One Week In Robin Hood’s Bay; To Help You Plan Your Next Trip We've Created A 7 Day Robin Hoods Bay Itinerary
Robin Hood's Bay is a gorgeous little village in which to spend a week’s holiday. It is located just five miles south of Whitby and 15 miles north of Scarborough on the beautiful North Yorkshire coast. With views that overlook the ever-changing North Sea to its front and to its rear the North York Moors National Park, it really is a gem for those who enjoy a magnificent landscape.
Robin Hood’s Bays Rich Tapestry Of History
Whilst the description of Robin Hood’s Bay as a little village may have you wondering if there will be enough to do for a week there, you can believe when I say that there is more than enough to keep you occupied both day and night. This includes learning about and exploring the area's rich history.
Appearing on the map as a settlement in around 1500, Robin Hood’s Bay was described as a fishing village about a mile in length with 20 boats by 1536.
It is believed to have been an even more important port than that of its neighbour Whitby. This is backed up by its placement on an old North Sea chart being depicted with a picture of a tall house and anchor.
Though fishing was and still is an important part of Robin Hood’s Bay history, it was to be smuggling that would really contribute to this villages fortunes and the rich tapestry of stories that it has yielded.
Ideally placed on the Yorkshire coast which was rife with smuggling, houses were built in a tiny maze of streets each reputedly linked by subterranean passages. This made moving around the smuggled products such as tea, gin, rum, brandy, and tobacco easy and unseen.
Clever ways to hide smuggled goods did not protect Robin Hood’s Bay from the attention of excisemen however. In fact, there is a well-known clash of smugglers and excisemen in 1773 in the bay itself. The Mermaid and The Eagle which were excise cutters were out-gunned on this particular occasion and chased away.
As a later battle would record the cargos they were fighting over were large. On the occasion in 1779, there was two hundred casks of brandy, gin and fifteen bags of tea.
Aside from smuggling, fishing and farming were the main occupations of the village with both men and women from there carrying the bays catch to Pickering and York in panniers by foot.
By the 19th century, however, the fishing industry had reached its peak and started to decline. Robin Hood’s Bay, in turn, adapted and began to rely on tourism.
With regard to the name of the village it is highly unlikely that Robin Hood ever came there. There is, however, a legend and English ballad that tells of a pirates raid in the village with Robin Hood coming to the rescue.
Getting the pirates to surrender he returned their loot from the fisherman's boats to the people of the village.
Where To Stay In Robin Hood’s Bay
Now I’ve got you curious enough about this interesting little village to vacation there, we’ll need to find you somewhere to stay. For that home away from home environment that most people love I’d recommend Robin Hood's Bay Cottages, and here are two of the best!
The Nook is a gorgeous cottage with sea views located on Kings Street in the lower bay area of Robin Hood’s Bay. Interestingly, it is believed the street name comes from the dissolution of Whitby Abbey on the orders of King Henry the 8th in the 1540s.
Set over three floors this cottage is suitable for a cozy couples retreat. It is just metres from the beach, has a parking permit and has been refurbished completely to a very high standard in early 2018. The decor is now light, airy and cozy, perfect for your week away.
Entrance to the property is gained from a small snicket just off Kings street with the front door giving you access directly to the kitchen and dining area.
The kitchen is fully equipped with everything you could need and the dining area has a pine dining table and chairs. This is also a fireside armchair and original cast iron tiled fireplace located here with a view overlooking the street.
Access to the lounge is via a wide, shallow staircase where you will also find the bathroom is situated. The lounge itself is warm and cozy with beautiful lighting being cast by the morning sun.
Furnished with a leather sofa, matching armchair and plenty of cushions and throws it is a lovely space in which to relax.
There is also a flat screen TV, DVD player, DVDs, games, and books for you to enjoy. The bathroom is fully tiled with a bath and hand shower.
A further wide, shallow staircase leads you up to the bedroom with its double pine bed, two chests of drawers and built-in wardrobe. There is also a fan for those summer nights and a CD player for some romantic music.
Both sides of the room have windows with one being fitted with a full-length window seat designed for you to enjoy the sea view across the bay to Ravenscar.
Set over four floors Summer Cottage is ideal for a family vacation. It is beautiful and charming and has been recently refurbished to a high standard. Situated in the heart of the village it has a calm and contemporary feel and its elevated position gives way to splendid views.
By entering the front door you will find yourself in a small porch that leads into a spacious lounge. Within there are two large sofas, an open fire, and stunning wood floors. Two windows situated to the front of the property give this room amazing light.
There is also a large screen TV, Freeview, DVD player and a storage cupboard for coats and boots. Across from the lounge, there is a single bedroom with a chest of drawers, hanging hooks and window to the rear.
The kitchen is downstairs from the lounge and accessed by an open tread staircase. Once down there you will find a spacious kitchen dining area with a stone tiled floor and a large dining table.
The kitchen itself is fully equipped with everything you will need. There is also a flat screen TV located down here and a door out to one of the two private patios. This particular patio is ideal for catching the midday to evening sun.
Going up from the lounge via a staircase you will find a double bedroom and the bathroom. The bedroom is furnished with a metal framed double bed, ornamental fireplace, upholstered chair, walk-in wardrobe, drawers, and two front facing windows. The bathroom has a shower over the bath, a large basin, WC and window to the rear.
Up another staircase, there is a further bedroom with a king size white wooden bed, drawers, WC and washbasin. There is a dormer window that looks out over the road.
To the back of the property, there is also another private patio with garden furniture that captures the morning sun perfectly.
What To Do Whilst In Robin Hood’s Bay
So, you’ve decided to holiday in Robin Hood’s Bay and you’ve booked your accommodation. Now to decide what you’re going to do whilst you’re there! Since there are a myriad of attractions and activities to choose from here’s a helping hand; a suggested seven-day itinerary of what you just cannot miss!
Since you will have been traveling and you may have been traveling a while, we’ll start you off gently with a visit to Old St Stephen's Church and a cozy night in.
Located just a short distance away on Thorpe Lane you can walk there in around twelve minutes or just four minutes by car.
Built-in 1822 Old St Stephen’s Church has not been altered at all. It still has the original West gallery, famous three-decker pulpit, and box pews.
Can you work out the mystery of the box pews though? Half of them were built facing backward, and no one seems to know why!
Described as being straight from the pre-Victorian world of Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy, Old St Stephen’s Church regularly hosts concerts, exhibitions and hosts its own churchyard walks.
There are over two hundred years of graves here, with many belonging to master mariners, farmers, local families and those lost at sea.
As a busy port, smuggling and fishing village Robin Hood’s Bay lost many a villager to the cruel North sea, and they are commemorated here.
Following your visit to Old St Stephen’s Church, you could purchase yourself some tasty local caught fish for your evening meal. Take this back to your cozy cottage and enjoy the taste of the North Sea.
After your meal, you can gather in the lounge and watch TV, play games or maybe just chat about your day!
In 1885 a train service was launched that ran from Whitby to Scarborough with a station at Robin Hood’s Bay. This service, however, stopped running in 1965 leaving a now much-loved walkway known as the Cinder Track.
Today you are going to cycle or walk this all the way to Whitby!
The root of the Cinder Track starts at Mount Pleasant North which is just thirteen minutes walk or five minutes drive from Kings Street.
The walk itself will take you three hours plus and is a distance of approximately seven miles. Be aware that the track you are going to walk is hardcore/cinder and can be uneven at times so suitable footwear is advised.
Once you arrive at Mount Pleasant North, you will see a signpost that indicates Cinder Track one way and Cinder Track and Cleveland Way the other.
For the purposes of going to Whitby, you are going to go in the direction of the latter. Once on this track, you do not need to worry about directions, as you are just going to follow this path for the majority of the journey.
Along the Cinder Track not only will you have great views of the sea and surrounding countryside but you will also find relics from the railroads past.
There are bridges, piled sleepers and partially buried sleepers all along the way. Past Hawsker, where you are going to temporarily leave the track to cross the A171, you will also find the old station which is now a cycle hire shop.
Keep going and you will find yourself in gorgeous woodlands with steep embankments all around.
Just before you reach your destination of Whitby you will see that the Cinder Track has saved the best view for last. Spanning the River Esk here you will find the Larpool Viaduct.
With thirteen arches, this beautiful structure really is stunning and listed as a grade two structure. Spend some time admiring it, Whitby is just around the corner!
Now you’ve reached Whitby it seems a shame to just turn around and go back. Whilst obviously Whitby is not technically a Robin Hood’s Bay activity you should really stay and see what it has to offer.
Suggestions to have a look at would be the 199 Steps, Whitby Abbey, the Dracula Experience and Whitby Jet Shops. When you’re done here, you can either take the Cinder track back to Robin Hood's Bay or take the bus.
These run quite regularly and it will cut your journey back down to just twenty-one minutes!
The Old Coastguard Station is located not more than two minutes walk from Kings Street on Cleveland Way. Run by the National Trust, the intentions of this visitor centre is to educate people on the geology, impact of elements, the variety of wildlife and the secret history of smuggling in Robin Hood’s Bay.
Many of the exhibits and educational tools have hands-on models so that you can really get involved in the information you are being given.
These include equipment so you can make waves, generate wind power and get hands-on with shore crabs, hermit crabs, winkles, sea anemones, and prawns. There is also a gift shop where you can purchase gifts, books, and national trust products.
Following your visit to the Old Coastguards Station, I am sure that you will want to learn more about the history of smuggling in Robin Hood’s Bay and visit some important sites. You can do this by taking one of Baytown Breweries smuggling tour and beer tasting trips.
On this tour, you will take a leisurely stroll around the village and hear tales of smugglers and visit authenticated smuggling locations. This tour is ideal for families and couples alike and includes a tasting session of the breweries ales.
You will also get to take back to your cottage a bottle of your favourite beer. Perfect to enjoy whilst chatting about your day and the smugglers of days gone by!
No trip to Robin Hood’s Bay is complete without a visit to the beach which in 2017 was described by Passport magazine as one of the world’s top twenty-five.
Don’t worry if the day isn’t fantastic as Robin Hood’s Bay beach has plenty of dreary day charm. Passport magazine said of it ‘with its chilly waters and often-cloudy skies, this is not a beach for swimming and tanning.
Rather it’s a photographer and scenery-gulpers delight: the centuries-old houses byways of the village rising behind, the craggy coast filled with Jurassic fossils and rolling grey waters, the beach combing and strolling.’
Speaking of beach-combing, Robin Hood’s Bay is well known for its amazing rock pools which it seems a shame not to explore whilst you’re at the beach.
Simply grab yourself a bucket and net and get to it; hands wet is the best way as many species are often found by turning over rocks and seaweed! If you’re lucky, you’ll catch hermit crabs, wrinkles and maybe even something more exotic!
After spending your day at the beach there could be no better way to spend your evening than by eating fish and chips in the dock or quarterdeck area.
There are plenty of take away restaurants in the area and the views you will have can’t be beaten. Nearby there are also several charming pubs where you can wash down your tasty meal.
For those of you who love wildlife, the seal colony at Ravenscar can’t be missed. If you fancy a walk also, you can get there in around an hour and a half using the Cleveland Way. If you prefer to drive, it will take you around twenty-five minutes.
Once at the cliffs of Ravenscar it is a bit of a climb up to see the seals. It is, however, well worth the effort with over three hundred common and grey seals making their home there and lounging around on the beach.
It is advisable not to get too close to the seals and check the tide times before you go. Should you fancy the walk you could rejoin the Cleveland Way and walk right on to Scarborough.
Be aware this will take you around three hours more but you can get a direct bus back to Robin Hood’s Bay which will take around thirty-five minutes.
Once back in Robin Hood’s Bay you should take a unique tour through the streets and alleyways with the ghost walk! Spirits, shipwrecks, smugglers, local folklore and legend galore are all features of this great evening out.
Intended to amuse, entertain and captivate this tour is ideal for the family but not suitable for those under four or infants in pushchairs.
Examples of tales you can expect to hear would be that of the coffin revealing cliff and the ‘hand of glory’. The coffin revealing cliff had once had a cemetery above it but due to erosion had been swept away.
Coffins, however, continue to be revealed sticking out of the cliff face to this day. The hand of glory will also be revealed to be just as gruesome with burglars taking the severed hands of dead criminals.
They then dipped the index finger into whale fat making them a candle they could use when committing crimes!
Whilst in Robin Hood’s Bay you should take the time to further explore its cute narrow cobbled streets and red-roofed former fishing cottages that spill right down to the edge of the sea.
This is also the perfect opportunity to do a little shopping in the amazing variety of stores the village has to offer. There are bookstores, Jet jewellery shops, antique barns, and gift shops galore.
The Secret Seaview cafe bar and gift shop is a must visit, not only for its great range of products but also because upstairs it has its very own chapel. This very chapel was visited by the Reverend John Wesley in 1753.
After your hard day's shopping, you probably won’t feel like cooking the evening meal. If this is the case Robin Hood’s Bay has a fantastic range of restaurants for you to enjoy.
Many of these serve only local produce including a great variety of fish. Examples of dishes available would be sea bream, seafood risotto, fresh rock oysters, prawns, mussels and wonderfully tasty cod.
There are also many other great non-seafood dishes available such as steaks and locally produced sausages as well as a good variety of children’s meals.
Unfortunately, you are going to have to go home today, your vacation is over. However, you really should squeeze one more attraction in and that is the Robin Hood's Bay Museum. It is located just a few minutes away from Kings Street just off New Road.
Situated in a building that used to belong to the coroner and be home to the mortuary this museum is full of fascinating collections and displays.
Entry is free and gains you access to three rooms that include displays of fishing, shipping, shipwrecks, rescues, and smuggling.
Details of who was involved in this smuggling may surprise you, and you will be invited to explore a fisherwife! Can you find all the hidden contraband that she is hiding?
After your visit to the museum, you may just have the time to enjoy a spot of lunch before beginning your journey home. There are lots of delightful cafes and welcoming pubs in the Robin Hood’s Bay area that you could call into.
Your Journey To Robin Hood’s Bay And Back!
Wherever you are travelling from you will need directions to Robin Hood’s Bay and back. Following are suggestions for if you are coming from the North, South, and West.
From the North – Take the A1 before joining the A19. Next, join the A170 or the A171 until you reach the B1447. Follow this road which will take you straight into Robin Hood’s Bay.
From the South – Take the M1 until joining the M18 and then the A1. Leave the A1 at the A64 following this road until you turn off onto the A169. Following this road, you will end up on Iburndale Lane, Sleights.
Turn off here onto the Cliff and Pasture field Lane until you reach the B1447. Follow this road which will take you straight into Robin Hood’s Bay.
From the West – Coastal – Take the M62 to Hull then the A63 and A165. Turn off onto the A171 following this road to the B1447. Follow this road which will take you straight into Robin Hood’s Bay.
From the West – Country – Take the M62 towards Hull exiting onto the A614 towards Howden. Now exit onto the A163 followed by the A171 to the B1447. Follow this road which will take you straight into Robin Hood’s Bay.