Birkby Cottage, 2, Chapel Street, Robin Hood's Bay, North Yorkshire
The fascinating village of Robin Hood's Bay
The village of Robin Hood's Bay has a long and chequered history. Starting as a Viking settlement in one of the safest bays on the Yorkshire Coast, it's development firstly as a fishing village, then a centre for smuggling for over 100 years, and with the arrival of trains in the middle of the 19th Century, a thriving tourist resort.
The village nestles in the valley of the King's Beck as it reaches the sea, and on it's steep hillsides fishermen's and sailors' cottages have been built huddled together, almost, it seems, for mutual protection from the wilder elements of the North Sea.
The village was so prosperous during the smuggling years that many of the houses are much grander than the average fisherman could ever aspire to, and there are many properties which were funded by the illegal trade in wines, spirits, perfumes and other heavily taxed goods of the period.
When the Government of the day realised that they could stop the smuggling trade overnight by removing the taxes, the villagers had to resort to fishing as their main income. However, soon people began to realise that their little haven clinging to the cliffs was a popular place to visit, and with the arrival of the railway in the mid-1800's tourism blossomed. The villagers were quick to appreciate this new, and possibly, easier way of making a living, and the tourist trade began in earnest.
Nowadays, there are only a few working fishing boats left, but the village survives on a healthy mixture of visitors and residents, who seem to acknowledge that they are mutually dependent on each other. A sojourn in the Bay is an experience not to be missed.