Whitby is a beautiful place to visit all year round. However, we actually favour visiting during the Winter. Here are 11 things to do in Whitby in winter.
Though it gets busier in the summer, many people favour coming during the winter months. Thankfully, there are plenty of things to do in Whitby in winter. There’s something about Whitby from October to March; it’s peaceful, and the true beauty comes out when it’s not bustling with people. You can stand still momentarily and take in the hauntingly beautiful atmosphere. Here are 11 things to do in Whitby in Winter.
1. Wrap up and enjoy a Ghost Walk
Whilst in Whitby, we love taking part in an evening ghost walk. It’s a great way to see parts of the town you would not have otherwise visited and hear ghost stories, myths and legends from local people.
We highly recommend Gill’s Red Hat Ghost Walk. The walk is well-planned, lighthearted, and fun. Gill will tell you tales of ghosts, witches, headless horsemen, severed hands and hobgoblins! She has written all the stories in rhyme and performs them beautifully! The walk suits all ages and fitness levels; it’s a great way to explore Whitby behind the scenes.
Don’t worry if you’re not majorly physically fit! The group will only walk as fast as the slowest member, and there are plenty of stops along the way to catch up. This ghost walk is wheelchair friendly.
2. Visit for Goth Weekend
Whitby is flooded with goths from far and wide to celebrate Whitby Goth Weekend twice a year. There is one event in April and another in October, usually over the Halloween weekend; the latter is the most popular.
The weekend is packed with different events: music, theatre, and people adorn themselves in beautiful Victorian goth, traditional goth, and modern adaptations. It’s an incredible sight. The whole of Whitby becomes an exciting place filled with people buzzing, and the town thrives with this fantastic event.
3. Try your hand at some Fossil Hunting
Get ready to wrap up warm again, but trust us when we say it’s worth it. Whitby has been well known for its fossil collecting and is even documented as having the most intact Teleosaurus Chapmani fossil (an early crocodile ancestor).
The best beach to go to for fossil hunting is Saltwick Bay, which is just near Whitby Abbey. Saltwick Bay is so full of fossils that you don’t even need to painfully look through all the rocks for a hint of a fossil. They are easily found. Everything has been found on this beach, from dinosaur bones to dinosaur faeces!
The beach is relatively quiet during the winter as it’s a bit of a hidden gem in Whitby; you’ll usually have it to yourself. You can now book guided fossil hunting trips with palaeontologist Byron Blessed.
4. Ride the North York Moors Railway
To escape the cold a little bit, you can hop aboard the North York Moors Railway; there are several events run throughout the year, including the very popular Pullman Dining Experience, which lets you watch the beautiful scenery of the North Yorks Moors pass by as you sample some gorgeous food and wine.
It’s a beautiful experience for adults, but if you have kids, there are other daily opportunities for them to experience the famous National Park from the warmth and excitement of a train.
During the October half term, you can bring the whole family to experience a sensory light and sound journey on board their Light Spectacular Express. This is an hour-long round trip, with onboard narration and music. It departs from Pickering Station for Levisham Station. It’s a fun family event.
5. Witness the wonderful Illuminated Abbey
There isn’t anywhere spookier to visit at Halloween than Bram Stoker’s inspiration. Visit Illuminated Abbey with awe and wonder as it is bathed in dramatic illuminations. Don’t forget to take your camera as you capture the gothic ruins lit up with all the colours of the rainbow; you will never have seen it as magical as this before.
This is an evening of Victorian Gothic entertainment beneath the remains of Whitby Abbey, an evening suitable for the entire family. After the performance, you can toast marshmallows and enjoy delicious food from the food trucks on the site. Read our Illuminated Abbey review.
6. Step back in time at Eden Camp
Eden Camp is a 50-minute drive outside of Whitby. However, it is worth the travel time. It’s one of the biggest museums in the UK, which is solely dedicated to military history, more specifically World War 2; it is located in an old POW camp.
The museum is a fantastic day for all the family, and somewhere children love, even allowing them to learn while having fun. Don’t worry if you have a dog; dogs are also allowed to learn the history of World War 2 so long as they are on a lead and kept under control at all times!
7. Spend the day at Robin Hood’s Bay
You can still enjoy a beach walk in the winter sun. If you’re a dog lover, your dog will thank you for it too. The beach is dog-friendly so that you can roam the entire stretch with your four-legged friend. Then rest up in the Bay Hotel for a pint or a warm-up with a hot chocolate!
Those who love history can stop by Robin Hood’s Bay Museum. There are fishing, shipping, history and geology displays. You can also learn about the shipwrecks that used to be a common occurrence in Robin Hood’s Bay. Learn about the fishing and smuggling village whilst having fun.
8. Wander around wintery Whitby!
Finally, you could wander around beautiful Whitby, enjoy fish and chips and cosy up in front of a log fire in a local pub for the evening! The list is endless. Soaking up the atmosphere around the town in the colder months is one of our favourite things to do in Whitby in winter.
9. Spend your pennies at the arcades
Fun City and Funland Amusements along the harbour are great options if you’re looking for a fun way to entertain your children. You can let your kids enjoy the rides and play some games after a day of walking around.
They can even try to win a soft toy or spend some loose change in the penny machines. There’s also an excellent pirate-themed indoor crazy golf course and indoor ten-pin bowling alley. Additionally, there are plenty of arcade-type games and a separate area for 18+ gambling machines.
10. Visit Whitby Museum
If you’re interested in the maritime history of Whitby, you should check out the Whitby Museum. It boasts a variety of fascinating exhibits, including relics from bygone eras and an impressive collection of dinosaur fossils found locally along the coastline.
Plan to spend at least an hour exploring all the museum offers, and don’t miss the chance to see the famous Hand of Glory exhibit, which will pique your interest.
11. Visit the Whitby Lobster Hatchery
Located on Pier Road, right across from the Magpie Cafe. The Marine Discovery Centre has over 30 species of native marine life spread over three tanks. This centre was once an unused fish auction shed that has been transformed into a Marine Discovery Centre and Lobster Hatchery. The centre’s main objectives are to preserve the fishing industry and advance education and research on the local marine life.
One of the ways they do this is by releasing 100k juvenile lobsters back into the sea each year, which offsets the number caught by the fishermen in Whitby. The hatchery is critical to the lobsters’ survival at the most delicate stage, where only 1% typically survive in the wild.
Using modern technology, the hatchery simulates the natural environment of the juvenile lobsters until they are fully matured. This increases their chances of survival to 40% once they are released back into the sea.
If you visit the Marine Discovery Centre, you can interact with exhibits, learn about sea creatures, and witness the incredible work they do. It’s a great way to learn about marine life and support an important cause.
We’re imagining we have inspired you, and you’re already digging out your thermals and your biggest coat, ready to take a trip this Winter. We certainly will be!