W Hamond - The Original Whitby Jet Store

Whitby or Robin Hood’s Bay for a Weekend Break, which is better?

Although we’re ‘The Whitby Guide’, we are not biased! We love to visit surrounding locations and especially the coastline. Let’s compare Whitby and Robin Hood’s Bay for a weekend break.

Whitby and Robin Hood’s Bay are both fantastic spots to visit for a weekend break. Whitby is the larger of the two, with a population of around 13,000, while Robin Hood’s Bay is a smaller village with just over 1,000 residents. In this article, we compare Whitby and Robin Hood’s Bay. You can decide which one is more suitable for you or which one is your favourite!

Whitby beaches vs Robin Hood’s Bay


Whitby and Robin Hood’s Bay have access to glorious beaches; we love them for different reasons. Whitby’s shores are so easily accessed and a great way to escape the busy town and enjoy the coastline. Robin Hood’s Bay beach feels like you’ve stepped into Jurassic Park! It is so beautiful and one of our favourite sunset-watching spots. Some differences between the two are worth considering depending on the type of weekend break you are looking for.

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Whitby Beaches.

Whitby beaches

Whitby has five main beaches: Whitby Tate Hill Beach, Whitby West Cliff Beach (Whitby Sands Beach), Upgang Whitby Beach, Saltwick Bay Beach and Sandsend Beach. We love that each offers something different. West Cliff Beach is a popular spot for sunbathing, swimming, and surfing; you can have an entire beach day here! While Tate Hill Beach is more secluded and peaceful.

Learn more about each of Whitby’s beaches here.

Robin Hood's Bay beach.

Robin Hood’s Bay beach

Robin Hood’s Bay has a single beach that is not as easily accessible as Whitby’s. The beach at Robin Hood’s Bay is a mix of sand and shingle and is located at the bottom of a steep hill that leads down from the town. It is an impressive beach known for its rock pools bursting with life and fossil hunting galore. It is an excellent place for families with young children or anyone looking for a piece of Whitby Jet.

There are also plenty of coastal walks in both areas, including the Cleveland Way, which passes through Whitby and Robin Hood’s Bay and offers stunning coastline views.


Both Whitby and Robin Hood’s Bay have fascinating stories to tell. While Whitby is known for its connections to Dracula, whaling, and Captain Cook, Robin Hood’s Bay has a unique smuggling history of its own.

Whitby history vs Robin Hood's Bay history.

Whitby history

Whitby has been a permanent settlement since 657, known then as Streanæsheal, which means “fort bay” or “tower bay”, or possibly “Streonas settlement”. The town’s name comes from the Old Norse word Hwitebi, meaning “white settlement”, and it was officially adopted in the 12th century.

Whitby Abbey is a remarkable example of an abbey, with its striking views and weathered stone arches that have inspired artists, writers, and photographers alike. Today, English Heritage is responsible for preserving Whitby Abbey’s remains. Visitors can enjoy an on-site museum and visitor centre. There is a lovely courtyard area perfect for a treat from the coffee shop.

Whitby has a good selection of museums to learn more about the town’s history.

Robin Hood’s Bay history

Despite its name, Robin Hood’s Bay, known as “Bay Town” to the locals, has no known ties to the legendary outlaw Robin Hood. It was initially a farming and fishing community, with brightly coloured cobles used for line fishing and larger boats for herring. The fishing industry was a family affair, with whole families working to bring in the catch.

Smuggling was also a common trade, and villagers built a network of underground passages to move goods like tea, gin, rum, brandy, and tobacco with less risk of being caught. By the 19th century, the fishing industry had reached its peak. Nowadays, the town relies more on tourism than fishing. Although there are still some cobles and fishing vessels here that you can see. You can also visit the Robin Hood’s Bay Museum to learn about the village’s history.

While Whitby and Robin Hood’s Bay have different histories, both towns offer a unique and fascinating look at Yorkshire’s past.

You can learn more about Robin Hood’s Bay history here.

Things to do 

If you’re looking for things to do in Whitby versus Robin Hood’s Bay, it depends on what you’re interested in. Whitby has a more extensive selection of tourist attractions, whereas Robin Hood’s Bay offers lovely walks through the village with pretty shops and the odd pub or place to eat.

Dracula Experience.

Things to do in Whitby 

There are certainly plenty of things to do in Whitby. Whether enjoying a romantic break with your partner or a summer seaside break with the kids, you will find plenty of activities and attractions to keep you occupied during your visit.

One we love that’s immersive and fun is The Dracula Experience. The tour tells the story of Dracula and their connections to Whitby. Live actors are used along the way, along with impressive special effects. This tour has eight terrifying scenes, each telling the story of Dracula and the connections to Whitby.

Learn more: Here are 36 fun things to do in Whitby.

Things to do in Robin Hood's Bay.

Things to do in Robin Hood’s Bay

One of our top recommendations when visiting Robin Hood’s Bay is to explore the various available shops. There’s something for everyone, from gift shops to antique stores and bookshops. One shop that we highly recommend is Bertie’s of Bay, where you can find unique and timeless nautical styles that reflect the rich history of the Yorkshire coast. You’re sure to find something special here.

Overall, Whitby and Robin Hood’s Bay have a unique charm and plenty of things to do for visitors. It just depends on your personal preferences.

Learn more: 10 Things To Do In Robin Hood’s Bay, Attractions & Place To Visit

Places to eat and drink

In Whitby, you can find everything from traditional fish and chips to upscale seafood restaurants and various bars and pubs offering craft beers and cocktails.

Robin Hood’s Bay has fewer options but boasts lovely pint or snack spots. Here are a couple of our favourite spots in each.


Places to eat and drink in Whitby

For fish and chips in Whitby, we love Trenchers. They also enjoy being one of the few seafood-based restaurants in the area that offers a takeaway menu for people who want to take their food and sit by the harbour. They offer a wide range of meals from starters to desserts and a varied children’s menu.

We also absolutely love Moutrey’s. All their ingredients are delivered fresh daily and cooked in a wood-fired oven. Their kitchen is also open, so you can watch as your food is prepared using traditional methods. It is a beautiful place to go with your family or friends.

Places to eat and drink in Robin Hood’s Bay

For fish and chips in Robin Hood’s Bay, Fish Box is great and can also be found in Whitby; they offer takeaway and eat-in options. If you opt for the latter usually, we highly encourage you to opt for the outdoor seating to enjoy your meal with fantastic bay views.

We also love the Bay Hotel, housed in a 19th-century building on the waterfront. Here, you will find a lovely restaurant on the ground floor. The family room balcony is an excellent spot to enjoy spectacular views on warmer days. Besides its pub-style lunch and dinner menus, the Bay Hotel also includes daily specials with a small variety of delicious meals to please every palate, even the younger ones.

Overall, both Whitby and Robin Hood’s Bay offer great options for a weekend break. Whether you prefer exploring historic landmarks or relaxing by the sea, both destinations offer so much.

Consider your preferences and priorities when choosing, and you’ll have a wonderful weekend getaway. Also, don’t forget to let us know which is your favourite and why in the comments or on our social media pages.

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