W Hamond - The Original Whitby Jet Store

Exploring The Old East Side Of Whitby, All You Need To Know

Whitby is a town of two parts divided by the River Esk. In this guide, we’ll take you through all you need to know about exploring the Old East Side of Whitby.

The historic East Side of Whitby has enough going on for you to spend a day exploring just that side! With unique shops selling glass lucky ducks, jet jewellery, and fantastic restaurants. Here’s all you need to know about exploring the Old East Side of Whitby.

The East Side of Whitby

Exploring The Old East Side Of Whitby

The East Side of Whitby is the oldest of the two sides and has a rich history and plenty of attractions to explore.

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Visitors can climb the famous 199 steps to St Mary’s Church and Whitby Abbey, stroll along the historic Church Street, visit the Museum of Whitby Jet, and explore the Market Place, Henrietta Street, and Grape Lane. The beach here is perfect for beachcombing, and there are plenty of places to eat and drink, and accommodation options are also available.

Climb the 199 Steps to St Mary’s Church and visit Whitby Abbey

Whitby 199 Steps.

Both the 199 steps and Whitby Abbey are popular to visit on the East Side of Whitby. The Church Stairs, also known as the 199 steps, run from the Old Town to St. Mary’s.

While the first record of these steps dates back to 1340, they are believed to have been built much earlier than that. According to some historians, St. Hilda would use the steps to test the faith of her followers, for those who wished to worship at St. Mary’s Church.

Halloween at Whitby Abbey

Whitby Abbey is located on the East Cliff and offers a stunning view. Maintained by English Heritage, the Abbey is an impressive sight and has connections to Bram Stoker’s Dracula. 

It hosts various events throughout the year, with the Illuminated Abbey spectacle being a significant highlight.

Take a stroll along Church Street

Church Street in Whitby

Church Street, previously known as Kirkgate, can be found at the bottom of the 199 steps that lead to the Abbey. This historic street is lined with houses and cottages that date back to the 15th century. It served as an escape route for smugglers and gangs of youths from the customs men and press gangs who were after them.

The narrow alleyways and yards provided the perfect cover for their activities. However, the street’s origins go further back, with dwellings documented as early as 1370 at the foot of the Abbey steps.

Location: Church St, Whitby, YO22 4AS

Museum of Whitby Jet

Visit the Museum of Whitby Jet

Wesley Hall, located on Church Street, is home to the Museum of Whitby Jet. The museum is open to the public free of charge. It takes visitors through time, showcasing some of the most breathtaking examples of Whitby jet ornaments and jewellery ever crafted.

It aims to preserve Whitby jet’s cultural significance and educate and inspire future generations with its story.

Location: Wesley Hall, Church St, Whitby, YO22 4DE

Pick up something special at the Market Place

Whitby Market Place and the old town hall

The Market Place has been attracting stallholders and visitors for centuries, with its origins dating back to 1640.

The stalls sell handcrafted silver jewellery, hats, clothing, antiques, art, and bakery goods. Markets are held here on Tuesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. There is a Farmer’s market on a Thursday (please check days as there is a variation throughout the year).

Treat yourself a Whitby Lucky Duck

Whitby Glass.

If you take a turn off the Market Place, you’ll find Sandgate, a bustling high street that gets its name from leading to and bordering the east sands. This street is famous for selling Whitby jet.

Location: Sandgate, Whitby, YO22 4DB

Whitby Glass

My son loves visiting the Whitby Glass shop and picking out his own Lucky Duck as a souvenir. Each duck in the collection represents a birth month and comes in a unique colour.

You can even find some rare one-of-a-kind ducks, too! It has become a tradition for him every time we visit Whitby. Not only does he have several Lucky Ducks now, but he also has a collection of glass dinosaurs and sea animals. It’s a lovely place to visit.

Beach comb or let the dog have a run at Tate Hill Sands Beach

Tate Hill Sands.

Tate Hill Sands is a small beach that is a mixture of sand and shingle, perfect for beach combing. Tate Hill is a dog-friendly beach, which means you can bring your furry friend along to enjoy the day out with you. It’s a popular destination for those who love to have picnics and even go metal detecting.

Click here for directions to Tate Hill Beach

Pick up some Kippers, Henrietta Street

Fortune's Whitby Kippers

Henrietta Street, named after Henrietta Cholmley, was an area with over 1,000 residents in 1787. However, a landslip in the same year, followed by several others, caused the street to shrink to its current size.

Location: Henrietta St, Whitby, North Yorkshire, Y022 4DW

Fortunes Kipper House

William Fortune established Fortune’s Kipper House at the street’s northern end in 1872. The kippers are renowned for their distinct taste and colour, achieved by smoking them over oak and beech fires.

Follow your nose, and as you walk, the aroma of oak smoke will increase steadily until you arrive. The Fortune family has been managing the business for generations, and its fifth generation is currently running it.

They continue to use traditional techniques to create well loved Whitby kippers, that you just have to try while exploring the old East Side of Whitby.

Explore Grape Lane

Grape Lane in Whitby.

Another street worth exploring is Grape Lane, one of the oldest streets in Whitby. It’s been around since at least 1595 and has houses on both sides of the narrow street. Along this historic lane are the Captain Cook Museum and the lovely Natural Wonders shop.

Location: Grape Lane, Whitby, YO22 4B

Whitby Fossil.

Visit Natural Wonders

Byron Blessed has owned Natural Wonders on Grape Lane in Whitby for over twenty years. The store houses a stunning array of beautiful and ancient fossils. Most of the fossils are cleaned and prepared on-site ensuring that they have been treated with the utmost care.

Whether you fancy just browsing or are interested in purchasing one of Byron’s delightful discoveries, you can choose from ammonite, trilobites, vertebrae, dinosaur teeth, and even museum-quality pieces.

Visit the Captain Cook Museum

If you are interested in exploring the life of Captain Cook, one of the places to begin is the Captain Cook Memorial Museum, located inside John Walker’s house.

The museum offers a chance to view the attic, which is believed to have been where Cook stayed when he was on land. Additionally, visitors can view a model of Cook’s ship, the Resolution, and a letter he wrote to Captain Hammond. These are just some of the many artefacts you will find inside the museum, and there are several other relics to explore, so you can easily spend a significant amount of time here.

Places to eat and drink on the East Side of Whitby

Moutreys Pizza in Whitby

One of our favourite places to eat on the East Side of Whitby has to be Moutreys. Their wood-fired oven and open-plan kitchen, paired with the rustic iron-clad décor, create a unique ambience for a romantic dinner or a leisurely night out with friends.

The pizza and pasta here are fantastic. If you plan to visit, book ahead, as the restaurant fills up quickly during peak season.

Humble Pie and Mash.
Image Credit: Humble Pie and Mash Facebook.

For something a little more humble try Humble Pie and Mash, comfort food at its best. You can’t miss trying their variety of meat or vegetarian pies, which can be enjoyed on their own or paired with their mash, peas, and delicious gravy for a classic combination. As a family-run business, all their pies are homemade and baked fresh daily.

There are fabulous bistros/ cafes such as Sanders Yard and lovely pubs like The Whitby Horse and Griffin, whether you want a hearty breakfast, a quick bite or a lovely Sunday lunch with your family.

Places to stay on the East Side of Whitby

White Horse and Griffin

The White Horse and Griffin also offer accommodation, as well as food. The Inn has undergone a tasteful restoration to offer ten ensuite guest rooms, each individually styled. Some rooms are spacious and grand, while others are small and cosy.

All the rooms have been named after famous Whitby ships and their skippers. Despite respecting the building’s age, all the rooms boast modern amenities. They also accommodate small, well-behaved dogs and have a few dog-friendly rooms. 

Book via Booking.com

Greenfingers Cottage.

Greenfingers cottage is a 270-year-old fisherman’s cottage that’s been lovingly restored. It’s ideal for up to six guests, spanning four floors with steps. It offers breathtaking views of Whitby’s 199 steps or the sea from its upper windows. Perfect for exploring the East Side of Whitby. Find more information here.

Exploring the old East Side of Whitby is perfect for anyone interested in history, architecture, or just seeing all Whitby offers. From the historic St. Mary’s Church to the quaint shops and cafes, there is no shortage of things to see and do.

We hope this article has given you some ideas for planning your next trip.

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