Robin Hood’s Bay has transformed itself from a fishing and smuggling haven into a tourist attraction. Even though it's a small fishing village, there are plenty of things to do in Robin Hood's Bay.
In its early years, Robin Hood's Bay was mainly known as a fishing and smuggling village. With steep cliffs lining both sides of the bay, smugglers were able to make their way into the fissure of land relatively easily. It’s believed that once the goods made it off the ships, they went into homes that were connected by cellars. Then, people were able to move the goods all around Robin Hoods Bay without detection. Even though the penalty for smuggling was hanging, the inhabitants of Robin Hood's Bay marched on without fear, due in large part to the fact it was so difficult to detect their crimes.
Let's explore 10 of the best things to do in Robin Hood's Bay
People come to “Bay Town,” as the locals call it, for a variety of reasons. It might be a small town but there is plenty to do here. Here are 10 things to do in Robin Hood's Bay.
1. Visit the Old Coastguards Station
Located right on the edge of the sea at Robin Hood’s Bay the Old Coastguards Station is a dream for anyone who would like to explore and learn about what makes this part of the Yorkshire coast special. They have hands-on models, fascinating displays, and a plethora of history.
All about life ‘at the edge’ on this coast with its distinctive geology, the Old Coastguards Station will reveal the secrets of living, working, and surviving where the land meets the sea. You can have fun generating wind power, making waves, and learning about the natural processes that shape this fine coast.
For the kids and big kids visiting the centre, there is a rock pool with spot shore crabs, hermit crabs, blennies, winkles, sea anemones, prawns, and other sea creatures for you to explore. Regular talks on the creatures in the rock pool and other interesting topics are held here too.
2. Learn about its history at Robin Hood's Bay Museum
History is also a big draw in Robin Hood's Bay. Those who love history can stop by Robin Hoods Bay Museum. There are fishing, shipping, history, and geology displays. You can also learn about the shipwrecks that used to be a common occurrence in Robin Hood’s Bay. You can even see a replica of a smuggler’s house. This will give you a better idea of how people managed to smuggle goods from one home to the next. This is the perfect place to immerse yourself in local history and tradition. You will learn a thing or two, and you’ll have lots of fun in the process.
3. Visit Old St Stephen's Church
Old St Stephen’s Church is another big attraction for history buffs and one of the lesser-known things to do in Robin Hood's Bay. The church, which was built in 1822, overlooks the village and has memorials to shipwreck victims and a model of the SS Pretoria. This is definitely an interesting place to visit in Robin Hood's Bay. Be sure to go inside instead of just looking at the outside. The inside has a lot of original items, making it a feast for the eyes.
4. Go shopping
One of our favourite things to do in Robin Hood's Bay is shopping. There are gift shops, antique stores, bookshops, and more. You can wander from one shop to the next, all the while taking in the breathtaking views that Robin Hood’s Bay has to offer. Then, when you're suitably finished shopping, stop in one of the restaurants for a bite to eat and a drink before you move on to the next adventure.
One of our favourite shops in Robin Hood's Bay is Berties of Bay who revive the traditional nautical styles worn along the wonderful Yorkshire coastline from times gone by. You're sure to pick up a special piece here.
5. Take the Cinder Track
If you fancy a little walking or cycling the Cinder Track which runs from Mount Pleasant North to Whitby is ideal. It is a 7.38-mile journey with breathtaking views that will take you approximately 3 hours to walk. Be aware this path can be uneven at times and may not be suitable for prams.
Running along a disused railway path with some relics such as bridges and sleepers the Cinder Path offers sea and country views to die for. The highlight, however, of this delightful walk has to be the Larpool Viaduct. This is a grade two listed structure with thirteen arches and being built of brick. It was built by John Waddell and spans the River Esk.
6. Visit Falling Foss Tea Garden and waterfall
Those who are interested in the landscape and natural beauty can visit the Falling Foss Waterfall and Tea Garden. You’ll find this inside of Sneaton Forest, just a short drive from Robin Hood's Bay. You can walk around, and then relax and enjoy the waterfall and tea garden. If you love nature, you won’t want to miss this.
7. Visit Boggle Hole
Situated at the Southern end of Robin Hood’s Bay, Boggle Hole is a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) due to the fantastic fossils that are found there. It is best to fossil hunt there in the winter when fabulous ammonite can be found but there is nothing to stop you from hunting all year long.
The name Boggle Hole comes from a local name for a mischievous hobgoblin that was thought to have dwelled in the caves at the site where smugglers used to land their contraband. Check for tide times before trying to explore the caves or fossil hunt here.
Boggle Hole can be reached at low tide along the beach (for approximately 3 hours on either side of high tide). Boggle Hole is not accessible via the beach or by the cliff path at other times.
8. Scare yourself silly on a Robin Hood’s Bay Ghost Walk
If you like tales of the supernatural and the strange then the Robin Hood’s Bay Ghost Walk is probably right up your alley and should not be missed. It is spooky, captivating, and will take you on a journey through the streets talking all things mysterious and weird.
Ghosts are not the only thing, however, on the ghost walk agenda, as this unique tour also tells tales of shipwrecks, local folklore, and smuggling as well as spirits. The tours are suitable for all ages and run most nights through the week.
Robin Hood’s Bay Ghost Walk Prices
- Adult £5.00
- Children (under 14) £4.00
- Family Ticket (3 children) £20 – more than 3 children, £ 3 per child
- Reductions for larger groups and school parties
Please see Rose Ryland's website for her monthly programme, prices, contact details, and further information here.
9. Find yourself a fossil
Robin Hood’s Bay and Boggle Hole are all good spots to go hunting fossils. Some of the treasures you could find are millions of years old. You could discover a dinosaur at Robin Hood's Bay! Several different fossils can be found along this stretch of coastline:
- Ammonites are now extinct marine animals. Their appearance is shell-like and they may be as much as 140 million years old. Certainly, it is thought they became extinct at the same time as the dinosaurs, 65 million years ago.
- Belemnites were squid-like in appearance and are dated 135 million years ago. They get the nickname, ‘’bullet stone’’ because of their appearance.
- Dinosaur/Reptile remains are most likely to be found just above the level of the beach in the cliff faces.
- Jet is compressed wood from the Araucaria or Monkey Puzzle tree. This organic gemstone is thought to be about 180 million years old and is commonly used to make jewellery.
Be wary and careful collecting at all locations, knowledge of tide times is essential. It is very easy to get cut off, the sea always hits the cliff. You should ensure you return before the tide turns. Also, be aware of sticky areas on the slippages as it is easy to get stuck especially after rain.
10. Just have fun on the beach!
If all of the above doesn't suit you, how could you not have fun on a beach with this stunning view? Take a picnic and a bucket and spade, grab an ice cream and enjoy the stunning scenery at Robin Hood's Bay. On your way back pick up some tasty fish and chips!
These are just some of the fun things to do in Robin Hoods Bay. The bay is a great place for kicking back and relaxing, just as it’s a great place for taking in some history. Thus, if you like nature, history, and beauty, it just makes sense to stop at “Bay Town” and take it all in. Let us know your favourite things to do in Robin Hood's Bay in the comments.