"Smugglers, Victorians and a lot more besides!" Top 5 Page for this destination Robin Hood's Bay by suvanki

Robin Hood's Bay Travel Guide: 57 reviews and 109 photos

Robin Hoods Bay

Robin Hoods Bay is a very special place to visit, whether just for a few hours or lingering longer ( you lucky people! )
I've never seen any statistics to prove it, but I'm sure that most people who visit, return at least once, or at least intend to!

Although I've been visiting this area since I was a babe in arms, I only discovered Robin Hoods Bay fairly recently, but it was love at first sight!!

Robin Hoods Bay is considered to be one of the most picturesque fishing villages in the country. It is set amongst the rugged scenery of The North York Moors, and lies on The Cleveland Heritage Coast, between the towns of Whitby and Scarborough.
Little appears to have changed, since the days when it was an important fishing village.

Robbyn Huddes Bay was written about in 1538, nearby Fylingdales has Saxon and Norman origins.

Ravenscar, is situated above a 600ft cliff top, where Roman soldiers guarded the coast from sea raiders.

It is uncertain as to how this area became linked to Robin Hood. Stories have been passed down the centuries depicting Robin and his Merry Men either fighting off invaders near Whitby, or having a boat in the bay, ready to escape to sea if things got a bit heavy in Sherwood Forest!
At Brow Side, earth mounds are to be found, which are called Robin Hood's Butts, allegedly used by RH for archery practice! They have however been dated to the Bronze Age.

Well as I was brought up in Sherwood Forest, and now live in Sheffield, where there are also connections with the Robin Hood legend, I'll keep an open mind!!

Robin Hoods Bay started to develop in the 15th century, when the risk of attack from invading Danes had lessened. Due to its geography and poor roads, the area was a closed community, many of the inhabitants were direct descendants of the Vikings who'd settled into farming and fishing.

During the reign of Henry V111 in 1538, the topographer John Leyland recorded ' a fisher townlet of twenty boats' , and records show that there were 50 houses here.
The community soon expanded, with the rise in importance as a fishing port.

In 1586, a Dutch chart showed the village, marked with compass points and distance from Rotterdam!

Fishing, Sailing and Smugglers!!

Most of the houses seen today were built in the 18th century, when fishing had made RHB even more important than Whitby. (The nearest town, which was an important fishing port)

In the 1820s more than 130 fishermen worked here, but everyone was involved, as boys mended nets and made lobster pots, women baited the lines and prepared the fish for market.

The rugged coastline with its coves and high cliffs, along with isolated fishing communities, made this a smugglers paradise! During the height of the smuggling trade, in the 18th and early 19th century, it was believed that the entire population of Robin Hoods Bay, and its neighbours were involved.
Large profits could be made, with ships skippers receiving 250 per run, even the labourers earned a guinea! The penalty for being caught was hanging, deportation to the army or navy or prison, but the customs men were disorganised, and many turned a blind eye.
The narrow alleys were ideal for spiriting away contraband, to houses and inns, where tunnels and cellars were put to use in moving and storing the bounty. Most of the houses are connected by cupboards or passages in the cellars.
This industry declined with a reduction in duty.

Merchant Shipping was also important in the villages history, with 270 men and boys out of a population of 800 joining the merchant navy in 1750. Navigation Schools were formed in the town.

In 1885, the railway brought changes to the area, with prospects to trade inland, and more importantly, the development of tourism, which resulted in larger hotels, and expansion of housing , with Mount Pleasant being built near the Railway Station.

The railway closed in 1965, but tourism continues to thrive.

With the decline in fishing, many locals were forced to leave, and their cottages were eventually restored as holiday homes and cottages, though many people are now moving into the area either to retire, set up cottage businesses, or work in the surrounding area.

Things to do and see in Robin Hood's Bay

People visit Robin Hoods Bay for a number of reasons.

Some visit to experience a traditional seaside village. Some come to enjoy the different festivals i.e. Folk Music weekends, Victorian Christmas weekend.

Photographers, artists, writers, geologists, historians, bird spotters, fishermen,and walkers plus more besides will find something of interest here.

From the photo, you can see that Robin Hoods Bay is the welcoming sight for those who've endured the Coast to Coast Walk. It's equally appreciated by those completing The Cleveland Way!

On my visits I've enjoyed pottering around the streets, rock pooling/ beach combing..hours of fun ( think I'm reliving my childhood! ) collecting fossils, enjoying a delicious ice cream from the shop on the main street, poking around the book shops, walking along the cliff top in a bracing wind...oh, lots of happy memories!

One memorable weekend, it was hot enough to sit outside the pubs at night! I'll never forget the sight of a full moon perfectly reflected in the calm waters of the bay as I sat enjoying a glass of beer (or 2!), while a man sat nearby strumming a guitar.... bliss!

UPDATE Have just re- visited Robin Hoods Bay, 8 years since my previous visit (and 15 years since Phil and I were there together) and it was just as magical!
We had decided to spend the weekend in Whitby for Phils Birthday, and visited Ravenscar and RHB on the Saturday, where the weather was very kind to us - Sunshine and Blue skies! (and in October too!)

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Unspoilt fishing village with character, Something for everyone!
  • Cons:Can get congested in summer/weekends. Steep climb back up the hill
  • In a nutshell:One of, if not THE BEST seaside villages on east coast/UK!!!
  • Last visit to Robin Hood's Bay: Oct 2012
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (30)

Comments (15)

  • icunme's Profile Photo
    Oct 27, 2009 at 8:30 AM

    Charming - from the cottage paths, old police station, to the bookshop - as if the name alone where not enchanting enough! Grazie, <(??)>

  • Redang's Profile Photo
    Sep 29, 2009 at 11:05 AM

    I remember this place maaaaaaaaaaany years ago! Nice page!

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Apr 18, 2008 at 10:03 AM

    I'm one of those people who have only been to Robin Hoods Bay once so far, but you're right, I have always thought I would return some day. By the way, I've just learned a new word from one of your tips: Snicketts. (Not in my dictionary.)

  • Jan 21, 2008 at 11:49 AM

    I think your pages on Robin Hoods Bay and Whitby with pictures as well are fantastic, you have done a wonderful job

  • BlueBeth's Profile Photo
    Dec 8, 2006 at 4:36 AM

    What memories your Whitby and Robin Hodds Bay pages invoke. Both truly beautiful places that I love to visit.

  • Sjalen's Profile Photo
    Sep 27, 2006 at 1:48 PM

    Oups! I think I've rated your page before. So good it deserves it though - I get "homesick" and it's nice to see someone else visited those book shops :)

  • iwys's Profile Photo
    May 2, 2006 at 7:39 AM

    Conratulations on producing such an excellent page. Well done! You don't like Robin Hood by any chance, do you? lol

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    Apr 3, 2006 at 12:48 PM

    What a marvelous job you've done on your Robin Hood's Bay pages. Thorough, informative, helpful, and so interesting. Such lovely photographs, too. Such fine writing which captures the essence of the place.

  • iandsmith's Profile Photo
    Feb 10, 2006 at 1:55 PM

    Excellent page on a place I never new existed. Then again, I never knew a snickett existed either! The mouse trademark reminds me of the one we came across at East Grinstead.

  • Hermanater's Profile Photo
    Jan 12, 2006 at 10:55 AM

    Happy Birthday....I enjoyed your pages


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