Whitby is consistently voted as one of the UK’s top seaside destinations
Whitby has a year-round season, comprehensive events calendar and rich cultural history, it’s easy to see why this picture-postcard fishing port nestled on the edge of the North York Moors continues to attract generations of tourists from the UK and abroad.
Whitby is one of the most popular seaside towns in the UK for holidaymakers. Known as the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the North Yorkshire coast, the River Esk carves its way through the Eskdale Valley to this stunning natural harbour.
With towering cliffs riding high on the ancient East Side and dramatic landscapes ushering in the modern West Cliff, the town of Whitby has a great legacy steeped in history, culture and myth.
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Whitby At A Glance
- UK’s top staycation destination
- Whitby jet jewellery favoured by Queen Victoria is still handmade on Church Street – Learn more
- Whitby Goth Weekend is the worlds most famous Goth celebration – Learn more
- Trenchers of Whitby voted the UK’s best fish and chip shop – Learn more
- The setting of the Dracula novel written by Bram Stoker and inspiration to authors Elizabeth Gaskell, Charles Dickens and Lewis Carroll – Learn more
- British capital of whaling during the 18th century
- Iconic coal shipping port during the 19th century
- A vibrant fishing community during the 20th century
- A holy place in the early English Church; site of the first Synod of Whitby – decided the settlement date of Easter celebrations
- An important English Heritage site: Whitby Abbey is one of the UK’s most iconic Norman Benedictine ruins – Learn more
- Famous holy people include St Hilda and Caedmon, the first recorded English poet
- Home to Captain James Cook, British explorer, navigator, cartographer, and captain in the British Royal Navy, famed for his discovery of Australia – Learn more
Once famed for its fishing and whaling industries, there are relics and monuments that commemorate this maritime heritage; the Whalebone Arch and the statue of Captain Cook stand as reminders of a proud nautical history.
Since the Georgian age, Whitby has established itself as a centre for tourism. The attraction of the North York Moors and the beauty of the iconic red pantile roofs glimmering in the summer sun continue to delight tourists from far and wide.
Much of the English east coast retains this unique character – red pantiles (from the Dutch dakpan or ‘roof pan’) were imported from Holland in the seventeenth century. Even on cold, grey, blustery days, these tiles appear to glow with a warmth reminiscent of a long, hot, summers day.
Architecture is a key factor in the lasting charm of Whitby. From the ruins of the great medieval Abbey high up on the East Cliff to the Georgian and Victorian townhouses that line the west side and around Crescent Garden to the quirks of the many Fisherman's cottages crammed into the shadow of the 199 Steps to the modern properties built throughout the town there is a perennial appeal to the bustling streets of this old and intriguing place.
Whitby is a town out of time. It is frequently referred to by visitors as ‘my happy place’. Whether it’s to taste the finest fish and chips in the land or to walk the legendary cobbles of Church Street and up the fabled 199 Steps to the Abbey, it is a place to seek solace, to forget the troubles of the world and to escape to a mythical age of explorers, smugglers and saints.