trout and shellfish. You’ll see these boats at Coble Landing adjacent to the small strip of beach at north Filey Bay. Unusually, this fishing village has no harbour, so the boats tend to be much smaller than modern fishing vessels.
Visitors can stroll south from here along the seafront promenade, past ice cream stalls, play parks, and crazy golf. You’ll eventually reach the paddling pool and Glen Garden, with its lawns and cafe.
Filey Bird Gardens and Animal Park
The landscaped grounds of Filey Bird Gardens and Animal Park are a wonderful place to spend an afternoon, with 24 separate areas devoted to a host of different animals including meerkats, skunks, parrots, wallabies, alpacas, and the exotic-sounding bearded dragons.
As well as many fascinating creatures, there are a range of horticultural spaces in the five-acre park including a formal garden, a sensory garden (great for vision-impaired visitors), and a woodland trail. Children can help feed the meerkats daily and there’s a play park and café with outdoor seating.
Spirit of Yorkshire Distillery
Perhaps you’ve exhausted the kids with activities, but what attractions does Filey have for the adults? If there are any whisky lovers in your group, they may enjoy a trip to this distillery, the first of its kind in Yorkshire.
Distilling their product since 2016, Filey Bay whisky is made here. Find out how by taking part in one of several hour-long tours, available daily. You can combine a visit with a deep-dive tasting every Friday afternoon or the second Saturday of every month.
If your interest extends to beer too, the nearby World Top Brewery has joined forces with Spirit of Yorkshire to arrange a combined double visit and tasting on Tuesdays or selected Saturdays.
Those interested in history, geography or geology may enjoy a visit to Filey Brigg, a long promontory of rock with 20-metre-high cliffs and numerous visiting seabirds, including redshanks, sandpipers, and oystercatchers.
Remains of a Roman signalling station were found here, and five foundation stones from the excavation can now be seen in Filey’s Cresent Gardens. Nearby, there’s the extensive Filey Brigg Country Park which offers great views down to the town and beach.
The coastal path (Cleveland Way) leads southwest from here to the town. Plus, there’s plenty of space for picnics or throwing a frisbee.
Open for more than 50 years, the Filey Museum offers a quaint glimpse into the town’s 400-year history. The buildings in which it is housed date back to 1696, although the nearby St Oswald’s Church is a 12th-century structure.
Across two floors and a walled garden, the museum depicts Filey’s cultural and fishing-related past, including recreations of old trades and a typical Victorian parlour. There are displays about Filey’s lifeboat service (which predated the RNLI) and natural history exhibits about the minerals, fossils, and sea life found locally.
Visitors can also enjoy the work of local photographer Walter Fisher, who recorded Filey life at the turn of the 19th century.
If you’re looking for something a bit more adrenaline-fuelled, Bay Watersports, who operate out of Filey but provide adventures as far as Scarborough and Bridlington, offer a wide selection of activities, including kayaking, paddleboarding, dinghy sailing, and raft building.
Owners James and Mandy Whitehead take both one-to-one and group bookings and provide everything you’d need except wetsuits. There’s also coasteering to try: an energetic way to explore the coastline via paths, the beach, and the sea itself.
Filey Pitch and Putt
If you’d prefer to stay dry during your sporting activities, there’s an 18-hole pitch and putt. It’s friendly and accessible to all, with balls and clubs provided by the helpful staff. Pitch and putt is a great way to introduce newbies to golf, and this one’s location offers scenic views of the sea.
The course is part of Glen Gardens, a great place to walk or exercise your pooch.
Filey Dams Nature Reserve
For more outdoor exercise in a pristine location, head to Filey Dams, where a wooded freshwater marsh provides a habitat for migratory birds such as spoonbills and little egrets. You may spot water voles, dragonflies, and the three species of British newts here too.
There are viewing hides for keen birdwatchers and photographers, and the reserve is situated just minutes from the train station or beach.