Boggle Hole YHA is an absolute dream of a find for a family getaway. Set in it’s own smuggler’s cove, just 3/4 mile from Robin Hood’s Bay over the cliffs, or across the sands at low tide, and fresh from a 1.2 million pound sea themed renovation, it’s somewhere you will feel incredibly smug you discovered. (Excuse the pun).
I can’t claim responsibility for this one, one of my best university friends chose Boggle Hole YHA as the location for her 40th celebrations and managed to book enough rooms for 21 of us. I can’t claim responsibility for this next photo either, one of the party took it, but I asked to share it because it really captures the setting. The hostel is the only building nestled in the cove and is reached by a bridge; it really is quite magical. In local folklore Boggles were believed to be little people that inhabited many of the caves running along the coast, lots of fun can be had looking for them.
It’s a quarter of a mile walk down from the car park to the hostel, so pack light, or take easy to manoeuvre luggage.
There were quite a few of our own boggles amongst the gang and this was the perfect place for them indulge all their pirate fantasies. The river runs down to the sea, so they spent hours damning it, hauling logs and getting totally drenched. There is a drying room, but neoprene shoes or crocs, wet suits, swim gear or lots of changes of clothes are a good idea.
Inside the hostel the decoration is gorgeous, 21 of us gathered along tables in the bar to order food. Loaded nachos, pizzas, tapas, great cakes. Kids can eat free from the kids’ menu when adults eat, unfortunately we’d already promised them all pizza from the main menu before we realised this. The hostel has a kitchen with space to store food, and you can still eat your own food in the bar area.
The hostel was full of families, with plenty of kids’ activities like hunt the boggle trails, dressing up, hobby horses, and an education centre which runs activities too. I found my 10yo in there deep in conversation with the staff about fossils and bones while making a badge – this is the dinosaur coast and there are lots of fossils. It’s easy for families to relax here, in the bar families were gathered together playing board games, or adults were chatting while the kids played and drew pictures.
We felt like smugglers as we returned from a walk on the beach as the dark and the rain came in. Once the kids were in bed and the babysitting rota in place, we snuggled up around barrels in the bar, drinking red wine and putting the world to rights. The ceilings are hung with bouys and fishing ropes, there are barrels for tables, cosy sofas, a log burner. The stairs are painted to look like a pile of books and the bar is decked with fairy lights and really happy, smiley staff.
We stayed in the Crow’s Nest, a brand new environmentally friendly timber frame building looking down into the valley, and in the main building, in family, double and single rooms. Family rooms have five beds, one double with a bunk above and two single bunks. Ours had a washbasin, but some rooms are en suite. Comfy and clean bedding is provided. The communal shower and toilet cubicles down the corridor were brand new and spotless, the showers were lovely. People always ask me about security in youth hostels, well you had to get through 3 card operated key locks to get to our room, so it was very secure indeed.
The Crow’s nest has a small communal kitchen too, so you don’t have to go downstairs to get a cup of tea, although it was the cooked breakfast that got us all up both mornings, and they even had veggie sausages (to order).
I love how all the rooms are named after the shipping forecast, there was a map on the wall so I now know Forties is somewhere between Boggle Hole and Scandinavia. I thought this was a rather apt room name for the 40th birthday celebrations too.
We took a walk round to Robin Hood’s Bay along the beach, when the tide was out. The cove really opens up then and you can explore the caves further out, before catching a glimpse of Robin Hood’s Bay across the rock pools.
Robin Hood’s Bay is stunning and has great shops to explore, the fossil museum and shop was a big hit with our two. The grown ups enjoyed the craft shops and eyed up the posh restaurants – we agreed to come back again without the little ones. But our picnic on the beach, chocolate themed olympics and birthday cake was totally perfect.
Whitby and Scarborough are also both nearby, we stopped in Scarborough for some old fashioned seaside fun. We had a lovely meal at Molly’s – it comes highly recommended for fish and chips and has sea views – before taking on the slot machines and stocking up on rock and candy floss.
We were sad to leave Boggle Hole, and very glad when the rain came lashing down on Monday morning. Had the sun come out to play we might have had to smuggle our little boggles kicking and screaming up the hill to the car. Happy 40th J, and thanks so much for bringing us here.
More info on 3 star Boggle Hole YHA, family rooms from £39 a night, but prices vary a lot and are much higher in school holidays. Our two night weekend stay over the first week of the summer holidays was £274 for a family of four in a five bed private room with double bed, washbasin, and breakfast included.
Photos: P Alexander and H Regan.
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