For the most part, it a picturesque little village where tourists walk down the hill and feel as though they are stepping back in time.
However, if you spend any amount of time by the slipway at the bottom of the hill, you may notice people walking to the water’s edge and dipping either their hand or foot in, depending upon the time of year and the prevailing temperature. After this they normally adjourn to one of the nearby pubs.
It’s probably because they have just completed the Coast to Coast Walk. This is a 192 mile trek, originally devised by the author and walker (obviously) Alfred Wainwright. From St Bees, Cumbria on the west coast, these people have walked across the entire country to their end point in Robin Hood’s Bay.
However, I have always thought there was a certain amount of humour in the end point selected by Wainwright when designing this route. The village itself sits at the bottom of a very steep hill and I can’t help but wonder what goes through someone’s mind when they have walked 192 miles, only to have to turn round and walk up such a steep incline in order to get back to their transport to get them home.
The character of the village has been preserved by restricting the vehicles allowed to pass through the village, which is a conservation area. Parking places are prized possessions of residents so if you do plan to visit, make sure you park in the public car parks at the top of the hill otherwise you could find yourself receiving a ticket.
That said, the walk down the hill is well worth it. The narrow winding streets reveal surprises around most corners, from the shops selling crystals or cups of tea, or the spoils of a sea-oriented life, such as shark teeth.
However, one oddity you will find is the set of steps going up to the beach. Up, not down. I can’t recall visiting anywhere where I have had to go up steps to reach the sands.
When you do walk down from the car park, make sure you glance to your right at the top of the hill near to the public toilets. On the white memorial there, you will be able to read all about the heroism shown by the lifeboat crew from Whitby in carrying out a rescue just off the coast from the village.