Mumbler Reviews YHA Hostel at Boggle Hole (Whitby)
Our friends at North Leeds Mumbler recently came to stay at Boggle Hole. Here’s their review….
Friends had recommended to me the youth hostel at Boggle Hole near Whitby and how child-friendly it was. So when eldest Mini Mumbler said she wanted to go fossil hunting after a recent topic at school I took the opportunity to book us into Boggle Hole.
When I booked, the YHA website was easy to use and it really sold the place well. It describes how there has recently been more than £1.2m spent on upgrading the facility, that some of the rooms were ensuite, the pirate themes (which the Mini Mumblers were excited about) and its beachside location. It did really sound too good to be true. I was actually really looking forward to going.
On the weekend we were going the weather was really good so we decided that we were going to set off early and go into Whitby for the day before going to the hostel. (Check in time isn’t until 5pm.)
We parked up on the West Cliff in Whitby and walked down onto the beach. The Mini Mumblers really enjoyed the size of the beach meaning they could run all over and build lots of sandcastles without having to worry about annoying others. We then had a walk around the harbour for the normal ice cream and doughnuts and crossed into the old town. We really enjoyed exploring the little back streets and little shops (there were so many old fashioned sweet shops it was rude not to indulge). The Mini Mumblers didn’t feel up to walking up all the steps to the Abbey that overlooks the town but just by the start of the steps there was a small road running underneath the Abbey that we decided to explore. We were glad that we did as it took us down a steep slope down to a small beach that we practically had to ourselves. It was a real find and we spent much of the afternoon here paddling and building sandcastles.
As we got to late afternoon we decided we should make a move to get to the YCA Hostel at Boggle Hole. It took about 20 minutes to get there and took us just past the more well known Robin Hoods Bay. The road down to Boggle Hole is a single lane in many parts. There are passing places but it’s worth going slow all the way down. When driving down the narrow lane you eventually get to the small car park. Be warned there is still a further half mile steep downhill walk to get to the hostel (cars are not allowed down) so make sure you travel light. (Remember walking back up the steep hill with bags is always going to be harder!)
Walk down to Boggle Hole
Bridge across to hostel
Hostel -Crows Nest in background
When we got down to the hostel we couldn’t believe how beautiful it was. The hostel was once an old mill and is tucked away practically on the shoreline of an old smugglers cove which you get to by walking across a bridge. The hostel is situated in woodland with many paths to explore and lots of walks are easily accessible. The Mini Mumblers loved it – they were already like pirates and that was before we got into the reception area where there were lots of pirate themed memorabilia. They wanted to go onto the rock pools straight away but as the tide was quite far in we decided we would save that for the morning.
The reception area I described is really a room that does everything. It has a fully licensed bar, sells hot drinks and cakes throughout the day, serves food and is also where you check in. The staff were really friendly and ćheck in was easy although only because I read the email reminder that the person who booked it needed to bring photographic ID and we all needed to bring towels.
Our room was on the newly built Crows Nest* which is the newly built part of the hostel and is up some steep steps cut into the hillside overlooking the main building. It was a really eco friendly build with lots of easy to read information on this for the Mini Mumblers. We had a private room and it was great, with a double bed with bunk above, a separate set of bunks and sink. The shared bathrooms were 10 metres down the corridor and were all clean and shared with 3 other rooms.
After leaving our few bags in the room we went to explore the hostel and grounds. The Mini Mumblers loved it with quiz sheets to find many characters hidden around the hostel and the grounds. There were so many that it kept them occupied not only that night but also the following morning. We decided we were going to try the food they served although in typical hostel style there were lots of communal facilities to cook yourself (and many people were). We weren’t disappointed by the food. There was a great menu and we all loved it – even better kids eat free when an adult meal is bought. The fact they are licensed also means that we could enjoy the sun late into the evening sat outside in the courtyard. (There is a big outside area with picnic tables that looks right onto the cove.)
Kids Boggle Diary
As we were all in the same room and had the Mini Mumblers we all had early night and it must have been the sea air as we all slept really well. We had paid for breakfast the following morning which was really reasonably priced with lots of choice (cereals, pastries, toast, cooked breakfast, etc) and this then set us up for a morning fossil hunting in the cove.
With our eldest Mini Mumbler learning about fossils at school this was the part she had been looking forward to most. The Whitby coastline is known for its fossils and Boggle Hole is one of the places you can find them. Along with other families from the hostel, we started searching and after a while looking we found some. In hindsight, we should have been more prepared like others with a small rock hammer.
After a morning paddling and fossil hunting in the cove we decided to move on to Robin Hoods Bay. As we were only stopping one night and had the car we drove the 10 minutes across. However, some people were walking across the cliff top to Robin Hoods Bay and the more adventurous walked round the headland and then along the beach. (This involves some paddling and can only be done when the tide is out.)
For those that haven’t been Robin Hoods Bay, it’s a great experience. Walking down the little street to the slipway onto the beach you can imagine what fishing villages used to be like a hundred years ago. We stopped on the way down for the best fish and chips we have had in a long long while. The tide was out so on the beach there was lots of room to explore (needed as there were lots of people with the same idea as us) and the Mini Mumblers loved rock pooling searching for crabs.
After an afternoon at Robin Hoods Bay we left for home. We had all had a great time and will definitely be going back. The area is beautiful and Boggle Hole is a great base to use with lots to do. I would definitely recommend YHA Boggle Hole for families with children of all ages, it is a place to create family memories.
* There is a large flight of steep steps up to the Crow’s Nest.