As a Yorkshire lass born and bred, and an ex-travel agent, I am pleased to say that I have had the pleasure of visiting a number of destinations, and have always taken an interest in anything to do with the tourist industry. For this reason, it's quite embarrassing to admit that 6 months ago was my first visit to the seaside town of Whitby. Lying on the East coast of Yorkshire, Whitby is located just a 1.5 hour drive away from my home in West Yorkshire. This may have been my first visit to the resort, but I can say with confidence that it will not be my last.
I wasn't expecting any sort of holiday this year with money, or shortage of it, being the main reason. However, as a single mother of 2 children, guilt begins to set in when their friends are constantly going on short breaks, and your own children are staring at the same 4 walls every day. So, when a friend of mine suggested a weekend in Whitby on a shoestring, I decided to go.
To be quite honest I was expecting a typical British seaside resort such as Blackpool, or Scarborough; very commercialised, lots of tourist shops selling buckets and spades lining the pier, and the constant sound of 2 pence pieces dropping from the many amusement arcades - all to the backdrop of that familiar fried food smell. How pleasantly surprised I was.
After a stunning drive upon long, winding and deserted countryside roads we arrived in Whitby. I was initially struck by the peace and quiet of the resort. There were not hordes of tourists parading up and down eating chips from a paper pyramid; there was several people enjoying a leisurely stroll along the large, clean beach, and a stroll across the road and into the main town revealed why it seemed so quiet; there are so many places to go.
Whitby is quite a well-spread resort, consisting of lovely, narrow, cobbled streets, lined with equally lovely, quaint shops selling all sorts of unusual and interesting items. There are also upmarket stores selling many designer names such as Kath Kidston, a few of the main stores such as Boots etc can be found further into the centre, and a few gothic orientated shops also make interesting browsing.
There is a river running through the centre of Whitby with a pretty bridge providing access across it to the other part of town, with more quaint shops, inviting pubs, and charming, traditional cafes.
The whole resort is so clean and tidy. It is very hilly, so do be aware of this if you are elderly or have walking difficulties; the hills only add to the charm. Spectacular view can be found at the top of them all, and it's lovely to find a quaint little cafe nestling at the top. We were sat outside at one of them enjoying a coffee, admiring the view, and watching a young lady walking up the cobbled street with a donkey in tow! It really does feel like a small white-washed Greek village!
To say Whitby is a reasonably well-known and heard of resort, I was shocked at exactly how undiscovered it seemed.
Things to do
There is plenty for everyone here; whether you want an active or relaxed holiday, whether you are part of a couple, a family, or alone. Theee are plentiful shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants. There is the famous abbey which is reached by climbing 250 steps. Unfortunately, I can't accurately describe what awaits at the top of the stairs as I have a bad leg so I didn't climb them, but it is certainly a major attraction. Very handily, the base of the steps lie right at the front door to a very nice pub, so food and refreshments can be enjoyed pre-walk-and post walk! Alongside the attractive beach is also a traditional lighthouse, where you can climb the steps and enjoy the beautiful view from the top.
A gothic festival is held in Whitby every year so there is quite a subtle gothic influence, hence the interesting gothic shops.
If you or the kids do fancy a quick flutter, there are a couple of amusement arcades to be found of a decent size, but nothing that would ever make the place feel commercialised. There is also a famous fish and chip shop called The Magpie which is said to serve the best fish and chips in the country. Considering the constant queue that snaked out of the door, I think this is true.
No word of a lie, everything about this quaint resort is utterly charming. It feels as if you're taking a step back in time. The people are so friendly, and seem to have been by-passed by a lot of technology; the majority of which do not own a mobile phone. They seem content with a slower-paced relaxed way of life which is contagious-it helps for a relaxing break. Whitby is a popular destination for people to retire to, or strive to run a gust house or small b&b, and I can see why.
If you have never been, and are considering Whitby for a break, I can fully recommend this picture-postcard seaside village.
~What you know and what you THINK you know~
I think it was Donald Rumsfeld who, when talking about the Gulf War got himself tongue tied over the topic of 'known knowns' ' unknown knowns', 'known unknowns' and 'unknown unknowns'. I realised that my knowledge of Whitby was a little like the American intelligence he described. There were things I knew that I knew - that Whitby was a port, that it was famous for jet jewellery and for scampi. There were things I knew but had forgotten - for example that it had a ruined abbey on a hillside, that there was a hillside covered in steps to reach it and that the town has 'something' to do with Dracula. What I thought I knew was that it would be a bit tacky but that turned out to be entirely untrue. I didn't know that it was linked to Captain Cook and what I never imagined in my wildest dreams was that it would have a world class wide sandy beach.
We were staying down the coast at Robin Hood's Bay in the last week of June 2012 and our B&B owner had tried to encourage us to walk to Whitby. We're not particularly lazy but we took one look at the sky and decided it would be much too risky and drove over instead. By the pathway on the top of the cliffs it's about 4 or 5 miles, but by the road it's quite a lot longer. I went without too much idea of what to expect and I was delighted by what we found.
We parked up in a long stay car park close to where the yachts were moored in the harbour. We could see the Abbey on the hill, rising above the red-brick houses that cling to the hillside. We passed the boats and piles of lobster nets, although they could have been crab nets as I'm not sure how to tell the difference, and then we crossed the bridge onto the Abbey side of the river. This area of the town is laced with narrow alleyways of tiny independently owned shops, cafes and restaurants. There's a small market and lots of 'alternative' stores to attract the Dracula fans in search of tattoos or the Jet collectors in search of black stuff with which to decorate themselves. As we headed up the hill we could see the harbour mouth beneath us and watch the boats going out to see and coming back again. Several pleasure craft offer short tourist boat trips including a beautifully restored old lifeboat and you can watch them chugging out to sea at regular intervals.
We came to the base of the flight of stone steps that leads up to the Abbey and St Mary's Church. There are 199 steps, just in case you feel the need to count them - it starts to feel like 599 as you get to the top as they're that annoying height that's a bit too shallow to take comfortably but too high to double up and take two at a time. We were in the early days of our holiday when we were still bursting with energy so we headed up to check out the views.
The high spots of Whitby have been given to God. On the side we'd just climbed, the two outstanding residents were the church of St Mary the Virgin and Whitby Abbey. Looking across to the other side of the river, the dominant building was again a church.
The graveyard of St Mary's Church is fabulously spooky with gravestones leaning at precarious angles, facing towards the sea like wives watching for their fisher-husbands to return with their catch. Looking in the other direction you get excellent views of the ruined abbey. We weren't particularly trying to be cheapskates but I couldn't imagine that there'd be much more of the ruined abbey to see if we paid for the entrance, so I stuck to shooting photos over the church wall and saved our money for lunch. Instead of visiting the Abbey, we popped into St Mary's Church, a strange construction that seemed to break all the normal rules about church architecture. For a start there seemed to be too many windows, and most of them undecorated. Once inside the pews were arranged in boxes so that the congregation would have struggled to see more than just the occupants of their own box. It was an oddly impersonal lay out that left me wondering how many of those attending services would have been able to see or hear what was going on. Many of the pillars are painted in mock stone designs which look oddly amateurish, as if someone invited the kindergarten to do the painting.
~Traditional Seaside Attractions~
With our religious buildings behind us we headed back down the 199 steps and over to the other side of the river in search of lunch. This side is the more touristy, 'seaside' part of the town, with the waterfront filled with amusement arcades and chip shops. We skipped the chips and bought a portion each of Whitby scampi to eat on the harbour wall because there's nothing like sea air for giving you a good appetite.
The scampi were fresh, juicy and delicious and our lunch was spoiled only by me getting pooped on by a large, grumpy seagull who projectile pooped down my arm from about six feet away. If I hadn't been so busy mopping up the mess, I would have been impressed by both his range and his precision targeting.
Once our lunch was eaten we headed round the headland and onto the beach. It's safe to say that the beaches of the North East surprised me greatly as I had not imagined that such beautiful, clean, wide beaches were to be found in the UK, and certainly not ones that were almost empty of people. Not only is the beach wide and flat, but it stretches as far as the eye can see. As we strolled along, I was soon captivated by the rows of beach huts further down the beach. I adore beach huts although I've never hired one or even been in one but they represent the simple pleasures of the seaside - a place to put your deck chair when the rain starts to fall and to brew up a cup of tea and watch the world go by. The Whitby beach huts are brashly painted in primary colours that would stand out on even the dullest northern day.
Once we'd passed the beach huts we headed up the cliff to the road at the top and strolled back towards the harbour, stopping to admire the statue of Captain Cook and to photograph the whale bone arch before heading into the modern part of town in search of coffee and wi-fi. Unable to find any wi-fi in Robin Hood's Bay, we'd asked our B&B owner if she knew of a place in Whitby. A long explanation followed and I nodded in all the right places and paid no attention. I figured we'd find a Costa or a McDonalds or a Starbucks and log on there but by sheer chance we found the cafe she'd told us about. This was lucky since there was a noteworthy absence of most national chain stores or food outlets in the town. We're so used to going to every town or city and seeing exactly the same identikit High Streets, that I was really impressed to go somewhere that had so few of the familiar shop fronts.
It has long been my ambition to retire by the sea although I've technically got a couple of decades to wait. This has been a feeling that' s been growing over the last 8 years whilst we've been living in the most landlocked county in England. The primeval yearning of a Brit for the sea is in my genes and I'd always assumed that if I wanted to exercise my genetic drive to walk on the beach, it would have to be in an overpriced tacky touristy seaside town on the South Coast. Going to Whitby opened my eyes to a very different British seaside experience by showing me a town that has extensive facilities, proper restaurants and shops and not just chippies and arcades, and that would be a beautiful place to be year round. I'm not so naive as to think the sun always shines in the North East (in fact to think it EVER shines if I'm honest) but the quality of the beaches and the fantastic views had me longing to quit my job, get a fancy pedigree dog (since there seem to be no mutts in Whitby) and take long walks on the beach in the horizontal rain. For me Whitby was definitely a winner.
Whitby for those that don't know is a seaside town on the East Coast in North Yorkshire and living in the North it is a place we visit at least once a year.
The town is a port built up around the fishing industry and is famous for Captain James Cook who was born nearby and is where he started his seafaring career and is also the inspiration for Bram Stokers Dracula.
Like many fishing ports the harbour area is lined with small cottages which date back to mediaeval times and which give Whitby its character.
The town is divided into two parts the older East side which has the ruins of St Hilda's Abbey and St Mary's church and the West side which has its share of old cottages and terraces, but also has many properties built in later periods. Particularly of note is the Cresent which is full of Georgian grandeur , but sadly was never completed.
It is a lovely place to visit and the approach from the South takes you up and down dale across the North Yorkshire Moors. Make sure your brakes are working as there are some very steep hills and watch out for the sheep who often wander off the heather covered moors onto the roads.
You know when you are close to Whitby as the skyline is dominated by the RAF early warning satellite/radar structures at Fylingdales which once were in the shape of golf balls but have since been replaced by much more mundane structures.
You will also pass Goathland which is of interest if you liked Heartbeat as it was filmed in this area.
There are several routes into Whitby but we always take the route signposted Sandsend which takes you to the West Cliff , which is where you can find free car parking on the roadside and streets around the Crescent.
Worthy of note is that disabled parking is not free in Whitby in pay and display car parks.
There is also a lift to the beach from the West Cliff, which is essential if you are disabled particularly on the way back up as the terrain is very stee
Whitby has some beautiful beaches some of which are dog friendly but there are restrictions (May to October I think). However beyond the beach huts on the West Side the restrictions are lifted and you can walk miles along the beach to Sandsend when the tide is out. It is a lovely walk and at the end there is a really nice café which serves great food. I can recommend the full English and the apple pie,
On a nice day of course the miles of beach mean you can simply sit on the beach, or if you are brave swim in the sea. There are beach huts and deckchairs to hire and donkey rides if the fancy takes you.
On the East side there is Tate Hill Beach which is small and sandy and dogs are allowed all year.
As you would expect there are boat trips a plenty including those that want to go sea fishing.
Take a trip to the East side and head up the 199 steps to the Abbey and Church ,worth a trip as the views are amazing and on the journey stop and take photographs of the panorama or the cottages down below.
Deep breaths are required for the 199 steps but there are benches along the way. Or try the goat track that runs alongside the steps, but be warned you need to be like a mountain goat to reach the top.
There is a tourist bus that travels around Whitby, it departs from the Harbour and you can get on and off wherever you wish and this will take you to the Abbey, if you don't fancy or can't make the 199 steps.
St Marys church is lovely and worth a visit. The churchyard is very atmospheric and full of tombstones which have been weathered away as you would expect being at the top of a cliff. Years ago we attended a Church Service here and sat in the old boxed pews.
The Abbey is in ruins and I must admit we have never got close up.
There are lots of lovely walks around Whitby in all directions. If you feel energetic you can walk along the cliff on the Cleveland Way to Robin Hoods Bay, which is a very pretty spot. Less commercial and smaller than Whitby but be warned the walk down to the sea is very steep.
Whitby has a varied selection of shops , on the East side lots of jewellery shops selling Whitby Jet pieces, lots of sweetie shops and plenty of places to buy ornaments paintings and photographs, plus some vintage clothes shops. On the West side Bothams the baker is worth a visit as the bread and cakes are lovely. In the back streets you will find some bric a brac shops but they are slowly disappearing and more Charity shops are appearing and Somerfield's is now a Poundland. A sign of the times sadly.
Whitby does get very crowded so I would recommend wandering around early morning or early evening particularly on the East side where the streets are narrow and cobbled and it becomes a little challenging especially as the pavements are narrow.
Whitby is full of character with small alleyways and passages to explore. On the East side the cottages are tall and narrow and tend to be 3 or 4 storeys high.
Places to eat are plentiful and be prepared to queue if you want to visit the Magpie café which is definitely worth the wait. The queue starts early and they have had to form a waiting area on the other side of the road. Fabulous fish and chips, but I would not recommend their takeaway version.
We tend to have dogs in tow , so usually try to find dog friendly places so haven't tried all the restaurants , but we have had lovely breakfasts at the cafés right on the end of the harbour ,one at the top of Grape Lane . Also try the cakes at Becketts on Skinner Street where they actively encourage dog owners and while you are scoffing the cake can browse the second hand books which are on sale. The staff are very warm and friendly and the atmosphere is very welcoming. Not open every day though unfortunately. Also I would recommend sharing the cake as the portions are very large.
Places to stay are plentiful and there are masses of bed and breakfast establishments, cottages and apartments to rent and a couple of Hotels. We have stayed at the Royal which is the largest hotel and tends to cater for coach parties. We have stayed with family and so have sampled the entertainment on offer which includes bingo ballroom dancing and cabaret. Not normally my type of thing and better on some nights than others.
The rooms vary but we had a sea view room the size of a ballroom. It needed refurbishing but we were out and about so wasn't an issue. The food was OK nothing to write home about. I am not selling the place but we did enjoy our stay with our family.
We have stayed in various cottages all of which have been lovely, but now tend to favour the West side as negotiating the narrow cobbled streets to unload and load on the East side is rather stressful particularly with 2 dogs in tow .
The Spa Theatre often features themed entertainment which includes 60's weekends where you will find Whitby full of ageing mods on their scooters.
Dracula will take you around Whitby most evenings and starts his tour outside the Royal. Plus Whitby is now a mecca for Goths and runs a number of events during the year.
Down by the harbour there are a couple of amusement arcades and some children's rides plus the Dracula experience.
There are plenty of places to visit including Scarborough or further north you will find Staithes and Saltburn. We liked Saltburn as it has a lovely woodland park with an old railway running through and a vernacular lift to the top of the cliff, plus miles of beach. It has seen better days but we enjoyed the drive and our fish and chips plus a bracing walk.
You can also take a trip on the Moorlander a steam train that will take you inland to Goathland and Pickering. It does serve lunch and dinner but based on our experience I would not recommend the food, however we did receive a full refund. It was a great shame but we paid nearly £100 for lunch for 2 and expected something special. Perhaps it was an off day!
I would really recommend a visit to Whitby , you are at the mercy of our weather and if you do visit, be warned if it is misty and foggy , it tends to linger longer in Whitby - it must be the Dracula connection!
We love Whitby and never tire of wandering round the streets, walking the beaches and coastal paths and tend to stay a few days or a week at a time.
So five stars from me.
Ah.. Whitby, without question my favourite place in the world, my second home situated on isolated north yorkshire coast, completely unaffected by time and miles away from any cities or large towns, the closest being Scarborough, some 20 or so miles south. Whitby is remarkably well preserved and still retains its victorian charm, Whitby is as if frozen in time, it is unchanged, like the land that time forgot, cobbled winding streets that have existed since the days of the romans, ancient fishing boats, the notorious swing bridge which splits the old side of town from the new and remains relatively unchanged since it's inception, and a traditional smokehouse for kippers and bacon, and how could one forget St.Hilda's final resting place, Whitby Abbey?. There is something incredibly romantic, yet frightening about a victorian era fishing town set amongst the backdrop of the ever watchful ascent where Whitby Abbey watches over all it's townsfolk almost as if guarding them from danger! accompanied by the north sea who's waves crash crash and crash against the cliffs, the sound of the waves, the hawk hawk hawk of the seagulls, the finest seafood money can buy, and quaint little century old cottages and pubs offering real ales, food and fantastic accomodation..so am I finished yet? I haven't even started!
-==My first experience of Whitby==-
I first visited Whitby when I was a wee lad of 16, and definately not at the age where I could really appreciate Whitby for just how amazing it is, yet it still manages to evoke fond memories from those years ago. I remember the b&b I stopped in (Argyle House and it's fantastic landlord Ben), the great tasting fish and chips and how we ate in the Trenchers restaraunt, definately a step up from anything else I have had, with quite possibly the cleanest toilets iv'e seen! so kudos to them!
-==Whitby, second time around.==-
I went to whitby again when I was 21, 5 years later and with a new sense of maturity I definately enjoyed it much more then, it was truely perfect, we went in May and the weather was phenomenal, I, and my dog both got buried in the sand!. We stayed in a cottage, self-catering for a week courtesy of Ingrid Flute who offer fantastic cottages are very good prices too, which works out suprisingly cheap actually much cheaper than if you were to stay in a hotel or b&b, you do have to provide your own breakfast, but how much does a bag of muesli cost?, We went to a few different chippies, all of them fantastic but the stand-out one again has to be Trenchers and Mr.Chips, both have my recommendations, we also decided to dissapear up the 199 steps and to the Abbey for the afternoon, it is quite expensive for a ticket but it is more than worth it, it's a strangely serene place for somewhere that has so much history attached to it, you can almost feel it when you stand at the top looking out to the cliffs and the rough waves of the north sea crashing and eroding away.
-==From beginning to end==-
Frankly, Whitby is a place that for me has a touch of everything yet also excels at most things, if your looking for a town like Blackpool, Brighton, or Scarborough you will be dissapointed, but if your looking for a quaint little seaside town that is busy yet retains all of it's edwardian qualities and remains the land that time forget, from it's cobbled winding streets, to it's tudor cottages and gothic buildings, to the finest seafood the north-sea has to offer and the most fantastic pubs offering all the real ales of yorkshire then Whitby should be your one-stop shop.
We have always visited Whitby since I was tiny and when I was about 6 I started going and staying in a caravan for one week a year with my Great Auntie and Uncle. Whitby is about an hour away from us and so make a good place for days out too, it is set on the coast in North Yorkshire over the North Yorkshire Moors.
Whitby is famous for many things such as 199 steps, Whitby Abbey and the whale bones and also holds lots of annual festivals such as a Gothic weekend, Folk week and the Regatta Festival.
199 steps to beauty
The 199 steps are just like it sounds, there are 199 of them which curve up from the cobbled street below up to St Mary's Church and then to Whitby Abbey itself. There is a cobbled pathway to the side of the steps with the donkeys from the beach living at the top and the steps have benches so far up for those who need a rest. My sister at 18 months old insisted on walking he whole 199 steps on her own so we had me in front of her and my Mam at the side of her to keep her safe but she did manage every single one of them herself. Myself and my Dad used to go up the path at the side and race my Mam to the top, my Mam has never moved very quick even when she was younger so myself and my Dad always won.
Whitby Abbey or the Abbey of St Hilda's was founded in 657 AD by the Saxon King of Northumbria, I have never actually been into the Abbey as you can't get in without paying but it is a beautiful site especially from a distance in the dark as it is lit up beautifully. My Dad is a painter and has painted me a lovely picture of the Abbey by moonlight which sits proudly in my living room.
The Goth weekends used to be run once a year however after becoming extremely popular they are now held twice a year, usually the event is held in April and the end of October to coincide with Halloween. The Goths have a market which is full of weird and wonderful items and some fantastic ornaments that you simply don't get in usual shops. The clothes these people wear are extremely detailed and beautiful and they take great pride in how they look, although some of them look rather scary or so I thought when I was younger they are very friendly and in the pub we drink in (The Elsinore) they always approach my family as my parents dog is pure black and looks like a wolf. One year I even dressed up with my little sister whilst at Goth weekend us wearing all black and me doing our make-up to suit.
When we first starting staying in Whitby it was always for the Folk festival which runs from Saturday to Friday and starts with a procession and ends with a procession. The festival is always at the end of August and there are many different dance troops which take part and there are many workshops put on that you can join in, one year I helped with a workshop to build a giant Dracula and took part in the procession at the end of the week from the top of the cliff by the whale bones to the bottom of Whitby at the band stand. My sister took part in a music group one year we were there and to this day she still plays guitar and is actually in a group so I believe this kick started her love of music.
Whitby is also famous for the Endeavour ship which launched in 1794 from Whitby before being bought by the Navy in 1798, a replica of the ship still makes visits back to Whitby which causes a hive of tourists. I think the Endeavour is a marvellous sight and the replica looks to be a very good likeness to the real ship.
Bram Stokers Dracula was inspired by St Mary's Church in Whitby and he stayed in the Royal Hotel while he wrote his masterpiece. Over the years there have been many tourist activities to do with Dracula one of which my mam took part in which was a walk around Whitby at night learning about Dracula himself and also a Dracula experience was set up along the front which really scared my sister as one of the employees which are meant to scare you decided to follows us round and she was really scared of him.
Whitby has old cobbled sweets with lovely little shops such as a sweet shop which sells traditional old sweets by the quarter which myself and my sister were always allowed a couple of throughout our weeks stay. There is also a glass blower which is actually working (behind a screen) whilst you watch and they would always make a different window display of products where you would have to look through little eye holes to see the display. This shop always excited me every year and I couldn't wait to see what he display was each time.
Whitby has a lot of boat which are in and out but the harbour is beyond a low bridge and so the main bridge in Whitby actually opens up in the middle which is an amazing thing to watch. The sirens sound and then the barriers are brought across which is still done by a person rather than machines and then you have wait while very slowly the bridge split into two and the boats come through. When I was younger and walked over the bridge it always scared me that it might open whilst we were walking across it which of course it never would.
Finally Whitby has the usual things a seaside town does, there are a couple of amusements although they have got rid of the bingo which I think is a shame, when we used to stay for a week we would have a couple of games each day and save our wins up to the end of the week to get a prize. There are plenty of Fish and Chip shops with freshly caught Whitby fish and the famous Magpie café where the queue is always along the street as it is that popular.
I love Whitby and always have, my daughters' first experience of a beach was at Whitby although we weren't there at the same time as the Donkeys were working so she still has that to experience. There is something magical about this town and I am not quite sure what it is but it holds many memories for myself and my family with many more to be made I'm sure, well worth a visit.
i had never been to whitby before and i have always wanted to go. and last year i did. going to to whitby from Grimsby is a long drive but it was well worth it. i was so excited because i have never been and that the one place i have always wanted to go in England. when we arrived in whitby the first thing i saw was the abbey. and that's when i got really exited. whitby is just so beautiful and with such a lot of history.
after we settled in the b&b we was staying at, we ventured in to the town centre. on the way there. there was a lot of uphill and down hill walking. which was very tiring but it was worth it. as you walk through the town you don't see many shops at first. there must be about 10. but then you come to a bridge that goes over the river that runs through whitby. once your over that then that's where the shopping begins. you can shop till you drop there. they also have little side streets with shops there that we discovered. they have the main shops like wilkos and heron and such like. but then they have there witch type shops which i love. they have loads of Gothic shops.
we climbed the 99 steps to get to the abbey. but before you reach it there is a church with a grave yard with very old grave stones. apparently there is a pirates head stone with swords on it, we tried looking for it but with no such look. as we got to the abbey we couldn't find the entrance. we had to walk round to the other side of the abbey to get to the entrance. bearing in mind how big the abbey is. before we could go in to the abbey we had to pay £11.50 for two people. the abbey was amazing.
they also have a lovely little gift shop on the way out of the abbey.
I was born and raised in Whitby so naturally this is going to be a positive review, and I will probably rattle on forever so forgive me!
Sadly my family moved away from Whitby when I was 13 but I've been making regular trips back in the last 10 years whenever I can to visit friends and take a little holiday.
Whitby, in my opinion, is one of the best places you could go in the UK for a weekend break with your partner or family.
It has some breathtaking views from the west cliff over the sea and indeed the abbey. It's not a bad view over Whitby from the abbey itself either.
The abbey is on the top of the east cliff, and can be reached on foot via the 199 steps at the end of Church Street. It's a real trek on foot but it's totally worth it when you stop at the top next to St Mary's church and turn around to look over Whitby.
If you're a keen photographer, there's no better place in Whitby to be than the east cliff. The views of the harbour, the piers and the lighthouses are always spectacular, particularly on a sunny day. Then there's the West Cliff that has the old whale jaw bone that is in plain view from the East Cliff. And of course the Abbey is a fantastic place to get some good shots, though I'm sure you have to pay to get in these days.
There are a few places just outside Whitby such as Sandsend, which has a pebbly beach that is pretty large and has a small cliff to the left of it that from certain angles looks like a crocodile's head.
And there's Sleights, where I used to live. A beautiful village with a little old church at the top and a cricket ground, pub and train station at the bottom. It may not seem in when you're actually there, but Sleights is one of the biggest villages in the UK. It may even be the biggest.
There's also Robin Hood's Bay, an ancient little fishing town. It has some awesome views from the top of Bay Bank, which is a huge, very steep and in parts winding bank that leads to the little beach and a lot of little shops and the pub. It is so picturesque and quaint. You'll love it!
Anyway, back to Whitby...
There is no shortage of guest houses and B&B's in Whitby, so providing there's nothing on like Goth Weekend or Folk Week or Regatta, there's usually no need to book.
There's also no shortage of pubs! Everywhere you turn there is a pub and they are more often than not very busy in the evening. So if you're after a boozy night out you're sure to find somewhere without having to traipse all over the town. There are also some good restaurants if food is what you desire and pub grub is not to your taste. There are so many I couldn't possibly list even half of them but are couple of suggestions would be The Magpie café, the world famous fish and chip shop near Whitby beach. I've never actually been myself so I couldn't comment on the food; I just go by word of mouth on that one.
Or there is a fabulous Italian restaurant called Moutrey's which is right next to the Whitby Gazette building. This one I have tried as the owner and chef, Gary has been a friend of the family for nearly 20 years. You may think my opinion is biased but his food is fantastic. I highly recommend Moutrey's if you're a fan of Italian food. You even get to see your food being made as they have an open kitchen.
The main town centre near the train station and the big Co-Op - where you can find the banks, Boyes, Superdrug, and a few other chain stores - is the newer part of the town. You can see a definite difference from this part of Whitby and the likes of Church Street where you will find shops run independently selling things like Whitby jet and jewellery made with Whitby jet. There are shops selling souvenirs and gift wares. And even a shop that sells movie memorabilia.
There is the Whitby Tea Rooms - formerly known as Cook's Galley, and was owned by my father for almost 20 years - which is a great stop for a cup of tea or coffee, and perhaps soup and sandwiches or a piece of cake?
A couple of doors down from the Whitby Tea Rooms is a milkshake bar called Hippy Hippy Shake that looks pretty nice.
And of course there is Justin's! The best chocolate, fudge and toffee maker in the north!!! Although I like to visit Whitby to visit old friends and take in the views and the fresh sea air.... The main reason I go is Justin's chocolate! There are no words to describe it. If you're ever in Whitby, go to Justin's and get some chocolaty goodness!
For those who seek a little culture there are a few festivals that go on in Whitby. To name a couple;
There is the Folk Week which I believe happens once a year and the town is filled with people. There are various folk bands that play and there are the Morris Dancers at the bandstand near Whitby beach. It's really a lot of fun.
Then there is Goth Week. Goth's from all over the country, even the world, literally flock to Whitby to mingle and watch the numerous rock, metal and Goth bands that play in the town. 'The Met' or the Metropole Towers is usually where such things occur. The outfits some of them wear are absolutely fantastic and Whitby really is a sight to behold during Goth week.
Now, aside from the connection to Captain Cook, and aside from the fact Whitby was an old whaling community replaced by a huge fishing trade in more recent times, and aside from the world famous fish and chips - the main thing Whitby is known for is, of course, Bram Stoker's Dracula. It was written in a guest house on Dove Crescent overlooking Whitby harbour, in 1897 and Whitby is famous for it. There is even the Dracula Experience on the front near the fish market. It's brilliant, honestly. My sister and I spent many a Saturday going around it. It's only a small building but what they've done inside is fantastic. There are models of the characters from Dracula, and it's all pitch black in there. And as you go round there is a voice basically telling the story of Dracula.
The whole Dracula craze is probably my favourite thing about Whitby, and the first film I remember watching as a kid was Francis Ford Coppola's take on Bram Stoker's Dracula - starring Gary Oldman, Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder - and I've been obsessed with it ever since.
I do apologise for my rambling on for so long. It's more a lecture than a review I know, but I love Whitby, and I think you would too if you haven't already been there.
I'm proud to be a "Whitby lass" and I'll continue to go back as often as I can as I still see Whitby as my home.
The family and I decided to go to York for a short break and found ourselves going to Whitby for the day. Now this was a first for us as we have a love affair with Cornwall, so a new experience. Whitby in general is OK but like a lot of small fishing towns there's alway cars driving through and take over the area, one lady got knocked over by a 4x4 going over the bridge. Finding places to eat is easy as long as you love fish & chips which can be rather boring. We went to the Pier pub, what a mistake that was. Firstly when we entered there was no welcome by the girl behind the bar standing directly in front of us. Secondly when we sat down and looked at the menu the dumb girl behind the bar kept looking over, but looked away and pretended to listen to these 2 locals at the bar when we wanted her attention. That was the last straw! and we left giving her a bollocking for poor customer service.
I must add that we are a mixed race family and there was a strong smell of racism in the air with that girl.
But all in all it's good place to visit for the day (not the Pier pub) but with the usual cars and vans passing through which does spoil it.
Having just returned from a day trip to whitby, i have to say i was pleasantly suprised. It is a quaint, little pictuesque harbour with lots of lovely shops and places to eat. It is quite old style sea side, which appealed to me, apart from a few arcades it is a lovely peaceful place. There are boat trips for the kids, a fantastic milkshake bar called hippy hippy shake shake and a variety of shops for all ages. the one dissapointment was ESTEE LEE -the old lady reading fortunes by the harbour? sat in a white shed she had photos of all the cast of emerdale up that shes apparently read for?...a complete waste of 20 pound!!! having listened to the rubbish she told my friend i didnt bother having a reading. It was all of 5 minutes long and was pure guess work. My favourite shops were " VENUS PLACE" and "INCANTATION" and the Goth shop on the harbour front, near the dracula experience. I wanted a Whitby jet ring but after trapesing around many jewellery shops couldnt find one that fit. The first shop we went in was the museum shop, a fabulous shop that was cheap and selling witchy stuff,candles, incense, fat fairys, jewellery etc. I could have spent a fortune in here but the assistant couldnt be bothered. I asked to try several rings and she came over sighing and huffing and puffing-it was clearly too much trouble for her to open the jewellery cabinets. I said to my friend" blimey i hope they are all not as miserable as her? she was thoroughly ignorant!" We stayed 8 hours, had a lovely walk up the pier, the scenery was beautiful, the ruins of the old Gothic abbey on the cliff top, and the harbour and little houses dotted around the hillside.I can honestly say we did it all in 8 hours but would have liked to stay the night, i bet it is lovely in the dark. It took us 3 hours to get back to derby and was well worth the journey, i would definately go again-hopefully for the Goth weekend!
Whitby is a small seaside resort on the east Yorkshire coast. Unexpectedly popular, it holds an enormous variety of attractions and experiences, combining chic café culture with traditional seaside fun. The words that spring to mind when trying to describe Whitby are "pretty" and "quaint", but there is much more to Whitby than just a pretty face. Bisected by the river Esk, Whitby has a working harbour, narrow cobbled streets, picturesque cottages, a beautiful sandy beach, lovely little smokehouses with racks of smoked kippers, a plethora of unusual shops and markets, a touch of the sinister and the Goth, and a very spooky ruined abbey.
~~Count Dracula and the Goths~~
The first thing that many people will think of when mentioning Whitby is Dracula. Bram Stoker's famous vampire novel was set here, and it was whilst on a visit that Stoker discovered the name Dracula, at the Whitby public library. Stoker chose Whitby as the place that Dracula landed in Britain, shipwrecked by the harbour with the dead captain lashed to the wheel of the boat. As a result, one of the more unusual tourist attractions in Whitby is the Dracula Museum, which, for £2.50, will give the visitor a spooky tour through the story of Dracula, complete with live actors and special effects.
It is probably this spine-tingling history that has made Whitby a centre for Goths. The Whitby Goth Weekend is a twice yearly festival, started in 1994 and now one of the most popular Goth events in the world.
The other side of Whitby's history includes connections with whaling and the explorer Captain James Cook. Captain Cook started out as an apprentice to a Whitby ship owner in 1746, and monuments to Cook can be found around the town. An authentic but rather small replica of HM Endeavour is located at the harbour, just outside Tourist Information.
The other memorable historical monument is the huge whale jaw bone arch on the West Cliff, that the visitor can walk underneath to approach the town from the west. This pays tribute to the 80 years of whaling that engaged the fisherman of Whitby and provided their main income. Other links with Whitby's seafaring past are remembered in its pub signs and wooden carvings by the quayside.
~~St Hilda's Abbey~~
Rising up above the town, 199 steps will take you to St Hilda's Abbey and St Marys Church, both perched high on the cliff above Whitby and giving it an atmospheric charm. Now a ruin, Whitby Abbey was founded in 657 by St Hilda and remained until it was destroyed by Henry VIII. Climbing up the stairs to the dramatic gothic ruins is very worthwhile, and sitting high up on the cliff in the sunshine, looking down onto the bay is a lovely experience. The Abbey is run by English Heritage, and taking advantage of their free audio headphone tour really adds to the experience, listening to dramatic reconstructions of monastary life as you walk around the ruins. St Mary's church has been built close to the Abbey and is also worth a look on the way down.
One unexpected find in Whitby is Whitby jet: a large collection of this local, semi-precious stone can be found in the Whitby Museum and the visitor can find many pretty necklaces and braclets made of jet in the small shops in the town centre. Whitby jet was favoured as mourning jewellery by Queen Victoria and the manufacture of jewellery from locally mined jet was one of Whitby's main industries.This unusual side of Whitby gives it a unique attraction.
Whitby harbour is a bustling hive of activity. Home to commercial fishing boats and private yachts, it is a lively addition to the town. As you walk along the harbour wall in the summer, you are accosted by a huge selection of jolly sailors, trying to encourage you to buy a ticket for their boat tour. Boat tours are around £2 per person and give you a 30 minute trip out around the bay. The boats involved range from jet boats to sailing boats and I would highly recommend the trip as Whitby looks even lovelier from the sea.
My personal favourite is the Old Lifeboat. Originally a genuine Whitby lifeboat, it is now run by two very amiable men, one of them an ex-lifeboat crewman called Barry, who shouts jokes to the crowds standing on the pier, and who will give you a very comprehensive history of Whitby, including photos of the sharks that he has seen in the waters nearby.
If all of the history gets too much, there are many pleasant hours to be spent by the beach, on the pier and along the cliffs. Whitby has a Blue Flag beach, with long sandy walks and lovely views. There is also a long concrete promenade which is ideal for those in wheelchairs or with buggies. A walk above, along the cliffs provides great views of the bay and the Victorian crescent of houses on the cliff top. There is a rather unexpected grey metal box-style lift that will take those with mobility problems down to sea level and the promenade. This costs 50p but is a good alternative to the steep steps.
Nearer to town the traditional pleasures of the seaside (amusement arcade, pier and funfair) are mixed with the unusual, in the form of a Steam bus which takes visitors on a ride around Whitby. I have never actually seen a working steam bus before, so this is a great addition to the fun on offer at Whitby.
~~Eating and Drinking~~
Fish and Chips - Whitby's most famous food product. Home to the Magpie Café, famously named as the best fish and chip shop in the world by Rick Stein, plus many other really lovely chippie choices, you will never be short of choice at mealtimes in Whitby. For a cheap choice, take your delicious fish and chips onto the pier to eat, and wash it down with a quality cappuccino from the mobile coffee shop nearby.
Whitby has a lively nightlife and evening will give you the choice of pubs and wine bars with tables outside, by the River Esk.
Whitby Station is worth a mention, not only because it provides an excellent link into the town, but also because the Heritage North Yorkshire Moors Railway runs a steam train service to Pickering. A ride on a steam train is a nice diversion on any holiday, but especially if that ride goes across the lovely Yorkshire moors. There are daily departures during the summer peak.
Whitby seems eternally popular. Our B&B landlady told us that the residents were amazed that Whitby remained untouched by the recession - business is always booming in Whitby! My only slightly negative comment is that Whitby is almost too popular. It would be nice to have time and space to enjoy the place without the constantly jostling crowds, but each time we visit, the crowds always seem to be there.
Also posted on Helium,
Whitby is for me one of the best short break locations in the UK, combining a very traditional cobble street with lovely little gift shops and the 199 stairs up to the beautiful abbey and a more modern sea side town with arcades, fish and chips and plenty of sea side rock.
I have enjoyed all that Whitby as to offer for over 20 years now and it very rarely changes and is as beautiful today as it as always been.
If scenery is what your after Whitby has plenty of appeal, with the abbey and grave yard at the top of the 199 steps and a brilliant view and at the heart of Whitby there is the Harbor, there is also the big whale bones that are made into an arch that are situated on the opposite side of this small town and there is the pier which gives you a fantastic view.
The town is in the most very flat and easy to get around, and the main part of the town is quite small and compact all though it has a lot to offer so even the most unfit amongst us will not find it a challenge although quite a lot of the accommodation is on the out skirts of the town so it is best to check the distance from the center of the town if you book somewhere to stay without seeing it first.
For the more active amongst us there are some beautiful walks allowing you to take in all the sights.
In the newer part of the town there is plenty of modern pubs, arcades, restaurants and shops (including 2 small super markets), In contrast in the older part of the town there is more traditional pubs and lots of little gift shops including a very nice teddy bear shop that sells the most gorgeous bears.
Whitby also holds festivals throughout the year, the Whitby folk festival is very busy and sees the pubs of Whitby filled with folk musicians from far and near. The goth festival is held twice a year now and see the streets filled with goths from all over, featuring all types of goth music and some of the most wonderful clothing it is a great sight to behold.
The only down side to Whitby is that it can get over crowded when there is a festival on or when it is a bank holiday but otherwise it is great.
There are also many choices for eating out from pub lunches to nice restaurants including a lovely Italian located down a small cobbled street.
I would recommend Whitby and if you haven't already been it is a must.
Whitby is an absolute gem of a town! I started to visit Whitby in 2005. Me and my partner went for a weekend and loved it. It was that good that we booked the next weekend there for a month later and took my parents! (They also loved Whitby!).
There are plenty of things to do and see in Whitby, for all ages.
Next to the Royal Crescent you have the Whitby Wizard for the kids, which is full of scientific items that they can explore and have a go at doing. There are go-karts and a paddling pool next to the Royal Crescent as well, along with crazy golf. The little cafe next to the pool also does the best chocolate ice-cream you will have!!
Walking down towards the harbour, you will come into the view of the famous whale bones on the corner of the Royal Hotel. (The Royal Hotel and the Royal Crescent were built in the 19th century by George Hudson, but he only built half of the Royal Crescent as he ran out of money).
While standing near the whale bones, you get an amazing view of Whitby harbour, the abbey and St Mary's church.
I love to have a walk down to the harbour and have a walk on the west pier. It may be breezy at times, but it's refreshing! The lighthouse is sometimes open for you to climb up and normally costs £1.50. I did do this one year, but could not stand outside at the top as vertigo was kicking in big time!!! My other half took some great pictures from the top though.
There are lots of shops to browse around. Before crossing the bridge, have a look at the few shops on the main street. There are plenty of charity shops to have a good nosey in, and a lovely antique shop right across the road from the railway station. Across the bridge there are shops of probably everything that you could think of, soaps, jewellery, books, nic-nacs, lovely little cafes, and even a joke shop near the abbey steps!
My favourite place to have a meal at is Hudson restaurant. It used to be called Khyber Pass, and is right on the corner next to the west pier. The fish and chips are fantastic, but their other meals are great as well. Steak, pie, curry and other dishes.
Captains Cook museum is worth a visit and is fascinating. I have visited it a few times and normally costs around £4.00 for entry for an adult. The displays there normally get changed all the time, so every time i have visited, there has been new displays.
The Abbey has to be on your list when visiting Whitby, and is a beautiful place to visit. It costs around £6.50 for an adult for entry, and make sure that you get the interactive guide when going. It is a small hand held, what i call walkie-talkie(!). Press the numbers that you see on the boards when walking around the abbey, and you have a full commentary of the history of the abbey and sorrounding abbey!!
St Marys church, just outside the abbey, is also a place to visit. I visited for the first time this year, and inside it is stunning. There is no entry fee, but there is a donation tray before you step into the church. My 5 year old nephew was absolutely in wonderment as we entered. He adored the church, and i have to say that the atmosphere implores respect into you very easily. My nephew was so quite and whispered the whole time to me while in there, so as not to disturb anyone!!
It's good to talk about the abbey and St Mary's church, but you have to get to them first. The 199 steps up to them is a walk that i don't think anyone can forget!! Remember to stop halfway and take in the fantastic view. Also, it is tradition that you have to count the steps when you walk up them, and if you forget your count, your have to go right to the bottom and start again! (Have to say, i haven't tried this tradition out!).
As you can probably tell, i love Whitby, and have taken different family members on a trip there, and they have been converted too!!
My dad loved Whitby, and as he is no longer with us, i have bought a memorial bench for him on the west pier overlooking the abbey, and when i go back i can sit there, and be closer to my dad at one of our favourite places.
Whitby is the quaint, fishing town situated on the North East coast of England. It's full of cobbled streets and sweet fisherman cottages, with streets barely wide enough for a car. Is it a typical seaside slightly tacky fishing town or have I found my perfect seaside destination ...
===JOURNEY TO THE EDGE OF THE COUNTRY ===
The journey to Whitby was not a long one from my location between Birmingham and Manchester, it was just under 4 hours as we went by the M1 and then past York, through Pickering and over the moors. The motorway was not too busy, however the road through the moor was full of steep climbs, hair-pin turns, sweeping curves and 20 % drops!
The journey was very scenic (after we'd got off the M1)! It was a nice journey and the
moors were still covered in a few inches of snow. It was a picture of rough and ragged hills with small, vicious, fast-flowing streams running through them. Although the journey was 4 hours it was not a tiring journey and it was full of places to stop, so cups of coffee were never short!
Whitby, is full of small streets so manoeuvring your car round them is not the easiest task especially as some of them are a squeeze to fit one car through, just as one comes the other way! The car parks are quite scarce and far from the centre of the town. However, there were plenty of spaces where we parked, however as it is February I would not expect them to be full. I think that in the summer it would be much harder to find one, (this is from my experience in St. Ives during the different seasons).
Whitby, is quite a busy town during the day time and the residents and holiday guests are plenty. It is not full of traffic and through most of the day the cobbled streets ban cars from them. This allows pedestrians to have full access over the main high streets and most of the side streets. This can be difficult if you want to drive through to get to your cottage.
Parts of Whitby are wild and full of history; the whales bones in the side of the cliff, the sweet fisherman's cottages behind the ugly modern houses lining the edge of the cliff and river. The quaint cobbled streets and old worn steps, tucked out of site on the Whitby that is a lot harder to find. As most of Whitby, or most of the noticeable parts are covered in commercialisation. Cheap tacky stores, commercial brands, junk food shops and sad plastic brands. Whatever happened to the seaside village; the small stores, the fish and chip shops (not that Whitby isn't full of those) and the small local businesses?
So, as you may have gathered Whitby is not the most beautiful of places, especially as it is a rather busy port. However, it does have a bit of charm about it and if you ignore the plastic tourists and commercial branding take-over, it really is a sweet place.
CINEMAS: Whitby, unfortunately does not have a cinema. The local cinemas are at Scarborough and Teesside, each of these is around 10 -25 miles away. Scarborough has two smaller cinemas and Teesside has a multi complex complete with bowling alley and café.
LIBRARY: There is a main library in Whitby which is sign posted the route at the Tourist information centre. Unfortunately unless you are a member of Yorkshire libraries and have one of their library cards you cannot use this service, although occasionally in the summer popular holiday destinations do holiday library cards, so it might be worth checking this out.
TOURIST INFORMATION CENTRE: Whitby has a large, obvious and profitable Tourist Information centre, which is full of friendly staff who are quite friendly and were, on my visit, only too happy to offer directions. However, the centre is more of a commercial centre where it has a small selection of free leaflets of things to do, however most of the leaflets/walking guides/maps need to be paid for and cost from £1.00 - £5.00. It is also full of holiday gifts, (sometimes known as seaside tat) such as expensive boxes of fudge, gems (that are insanely over-priced) and dodgy post-cards. WATCH OUT ? some of the staff will glower at you if you do not buy; always approach the friendly staff!
LEISURE CENTRE: The leisure centre is located far away from the town centre on top of a hill; it is a usual sort of leisure centre. It smells of chlorine, cost between £2.00 and £5.00 and has the occasional fitness class. It is quite clean, but not outstanding, I would recommend that you save going to the Gym and for a swim until after your holiday.
BUS STATION: There is are several bus stations around Whitby and several ways to travel around. You can travel by bus round the town from side to side, or you can travel to any neighbouring town, you may even just want to go on a boat ride out out to sea and back. The buses run like any other buses and normally run around 1 every 20 minutes to one every hour.
TRAIN STATION: Whitby has it's own train station, it is located in the centre of town and is very easy to locate. It runs like a normal train station and the trains run regularly, it is main-line and travels to York (the nearest city).
Whitby is famous for it's abbey with 199 steps from which Dracula was created, Dracula himself (including the museum), the Whale Bones in the cliff-side and it fishing heritage with Captain Cook.
THE ABBEY: Whitby Abbey is located on top of a cliff towering over Whitby. The Abbey is only ruins but it is still magnificent. It is set on hill which leads straight to the coastal path and is neighboured by St. Mary's Church. Both are landmarks and very visible from Whitby, they are definitely worth having a look at. During the winter months the Abbey is only open on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays 10:00am-4:00pm. It costs £5.00 for an Adult; £4.00 for concessions; £2.50 for a child under 15 and over 5; it is free for a child under 5, a member and OVP. You can explore 2,000 years of archaeological discovery, meet personalities from the past and eat your lunch with the famous Whitby ducks!
DRACULA: Abraham (Bram) Stoker was inspired by Whitby Abbey to write Dracula his horror story that is still famous today. It was said that Dracula's dead body floated to Whitby in his coffin. So building on this a Dracula Museum was opened on the harbour front, it is an interesting experience. You step inside the building and pay your money. There is a large statue of Dracula at the front, it would be frightening for small children. You then walk through the story. This is rather a holiday experience and a complete waste of money and not for the faint hearted. If you like things like this it will be right up your street but otherwise AVOID!!
CAPTAIN COOK: Captain Cook (although not a Captain then,), started off as a ship's apprentice the museum is in the lodgings he stayed at when not at sea serving the local coal trade. The museum is beautifully presented and organised; it contains letters, drawings, paintings, maps and objects that were brought back from Captain Cook's trips at sea. It is fascinating collection and and a really interesting museum. This would be great for adults and children. The prices are quite reasonably too: Adults are £4.00, Children are £3.00, OAP's are £3.50. Children get a free explorers guide, with drawings and fun puzzles.
BOAT RIDES: If you fancy a scenic trip out of Whitby and into the sea, you have a choice of boats to take you out to sea, the trips usually last from 10 ? 45 minutes. You can go out on a replica old fashioned boat with sails, very bouncy and not good if you get sea sick easily; you could go on a small passenger boat with a flat bottom and looks a bit like a fat narrow boat. They come in all shapes and sizes, some seats outside, some inside, some rides last 20 minutes some 45, you can choose you boat ride depending on what you want to do. It's around £5.00 per person for most rides. This is always a really fun thing to do. I enjoyed it but was very sick after wards! I was never good on boats.
Whitby is famous for it's Jet (a type of black stone) so a lot of shops round this area are jewellers selling ordinary jewellery and jewellery made with jet. Jet is a black stone, which is generally quite dark and dull in colour. It can look quite nice and is quite smart, however I wouldn't recommend it as one of my favourite types of jewellery, but it can look nice and isn't very over-priced or expensive!
As well as the jewellers Whitby has many shops, here are a few I would recommend:
THE MAGPIE: This is a little fish and ship shop next to the Magpie hotel/inn/restaurant. It does the most gorgeous fish and chips and is very clean. It allows you to put the salt and vinegar on so you can control the amounts you put on, however fish and chips is definitely best when covered in salt and vinegar. The chips are sublime and the batter on the fish is absolutely gorgeous and they have their recipes down to a fine art. The Best Chip Shop in Whitby, but their fish and chip trays are very nice too as they read: ?The Great British Take-Away!? My thoughts exactly!
HONEYZ: For gorgeous soaps. This is a nice chilled little shop on the road below the abbey steps. It has the most gorgeous soaps and bath bombs and although it isn't cheap it's a little bit like major brand Lush although a lot cheaper than them and all their soaps are made and cut by hand. It has a large selection and some specialised ones such as saying ?MUM? or ?I LOVE YOU?. It has soaps that help with Eczema, dry skin, greasy skin and spots. It has solid shampoos which that can last for at least 50 washes.
HIPPY HIPPY SHAKE: This is a sweet little shop on the corner. It sells milkshakes with real ice cream and milk,it is clean and very cute. It is very clean and quite funky, it has milkshakes in 100 hundred different flavours. Any chocolate bar you can think of (except for Wispa) is put in a blender with real ice cream and milk. It is blended for around five minutes and then it is taken out and put in a cup. The milkshakes are delicious, really chocolatey, rich, gooey and bubbly. They are not very healthy, however they are some of the nicest milkshakes I have ever had. The price for a regular milkshake is £2.50, and the large milkshakes cost £3.00. Hippy Hippy Shake also sells smoothies, these are a mix of fruit and milk blended together. These vary in price, however most are between £2.00 and £3.50; some of the smoothies are :
Breakfast ? Orange, Grapefruit, Banana and Weetabix and Milk.
Tropical ? Pineapple, Mango, Star fruit and Milk.
Very Berry ? Raspberry, Blueberry, Blackberry, Strawberry and Milk.
Whitby also has quite a few other types of shop. There is a Co-Op and lots of restaurants, it has plenty of tea-shops too. There are out-door shops for walkers, they stock warm coats, walking boots, walking socks and depending on where you shop the price vary, Tog 24 factory outlet shop is cheaper than the original prices but can still be a bit on the expensive side unless you are serious about walking, camping and snow holidays. However, if you choose to go to some of the independent outdoor stores it can be a lot cheaper and still good quality and you are supporting not a corporate industry but a small person's livelihood. Other shops include little trinket shops, ranging from organic and fair-trade to just sweet or weird! There are shops selling magic books, potions and spell guides, all a bit magic!
One evening I decided to take a walk around Whitby at around 7:00pm in the
dark! I am a big fan of art as well so an evening walk around Whitby was lovely, as I sketched the views, it was much nicer at night than in the daytime it was calmer and more beautiful. However, the arcades on the front ruined the look, as their lights were so bright and neon. Walking on the pier is nice, however it does get a bit dark towards the end and I would advise that you do not go down their on your own at night.
The abbey was a beautiful sight at night and was very stunning, as parts were lit up it was very magnificent and mystical against the dark night sky. Whitby looks a lot better at night and parts really are beautiful, as you don't see the tourists and commercialism. It's cleaner, calmer and quieter. If you visit Whitby you should definitely walk around at night; it's beautiful!
You may also want to try a ghost walk round the town. Quite a few seaside villages offer these and Whitby's is no different. It is actually quite fun and spooky. It is interesting and an unusual look at the town as you walk round it. It is good fun, and not for younger children but is reasonably priced, they normally start at around 8:00pm and finish around 9:00pm. It is £4.00 for an adult and £3.00 for concessions, there are signs around the town telling you to meet at the point where the sign is at a certain time. It's a great way to entertain yourself in the evening and if it's dry. Don't try it if it's raining!
===AROUND AND ABOUT===
Whitby is a small town on the coast, if you fancy a different shopping experience, or you just want to explore somewhere else here are some of the different locations :
Scarborough ? just 20 miles down the road, Scarborough is a larger town just down the coast.
Teesside ? This is just along the road (around 10 miles) from Whitby and is more modern, it has all the usual high street shops and a modern
York - Around 1 hour away from Whitby; the road through the moor goes straight to York. This historic Roman/Viking city is very interesting and has great things to do and look at. It has plenty of shops and the huge York cathedral. Walk down the original medieval Shambles and shop at the unusual and independent stores.
Where to go for some of the best food:
The Duke of York: A great atmosphere, good cheap and cheerful food, lovely seating and environment.
The Hatless Heron: Great for coffee, cake and other little snacky treats such as Nachos! Very comfy and chic a really nice place ( a little posh though).
Fortunes : Kippers at the end of Henrietta Street are fabulous; smoked on a traditional, authentic wood fire and very well priced ? watch out though they go very quickly be there at 9:00 am sharp.
The White Horse and Griffin: Has a fabulous atmosphere and food, although a little more expensive.
Passage to India: A great Indian take-away; quick service, good delivery and great choice of menu!
There are plenty of great walks to do in Whitby, there are a large selection of maps and walking routes. A great idea is postcard maps, with directions on the back. We bought a few of these and did a 4.5 mile round walk route the cliffs near Whitby, a 3 mile round walk round Robin Hood bay. Other walks include walking the Hole of Horcum, this is a circular walk of 2.5 miles around a large ?hole? on the Yorkshire moors just outside of Whitby. The walk round the cliffs of Whitby was very muddy,but great fun and a really good walk. Robin Hood bay is a beautiful area, the walk is lovely and it is a great place to walk along. However, do plan ahead on the walks and don't go alone as they are right by the edge of the cliff. It is definitely worth having a walk as some of the
scenery is stunning and it's a great way to spend some time, whilst being healthy!
In many seaside towns there is a problem with pests in the form of seagulls and rats. However, Whitby is not too over run by sea gulls and rats. In some seaside towns they are over run by seagulls. This means that there is poo everywhere and the seagulls wake you up early in the morning. The rats will go though your rubbish and eat your leftovers, they may even be running around if you walk around the streets in the evening. Sometimes your cottage/residence may even have a rat infestation or problem that will not surface until it is over run.
Whitby however, is not full of seagulls and the town is not overflowing with them. The town is quite clean and the air is quite clear and I have not seen a huge pack of seagulls. Also there is not a loud noise from them in the morning. Whitby may be dirtier and have more pests in the summer, however it is very clean in February.
Beautiful scenery in places.
Not over run with pests.
Great for families and Pets.
Good choice of activities.
Has been very commercialised.
Small streets, not good for cars.
Quite cold and muddy.
Whitby is a lovely place to go for holidays, it is sweet, old-fashioned and has everything that you would expect from your average seaside family destination. I really like the wild scenery of Whitby and I love some of the smaller independent shops, however I feel there has been to much tourism take over; the town has become tacky in places and it is rather too commercial. The town is lovely and has some excellent points about it. I believe that it is a great town for families, however I haven't found my perfect seaside holiday. Whitby has plenty to do and many beautiful points, however it has been spoilt by the need to make money and big commercial brands coming in.
Whitby is a lovely place for dogs, small children, families and couples. It has a lovely evening spirit and has great places to eat out. You'll never be bored in Whitby, it wasn't perfect for me (as it wasn't that beautiful and artistic) , but it was a great place to go on holiday and i would definitely come back again. Until next time I will keep on searching for my arty holiday paradise, (with the right amount of history!).
What can anyone say about whitby, the small seaside town I was born in, that hasnt been said already - it is truely breath-taking. With its famous Abbey situated high on the cliff top. Why not climb the 199 steps (local folklaw is that you have to count the steps and will never reach the same number of steps upon completion twice) and explore the vistor centre.
The habour usually has a replica of a historic boat, as captain cook worked out of the port, moored up for tourists to look around. There is the chance to go on many boating or fishing cruises from the main harbour. One of the boat cruises is to go on board of one of the old lifeoats that was used along the whitby coast. These sightseeing trips generally last 30-45minutes and go outside the three piers that protect the town from the rough north seas and are well priced. There is also a bus tour of the town with a difference. The bus is from the 1960's and really highlights how Whitby is still a place stuck beautifully in the past.
Dracula is another of whitby's famous connections. According to Bram Stoker's story Dracula landed on the beach from the ship wrecked ship and then disappeared as a wolf shaped creature. There is a small attraction call "the dracula's experience" which should put the frights up most people and is reasonably priced. While there are a couple of ghost walking tours that i'm to scared to experience.
Whitby offers a wide selection of pubs. Pubs like the Big A, Bar 7, the shambles and Rosies are popular among the younger revellers. While the list of family orienated places is endless. The only problem is that when all of these pubs close at midnight there is sadly very little to do.
So what's my favourite thing about my home town? Its got to be the Fish n Chips. Purely fantastic! There are loads of chippies within the town and there are very few places which serve bad ones. Try a little place on baxtergate called Fusco's. This is the chippy that I was brought up on and still visit now. Its about £6 to sit down for a massive piece of fish, chips, bread and butter and a drink (tea/coffee/coke). You can even ask for a plate of scraps for nothing! Other eateries to visit are the Magpie, Harbourside and Trenchers. The magpie always has a massive queue outside it in the summer month so you may have to wait a while, but they also do take-away from next door.
There are the usual things to do in a seaside town. There is a 3 mile sandy beach that runs from Whitby to Sandsend. Why not try and find some of the Whitby Jet that Queen Victoria loved and can only be found along this particular part of the coast line while taking a stroll along the beach? There are lots of musuems, Aracdes and of course one of the british favourite past times - Crazy golf!
Whitby is also witihn the North York Moor's and many interesting villiages can be found within a ten mile radius. There are the coastal villiages of Runswick, Staithes and Robin Hoods bay. While by going inland slightly you reach Danby, Grosmont, Glaisdale and Goatland or Aidensfield as it is better known as a result of heartbeat fame. This is well worth a visit and whilst there why not ride the stream train to really travel back in time. All of the villages offer something slightly different from beaches to Musems.
I have lived in numerous places around England, but there is only one place that I can see myself ending up living in - Whitby. I visit twice a year and I know that it will still look as good as it does now in 30years time when i can retire and really enjoy T'ord spot (A local name for the town which means the old place)
****All dressed in black for a day at the coast!****
Over the years, I have spent many a glorious family weekend sampling the delights of the traditional fishing port of Whitby, a genuine treasure of the North Yorkshire coastline, tantalisingly within reach of Newcastle, York and Scarborough. It's a town rich in maritime tradition, popular with young and old, steeped in history and reeking of premium freshly caught fish and chips.
Fittingly in the very place where the famous Dublin born 19th century novelist, Bram Stoker found the inspiration, amongst the haunting cliff-top Abbey ruins, to write his masterpiece of Gothic intrigue Dracula, the local gemstone is Whitby Jet ; dark, opulent and magical in every aspect.
And believe me, if like us you happen upon Gothic weekend, if you go down to the beach that day you're sure of a big surprise. There's really no better way to keep those unruly little ones in check than the sight of 100's of gothic afficionados roaming through the streets beautifully bedecked in splendidly dark apparel , "better be a good boy /girl now otherwise the vampires are gonna getcha!!"
In reality, there's a really friendly atmosphere on these special weekends, and if you fancy checking it out for yourself the official 2009 dates for the WGW (Whitby Gothic Weekend) are Friday 24th-26 April and Friday 30th October- 1st November (now that's Halloween handy dandy ain't it)
The main day tripper car parking is situated adjacent to the historic harbour area (you can also find places further up in the town overlooking the bay, or even by the Abbey itself), it's standard Pay and Display Long Stay stuff.
Just a short walk from there you'll find the main tourist information centre and home to the story of Whitby's most famous son the Captain Cook museum. Also, the main railway station is diagonally opposite here. Just across the way, you'll see Trenchers fish restaurant which I'll come to in a bit...
But first, let's take a leisurely stroll along the harbour side into town.
If you are in the mood to head straight to the beach, carry on in a straight line, past seemingly endless rows of amusement arcades on one side and seafood selling stalls on the other, and within 10 minutes or less you should be able to either promenade your way along the old harbour gates, or lets be more realistic if you have kids with you, charge down the slope straight onto those Golden Whitby sands.
For me though, long before you get to any of that, there's an ideal opportunity to first soak up the side-streets that are bristling with cultural quirkiness and then if you are feeling sufficiently energetic, to take the chance to stroll up the multitude of cobbled steps that lead you to the Abbey. So when you come to the little red bridge, take a right turn, and head into the teashop strewn promised land....
****Trudge, Fudge and Finery****
Turn up left onto Church Street and walk along the winding cobbles, and these takes you gradually in the direction of the Abbey, but not before you get the chance to sample the endlessly more-ish delights emanating from the assorted icecream, chocolate and fudge emporiums adorning the route, not to mention the delicious cakes and snacks you will find in a selection of courtyard cafés tucked away down inviting alley ways.
My personal favourite is Sanders Yard, home of quite possibly the second finest Coffee and Walnut cake I've ever sampled (it's ok mother-in-law, you're still number 1). In this quarter, you will also find plenty of gift shops crammed with traditional crafts, and the Whitby Jet Heritage centre is a great place to get that special souvenir.
****Our quest for Dracula's Grave!!****
Drifting back to our Gothic Weekend experience, on that particular occasion we were visiting Whitby with our friends and their kids who were also our Godchildren. Already highly excitable and giddy from seeing so many folk dressed in spectacular gothic outfits, whilst we sat merrily munching our brunch in the aforementioned Sanders Yard, their eldest girl Sarah (an impressionable 8 years old at the time) had asked the question as to whether we might be able to visit Dracula's gravestone at the Church by the Abbey. Naturally given that old fang face is an entirely fictional creation, this was a tricky proposition indeed....
However being the "Uncle" with the reputation for having comfortably the most active imagination in our group, I was tasked by her Mum of coming up with a plausible location, so she wouldn't go home entirely disillusioned. "Don't worry Sarah, Uncle Paul knows where it is...."
And so it was that Sarah and I led the group on the most daring of adventures. Never mind your 39 steps, between us and our mysteriously enticing final destination lay a fearsome collection of 199 ultra steep and cobblicious steps. Needless to say, in her excitement Sarah managed to skip up those stones like a veritable spring lamb dragging my podgy old frame along for the breath consuming ride.
But as we reached the top and the edges of the churchyard I gathered my wits and hatched my daring plan. "Of course" I said wistfully, at the same time frantically trying to spot a likely candidate "everyone expects that Dracula's headstone will be the most spectacular one here, but very few people know where to find the secret stone.....".
There it was, a jagged weather worn half height stone, with the faded inscription no longer legible, our combined shadows spookily pointing straight to it. I whispered "And here it is...!" Sarah, uptil now a model of wonderment and calm finally let slip her thoughts at this most dramatic of moments. Still retaining that matter of fact charm, she simply said... "I'm a bit scared".
Fortunately for me, the rest of our party were quickly on the scene, and back to the arms of mater she went...The funniest thing for me though was when we met up with a couple of other friends later that day, and gawd bless her, when we recounted the tale, gawd bless her my wife's friend (we'll simply call her Julie cos that's her name) said "You really visited Dracula's actual gravestone - wow!" - honestly you can't make it up!!
Having reached the summit, and taken a moment to look back across the stunning views back across the harbour and the rest of the town, naturally you can take a look inside the historic parish church of St Mary the Virgin, which dates back as far as Norman times. But there's no mistaking the main attraction right in front of you, dominating the cliff-tops as far as the eye can see.
For any English Heritage members (like me) the great news is its free entry. Otherwise, according to the latest prices published on the official web site, prices for 2009 are £4.90 per adult, £2.40 for kids, £3.90 for concessions, and a family ticket coming in at £12.20.
The visitor centre and access to the Abbey grounds is pretty much open all year round, except Tuesdays and Wednesdays in the Winter season which runs from 1st October to 31st March and the main Christmas holiday dates.
Now obviously as it's no cost to me, I'm going to be slightly biased, but I really would recommend you pay a visit.
There's a fantastic interactive exhibition centre where you can get to "talk" to the major historical figures who played a part in the Abbey's rich history, ranging from St Hilda who founded the original Abbey back in 657, right through to Bram Stoker on how the Churchyard and Abbey inspired him to write his classic novel Dracula (once again Julie, it is a work of fiction...hmm)
They also provide free audio handsets to accompany you around the ruins and grounds themselves, well worth it if you have the time. And as ever featuring high on my agenda, there is of course a well stocked and flourishing tea room to enjoy!
****A tale of two chippies****
Tea rooms-schmee rooms I hear you cry, what about the fish and chips man! Now as far as I understand, the most popular place to go has always been the Magpie Café, situated in it's original black and white 1750s building on the Pier road that leads along the harbour side. The thing is though, on absolutely every single occasion I've visited Whitby, over the years, there have always been queues of people into the streets, so in truth I've never actually been. From the amount of hungry folk prepared to queue up you'd have to conclude it's definitely got something.
I am however, more than delighted to be able to recommend an excellent alternative, particularly good for larger family groups. As I mentioned earlier in the piece, close to the Tourist Information Centre there's a great place called Trenchers, boasting two floors of spacious and nicely decorated modern interiors, loads of comfortable green leather seating, and very friendly waiting staff. Oh aye, and a fully licenced bar!!
They have an excellent selection of seafood dishes and fish of all types and sizes, and I've always found it fresh and the portions to be more than generous, and even at somewhere between £6-10 for a main course, you certainly get what you pay for here in my view. Plus it's one of those places where they put the deserts on display - mouthwatering stuff indeed!
****Once more unto the beach my friend****
There's one final Whitby odyssey I'd like to share with you and it only seems right and proper to round off my review of one of the North's premium seaside resorts with a bit about the Whitby sands beach itself. But rather than take the direct route to the beach from the harbour, there's a very interesting alternative to explore assuming you aren't feeling to full of deep fried joy at this point.
Just shy of the beach, turn to your left and head up a set of zig zagging stone stairs. At the very top, there's the iconic whalebone arch, made up of two giant 15 foot long whalebones - a modern day replacement for the original from 1853 but nonetheless one heck of a good photo opportunity not to be missed.
But this in itself is not the odyssey I am referring to. Once again, going back to that visit with friends and godchildren, I remember well the moment I discovered - the Lift in the Cliff! So carry on walking along the promenade, up the hill, past various seafront hotels on your left and glorious views of the beach landscape to your right, and there it is. The West Cliff Lift, a piece of genius indeed, able to propel you safely down 120ft to the beach below.
Great I thought, but there was just one problem. Our friend Vicky was more than a little nervous about lifts, and so she decided she would rather brave the twisty, turny hillside path that eventually leads down to the sands. Naturally being a gallant sort of chap I offered to accompany her.
However one of her little girls was still in a pushchair, and didn't want to be separated from her mummy. So I got the ultimate chance to prove my godparenting credentials, as I grimly gripped on as hard as I could to the handles, till my knuckles were white, ever so carefully making my way down the steep pathways. A bracing experience indeed!!
Still we made it in one piece, and however you make the journey, it's nice to know that it's more than rewarding when you get there. Strolling along the top of the beach which is lined with spectacular sandstone rock formations, there always seems a real warmth about the place.
In my experience, it's generally kept very clean, and even at peak times there's usually plenty of space across the rolling plains of golden sands to create a bucket and spade masterpiece. Indeed, even the Donkeys are treated to regular annual MOT healthchecks in July, according to the Donkey Sanctuarys official website.
All in all, I have to admit, when it comes to the Great Northern seaside resorts, I'm still very much a Scarborough loyalist, but with all its quirkiness and cultural fascination, I must concede that Whitby does give it a good run for its money.
After all, where else on earth, would you ever get to see good folk in long black leather trench coats, taking a paddle!