Down the coast from Whitby lies the less well known Robin Hood’s Bay. Built into the cliffside the old cottages and pubs line the route from beachside to cliff top, it’s one of the strange places where cars are not really welcome and the best way to access this idyllic spot is on foot.
I’ve visited this place several times over the years and I never fail to feel the history in this town that remains relatively unchanged for over a century. It’s easy to spend a whole day here from fossil hunting to antiques shopping, Robin Hood’s Bay has something for every age.
Here are a few reasons why it should make your places to visit list:
Believe it or not this part of the coast was once at the bottom of the sea. Buried in the mud, the sea creatures of the time became fossilised and you can find these fossils on the beach at low tide.
Who doesn’t like the idea of hunting for dinosaurs?
OK, so you’re pretty unlikely to come across a T-Rex but you’ve got a good chance across coming across something smaller.
I found several little fossils on the surface of a boulder last time I was there.
Grab your nets and buckets we’re going hunting for creatures of the deep!
OK so maybe creatures of the shallow, but seriously who didn’t have loads of fun trying to catch all manner of sea life in rock pools when you were younger?
Obviously, these are only accessible at low tide but the beach is scattered with them of various sizes and depths so even on the busiest of summer days there’s no need to fight for space.
Just remember to keep your finds in a bucket of water and return them at the end of day.
Be nice they have feelings too!
They say that at one time you could get a bale of silk from the beach to the cliff tops without it ever needing to see daylight. The majority tumbledown houses of the town at one point boasted trapdoors and hidden cupboards (some may still have these) making the transport of the bootleg goods easier.
The raising of taxes to fund war and the geography of the land helped smuggling thrive. It was highly organised and involved all classes of society such was the potential wealth on offer.
The goods were whisked from ships to caves, houses or coastal farms before being moved inland using packhorse trails and distributed as far as london!
Take a stroll down one of the narrow paths and you will get a feel for how smuggling was able to thrive here.
Coast to Coast
Robin Hood’s bay is the official finish line for Wainwright’s Coast to Coast walk. Throughout the summer months you will see lots of walkers heading down to the hill the beachfront with their big backpacks on as they take the last few steps of the 192 mile (309 Km) walk.
Tradition dictates that you finish by dipping your toes (or boots) in the ocean, signing the the coast to coast finishers book in the Bay hotel and sipping on a well deserved pint (other beverages are available).
I know what you’re thinking, that’s a bit of a cop out.
And yes to an extent but it’s true this is a place you can just chill.
Whether that’s on the beach, in/outside one of the little cafes or in one of the little pubs
Until next time
I also visited Whitby on this trip.