There are plenty of fun things to do in Whitby. We have picked out 36 of the best activities and attractions for you to enjoy on your visit.
Whitby is a unique town, although small, there are certainly plenty of things to do in Whitby. Whether you’re enjoying a romantic break with your partner or enjoying a summer seaside break with the kids, there are plenty of activities and attractions to keep you occupied during your visit. Here are 36 fun things to do in Whitby to help you plan your trip. Our suggestions are in no particular order.
1. Enjoy a tour of the Captain Cook Memorial Museum
The Captain Cook Memorial Museum has a wide range of art exhibitions and shows on a regular basis so you’re bound to be visiting when something is on. Otherwise, there is the main museum exhibition, which you can easily lose a few hours.
The Museum is located on Grape Lane and is based in the house where Captain Cook served his apprenticeship as a seaman. It is here where he learned his maritime skills which helped him on his voyages of discovery. View more Whitby museums here.
2. Take a ride on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway
For a great day out hop on board the North Yorkshire Moors Railway and enjoy a day out filled with amazing scenery and lots of vintage charm. Travel across the North York Moors National Park on steam or vintage diesel train and visit some charming station stops along the way, including the famous Goathland – this was the original Hogsmeade Station in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, as well as Aidensfield in the 90s drama Heartbeat.
NYMR runs special events throughout the year including the 60s Fest and Railway in Wartime as well as the popular Pullman Dining Train which allows you to take in the stunning scenery of the North York Moors while tucking into delicious great food and drink on one of the luxury carriages.
3. Enjoy one of Whitby’s many beaches
One of the most popular things to do in Whitby for young and old is visiting one of Whitby’s beautiful beaches. Sandsend is considered by many to be one of the more popular beaches around the town and it makes for a great place to sit back and enjoy the sea air. You can enjoy some of these popular beach games with the family.
There are several beaches to enjoy, with the main beach been situated along the West Cliff. This beach stretches all the way to Sandsend and you can walk the whole way when the tide is out. Just ensure you have plenty of time to walk back before the tide comes in. There is also a dog-friendly beach on the East Side of town which is very popular during the summer months.
4. Visit Robin Hoods Bay
Robin Hood’s Bay was once a major smuggling haven on the Yorkshire coast. Today it has been transformed into a small tourist town which is a short drive from Whitby. It should certainly be on your list of places to visit. Park at the top of the bay and walk down the winding path, through the forest of gift shops and cafes until you come to the beach at the bottom.
There are plenty of places to stop for lunch or a quick refreshing drink. There is plenty of history in this small village, you can imagine the smugglers hiding in the small cobbled streets. It’s certainly worth a visit.
View our list of things to do in Robin Hoods Bay.
5. Visit Staithes
Staithes is a beautiful little fishing village that is situated along the coast just north of Whitby. It’s a wonderful place to kick back and escape the trappings of modern life. Staithes feels like a village that has been frozen in time. It has a few connections with the aforementioned Captain Cook and the Cod and Lobster Pub at the bottom of the hill offers great food at sensible prices throughout the day. It’s a dog-friendly pub and offers a selection of ales along with tea and coffee. The beach is popular at low tide, keep an eye out for seals, they regularly pop up in the harbour looking for fish from the local fishermen.
6. Brave The Dracula Experience
This is a wonderful tour for people who have an affinity for Bram Stoker’s famous novel. The tour tells the story of Dracula and the connections to Whitby. Live actors are used along the way along with impressive special effects. There are 8 terrifying scenes to this tour, each one telling the story of Dracula and the connections to Whitby.
Enter if you dare…learn more about The Dracula Experience here
7. Visit the stunning Falling Foss Tea Garden
The Falling Foss Tea Garden is the ideal place to have a few minutes and enjoy a cup of tea and a cake. You will have a wonderful view of a waterfall as you sit outside and enjoy the sound of the flowing water. These tea rooms are a serene place to unwind. The children can explore the forest and let their imaginations run wild as they explore the outdoors. Falling Foss Tea Rooms are open seasonally from April until September.
8. Climb the 199 Steps To St Mary’s Churchyard
Climbing the 199 Steps to St Mary’s Church is a must on your list of things to do in Whitby. These steps are well known for being mentioned in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, but they are also a great sight to see in their own right. You can climb up the steps and look out over Whitby as you climb higher. Tradition says you have to count the steps though as you go higher and higher.
You access the steps by walking along Church Street on the East Side of town. St Mary’s Churchyard can be found at the top of the 199 steps. The churchyard is full of old graves which date back as far as the 1700s. Look out for the old pirate’s tombstones! You can access Whitby Abbey from the back of the graveyard.
9. Take a tour of the historic Whitby Abbey
Whitby Abbey is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the seaside town and it’s something that the majority of visitors go out of their way to have a look at. The Benedictine Abbey can be quite an impressive sight and it is yet another connection to Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Situated on top of Whitby’s East Cliff, Whitby Abbey is operated and maintained by English Heritage. There are several events held at the Abbey throughout the year, with the Illuminated Abbey spectacle around Halloween a particular highlight.
10. Go crabbing in Whitby Harbour
Crabbing in Whitby has long been considered a pastime for the young people of the town and they enjoy visitors joining them and experiencing it for the first time. Crabbing is not an overly difficult thing to do and once you get the hang of it, you will probably find it a lot of fun.
Take a look at this article and learn how to catch the Whitby crabs from the harbour. Adults are also allowed to join in!
11. Visit Flamingo Land
The Flamingo Land resort is another great place to visit, particularly if you have kids with you and you want to keep them happy for a few hours. You can take the kids to have a look at all the different animals and then stay for some food as well. Flamingo Land is located around 45 minutes outside of Whitby. There are plenty of rides and themed days throughout the year and the park now offers accommodation if you wish to stay overnight. The zoo at Flamingo Land is packed with a variety of birds, mammals, and reptiles.
12. Take a journey across the North York Moors to Goathland
Goathland has become an increasingly popular tourist destination over the years. It was used for several decades as the location for the television show Heartbeat. The train station is also linked with the Harry Potter films, so there is no shortage of things to look at. Goathland Train Station is a must-visit if you’re lucky you will get to experience the NYMR steam trains pass through the station. Stand on the railway bridge and enjoy the steam trains passing beneath you, it’s a great thrill.
13.Visit Eden Camp
Eden Camp has become known as one of the biggest museums in the United Kingdom to be dedicated to military history. The exhibits cover a large timeline of events, from around 1914 onwards. It’s important however to make sure you have a good few hours to walk around the whole thing. Eden Camp holds several special event days throughout the year.
14. Take a boat trip on The Bark Endeavour
This is better known as the Captain Cook Experience and is one of the most popular things to do in Whitby. It gives you a chance to cruise along the harbour and experience firsthand the historical impact that Captain Cook had on the town and indeed on the country as a whole. You will be sailing on an authentic replica of Captain Cook’s famous Endeavour ship (40% of the size of the original ship).
There are regular daily sailings throughout the year. Located in Whitby Harbour at the Fish Quay, close to the West Pier opposite Whitby Amusements. Dogs are allowed on the trip for free. View more Whitby boat trips here.
15. Spend your pennies in the Whitby Amusements
Fun City and Funland Amusements are open along the harbour and they are a good place to keep the children entertained for a while. After walking around for most of the day, there is no harm in allowing the kids to play a few games and have fun on some of the rides. You can try your luck trying to win a soft-toy or spend your loose change in the penny machines. There is a fantastic pirate-themed indoor crazy golf course and indoor ten-pin bowling alley. You will find plenty of arcade-type games along with a dedicated area for 18+ gambling machines.
16. Take a stroll through Pannett Park
Pannett Park is a beautiful vast park in the Whitby area and is a wonderful place to take a stroll. It is a great place that the whole family can enjoy. Thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund Parks for People Programme, Pannett Park offers peace and quiet and beautifully maintained gardens and wooded areas that the whole family can enjoy.
The park is also home to the Whitby Museum and Pannet Art Gallery. Both are well worth a visit on your trip to Whitby. Pannet Park is just a short stroll from the main town centre. There is a well-maintained play area which is perfect for small children. Find more information here.
17. Go back in time in Whitby Museum
Whitby Museum has a lot of great exhibits that illustrate the maritime history of Whitby. There are relics from bygone eras and a wealth of dinosaur fossils, found locally along the fossil rich coastline. It takes more than an hour to walk around and look at everything so make sure you have plenty of time on your hands before you arrive. Make sure you inspect the famous Hand of Glory, which is one of the most interesting exhibits.
18. Take a ride along the Esk River with Ruswarp Pleasure Boats
Lots of people enjoy having a nice slow sail down the River Esk. With Ruswarp Pleasure Boats, you are able to take your own boat trip through one of the more secluded areas of the River Esk valley. You can enjoy the breathtaking scenery in peace and quiet. They cater for parties of all sizes in traditional rowing boats. They also have canoes for the more adventurous. School parties are also very welcome and inspection prior to visiting is not a problem.
19. Visit Ruswarp Miniature Railway
If you are in the Ruswarp area and you have taken a boat trip, then you should take the kids to the Miniature Railway as well. This is something the whole family can enjoy as you sit inside the small train carriages as it goes around the circuit in a delightful little tour of the surrounding area.
20. Watch a show at Whitby Pavilion Theatre
There are often great shows on at Whitby Pavilion so you should always check it out whenever you are planning on visiting the area. They also have a nice cafe area and a cinema as well, so there is no shortage of things to keep you entertained.
21. Get lost in Mini Monsterz
Mini Monsterz is a wonderful play area for children to have fun and enjoy different activities. They can climb up the rock climbing wall or they can enjoy a game of laser tag. There is no shortage of games and activities to keep the kids entertained. This is a firm favourite when looking for things to do in Whitby with young children.
22. Take a ride on the Whitby Town Open Top Bus Tour
If you really want to have a good look around Whitby, then the open-top bus tour is something you should consider. The tour takes you around all of the major tourist attractions in the town while you enjoy wonderful views at the same time.
You will get a bird’s eye view of Whitby from the distinctive yellow open-top bus as it follows its feature-packed sightseeing tour of historic Whitby. You can hop on and off the sightseeing tour as many times as you like. Enjoy magnificent seascapes and experience Whitby’s narrow winding streets as the open-top bus climbs steeply up to the impressive ruins and new visitor facilities of Whitby Abbey. Find more information here.
23. Fortunes Kippers Smokehouse & Shop
This is one of the most traditional businesses in Whitby. Fortune’s still smoke kippers just like they used to all those years ago. The smell is simply divine. You can have a look around and buy Whitby Kippers which have been smoked the old-fashioned way. A true step back in time. Learn more about Whitby’s famous kipper house here.
24. Take part in a Whitby Ghost Walk
If you enjoy the darker history of Whitby then you will definitely enjoy a ghost walk around the town. One of the providers we recommend is Rose Rylands, who is a locally born storyteller who shares intimate knowledge of the coast and surroundings, along with local folklore, history, mysteries, and legends. She runs ghost walks in Robin Hood’s Bay and Whitby.
If you fancy something a little more theatrical, try Red Hat Ghost Walk. This is a fun and lighthearted ghost walk where you will learn tales of ghosts, witches, headless horsemen, severed hands and hobgoblins!
25. Walk along the pier to the Whitby Lighthouses
There are two main lighthouses in Whitby Harbour. If you feel like having a bit of a stroll one evening, then walk along either pier to see the lighthouses up close. Or get an ariel view from the top of the West Pier Lighthouse, it is so worth the climb and a great photo opportunity! Find more information here.
26. Eat fish and chips at Whitby Bandstand, but watch out for seagulls!
You really can’t come to Whitby and then not at least try and sample some of the local fish and chips. One of the most popular things to do in Whitby is enjoying fish and chips while at the beach or the harbour. Just make sure you don’t let the seagulls steal too many chips! Here is why you should never feed the seagulls.
27. Take a look inside the Whitby Lifeboat Museum
This small museum offers a wealth of information regarding the history of the Whitby lifeboats, the dangerous missions they undertook, and the stories of disasters over the years. A very interesting exhibition opposite the Whitby Bandstand. Find more information here.
28. Take a drive or walk across the North York Moors
Going for a walk within the North York Moors and visiting some of the many villages is highly recommend if you have the time. You can visit villages like Egton Bridge, Glaisdale and Beck Hole. There are many walking routes in the area which go through some of the villages, why not stop for lunch and liquid refreshments at one of the many country pubs? Or just have ice cream and admire the view!
29. Go fossil hunting
Children and adults alike are able to go hunting for fossils along the beaches of Whitby. This is a great pass time and if you’re lucky, you may uncover some hidden gems!
30. Have a beer at Whitby Brewery
Whitby Brewery has been producing delightfully delicious Yorkshire ales since 2013. The brewery itself was built by hand by local Whitby craftsmen and has proven to be perfect for brewing cracking Yorkshire ales. They only use only the finest floor-malted barley and whole hops to make some of the best beers about.
31. Try and escape Eskape Whitby
These escape rooms, situated a short distance from the Abbey and the town itself, offer you a chance to use your puzzle-solving prowess to work with your friends and solve their themed mystery rooms. Each room has its own theme while incorporating snippets of local history, myths, and legends. You will have 60 minutes. So why not add one of these experiences to your list of things to do in this beautiful seaside town? Find more information here.
32. Visit the Museum of Whitby Jet
Visit the Museum of Whitby Jet for an exciting exploration of the fantastic world of Whitby Jet. It’s fun for the whole family and presents the history of the industry alongside famous artefacts in a stylish and beautiful display. This fantastic collection chronicles the history of jet making in the town and shares the story of the rise in popularity thanks to Queen Victoria. Enjoy a delightful afternoon admiring this superbly executed restoration of an iconic Whitby landmark from the comfort of Alberts Eatery, the delicious on-site restaurant.
33. Book a trip with Whitby Coastal Cruises
Their 20-minute trips along the coast towards Sandsend run every day, starting at 10.15 am. Tickets cost £4 per person – under 5s go free! Board at Brewery Steps on the harbourside. No Booking is needed for 20 min sailings just walk aboard. They operate a number of yellow boats out of Whitby Harbour. Summer Queen and Esk Belle III take trips out to sea, while Dash II provides river tours on the Esk. As well as daily sea trips they run a number of special trips providing the opportunity to see some amazing wildlife and enjoy dramatic sunsets from the sea. Find more information here.
34. Become a Pirate for the day on the Black Pearl
This is a fantastic little boat ride out to sea and back, with a Pirate theme. The pirate crew makes it an exciting adventure from start to finish. There are lots of photo opportunities both onboard or with Pirates back on land. The trip lasts 20-25 minutes and there are plenty of dressing up costumes and props for everyone to get in character. A bargain for £4 and lots of fun.
Call Barry for more information: 07779 318 948
35. Jump on board Yorkshire Coast Boat Trips
Experience the North Yorkshire coast from a unique perspective. Travel in comfort and style between the beautiful seaside towns of Whitby and Scarborough. This is a journey you’ll never forget! A one-way journey takes over 1 hour. Why not use Yorkshire Coast Boat Trips to travel between Yorkshire’s historic ports? If you’re staying in Whitby, why not travel to Scarborough in style and enjoy a day out further down the coast. Option of a return via boat on the first trip out later in the day. The boat carries up to twelve passengers in a fully enclosed and heated cabin. Comfortable seats make for a relaxed ride, and large windows make it easier to spot wildlife.
36. Whitby Surf School
Looking out over the golden sand and rolling waves of Whitby beach, Whitby Surf School is the ideal place to learn to surf in the North East. The blue-flagged, award-winning beach provides perfect conditions to dive headfirst into a thrilling and adrenaline-pumping experience in the North Sea. Whether it’s your first time surfing at Whitby or looking for some extra tuition before you take to heading out on your own, their fully qualified instructors are passionate about making the session as fun and exciting as it can be. They also, provide a wide range of quality surf and beach equipment to hire, so you can take full advantage of the North Sea and everything this beach has to offer.