Robin Hoods Bay, North Yorkshire

Robin Hoods Bay is a coastal village located within the North York Moors National Park and is just 5 miles south of Whitby, has been known predominately as a fishing village since its origins.

There are many smuggling tales abound which, considering the many subterranean passageways known to exist beneath the village connecting many of the cottages is not surprising, smuggling was ripe along the North Yorkshire coast in the 18th century as it was along many rugged UK coastal villages and ports.  

Robin Hoods Bay village by the sea

Our journey began early and the weather continually changing as we travelled Northwards, as was the intoxicating scenery. Yorkshire really is a jewel of a location, no matter how many times I visit Yorkshire and for whatever reason, there seems to be more to discover each time. 

I especially adore the quilted moorland, the vibrant heather spreading over the hills and the dales with stone walling covered with lichen and moss, home to all kinds of critters.  Of course, the rugged Yorkshire coast has its own magic charm and mysteries to be discovered also. 

BaldHiker Retreats
coastal road north yorkshire
robin hoods bay beach

The North Yorkshire coast was our destination, but the exact details were not set in stone, this was a spontaneous road trip but with a main plan to head toward RAF Fylingdales on Snod Hill to see the Fylingdales radar. A part of the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System (BMEWS) which looks very much like a pyramid and to be quite honest looks kind of surreal on the North Yorkshire moors, it has to be seen to understand its sheer size and dominance on the landscape.

The original array was often referred to as a trio of giant golf balls, but replaced by the current tetrahedron over a period from 1989 – “92. Over all the site has been subject to much discussion and controversy.  

looking down on the village

We were getting closer to Robin Hoods Bay, and after a good drive across Yorkshire through moorland and catching sight of the controversial Fylingdales Radar, (The Pyramid) on our journey we were all getting decidedly hungry.

Now what do you have for lunch when visiting a Yorkshire coastal region? Fish and chips of course, It’s a no brainer!

Eskdale fisheries at Sleights, Whitby is my recommendation, we discovered this very popular restaurant accidentally, we were in fact lucky to get a table without booking ahead, we were able to get a table for 4 by the window and enjoyed the most delicious fish and chips with mushy peas.

The portions are very generous, but size isn’t everything and I must add the quality and taste, also absolutely delish. The staff were very friendly and helpful too. I bought a print of a quote that took my eye, it was framed on the wall and just made me SMILE.

robin hoods bay street


“A SMILE costs nothing, but gives so much. It enriches those who receive, without making poorer those who give.

It takes but a moment, but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever. None is so rich or mighty that he can get along without it, and none is so poor but that he can be made rich by it.

A SMILE creates happiness in the home, fosters goodwill in business, and is the countersign of friendship.

It brings rest to the weary, cheer to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad, and it is natures best antidote for trouble.

Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed or stolen, for it is of no value to anyone until it is given away.

Some people are too tired to give you a SMILE. Give them one of yours, as none needs a SMILE so much as he who has no more to give. “ 

Author Unknown
robin hoods bay shop

So, after refueling the family with some gorgeous Yorkshire fish and chips we headed onwards to Robin Hoods Bay, now just a stone’s throw away. The first view of the bay was just stunning, breathtaking in fact, with the village nestled close almost as though the tiny cottages were huddling together against the wind.

The streets are very steep and narrow winding down to the sea. Each little street having little alleyways and entrances to more rows of little cottages, everything seemingly linked together, and in fact some are linked by underground tunnel systems, in this day and age blocked off for safety sake but in the days of smuggling, very useful for the smuggling contraband. 

The Robin Hoods bay museum is located to the right-hand side and signposted half way along the main winding lane that meets the sea at the very end. During our fleeting visit we had little time to pop into the museum but it is certainly on my bucket list for a return visit.

Parking was quite easy to discover at the top of the village and the walk down through the steep winding roads was lovely, we found our way down to the sea and the tide was very high when we arrived with the waves lapping up at the buildings that bordered the seafront. 

the sea by robin hoods bay

A walk along the beach was very refreshing and surprisingly an ice-cream van was parked on the beach, high enough to avoid the tide but perfectly located to serve those waiting for the tide to go out, and who can resist the lure of ice cream?! 

The beach itself is a mix of sand and shingle with cliffs bordering the beach so be watchful of the tides. We strolled as far as the tide allowed whilst we ate our ice creams, even finding time to do a little fossil hunting while walking the stretch of beach, but time being a constraint meant we turned back whence we came and took the coastal cliff path a way.

I certainly do recommend a stroll along the cliff path to take in the beautiful views over the rooftops and the sights over the cliffs and out to sea.

hilly street and houses robin hoods bay
coastal walk

I would very much enjoy a more leisurely walk for many more miles than we had the time for, but as I say our visit was a fleeting one and that meant going back up toward the carpark for the return drive home and even the stroll up the hill was a scenic one.

I love all the tiny winding streets and alleys, the quaint little shops too. Robin Hoods Bay is an absolute delight with so much to offer, lots to do for the whole family and natural landscapes that are breathtaking.

I’m looking forward to a return visit to explore more of the Bay and walk the cliffs more thoroughly too. I hope you find Robin Hoods Bay and the Yorkshire coast as enjoyable as I have done and don’t forget to wear your SMILE! 

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One Comment

  1. Al McEwan says:

    Also, eastern terminus of the famed Coast to Coast Walk!

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