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Whitby Or Filey…Which is Better For a Summer Holiday?

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We’re the Whitby Guide, but that doesn’t stop us from exploring the surrounding areas! especially when there are so many places to see. We have visited and stayed at Whitby and Filey, but which is better? Here’s what we think.

Whitby and Filey are two popular North Yorkshire seaside towns offering various attractions and activities to suit different tastes. But which one is better for a summer holiday? In this article, we’ll compare the two destinations and help you make an informed decision.


Whitby vs Filey, attractions and activities

Whitby attractions and activities

It’s a popular holiday spot for a reason, and although Whitby is small, there are plenty of things to do there. Whether you’re enjoying a romantic break with your partner or a summer seaside break with the kids, plenty of activities and attractions keep you occupied during your visit.

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Tate Hill Sands

Visit one of Whitby’s beaches

Visiting one of Whitby’s beaches is popular for people of all ages, especially during Summer. There are several beaches to explore, with the most popular beach along the West Cliff.

Sandsend Beach is one of our favourites, a quieter spot great for fossil hunting. At low tide, you can walk to Sandsend from West Cliff Beach, but keep an eye on the time and head back before the tide rises. Additionally, Tate Hill Sands is a dog-friendly beach on the East Side of town that is quite popular during the summer season.

Whitby Abbey Illuminated

Explore the ruins of Whitby Abbey

We love to visit Whitby Abbey, which draws a large number of visitors eager to explore its Benedictine ruins. Perched atop the East Cliff of Whitby, the Abbey presents a remarkable sight that also serves as a nod to Bram Stoker’s Dracula. English Heritage handles the management and upkeep of the Abbey, and various events are hosted on its grounds throughout the year.

Filey attractions and activities

Filey is a quieter and less touristy destination than Whitby, but it still has plenty to offer visitors, especially during summer. The town has a long sandy beach perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and building sandcastles. The area also has several nature reserves and parks, including Filey Dams, Filey Bird Garden and Animal Park.

Visit Filey Bird Garden and Animal Park.

Visit Filey Bird Garden and Animal Park

Are you looking for a great family-friendly activity in Filey? This popular attraction spans 5 acres and is home to various exotic and farm animals. Meet the alpacas and wallabies, or check out the bearded dragon enclosure. Kids and adults love the playful meerkats, while the secret garden is the perfect spot to unwind. You can also feed the birds and stop by the cafe, park, and gift shop. Learn more about Filey Bird Garden and Animal Park.

Filey Beach

Relax at Filey Beach

Filey Beach is absolutely beautiful. It offers a five-mile stretch of clean and beautiful sand, perfect for beach games, sandcastle building, kite flying, and sunbathing. The waters are calm, and swimming is safe, although caution is always advised. Lifeguards are also visible during the peak times.

This beach is a popular attraction in the town, and plenty of colourful beach huts are available for hire during the summer. The beach extends from Filey Brigg to Bempton Cliffs, home to an RSPB reserve. During low tide, a quarter-mile of sand is exposed, revealing many rock pools to explore. Although dogs are welcome on the beach, they are restricted to specific areas from May 1st to September 30th.


Whitby vs Filey food and drink

Whitby food and drink

Both destinations have a variety of restaurants, cafes, and pubs. In Whitby, visitors can enjoy fish and chips from one of the many seafood restaurants in the town. The Magpie Cafe is a popular choice, but be prepared to queue! There are also plenty of traditional pubs, such as The Black Horse and The Duke of York.

Enjoy fish and chips at Trenchers.

Enjoy fish and chips at Trenchers

We love Trenchers for fish and chips—it’s our absolute go-to. Established in 1980, Trenchers of Whitby serves fish and chipsseafood, and other popular British dishes daily. The restaurant is light, airy, and spacious, and the interior is traditional yet clean and comfortable.

The booth-style seating is excellent if you visit in a group. The menus are fantastic, with many different choices; we love that they offer three portion sizes for the cod or haddock, so you don’t feel overwhelmed by huge portions. The menu includes fresh seafood salads, crab, lobster, fresh fish, homemade pies and lasagnas, vegetarian options, gluten-free options, and a dedicated children’s menu.

Find our extensive list of places to eat and drink in Whitby here.

Filey food and drink

Filey has a more limited selection of restaurants and pubs, but still plenty of options. The White Lodge Hotel and Restaurant is a popular choice for fine dining, while The Belle Vue is a good choice for a traditional pub. We love San Marco for its fantastic Italian dishes.

Devour pizza at The Boat Shed Filey.

Devour pizza at The Boat Shed Filey

Pizza and Gin—The Boat Shed perfectly mixes the two, adding something different to Filey’s traditional pubs and restaurants. They offer a great venue for drinks or delicious tapas or pizza. This cosy environment and friendly service are perfect for locals or holiday visitors.


Whitby vs Filey, accommodation options

Whitby accommodation

Both places offer various accommodation options to suit different budgets and preferences. In Whitby, visitors can choose from hotels, B&Bs, and self-catering apartments. Several camping and caravan sites are also in the area for those who prefer to stay outdoors, which are probably our favourite option during summer!

Sanders Yard B&B

Sanders Yard Bed and Breakfast, located on Church Street, welcomes pets and provides free WiFi for their guests. The B&B is ideally situated in the heart of Whitby and boasts an onsite restaurant. With four guest rooms, each with an ensuite or private bathroom, Sanders Yard offers guests a unique and welcoming charm. Additionally, the rooms come equipped with Botham’s of Whitby biscuits and Yorkshire tea, making for a truly local experience.

Find more fantastic accommodation in Whitby here.

Filey accommodation

Filey offers accommodations, including hotels, B&Bs, and self-catering cottages. Several camping and caravan sites, such as the Primrose Valley Holiday Park and Crows Nest Caravan Park, are also in the area.

The Bay Filey.

The Bay Filey

South of the town centre lies The Bay Filey, a dog-friendly resort on the grounds of the former Butlin’s holiday camp. The location is superb, right by the beach, and offers an array of top-notch facilities, including the John Paul Jones pub, which serves drinks and food. The Bay Filey also offers a bar, restaurant, fitness centre, indoor pool, and sauna. The resort features family rooms, and guest rooms have a seating area and flat-screen TV. Each room at The Bay Filey has a private bathroom, and bed linen is provided.

Learn more about The Bay Filey here.


Whitby vs Filey, which costs more?

Explore Whitby harbour

The cost of a summer holiday in Whitby or Filey will depend on several factors, including the time of year, the type of accommodation, and the activities you choose to do.

Generally speaking, Whitby is a more expensive destination than Filey, particularly during the peak summer season. However, there are still plenty of affordable accommodation options in both towns, mainly if you are willing to stay outside the town centre. Here’s a great blog post to give tips for visiting Whitby on a budget.


Getting to Filey from Whitby

By car is the easiest way to reach Filey from Whitby, but the town also has a railway station. Trains are regular southwards to Bridlington and Hull and northwards to Scarborough, just a few miles away. Driving to Filey from Whitby should take under an hour, and the trip is a picturesque journey along the Yorkshire coastline.


Which is better for a summer holiday, Whitby or Filey?

It depends on what you’re looking for. We love Whitby; however, there have been times when we have preferred to stay in Filey for a more laid-back atmosphere and then travel to and from Whitby to explore more of the surrounding area.

So, which is better for a summer holiday, Whitby or Filey?

The answer will depend on your preferences and what you seek in a holiday destination. Whitby is the better choice if you want a bustling town with plenty of history and attractions. However, Filey is the place to be if you prefer a quieter, more laid-back destination with natural scenery. You can let us know your favourite and why in the comments.

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