Riviera Guesthouse – Our Guide to Robin Hood’s Bay

Robin Hood’s Bay … One of Our Favourite Places!

Robin Hoods Bay

One of our favourite places to visit is Robin Hood’s Bay,  just a few miles south of Whitby.

We love the stunning views, the narrow, cobbled streets, the clutch of independent businesses and of course the history of this fishing village.

We’ve used few photos of this quaint, must-visit location which perches on the very edge of the Yorkshire Coast and North York Moors National Park.

Book your stay with us and visit Robin Hood’s Bay!

Where is Robin Hood’s Bay?

The village is about six miles from Whitby as the crow flies.

 You can catch the X93 bus from next to Whitby’s Railway Station and it will take you down the narrow, winding roads to this steep cliffside location.

Robin Hoods Bay 2

If you drive, then take the A171 road and watch out for the Robin Hood’s Bay turn off, which is signposted.

Take the Cinder Track on foot or by cycle and the Cleveland Way National Trail connects the two locations.

For those traveling by cycle or on foot, ALWAYS check tide times, let someone know where you’re going and be prepared with clothing, footwear and refreshments.

Cleveland Way

Why is it called Robin Hood’s Bay?

This rather romantic name forms part of the village’s charm!

There is a reference to Robin Oode Bay in the 1300s.

Spoiler alert, but there doesn’t seem to be any proven connection to Robin Hood.

Over time the village grew in size and during the 16th Century, the village was probably more important than Whitby, according to historical Dutch sea charts.

Of course, Robin Hood’s Bay is famous for its smuggling connections.

In the 18th Century it is though it was the busiest smuggling community on the Yorkshire Coast.


Bolt holes and secret passage festoon the village … it really sounds exciting!

At the time, tea was heavily taxed, and as a result, as rich and poor drank the beverage, smuggled tea offered a cheaper cuppa.

Other substances include alcoholic spirit and tobacco, both of which are still highly taxed today.

Fishing Community

Like many Yorkshire Coast locations, Robin Hood’s Bay is proud of its fishing community.

The fishing industry is thought to stretch back over 1,000 years.

Fishing Community

A thriving community made its living from the sea until the late 19th Century, when domestic tourism started to become popular.

Connected traditions to fishing included gansey knitting. Ganseys are the woollen pullovers worn by fishermen, featuring different patterns according to their location.

With most coastal villages and towns, a lifeboat crew was needed, and there is probably none more famous than that of The Visitor, which is commemorated in the village.

‘The Visiter’

In January 1881, heavy seas, blizzards and strong winds combined to make sea conditions treacherous.

The brig “Visiter” got into difficulties and the crew took to a little lifeboat.

The Bay’s lifeboat was unseaworthy at the time.

The Visiter

After various attempts to get a boat from other ports, the lifeboat was brought to Whitby across the land to Robin Hood’s Bay.

This is a distance of eight miles across the moors, thanks to sheer human grit, determination and strength.

Villagers from all around helped clear mountainous snow drifts, and they made in three hours which is nothing short of miraculous.

The lifeboat was lowered down the  cliff, and after setbacks, they completed the rescue.

Henry Freeman was in charge of the rescue.

You can read more about the Whitby RNLI here.

Robin Hood’s Bay Today

The village today is a thriving, bustling place in the Summer, particularly when the sun shines.

There are several car parks, cosy pubs, fish and chip shops, cafes, a traditional fishmonger, arts, crafts and more.

ice cream

There is the Robin Hood’s Bay Museum, a treasure trove of artefacts.

You can visit the National Trust’s Old Coastguard Station and of course indulge in some delicious ice cream.

Old Coastguard Station

Other places of interest include St Stephen’s Church, and there are regular ghost walks in the village.

Nearby places also include Boggle Hole and Ravenscar.


Providing you follow the rules, you can go fossil hunting, see our blog here.

The Riviera Guesthouse

If you are looking to escape for a classic seaside break, there is no better destination than Whitby.

Recognised as the epitome of a British seaside holiday, Whitby has everything you could ask for and more.

Boasting one of the best locations for accommodation in town is the Riviera.

Our family-friendly guest house has received several awards for excellence in guest satisfaction.

What’s more you won’t find a better outlook in Whitby than here, with panoramic views out to the dramatic North Sea, Whitby Harbour and across to the next bay of Sandsend from our comfortably appointed en-suite bedrooms and dining rooms.

We are close to stunning locations including Robin Hood’s Bay and Ravenscar.

Book today!