RECOMMENDATION | Robin Hood’s Bay, Whitby
It’s one of the places I recall people mentioning when I was a child. We holidayed every year on the Haven Caravan site located on Whitby cliffs but for some reason I have no memory of ever making the journey to Robin Hood’s Bay. Maybe because my sister and I were quite happy to stay put; racing round the caravan site making friends and fully immersing ourselves in the hectic Haven activity schedule of three-legged races, sand-castle building, rounders matches and the like.
We’d be treated to one token trip down into Whitby itself. Our holiday highlight, where we got to walk along the precarious cliff tops daring each other to touch the electronic fences that kept the sheep from falling to their death. We would explore the Abbey that dominates the coastline and courts many myths of Dracula, which of course we would get spooked by, convincing ourselves that he would pay a visit to our caravan in the middle of the night and suck the blood from our necks. We’d then make our way down the 199 steps counting each one by one and onto the winding cobbled streets of Whitby’s Old Town busting at the seams with a hotchpotch of all sorts of wonderful little shops and packed with holidaymakers and tourists.
In fairness, apart from a little park and the many rock pools that form on the beach when the tide is out, there is not much for the under 10s in Robin Hood’s Bay. Probably another reason why this is my first visit. I expect that my late Gran and Granddad who holidayed with us here fled to Robin Hood’s Bay regularly for some much-needed child-free peace and quiet. To escape the madness of a six-birth caravan which was home to myself, my sister, two cousins, parents and grandparents for one week in August every year.
On a clear blue day, as you drive along the winding country roads surrounded by farmers’ fields towards Robin Hood’s Bay you’ll soon spot the village ahead of you. A cluster of sandy coloured cottages with burnt-orange roof tiles, an overload of chimney pots and white sash windows that are perched on the edge of the North sea. It all looks surprisingly Med-like on a warm day, and we had been blessed with a warm (for April) spring day. It’s almost like the Santorini of North Yorkshire from a distance. Almost.
The majority of the car parks in Robin Hood’s Bay are at the top of the hill (when I say car parks – I mean two – get there early for a spot). It’s a steep incline down to the town and onto the beach; those with prams and wheelchairs be warned.
The high street is very one-side heavy with B&Bs, all of which are well kept and inviting, leads to a very steep pedestrianised path that then merges into a lovely wide, flat promenade wrapping around the cliffs and onto the steep cobbled streets of the small town itself, which, if it wasn’t for the brashness of the bright yellow no parking lines, is straight out of a Dickens novel. Eventually you reach the beach. The town is a lot less commercial that Whitby’s Old Town and lays claim to a handful of quaint pubs, antique shops, the symbolic retro sweet shop with a window full of rock, a scattering of street side lobster pots and the odd fishing boat here and there.
There are no donkeys and deckchairs here but that’s not a bad thing. We purchased the obligatory fishing net and bucket for Teddy, our five-year-old. He only managed to catch a dead crab over the space on an hour. Still, to him netting a dead crab was on par with me purchasing a new pair of shoes. A monumental deal. He of course insisted on taking it home. We managed to convince him otherwise. We held a little service for it and found it a peaceful place of rest under a rock.
Anyway, overall Robin Hood’s Bay is worth a visit, not least for the breathtaking panoramic views from the top of the cliffs and the fish and chips at the Victoria hotel (Blog link below). I expect the restaurants in town serve up some pretty amazing seafood too. After all, Robin Hood’s Bay continues to be a proper working fishing village complete with a cobbled slipway into the sea.
G.A.Y. Blogs on where to eat in Robin Hood’s Bay:
Robin Hood’s Bay Tourist Board Official Website
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