30 things to do in Whitby during your visit
Whitby is a unique town, although small, there are certainly plenty of things to do in Whitby. Whether you’re enjoying a romantic break with your partner or enjoying a summer seaside break with the kids, there are plenty of things to keep you occupied during your visit. Here are 30 things to do in Whitby to help you plan your trip. Our suggestions are in no particular order.
1) Enjoy a tour of the Captain Cook Memorial Museum
The Captain Cook Memorial Museum has a wide range of art exhibitions and shows on a regular basis so you’re bound to be visiting when something is on. Otherwise, there is the main museum exhibition, which you can easily lose a few hours in. The Museum is located on Grape Lane and is based in the house where Captain Cook served his apprenticeship as a seaman. It is here where he learned his maritime skills which helped him on his voyages of discovery. Prices are currently (Nov 2016) £5.40 for adults and £3 for children. Group bookings are also possible.
2) Take a ride on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway
If you enjoy visiting railways while in a new town for the first time, then the North Yorkshire Moors Railway should be a definite destination for you. You are free to have a look around and watch the old steam trains roll in, or you can even climb on one and travel across the moors in style. NYMR offer several experience days throughout the year including the popular Pullman Dining Train which allows you to take in the stunning scenery of the North Yorkshire Moors while sampling great food and drink on one of the luxury carriages. There are several daily departures to nearly Grosmont and Goathland Stations, check the timetable on the NYMR website for up to date train times.
3) Enjoy one of Whitby’s many beaches
One of the most popular things to do in Whitby for young and old is visiting one of Whitby’s beautiful beaches. Sandsend is considered by many to be one of the more popular beaches around the town and it makes for a great place to sit back and enjoy the sea air. You can enjoy some of these popular beach games with the family! There are several beaches to enjoy, with the main beach been situated along the West Cliff. This beach stretches all the way to Sandsend and you can walk the whole way when the tide is out. Just ensure you have plenty of time to walk back before the tide comes in. There are donkey rides available during summer months along with surfing opportunities. There is also a dog-friendly beach on the East Side of town which is very popular during the summer months.
4) Visit Robin Hoods Bay
Robin Hoods Bay was once a major smuggling haven on the Yorkshire coast, today it has been transformed into a small tourist town which is a short drive from Whitby. It should certainly be on your list of places to visit. Park at the top of the bay and walk down the winding path, through the forest of gift shops and cafe’s until you come to the beach at the bottom. There are plenty of places to stop for lunch or a quick refreshing drink. There is plenty of history in this small village, you can imagine the smugglers hiding in the small cobbled streets. It’s certainly worth a visit.
5) Visit Staithes
Staithes is a beautiful little fishing village that is situated along the coast just North of Whitby. It’s a wonderful place to kick back and escape the trappings of modern life. Staithes feels like a village that has been frozen in time. It has a few connections with the aforementioned Captain Cook and the Cod and Lobster Pub at the bottom of the hill offers great food at sensible prices throughout the day. It’s a dog-friendly pub and offers a selection of ales along with tea and coffee. The beach is popular at low tide and keep an eye out for seals, they regularly pop-up in the harbour looking for fish from the local fishermen.
6) Brave The Dracula Experience
This is a wonderful tour for people who have an affinity for Bram Stoker’s famous novel. The tour tells the story of Dracula and the connections to Whitby. Live actors are used along the way along with impressive special effects. There are 8 terrifying scenes to this tour, each one telling the story of Dracula and the connections to Whitby.
Enter if you dare…Visit website
7) Visit the stunning Falling Foss Tea Rooms
The Falling Foss Tea Rooms are the ideal place to have a few minutes and enjoy a cup of tea and a cake. You will have a wonderful view of a waterfall as you sit outside and enjoy the sound of the flowing water. Definitely a good place to unwind. The children can explore the forest and let their imaginations run wild as they explore the outdoors. Falling Foss Tea Rooms are open seasonally from April til September. For more information please visit the website at www.fallingfossteagarden.co.uk
8) Climb the 199 Steps To St Mary’s Churchyard
Climbing the 199 steps to St Mary’s Church is a must on your list of things to do in Whitby. These steps are well known for being mentioned in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, but they are also a great sight to see in their own right. You can climb up the steps and look out over Whitby as you climb higher. Tradition says you have to count the steps though as you go higher and higher. You access the steps by walking along Church Street on the East Side of town. St Mary’s Church can be found at the top of the 199 steps. The churchyard is full of old graves which date back as far as the 1700’s. Look out for the old pirates tombstones! You can access Whitby Abbey from the back of the graveyard.
9) Take a tour of the historic Whitby Abbey
Whitby Abbey is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the seaside town and it’s something that the majority of visitors go out of their way to have a look at. The Benedictine Abbey can be quite an impressive sight and it is yet another connection to Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Situated on top of Whitby’s East Cliff, Whitby Abbey is operated and maintained by English Heritage. There are several events held at the Abbey throughout the year, with the illuminated Abbey spectacle around Halloween a particular highlight. The Abbey is open to visitors throughout the year. Click here for prices and opening times.
10) Go crabbing in Whitby Harbour
Crabbing in Whitby has long been considered a pastime for the young people of the town and they enjoy visitors joining them and experiencing it for the first time. Crabbing is not an overly difficult thing to do and once you get the hang of it, you will probably find it a lot of fun. Take a look at this article on how to catch the Whitby crabs from the harbour. Adults are also allowed to join in!
11) Visit Flamingo Land
The Flamingo Land resort is another great place to visit, particularly if you have kids with you and you want to keep them happy for a few hours. You can take the kids to have a look at all the different animals and then stay for some food as well. Flamingo Land is located around 40 minutes outside of Whitby. There are plenty of rides and themed days throughout the year and the park now offers accommodation if you wish to stay overnight. The zoo at Flamingo Land is packed with a variety of birds, mammals, and reptiles.
12) Take a journey across the Yorkshire Moors to Goathland
Goathland has become an increasingly popular tourist destination over the years. It was used for several decades as the location for the television show Heartbeat. The train station in the area is also linked with the Harry Potter films as well, so there is no shortage of things to look at. Goathland is a remote village with attracts hoards of visitors each year who are eager to recapture some of the historic scenes from Heartbeat. Goathland Train Station is a must visit, if your lucky you will get to experience the NYMR steam trains pass through the station. Stand on the railway bridge and enjoy the steam trains passing beneath you, its a great thrill.
Top tip – Park at the Mallyan Spout Hotel and walk down to the Mallyan Spout waterfall. It’s a beautiful forest setting with a breathtaking waterfall. After the walk, you can enjoy a pint in the Goathland Hotel (Known as the Aidensfield Arms from Heartbeat).
13) Visit Eden Camp
Eden Camp has become known as one of the biggest museums in the United Kingdom to be dedicated to military history. The exhibits cover a large timeline of events, from around 1914 onwards. It’s important however to make sure you have a good few hours to walk around the whole thing. Eden camp is open every day from 10am-5pm with the last admission at 4pm. Group discounts are also available. There is a cafe on-site which serves hot food and drinks. Eden Camps holds several special event days throughout the year. Visit the website for the last pricing, events and admission information.
14) Take a boat trip on The Bark Endeavour
This is better known as the Captain Cook Experience and is one of the most popular things to do in Whitby. It gives you a chance to cruise along the harbour and experience first hand the historical impact that Captain Cook had on the town and indeed on the country as a whole. You will be sailing on an authentic replica of Captain Cooks famous Endeavour ship (40% of the original ships size). There are regular daily sailings throughout the year. Located in Whitby Harbour at the Fish Quay, close to the West Pier opposite Whitby Amusements. Dogs are allowed on the trip for free.
15) Spend your pennies in the Whitby Amusements
Fun City and Funlands Amusements are open along the harbour and they are a good place to keep the children entertained for a while. After walking around for most of the day, there is no harm in allowing the kids to play a few games and have fun on some of the rides. You can try your luck trying to win a soft-toy or spend your loose change in the penny machines. There is a fantastic pirate themed indoor crazy golf course and indoor ten-pin bowling alley. You will find plenty of arcade type games along with a dedicated area for 18+ gambling machines.
16) Take a stroll through Pannett Park
Pannett Park is a beautiful vast park in the Whitby area and is a wonderful place to take a stroll. It is a great place that the whole family can enjoy. Thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund Parks for People Programme, Pannett Park has been spectacularly maintained and offers peace and quiet, beautiful gardens and beautifully maintained gardens and wooded areas that the whole family can enjoy. The park is also home to the Whitby Museum and Pannet Art Gallery. Both are well worth a visit on your trip to Whitby. Pannet Park is just a short stroll from the main town center. There is a well-maintained play area at Pannet Park which is perfect for small children.
17) Go back in time in Whitby Museum
Whitby Museum has a lot of great exhibits that illustrate what a vast history the seaside town really has. It takes more than an hour to walk around and look at everything so make sure you have plenty of time on your hands before you arrive. Make sure you inspect the famous Hand of Glory, which is one of the most interesting exhibits.
18) Take a ride along the Esk River with Ruswarp Pleasure Boats
Lots of people enjoy having a nice slow sail down the River Esk. With Ruswarp Pleasure Boats, you are able to take your own boat trip through one of the more secluded areas of the River Esk. You can enjoy the breathtaking scenery in peace and quiet.
They cater for parties of all sizes in traditional rowing boats. They also have canoes for the more adventurous. School parties are also very welcome and inspection prior to visiting is not a problem.
19) Visit Ruswarp Miniature Railway
If you are in the Ruswarp area and you have taken a boat trip, then you should take the kids to the Miniature Railway as well. This is something the whole family can enjoy as you sit inside the small train carriages as it goes around the circuit in a delightful little tour of the surrounding area.
20) Watch a show at Whitby Pavilion Theatre
There are often great shows on at Whitby Pavilion so you should always check it out whenever you are planning on visiting the area.
They also have a nice cafe area and a cinema as well, so there no shortage of things to keep you entertained.
Check out the latest events and cinema listings – click here
21) Get lost in Mini Monsterz
Mini Monsterz is a wonderful play area for children to have fun and enjoy different activities. They can climb up the rock climbing wall or they can enjoy a game of laser tag. There is no shortage of games and activities to keep the kids entertained.
This is a firm favourite when looking for things to do in Whitby with young children.
22) Take a ride on the Whitby Town Open-Top Bus Tour
If you really want to have a good look around Whitby, then the open top bus tour is something you should consider. The tour takes you around all of the major tourist attractions in the town while you enjoy wonderful views at the same time.
You will get a bird’s eye view of Whitby from the distinctive yellow open top bus as it follows its feature-packed sightseeing tour of historic Whitby.
You can hop on and off the sightseeing tour as many times as you like. Enjoy magnificent seascapes and experience Whitby’s narrow winding streets as the open top bus climbs steeply up to the impressive ruins and new visitor facilities of Whitby Abbey.
23) Fortunes Kippers Smokehouse & Shop
This is one of the most traditional businesses in Whitby. Fortunes still smoke kippers just like they used to all those years ago. The smell is simply divine.
You can have a look around and buy Whitby Kippers which have been smoked the old fashioned way. A true step back in time.
24) Take part in a Whitby Ghost Walk… if your dare!
If you enjoy the darker history of Whitby then you will definitely enjoy a ghost walk around the town.
Rose Rylands is a locally born storyteller who shares an intimate knowledge of the coast and surroundings, along with local folklore, history, mysteries and legends. She runs a variety of guided walks, including Guided Walking Tours of Whitby and Ghost walks in Robin Hood’s Bay and Whitby.
25) Get creative at Doodlepots
Pottery painting fun for all the family, come rain or shine.
If you consider yourself to be quite good at crafting, or you just want to relax with the kids then you can always head to Doodlepots. Enjoy painting your own pot based on your own designs. It is a great way to sit down, relax and enjoy making something with the family. Highly recommend if you’re looking for things to do in Whitby with kids.
26) Walk along the pier to the Whitby Lighthouses
There are two main lighthouses in Whitby Harbour. If you feel like having a bit of a stroll one evening, then walk along either pier to see the lighthouses up close.
27) Eat fish and chips at Whitby Bandstand, but watch out for seagulls!
You really can’t come to Whitby and then not at least try and sample some of the local fish and chips. One of the most popular things to do in Whitby is enjoy fish and chips while at the beach or the harbour. Just make sure you don’t let the seagulls steal too many chips!
28) Take a look inside the Whitby Lifeboat Museum
This small museum offers a wealth of information regarding the history of the Whitby lifeboats, the dangerous missions they undertook and the stories of disasters over the years. A very interesting exhibition opposite the Whitby Bandstand.
29) Take a drive or walk across the North Yorkshire Moors
Going for a walk along the North Yorkshire moors is considered to be a very popular thing. You can visit villages like Grassington, Hawes and Beck Hole. There are many walking routes in the area which are a great means of discovering new places.
30) Go fossil hunting!
Children and adults alike are able to go hunting for fossils along the beaches of Whitby. This is a great pass time and if your lucky, you maybe able to uncover some hidden gems! Learn more about fossil hunting in Whitby.
If you enjoyed this article on things to do in Whitby, please share it with your friends via social media. You can also suggest other things to do in Whitby by leaving a comment below, we will then add the suggestions to this article.
Article updated on 01/11/2016