Whitby is renowned for its support of local businesses, here are 9 independent shops in Whitby that you won’t find anywhere else.
When you think about great places to shop, Whitby probably isn’t the first place that would spring to mind. In fact, it may not occur to you at all! Sure if you were looking for a place to relax on the beach, hunt for fossils, or maybe take in a bit of history, Whitby would be right up there. But shopping, not so much!
To me, and probably many others who have wandered the shopping streets of Whitby this is a great shame. Not only do they have some fabulous Jewellers, selling quality Whitby Jet, of course, but also some fabulously independent, interesting, and quirky stores. You will definitely find something for everyone here, and should really take a look.
To get you going on your Whitby shopping trip, here are nine of the best places to start.
Several years ago a young boy walked into Whitby Wholefoods with his parents and proclaimed that it ‘smelt of spices and awesomeness’. So taken was the owner of the store by this acclimation that she got him to write it in chalk on the board outside. An action that he would repeat twice more when he returned years later with his girlfriend, and then with his parents again!
The compliment he gave, that the store smells of spices and awesomeness is entirely true, but not the only thing that Whitby Wholefoods has going for it. Not only does the store smell good, but it also has awesome things to buy. These come in a wide variety of different products, mainly food, but also other interesting nick nacks and oddities too.
For example, not only can you find flours, local honey, vegan chocolate, and rice, but also sustainable bamboo toothbrushes great for the environment. That’s not to mention the homeopathics, essential oils, remedies, a plethora of spices, and gansey! Yes, that’s right, you heard me correct, Whitby Wholefoods sell gansey wool and gansey knitted clothing.
Overall, this wonderful store located just five minutes from the harbour is a secret little world that will welcome you with a smile, and make you feel at home. They have everything you could possibly want and much, much more.
Location: 1 St. Anns Lane, Whitby, YO21 3PF
Lucky Ducks (Whitby Glass Ltd)
Lucky Ducks is a fabulous shop that sells glorious handcrafted glassware. It is located down Sandgate and I challenge anyone to be able to walk passed its sparkling windows filled with the colours of the rainbow without going in.
Once inside you will find gorgeous glass flowers in vases, teddy bears, elephants, dolphins, and a whole host of other divine animals. They also stock Steiff bears, John Beswick pottery, Disney ornaments, Village candles, and marbles. These are not, however, what they are most famous for!
The Whitby lucky duck is the original and undoubtedly the best lucky duck that you could choose to buy. They come in a host of colours including twelve jewel-like ones to match the birthstones throughout the year. They are small, hand made, and every house should have one.
Recently celebrating sixty years of making the lucky duck and other glassware, Lucky Ducks have added to their range with the new weatherwise variety. These lucky ducks have a special coating that changes colour to indicate the weather. Pretty cool, huh? They are available both in-store and online.
Location: 9 Sandgate, Whitby, YO22 4DB
The Whitby Catch
There would be something very wrong if a list of Whitby independent shops did not contain at least one place where you can purchase some tasty seafood. For this reason, we have chosen to include The Whitby Catch which is situated just across the road from the fish market.
Seafood sold by the Whitby Catch is guaranteed to be some of the freshest around and of the best quality. It comes straight from the sea, onto a boat, into the auction, and across the road to the Whitby Catch. From there it is sold to you, the discerning customer for you to take home and serve a tasty meal to those you love.
You can choose from a great variety of wet fish, naturally smoked seafood, shellfish, seasonal seafood hampers, recipes, and a great variety of ready-made products such as fish pie, salmon pate, crab pate, kipper pate, mussel meat, and delicious salmon and king prawn skewers.
Location: 1 Pier Rd, Whitby, YO21 3PT
Situated in a beautiful 17th-century workshop in the heart of Whitby’s historic east side, Ebor Jetworks is not only a great jeweller but also the home of jet research. It is owned by Sarah and David Steele who not only have a passion for jet but also ensuring that the traditions in its use remain for generations to come.
Jet, as many probably already know, is created from wood that has been compressed and fossilised over millions of years. It was hugely popular in Victorian England for creating mourning jewellery, even Queen Victoria wore it. Over time, however, its popularity decreased with the end result being few skilled jet workers being left.
Sarah and David Steele are amongst those few skilled jet workers and it shows in their beautifully designed and handcrafted pieces. Items you can choose from include pendants, earrings, bangles, bracelets, brooches, and giftware such as thimbles and key-rings. If you want to see the pair at work, you can attend one of their jet polishing demonstrations which are run six days a week.
Location: 138 Church St, Whitby, YO22 4DE
Read our buyers guide to Whitby Jet Shops
It is true that I lack willpower but, I defy anyone to be able to walk anywhere near and smell the aromas coming from Justin Chocolatier’s and walk on by! The delectable smell of all that chocolaty goodness makes it impossible.
For many years now Justin Chocolatier has had a passion for creating traditionally prepared treats for all those who just love and appreciate fine confectionery. They make everything on their premises and believe me when I say, what they make is a little bit of delicious sweet heaven.
Favourites from among their fudge, toffee, and chocolate smorgasbord include Captain Cook’s rum truffle cannon balls, fondant filled Dracula's coffins, rum n raisin, chocolate orange, and special Christmas fudge. Mint and cinder toffee flavoured chocolate are also worth a try. Belgian chocolate, ha, the Belgians have nothing on this shop!
Location: 129 Church St, Whitby, YO22 4DG
For over twenty years now Byron Blessed has been the proud owner of the marvellous Natural Wonders on Grape Lane in Whitby. It sells items that started out as a passion for Byron in his university days and turned into a full time much-loved career.
Whitby and the North Yorkshire coastline are well known for being the source of the items within Natural Wonders. And no, we aren’t offering up another Whitby jet shop but rather something spectacularly different. Natural Wonders is the home to beautiful and ancient fossils.
Found by Byron himself and his trusted fossil hunting friends around the world all the fossils within the store are of the highest quality and guaranteed 100% genuine and authentic. There is nothing within the store that Byron wouldn’t love to own himself. Most of the fossils are cleaned and prepared on site ensuring that they have been treat with the utmost care.
Whether you fancy just browsing or are interested in purchasing one of Byron’s delightful discoveries, you can peruse or choose from ammonite, trilobites, vertebrae, dinosaur teeth, and even museum-quality pieces.
Location: 20 Grape Ln, Whitby, YO22 4BA
Nestled beneath the ancient cliffs of Whitby and under the constant gaze of St Mary’s church is the narrow and cobbled Henrietta Street. It is here that you will find the famous Fortune’s Kippers and Smokehouse which has stood in this spot, at the bottom of the 199 Steps, for over 139 years.
It would be very difficult for anyone not to notice the Fortunes Smokehouse as the air in the vicinity is filled with the scent of oak wood smoke. Fortunes produce the only genuine and authentic Whitby kippers as they run the only traditional smokehouse there.
Famous fans of Fortunes kippers include the royal family, especially HRH Princess Anne, who wrote to the shop telling them just how much she enjoyed their fare. You can also purchase the tastiest ever smoked bacon here plus kipper pate, smoked salmon and haddock.
Location: 22 Henrietta St, Whitby, YO22 4DW
The wonderful Whitby Galleries is unusual in that it has been split into two distinct shops; one selling original artwork and the other quality prints. Many of the pieces that you will find in both are supplied by local artists, some exclusively, and many of the Whitby and surrounding areas. Artists include Catherine J Stephenson, Jeff Streets, Anne Fryers, and Jonathan Shaw.
Interestingly, but not more so than the wonderful artwork they stock, the two Whitby Galleries stores have different names related to some Whitby folklore. The first is named the Hermitage and the second the Penny Hedge gallery. Why? Well because, according to folklore, in 1159, penance was imposed on three hunters and their descendants who had murdered a hermit at Eskdale.
The murder came about when a wild boar took refuge in a hermitage and the hunters killed the hermit who lived there. Before he died, however, he agreed to forgive the hunters if they would enact a penance. Each year on the eve of Ascension day, a short hedge of hazel and willow stakes were to be woven together and had to withstand three tides.
To build the penny hedge as it would become known the hunters used a knife ‘of a penny price’ to cut the stakes, hence the name Penny Hedge for one of the galleries. The other, The Hermitage, remembers the hermit. This practice continues today and you can see the hedge near the estuary on the east side of town close to Parkol boatyard.
Location: 134-135 Church St, Whitby, YO22 4DE
Whitby Cheese Company
Opened in 2016 the Whitby Cheese Company produces traditional handcrafted cheeses made on the premises with local Jersey cow’s milk. To ensure it is of the highest quality it is made in small batches and naturally aged for distinct local flavour. They make cheese the old fashioned way to old family recipes and by hand.
Many of the cheeses produced at the Whitby Cheese Company have been named for their Whitby link. There is the Endeavour, named after Captain Cook’s vessel that has a sweet milky malty flavour, and the Whitby Jet infused with umami seaweed. Highly popular with many clientele is the Regatta with smoky piquant chipotle chillies and the nettle wrapped seasonal cheese that can only be produced in the summer when the nettles appear in the hedgerows.