The £1.2m makeover of Boggle Hole youth hostel, Robin Hood’s Bay

Boggle Hole now lives up to its setting nestled in a beautiful coastal valley

Boggle Hole now lives up to its setting nestled in a beautiful coastal valley - Credit: Archant

Beach bits and bobs are upcycled into artwork for the coast’s new-look youth hostel

Visitors, members and locals can now mingle in The Quarterdeck

Visitors, members and locals can now mingle in The Quarterdeck - Credit: Archant

Driftwood, bottle tops and buoys might be beach debris to some, but for the imaginative people who run Boggle Hole youth hostel, they proved to be vital raw materials for a range of inspiring art projects.

Hostel managers Peta and Andy Nugent immediately saw their potential as idiosyncratic additions to the interior scheme of a £1.2m renovation project aimed at giving the much-loved centre in Robin Hood’s Bay a well-deserved makeover. So, they set to work with their team and, in the eight months it’s taken to complete the facelift, have upcycled a whole range of beach bits and bobs into lighting and artwork to add a distinct coastal swagger and style to the now unrecognisable hostel.

As a result of their foresight and efforts, Boggle Hole is now not only environmentally and financially sustainable, offering a secure long-term future for the hundreds of school groups, young people and families who stay there and visit each year, but also a welcoming haven with a character built in to every nook and cranny.

The extensive refurbishment of the 85-bed hostel was made possible by grants from the Coastal Communities Fund, Hostelling International’s Sustainability Fund and loyal Youth Hostel Association (YHA), all keen to see Boggle Hole survive and thrive.

At the recent grand reopening, a commemorative plaque was unveiled as permanent thank you to everyone who donated money, time and effort to give Boggle Hole a new lease of life

Staff threw a traditional seaside celebration to mark the reopening of the youth hostel, inviting 50 children from Fylingdales Primary School to enjoy a Punch and Judy booth, storytelling, ice creams, games, a coconut shy, a fortune teller, sandcastle competitions and, of course, fish and chips.

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They were the first to see for themselves the transformation that has taken place, including the replacement of a dilapidated annexe, the creation of a new classroom and a complete refresh of the dining room, cafe and reception areas, leading to 12 new jobs.

Other improvements include: new onsite accommodation for staff; The Crow’s Nest annexe, an environmentally-friendly, timber-framed building; The Boat Shed, a new space for meetings or activities (for locals or visiting group); The Brigg, an overflow dining room with stunning sea views; and The Quarterdeck Café, now open to guests and the public.

‘Boggle Hole is simply stunning and epitomises the image change our association has undergone in recent years, making it appeal to a new generation of young people and their families,’ said Caroline White, chief executive of YHA.

‘We welcome thousands of young people to Boggle Hole every year, giving everyone, whatever their backgrounds, the chance to enjoy a fantastic educational and outdoor experience. Our investment will help the youth hostel become even more financially sustainable, securing its future for many more generations of guests and enabling YHA to regain a special place in people’s hearts.’

Managers Peta and Andy have looked after the youth hostel – and its numerous guests – for 23 years and are known and loved for their quirky designs and warm welcome.

‘Boggle Hole is one of the oldest, most-loved youth hostels in the UK,’ said Peta. ‘It has a rich history of mystery and adventure which reveals legendary stories of smugglers landing their treasure and then burying it in some of the hundreds of hidey-holes in the bay. It’s a truly magical place.’

It’s also home to the famous Boggle – the local name for a hobgoblin – and the story goes that if you leave a saucer of milk for the mythical creature, it will bless you with good fortune (or, at the very least, a clean saucer).

‘This is where the magic happens,’ said Peta. ‘We think of ourselves as memory makers. Andy and I both grew up by the sea and Boggle Hole is such a special place it brings so many people happiness and fond memories.’

It’s one of a growing number of youth hostels that have been refurbished since 2010 at a cost of £22m, earning YHA the title of Best UK Hotel in the 2014 Guardian Travel Awards, beating hotel chains Marriott and Radisson to the top spot.