Insider’s Guide to Whitby

One of the most picturesque ports in England, Whitby and its harbour are dominated by the top ruined Abbey. The narrow alleys and quaint streets meander down to the busy quay, with its harbour side houses and small shops filled with crafts, curios, Whitby Jet and antiques. Here we give you a little touch of history alongside detailing what to do in Whitby on your Yorkshire coastal holiday.

Climb the famous 199 Steps up to enjoy the breath-taking views and visit the Parish Church of St Mary, one of the finest Anglo Saxon churches in the country, featuring carved pews made by ship’s carpenters and craftsmen from Whitby’s once booming whaling fleet and on to the iconic Whitby Abbey with its fascinating Visitor Centre.

The town is famous for its associations with the Dracula tale –  Bram Stoker was inspired by Whitby Abbey during his stay in in the town, where he wrote part of this most-filmed novel of all time – visit the Dracula Experience.   Whitby is also known for its world renowned Jet industry and of course for being the home port of Captain Cook, however, the town now offers a wide range of excellent, award-winning restaurants and bars, and many quality shops, from retro sweet shops and quaint memorabilia to hand-made aromatherapy soaps and antique books.

The town hosts many annual events and festivals, including the famous Whitby Gothic Weekends. Started in 1994, they have since grown into one of the most popular goth events in the world, attracting the best dressed Goths from across the UK and even around the world. The weekends are held annually around April and late October/early November.

The Whitby Regatta is another well attended event, with three days of racing, and fun and attractions for all the family. This usually coincides with Whitby Folk Week – around the end of August – ensuring the that the town is full to capacity – so remember to book early!

Inland from Whitby, the North York Moors National Park is a quiet, unspoilt upland area perfect for walking or touring. Goathland, with its ‘Heartbeat’ connections, is within easy reach, as is Grosmont, where the spectacular North York Moors Steam Railway meets the Esk Valley line. Peaceful moor land and gentle valleys with pretty villages, castles and abbeys in abundance, lead to expanses of glorious countryside associated with James Herriot.

Yorkshire Coastal Cottages | Blog | History and Heritage

The local Whitby visitor centre is available for you to pop in and get help or advice on all local events and happenings. The town of Whitby is famous for its Festival weekends, Regatta Week and Folk weeks, not forgetting the hugely popular and fun ‘Goth’ weekends. The new Whitby Abbey visitor centre and the Captain Cook museum are a must for all visitors.

The North Yorkshire Steam Railway has links from Whitby and Pannett Park and the museums are well worth a visit for local Whitby history and the famous Dinosaur fossils.  The Pullman Dining Train is an experience not to be missed – enjoy fabulous food with incomparable scenery – the winter schedule has just been released – click here to see more details:

Both Whitby and Sandsend have the top ‘Blue Flag’ rated beaches, for cleanliness and safety.

Fishing is another of the Whitby pastimes, where you can hire a boat and tackle for a day in the North Sea or you can join the many enthusiasts with their simple lines trying their luck off the Pier.

A short sea trip is available with the speedboat ‘Velocity’ or try the replica galleon ‘Endeavour’ or the many other vessels which take you on a short coastal trip – one of which includes a lovely sunset trip on the ‘Esk Belle’.