Whitby is constantly being voted as one of the UK’s top seaside destinations for holidaymakers. This magical fishing port perched on the edge of the North York Moors attracts tourists from all over the World.
Whitby is a charming town that rests along the North Yorkshire coast at the mouth of the River Esk in the United Kingdom. Whitby visitors will find that Whitby possesses uniquely diverse claims to fame. The well-known explorer Captain James Cook began his famous sailing adventures here. Legendary writer Bram Stoker experienced a stroke of genius in Whitby when he first conceived the idea for his classic novel Dracula. The town also has continued fame for its reputation as one of the UK’s primary fishing ports.
A Brief History of Whitby
A permanent settlement was first recorded in 656 when the Christian king of Northumbria dedicated his first abbey, Hilda in what was known as Streonshal. In 664 the Synod of Whitby was held there. Later in 867, the monastery was destroyed by Vikings. It was later re-established in 1078. During this time it gained the name “Whitby”, old Norse for “white settlement”. From then on, the town functioned primarily as a fishing settlement until the 18th century it developed into a port for whaling and shipbuilding. A local trade also developed for locally mined alum and Whitby Jet Jewellery.
Things to do in Whitby
There are so many things to do in Whitby during your visit. Whitby is a lovely seaside community rich in history and set against a stunning backdrop. We hope you find the information through this website useful when planning your trip. Here are a few of our favourites.
Visit Whitby Abbey
Included in Whitby’s historical features is St. Hilda’s Abbey. Overlooking the town, settled on the East Cliff, the abbey was originally founded during the seventh century. It was attacked several times but different regimes until it was finally abandoned and left to ruins. Located in the same part of town are the famous 199 Steps carved into the side of the cliff. The steps lead to the old churchyard that originally spawned the idea for Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
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 on how to catch the Whitby crabs from the harbour. Adults are also allowed to join in!
Explore Whitby's connections to Dracula
Literary buffs will be tickled to discover Whitby’s rich literary tradition. In fact, the earliest English literature has been said to come from Whitby. Caedmon, the first recorded Anglo-Saxon poet served as a monk at Whitby Abbey during the St. Hilda abbacy. Bram Stoker’s Dracula, partially set in Whitby incorporated bits and pieces of the town’s folklore. Stoker even discovered the name Dracula at the public library. The novel Sylvia’s Lovers by Elizabeth Gaskell was set partially in Whitby after a visit from the author. Lewis Carroll’s first publications were in the Whitby Gazette written during his stay in 1854. Even Charles Dickens was known to frequently visit Whitby.
Try the Dracula Experience, one of Whitby's premier entertainment attractions, the Dracula Experience combines animated scenes, electronic special effects, and live actors to create a spooky interpretation of the original Bram Stoker novel.
Places to eat and drink in Whitby
There is a fantastic selection of restaurants in Whitby. Whether you're looking for a seafood feast or simple fish and chips in the paper on the pier. Seafood lovers should head to Star Inn the Harbour for delicious seafood and harbour views. Other restaurants that we recommend are Harry’s Bar on Pier Road and for friendly service and fantastic food try Ditto.
Whitby has more than its fair share of pubs, from traditional real ale pubs to cocktail bars. After a long day of sightseeing check out Abbey Wharf and enjoy a drink on the terrace with stunning harbour views. Did you know? You can get ‘Yapas’ which is Yorkshire tapas from the Black Horse on Church Street. This is also one of Whitby’s oldest pubs and is dog friendly.
Places to stay in Whitby
Jet Black Jewel
This boutique holiday accommodation on Whitby’s west side comprises nine bespoke rooms, each with a peculiar tale to tell of Whitby history, folklore and legend. Their aim is to provide something a little bit different from the norm with a quirky approach to decor and a love of storytelling; not just accommodation, but a destination for those looking for the full Whitby experience.
Beyond the Harbour
Beyond the Harbour is a 4 bedroom Victorian townhouse recently refurbished to a high standard with quality fixtures and fittings. The property is in a great location, only a 5-10 min stroll to the harbour. On the first floor, there is a king-size room and main bathroom. On the second floor, they have a double room and a twin room. The fourth room is on the ground floor and has a double sofa bed, this room doubles up as a second living room when the sofa bed is not required. The main living room and second bathroom are also on the ground floor The fully equipped kitchen and dining room are on the lower ground floor. We provide one travel cot and one high chair All towels and bedding are provided (Travel cot bedding not provided) Free Wifi throughout the property. On-street parking.
With great views over Whitby harbour, The Boathouse is a converted pump house that has a narrow bridge linking it to the mainland. Sleeping 2 and offering a romantic getaway in the middle of Whitby's old town. The accommodation comprises of 3 levels starting at the bottom with the cellar kitchen with quality solid oak units and all mod cons. The top floor has a bright bedroom with a beamed vaulted ceiling and an en-suite bathroom with a large double-ended bath. All these levels are connected by a modern narrow spiral staircase. At high tide, you are completely surrounded by water and at low tide, you are on the beach, which gives this property a magical feel to it. Locally you can enjoy exploring the quaint little streets of Whitby before heading to the gothic ruins of Whitby Abbey.
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