Boggle Hole, United Kingdom

Hiking & Fossil Hunting in North Yorkshire

Boggle Hole stands out in my mind as one of the best places we visited during our three years in Europe. It is one of those places where you can’t help but slow down and just enjoy time with your family. We were charmed by the family hostel built into an old mill. We loved hiking into Robin Hood’s Bay using the trail at high tide and the beach at low tide. Plus, Boggle Hole is a hot bed for fossil finding. We spent two lovely days here and could have stayed longer.

The YHA Boggle Hole is a hostel built into an old mill sitting on the shore of the North Sea. You park your car a half mile up the road in the car park and walk down the steep road to the hostel, resting at the mouth of a canyon. There are rooms of all type here including those specifically set up for families. We booked a bit late and ended up in a smaller room in the historic building but still had a queen and a bunk bed.

As for packing advice we advise that you pack lightly since you will need to carry everything from your car down to the hostel. Our bags were 10 pounds heavier on the way back up the hill when we left, due to the hordes of fossils we were carrying. The family guest rooms are back part way up the opposite hill in a new building. Also, don’t forget your wellies.

The Room

Our room had a stunning view, a sink and a bunk bed with a single over a queen. The Middle and Big Littles shared the top bunk, the Little Little slept in his zip up crib while Jeff and I shared the lower bunk. Showers and bathroom stalls were just down the hall.

The YHA Boggle Hole oozes charm.

Kids Activities

The YHA Boggle Hole is packed with kid friendly fun. Stick horses for racing and a pirates chest full of dress up clothes. (Another pirate chest hides the laundry chute!)

Stop at the front desk to purchase a Scavenger Hunt book that is sure to keep the whole family busy for the duration of your stay (50 P).

The Little Little just loved climbing the stairs using the rope handle.

Any chance to help keep a place clean is a win in my boys’ book. There were trash grabbers available for our whole stay and not much trash to pick up! Our Littles were on constant patrol though, always ready to help keep the place clean.

When the tide is in the YHA sits right on the water with a small beach to play in.

When the tide is out, the YHA is a gateway to some of the best tide-pooling and fossil hunting in the United Kingdom.


There is plenty of food available at the YHA Boggle Hole. We tried a bit of everything. I highly recommend grabbing some cake here and a drink in the afternoon. We found that to be most enjoyable.

We even celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary sitting out on the patio enjoying some hard cider.

Meal offerings are perfectly acceptable. Breakfast is served on a small buffet and is your standard YHA breakfast with some eggs and sausage, yogurt and cereal. We ate a dinner at the YHA, having pizza and jacket potatoes.

There are better quality offerings in Robin Hood Bay, which is the next town over. It is an easy 20 min hike from the hotel. I would recommend that for meals if your timing allows. We needed food stat though, so this fit the bill.

This outdoor area quickly became our favorite place to complete our school work. The boys loved the fresh air and sea noises.

Fossil Hunting

What brought us to Boggle Hole was the amazing rock pooling and fossil hunting. The tides here are large. When the tide is in the water comes up to the hotel, but when it is out a whole new world is revealed.

We booked a Hidden Horizons Fossil Hunt to make the most of our time at Boggle Hole. This tour was worth every penny! A qualified guide teaches you how to find fossils, gems and sea creatures. He helped us identify what we found and was outstanding with the boys.

Everyone gets a pamphlet to help them with rock and fossil identification.

The boys were fully immersed as they overturned rocks and splashed in puddles.

I literally had to drag the boys back to the YHA to get some food. They didn’t want to waste even one moment of the tide being out.

The boys spent all of lunch looking over their fossil finds. Ammonites were the most prized finds.

Robin Hood’s Bay Hike

When the tide is out you can easily walk to Robin Hood’s Bay, the neighboring town, along the shoreline. Families set up here on the beach to play all day. It is important to keep track of time though, as the tide cuts off the walking route unevenly as it comes in, stranding people between Boggle Hole and Robin Hood’s Bay. The YHA staff can help you time to your trip.

When the tide is in, a clifftop walking path takes you over to the town. This was actually my preferred walking route as it provided stunning views.

This is a great place for me to just say how much we love the UK’s Right to Roam that lets you travel across private lands, making little walks like this possible. We thoroughly enjoyed hearing about the history of the Right to Roam on the 99% invisible podcast.

Robin Hood’s Bay

While it can be hard to break away from the quaint YHA Boggle Hole, exploring Robin Hoods’ Bay is a must. This sleepy little town buzzes with tourists during the day, but is quiet early in the morning and again in the evening.

You will find some great food options in these little alleys. We popped into a delicious bakery that lured us into a second breakfast.

A free museum by the water is worth popping into when it opens. The boys loved seeing examples of fossils, shells and wildlife found in the area.

Why you should visit

If you are looking to get away from it all a bit, this is the place for you. Without kids I could have easily spent hours reading on the porch or strolling the streets of Robin Hoods Bay. With kids we kept busy with activities and general outside frolicking.

Staying at the YHA Boggle Hole helps keep the cost of the trip down without sacrificing location.


Elizabeth is a Type A, Attorney turned Stay-at-Home Mom, who moved her family across the Atlantic for an adventure. She can often be found out and about finding fun things for her littles to do. Elizabeth loves to read, craft and chat with friends. She will try just about anything and loves to share her experiences.

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