7 Iconic Whitby Streets from the Past That You Must Visit
Long before anyone walked on the land that Whitby occupies, there was life of another kind. The immediate vicinity has become famous for its fossils dating back innumerable years. A visit to the relevant section in the Town’s Museum will be treated to a wonderful collection of fossils of prehistoric animals that has been found over the years.
That is not to say that human life has not existed for many centuries. The Romans came and although there are no remains of a Roman protection tower, it is thought that one must have been somewhere at one time; perhaps a victim of erosion and the sea? There is evidence of the Vikings being here in the Middle Ages and the Abbey has stood as a landmark to sailors for many centuries since the suppression of the monasteries by Henry VIII.
There is much history in its streets, history that tells of its shipbuilding past, the sea and the importance of fishing and the popularity of Jet which increased when Queen Victoria chose it after losing her husband, Albert. Everything she wore had to be black and Jet was the answer rather than traditional gemstones.
Wherever you go in Whitby you will find something of interest, whether it is the streets themselves, the old cottages or the quaint shops. Visitors come from far and wide on day trips, for weekends and for longer stays in season. There is plenty of tourist information available for those not familiar with Whitby while many visitors return time and again and know exactly what they want to do.
Here is a selection of some of the most important streets of Whitby; there are more but start here.
This street is found below the 199 steps that lead up to the Abbey. It was originally known as Kirkgate and if you walk along the cobbles, several of the cottages and small houses that you will see date back to the 15th Century when the Abbey prospered until Henry VIII’s intervention. It is thought that the Street first had buildings in the late 14th Century. If you look down the narrow alleyways leading off the main street, can you imagine the smugglers looking to evade the customs officials and the youths running from press gangs looking to crew a boat?
Looking for a great bed and breakfast for your next stay? The Leeway, an award winning B&B, is just a short walk from town and offers a delicious breakfast.
Sandgate which leads off Market Place is a good place to find that Jet. Incidentally, if you want to know more about this gemstone which is in fact fossilised remains of monkey puzzle trees, head to the Whitby Jet Heritage Centre in Church Lane. Market Place has been a trading area since the middle of the 17th Century and you will still find stalls today. Sandgate acts as a busy high street without having that name. Its name comes because it leads to the sands.
The Heathfield bed and breakfast is ideal for those looking for off road parking in Whitby. Just a short walk into town to all the major attractions, shops, bars and restaurants.
Every visitor to Whitby should make sure that he or she goes to Grape Lane because it is the home of the Captain Cook Memorial Museum. Cook was from North Yorkshire and there are a number of places that students of his life of adventure and exploration should visit in the Region. This Museum is certainly among the most important while elsewhere in Whitby next to the Whale Bone Arch at the top of the Khyber Pass is an impressive bronze statue of Cook. The museum building was once the home to local shipbuilders, John and Henry Walker who employed Cook as an 18 year-old merchant navy apprentice.
Holiday Cottages in Whitby offer a fine selection of properties throughout the town – take a look here
West Cliff is a popular accommodation district for visitors to Whitby; hotels, cottages for rent and guest houses. Few visitors to Whitby are more famous than Bram Stoker who came here in the late 19th Century and stayed in Royal Crescent. He was inspired by the sight of Whitby Abbey to write the Dracula novel in which Dracula lands as a black dog from a shipwreck off the Whitby Coast. The Dracula Society still visits Whitby twice a year, dressing in period costume and wandering its streets.
Enjoy a fantastic sea view at The Riviera bed and breakfast – just around the corner from Royal Crescent.
Homes that formerly belonged to Whitby’s fishing community are found close to the beach on the east side of Whitby below the Abbey and a short walk to the Pier. The streets are cobbled as they were when the houses were first built but they have been modernised and refurbished to become popular accommodation for families visiting Whitby.
Looking for a holiday cottage on Henrietta Street? Try one of these Shoreline Cottages
Pier Road/Endeavour Wharf
The Harbour in Whitby could tell many a story. It has seen adventurers set sail, whalers and fishing boats as well as the most famous shipwreck just off the coast of the SS Rohilla, a hospital ship that ran aground in 1914. It was sailing from Scotland to Dunkirk when it got into difficulties. 83 people lost their lives as frantic attempts were made to save everyone but the remainder of the 229 on board were saved. Today, the harbour area is full of shops and cafes with great views up to the Abbey across the Esk River.
The RNLI Lifeboat Museum is small but crammed full of interesting exhibits, models, photographs and stories about the Service and its history. Visitors are made very welcome and the dedicated people who work for the RNLI deserve nothing other than praise.
The Town’s War Memorial is in a small square in front of the harbour. It is a very distinctive modern design of an obelisk made from a piece of granite that was erected in 2013.
For a luxury boutique stay we recommend Dillons of Whitby, 5 star accredited, off road parking and close to town.
The River Esk flows right through the centre of Whitby to the North Sea. The Swing Bridge that crosses the River was built in Victorian times. It is for both vehicles and pedestrians and when open it stops many activities in the heart of Whitby for a brief time. A replica of Captain Cook’s ‘’Endeavour’’ is moored nearby. If your next plan is to eat, you will find bars and fish restaurants in Bridge Street only to happy to oblige. Whitby has quite rightly earned a reputation for some of the best fish and chips anywhere and you must see what all the fuss is about.
Read our review of The Edge Restaurant – highly recommended!
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