Whitby is one of the most popular coastal towns on the North York Moors and for a good reason!
It holds something for everyone: Tudor halls, gothic ruins, Saxon churches, smugglers’ pubs, fisherman’s cottages, coastal walks, sea views, harbour life and so much more.
This ancient sea port seems to combine the best that Yorkshire has to offer.
Famous for its connections to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Whitby has always embraced its association with Gothic culture which is reflected in the town’s quirky streets, shops and Abbey ruins.
Whitby has featured in a number of literary works, but perhaps its most famous appearance is in the novel Dracula.
Whitby is where Dracula first comes ashore in Britain after travelling by boat from Transylvania.
The book’s Irish author Bram Stoker often visited Whitby from London.
He wrote Dracula while he stayed in Whitby’s Royal Hotel and was inspired by the chilling tales told by the local fishermen and by the impressive 11th century ruins of Whitby Abbey.
The ruins of Whitby Abbey are a must-see!
Founded by Saxons in AD656, the Vikings destroyed the original structure. Later it was rebuilt by the Normans in local sandstone and this structure can be seen today.
After the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536 much of the abbey stone was used by the Tudors to build the Manor next door.
The abbey even survived the bombardments by Germans during World War I.
St Mary Church
Next door to the abbey, stand St Mary’s Church. This church is even older then the abbey.
We just love the setting and ambiance of this enchanting church!
Set high above the cliffs, with a graveyard that looks like a horror film set and stunning views across the sea.
To us this scene reflects everything that is special about Whitby.
From St Mary’s Church a flight of 199 steps leads to the quirky cobbled streets below.
Enjoy the majestic view while strolling down. This is the east side of the town.
The River Esk divides the town and Whitby Bridge connects the two sides.
Along Pier Road on the west side, you can treat yourself to the best fish & chips in Yorkshire while making your way to the Captain Cook Memorial on West Cliff.
Captain James Cook
Whitby is well known for its connection to the famous voyager Captain James Cook.
In the 18th century Cook’s Resolution, Discovery and Endeavour left these shores.
Exploring the town, you will find the Captain Cook Memorial Museum in Grape Lane and the Whitby Museum in Pannett Park which has a special section dedicated to Cook.
Here in Whitby the River Esk has created a natural harbour for ships using the North Sea.
Whitby is still a working harbour and going out to sea will always be at the heart of the town.
Unfortunately, the fishing industry has declined and today tourism has become its main industry.
Explore Whitby on foot!
A short 1-mile trail takes in both east and west side of the town. Enjoy the highlights of Whitby and then head for Ruswarp. A small village along the River Esk.
The Ruswarp Round takes you approximately 2 miles round public footpaths and the Larpool viaduct. Keep your eyes peeled on this walk for wildlife.
If you want to walk further, then cross the Larpool viaduct and head for the village of Hawsker.
This 7-mile circular walk returns via the Cleveland Way along the coast.
Long distance paths
If you want to experience the Cleveland Way, then a two day walk towards Scarborough will do the trick.
This 21-mile linear walk starts at Whitby and follows the Cleveland Way along the coast. After 7 miles you will reach Robin Hood’s Bay.
On the second day the path rises to Ravenscar before ending in Scarborough.
Here you can rest and visit Scarborough Castle before returning to Whitby via the Cinder Track.
The Cinder Track follows the route of the old railway from Scarborough to Whitby.
The railway was in use from 1885 to 1965, and after it closed, Scarborough Borough Council bought the line.
The distance from Scarborough to Whitby along the Cinder Track is 21.5 miles.
Cool Places to Explore: Robin Hood’s Bay | Staithes | North York Moor Railway | Rievaulx Abbey | Dalby Forest | Byland Abbey.
Cool Places to Stay: Hobbits Cottage.