Newest Review: ... once was, tourism is the main industry in the village, with the fossils often found on the beach drawing a number of visitors. There are... more
A different day out at the Seaside.
Robin Hood's Bay (North Yorkshire)
Member Name: The Daz
Robin Hood's Bay (North Yorkshire)
Advantages: Scenic, plenty to see and do.
Disadvantages: It's a fair drive for a lot of people...
Visitors are usually looking to pass time in locations that would fit one or more of the following list: Quaint, Picturesque, Vertiginious, Local and Coastal.
Actually - I'll be honest. You won't find the smuggling tunnels rumoured to link the buildings at the base of the cliff, and there's a refreshing absence of attractions hawking 'get yer replica smugglers swag here', but all the other parts of my introduction are still correct.
The origins of the name are unknown and mostly subject to historical fog, although it is known that Robin Hood never actually visited the area. The first mention of the name of the Village is from Norman Times.
Located about 5 miles to the South East of Whitby in North Yorkshire, and Dooyoo take note, not in the North York Moors National Park, this scenic limpet of a community is part of a thriving populace struggling to keep apace with the problems that villages nationwide face in the 21st Century - depopulation and withdrawal of services. The railway station closed down in 1965, the village bobby left in 1991, the library closed in 1987, and even the Village Trust was wound up eventually. Nevertheless, the community has soldiered on, and has its own information website and paper called Bayside, and even has its own Broadband Co-Operative. Visitors will find no shortage of amenities and accommodation, and the friendliness of the locals is to the usual high standard in Yorkshire.
Strictly speaking, Robin Hood's Bay would, to most people, refer to 3 areas. Fylinghall is a small village that links the Bay to the A171 Moors Road, and largely runs into the part of Robin Hood's Bay that stands atop the cliff. There are great views from here, as well as a small car park that offers an enticing glimpse of the two methods of reaching the Bay and the Lower Village. The first is a road, for local access only, that drops dramatically down to its base by the harbourfront. The other is a coastal path that winds down to the necessarily enormous sea wall, a monster construction of concrete that preserves the integrity of the Lower Village from the elements. Locals refer to this section as Bay Village, and it is this charming array of architectural cunning that graces the postcards.
In reference to the Jurassic shoreline mention: this part of coastline from the Mouth of the Tees down as far as Bridlington has, in areas, the right proportion of cliff erosion accessible from beaches to uncover fossils dating back to the aforementioned geological period, approximately 150-200 million years ago. It isn't the definitive Jurassic Coast (in the South West), but nevertheless offers glimpses of Dinosaur related imaginings.
To the village itself. As you wend your way down the steep road, you pass a succession of tight, patchwork streets, that lead off on foot towards the sea wall. These seemingly random cottages and larger houses are still in excellent condition thanks to a combination of listing, repair work and constant habitation. Most houses in the Lower Village have signs on the windows displaying room/house rates by season, and this is the main source of Income for a large number of homeowners in the area, most of whom are actually locals, and not just rich second home hogs. Pubs are well served here with a selection of alehouses that either fit into tight corners or stand across a lump of rock that sits above the shoreline. Shops are aplenty - (nearly) countless gift shops (one of which sells painted pebbles on which you can have a name added), a local fish shop offering up lobster and whelks, two secondhand book shops, several jewellery and art stores, confirming the area as a haven of reflection and industry for creative types, and more than a few places to eat, including the pubs, a restaurant, quite a few cafes and the mixed use Swell - which houses a café, gift shop and original 1820's furnished movie theatre.
At the bottom of the road, the ground gives way to the jetty, and is flanked on the steeper right hand side by the Old Coastguard Station. This centre offers a museum type setting to describe the local geology, weather and nature, as well as an education room (upstairs). A cunning path leads behind the Station to the beach on the Southern half of the bay. The necessity of the path can be seen by staying for a full range of the Tide. At its lowest, you can walk several hundred metres out from the Jetty, past dry-moored boats and across fingers of exposed sandbar, looking at seaweed patterns and marvelling at the life that potters about (mostly crustacean) in the resulting rockpools. At High Tide, the water surges all the way up the Jetty and right up to the Coastguard Station. Neap Tides and violent weather can even bring the water into the streets at the bottom of the Bay, cutting off the South Beach and leaving green marks up the street walls.
A walk through the streets, winding in a maze up small flights of stairs, through arches to dead end views over the Bay, will relax most visitors, and even in the height of summer there isn't a queue to get into or out of anywhere (I think the precipitous climb does the trick!).
Despite all the availabilities to shop or consume, a trip to the Bay never feels like overkill. The signs are discreet, the attractions fairly low key, and the resultant air is a pleasant and laid back one. I certainly didn't feel as if I were being made to part with my cash - except at the Car Park!
Once you've beachcombed, pottered through the gift shops, picked up a painted pebble, had some local fudge, a pint or two, seen the sign at the Jetty that announces the end of the Coast to Coast Walk (here to St Bees Head Cumbria, 192 miles), and feel up to the stiff walk back to the top of the cliff, you can console yourself with the thought of a deserving rest at The Grosvenor Hotel, sited opposite the Car Park and offering (as well as a nice pint and plenty of hotel rooms), an a la carte menu restaurant which comes well recommended by guidebooks and visitors alike.
My review barely does the village justice, and to understand the unique layout and charm of the place you would need to visit firstly the website (robin-hoods-bay.co.uk), and then get yourselves down there. To further encourage you - camping is available in the Upper Village at Hooks House Farm, and a monster site (friendly though) in Fylingthorpe at Middlewood Farm, both of which offer great views and good facilities at good prices. Neither however would substitute for staying at one of the many guesthouses or cottages in Bay Village, which range from 1-6 bedrooms, and a variety of prices depending on the level of accommodation and proximity to the seaviews. I sound like a local Tourist Board now!
Summary: Excellent day out to be had.
More reviews in the field of National Park
- simply stunning
- a bit of everything
- Beautiful traditional english country
- The Lakes
- Peak District - Diverse, Stunning Accessible
- Think Guy Gibson - But On A Bike! Cycling Around Derwent Dam
- A Museum with a very big garden!
- Saucey and Salcey Forest!
- Steaming Through Staffordshire
- When we go down to the woods today. . . .