You can feel the history of Robin Hood’s Bay as you wander from the top of the village down the steep street towards the beach. As the whiff of the sea gets stronger and you peer into the maze of alleyways that are barely wider than a beer barrel, you can almost hear the stone walls of the cottages giving up the secrets of centuries past.
As you reach the dock where the Bay Hotel and Old Coastguard Station watch over the slipway onto the beach, it’s easy to imagine the secretive night-time goings-on back in the 1700s when Robin Hood’s Bay was one of the busiest spots on the North East coast for smuggling.
Baytown, or Bay as locals refer to the village, was also once a fishing stronghold with mariners braving the high seas to bring in the day’s catch.
Today art and folk music abounds in Robin Hood’s Bay. The Bay Hotel is home to The Bay Folk Club which meets first and third Friday evenings while Steve Philips plays live in the Grosvenor most Tuesdays. You may also come across impromptu music sessions in the streets and other venues. Check out Robin Hood’s Bay’s events calendar for details.
And don’t miss the annual Folk Weekend in the summer. This free festival is packed full with music sessions, traditional dance and singarounds at numerous locations. Not to be missed either is December's Victorian Weekend where traditional Victorian costume is de rigueur and craft fairs, music, street performers, traditional Victorian games will keep you entertained.
It’s also a place for wandering – the warren of alleyways make dawdling a doddle with an array of independent shops, plenty of cafés and restaurants and interesting nooks and crannies to explore. Pick up locally produced Baytown Beer and Baytown coffee along with all the essentials needed for your holiday in the village, with plenty of places to stay, the perfect place to switch off and relax by the sea.
Wainwright's famous A Coast to Coast Walk from St Bees in Cumbria ends its journey at Robin Hood's Bay. A plaque on the wall at the top of the slipway in the Dock marks the end of the walk.
It’s also a haven for nature. It's fantastic here for rock-pooling, birdwatching, beach-combing, exploring and playing.
Going on the beach? Always check the tide times, so you don’t get cut off.
At low tide it’s possible to walk along the beautiful beach, where a vast rock platform is revealed, made up of alternate layers of soft and hard rock. As the soft rock has eroded, the hard rock remains, resulting in a series of curving ridged ‘scaurs’. Wander past rocky ledges filled with rockpools to reach the secluded cove of Boggle Hole. Legend has it that Boggles, or hobgoblins, once lived in the caves and would use their healing powers to cure sick children. Sadly there are no Boggles today but the YHA Boggle Hole’s QuarterDeck dog-friendly café provides a delightful spot to simply enjoy the sandy shoreline.
For three hours either side of high tide, Boggle Hole is not accessible via the beach, although the Cleveland Way National Trail provides a stunning cliff top alternative route.
Please do not drive down to the old village beyond the small roundabout by the Victoria Hotel – there’s no public parking and vehicle access is very difficult. There are car parks in the upper village at Bank Top and Station Road at the top of the bank. Remember it is a steep walk down... and up but worth it!