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When you go to Whitby you get more than Whitby
Whitby in North Yorkshire is surrounded by little fishing ports like Staithes, Port Mulgrave, Runswick Bay and Robin Hood's Bay which gives tourists a selection of beautiful spots to visit
People who visit Whitby tend to like the old world charm of the fishing port with its quaint little cobbled streets and old cottages and shops. But one of the biggest bonuses for people who love this old world historical scenery is that you've got so many other little fishing ports within easy driving distance.
The nearest fishing port to Whitby is Robin Hoods Bay and first recorded reference to the place was in 1536 by King Henry V111s topographer with the statement ‘a fisher townelet of 20 bootes with Dok or Bosom of a mile yn length’. It is very probable that the village you can see today began to form in the 15th century by 1540 it is said that there was approximately 50 cottages. There will be also the Cliff settlement forming due to the fact it was more secure for piracy and easily walked from large boats inland.
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One thing is for certain that during the 18th century Robin Hood's Bay was actually a thriving smuggling community and one or if not the most busy on the Yorkshire coastline. Its geography helps the situation with its natural isolation whilst being surrounded by marshy moorland on all sides which assisted the well-organised gangs to go about their business with obviously a better result than fishing.
Smuggling was a very dangerous business with the illegal contraband bringing in large amounts of booty which encouraged ferocious battles at sea and on land between the smugglers and the excise men. It is rumoured that the local women would often pour boiling water over the excise men from the cottages bedroom windows in an attempt to stop them. The local man was also under the threat not only from the excise men but also from the press gangs and during the late 18th century moving into the early 19 century local fishermen even though they were supposed to be exempt from the press gangs were often "pressed" which meant that in reality their chances of returning back, very slim.
As with all the little fishing ports down the East Coast from the middle of the 19th century Robin Hood's Bay became to be a hot spot for tourist attraction which maintains to this very day.
Now in the opposite direction if we head down the coast we come to a little place which is just over a mile from Whitby and is called Sandsend
Less than 2 miles down the road from Whitby the place is well worth a visit with its scenic bay set against the backdrop of the steep cliffs. The cliffs also offer excellent walks providing panoramic views down into Sandsend and over towards Whitby where you can see St Mary's church and the harbour. Also on these cliffs there are the remains of the railway track which you can follow being part of the Cleveland Way. If you keep walking you can find an area which is very barren and grey which is actually what is left of a once very busy mining business from the 17th century which was there to extract Alum.
In the centre of Sandsend there is a log cabin cafeteria right on the sands where you can enjoy a cup of tea and a snack with excellent views and then walk and take a look in the arts and craft shops. And if you fancy a stroll you can wander along the excellent beach heading down towards Whitby and if you look carefully you may even find some Whitby jet particularly if there has been a storm recently.