The improbably named Boggle Hole is a mysterious old smugglers cove, situated in a hidden gully, in the middle of Robin Hood's Bay on the east coast of Yorkshire. It lies between the idyllic fishing port of Whitby and the busy holiday resort of Scarborough. Boggle Hole is the perfect 'first residential' trip for children. The history, stunning location and local myths inspire and capture the imagination and there is also a huge amount to do. The activities in our field visit centred around Robin Hood's Bay itself, but Boggle Hole is part of the canvas that makes up the North Yorkshire National Park, and I've listed some other potential activities and useful links at the end of this article.
Boggle Hole at a glance
- 2 Days / 1 Night
- Years 3 & 4
- Estimated cost: £60 per child
- Curriculum covered: English, art, science, geography
Boggle Hole is stunning. However, it's remoteness means that it will take you some time to get there! The best approach from the south is up the A1 and onto the A64 past York. Your SATNAV will try to take you through the beautiful national park, but if you go this way, be aware, the winding roads may mean you need to be alert to green faces and bouts of travel sickness. The roads veer up and down and around like a 25 miles long roller-coaster and bitter experience has taught that's it's a much safer option to go all the way to Scarborough and head up the (flatter and straighter) coastal road to Boggle Hole.
It's much simpler from the North - just stay on the A171 all the way to Whitby, and then chug down southwards down the coastal road.
Accomodation - YHA Boggle Hole
YHA Boggle Hole is the perfect place to stay for school parties of relatively young children. It's fairly small, you can book out areas of the hostel which are segregated by card activated corridor locks (a safeguarding dream) and is very competitive on price. In 2018, it cost us £40 per night, per person (inc. VAT) and this included a hot breakfast, a prepared packed lunch and an evening meal during our first night. It's also worth mentioning that YHA apply a 50% discount to food and accommodation for children who are eligible for free school meals. The food is perfect - pizza, pasta and potato - carb heavy dishes. Wonderful when you've spent the whole day outdoors.
Booking couldn't be simpler - just visit the YHA website, assess availability, and then call the sales line.
We generally pay 50% of the costs upfront, and the rest 12 weeks before we set off; great if parents are paying in instalments.
One thing to bear in mind though is that you can't unload all of your clothing and equipment outside the hostel as it is accessed down a narrow farm track which goes all the way down to the sea. You will need to unload in the public parking area about a quarter of a mile away and walk down hill to the Hostel itself. This really adds to the sense of excitement and adventure with young children. You can either pack light (definitely recommended!) - or my top-tip is to liaise closely with the hostel management and kindly ask them to use one of their 4 wheel drive vehicles to take your supplies to base on arrival!
Arrive at the Boggle Hole public car park at 10:15am. The Land Rover awaits to take all of our equipment down to the Hostel.
After a stroll down the lane, we unload and take everything across the bridge. We store it away in the hostel meeting room and then catch the low-tide to go rock-pooling (after a quick toilet break and snack. We're in amongst the inter-tidal life by 11am).
We search for inter-tidal animals for around an hour and a half. The children had been introduced to the topic in science, and had completed some food-web research using our Edmodo learning platform which they accessed from home. The aim of this session was to create one rock-pool full of plants and animals - as many as we could tick off our list, so that when we complete the inter-tidal food web activity in the evening, the children will have seen (and touched!) many of the creatures.
Around 12:45, we set off up across the beach to the beautiful fishing village of Robin's Hood Bay. Whilst most of the adults stayed with the main group, two went back to the hostel to collect the Art and photography equipment and take it to the top of the cliffs to await our arrival after lunch, but we made sure that they didn't miss out on the fish and chips!
Along the way, we discussed coastal erosion; the cliffs often collapse into the sea during winter storms. You can see that this has happened clearly from the beach, and you will often find superb fossils. From the top of the cliffs, you can also clearly see how the sea has eroded the land over time from the rock formations in the bay itself at low tide. Again, this was a topic that we began in geography before the trip, and spent some on it afterwards.
We had lunch around 1:15pm and by 2pm we were on top of the cliffs, easels and paints in hand and creating wild landscapes under the tutelage of a superb local landscape artist. We used watercolours today, and the children also took lots of photographs on the class iPads to refer to when they began to use oils in class. Some of the children who finished early also created a podcast and interviewed their peers - and this was later used in ICT.
At 4pm we made our way down to the Hostel for a snack and to go through safety rules for the evening, to unpack, to shower and have some free time in the rooms.
At 7pm, we begin the evening activities, beginning with a fulsome meal. I admit it: I went back for seconds. And thirds! We all had a delicious ice-cream and sponge dessert too.
By 8pm we were all in the meeting room to complete the follow up activities, debrief on the day, tweet to parents on the class phone and have a bedtime story and hot chocolate.
By 9:30pm all the children were back in their rooms for lights out at 9:45pm. One of the boys was homesick - this is where teddy bears from home come into their own - and all are asleep by 10:15pm (the grown-ups aren't too far behind)!
We wake up early before setting off for the Scarborough Sea Life Centre. We have an early breakfast at 8am whilst some staff load up the Land Rover again. We collect our packed lunches and by 9:30am we've walked up the hill, loaded up the minibuses and are on our way! We arrive in the Sea Life Centre in plenty of time for our VIP tour at 10:30am (the free car park is enormous!) The price for each child at this attraction was £7 each, with adults touring for free. For this we received:
Children's Kit List