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Whitby’s West Cliff, All You Need To Know

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The West Cliff of Whitby offers many hotels, holiday accommodations, and tourist attractions. Here is all you need to know about Whitby’s West Cliff.

In the 1850s, George Hudson, known as ‘The Railway King,’ was responsible for the rail link to Whitby and had the Khyber Pass built into the cliff to provide access to his West Cliff estates. George Hudson aimed to follow in Bath’s footsteps, a city with a thriving tourist trade. He hired a builder named Langdale to construct a crescent with street houses on the estate. Nowadays, a significant portion of the Whitby accommodation is located on the West Cliff. This article covers all you need to know about Whitby’s West Cliff.


Royal Crescent and Crescent Gardens

Crescent gardens Whitby.

The West Cliff was supposed to become even more magnificent with the addition of a Crescent that would rival Bath’s. Unfortunately, the project stopped when George Hudson’s creditors foreclosed, leaving only half of the Crescent built.

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Hudson had used the West Cliff Estate as security for his loans, which were passed on to the North Eastern Railway Company in 1859. This led to a lengthy Chancery Suit that only ended with Hudson’s death in 1871.

Eventually, Sir George Elliott acquired the mortgage of the West Cliff Estate in 1873 and restarted development, including the West Cliff Saloon and Spa Theatre complex opposite the Royal Crescent.

The Crescent provides a magnificent backdrop to Crescent Gardens. The gardens are beautiful, with colourful formal beds. It is a place for visitors to relax and take in the coastal views of the area.


Bram Stoker stayed on Whitby’s West Cliff

Bram Stoker Memorial Bench.

In 1890, Stoker visited the town after advice from a good friend as he became exhausted from work. He immediately fell in love with the place and stayed at number 6 Royal Crescent.

During the Victorian era, Whitby became one of the UK’s most popular resorts. Today, standing outside the Royal Hotel on the West Cliff, you can enjoy the same view Stoker had 125 years ago. Even though some things have changed over the last century, you can still relate the novel’s descriptions to Whitby’s beautiful scenery.

If you want to see Bram Stoker’s memorial bench, head to Khyber Pass. It is the furthest bench that you can see from the Whalebone Arch.


Monuments at Whitby’s West Cliff

Whalebone Arch Whitby West Cliff.

Whalebone Arch

The Whalebine Arch perfectly frames the Abbey ruins in Whitby on the West Cliff. The Whalebone Arch, the third to have stood in this location, is quite impressive. The original bones were replaced in 1963 with a replica from Norway and then again in 2003.

Due to harsh weather conditions, the arch began to crumble in the 1990s and was replaced with today’s arch. Today’s arch is made of bones from a Bowhead whale that native Alaskan Inuits legally hunted. The original bones are preserved at the Whitby Archive Heritage Centre.

Captain Cook's Memorial Statue in Whitby.

The Captain Cook Memorial Monument

The Captain Cook Memorial Monument lies in People’s Park on the West Cliff. This 7ft 6inch bronze statue honours the individuals who constructed the four ships that Captain Cook used on his expeditions: Endeavour, Resolution, Adventure, and Discovery. The monument location offers a gorgeous view of Whitby Harbour, East Cliff, and St Mary’s Church.


Things to do on Whitby’s West Cliff

West Cliff Beach.

Enjoy Whitby’s West Cliff beach

Whitby’s West Cliff beach is a large sandy beach that stretches from Upgang Beach to the mouth of the River Esk, sometimes referred to as Whitby Sands Beach. You can access it from different points along Cleveland Way, North Terrace, and North Promenade.

Parking is available at West Cliff and Pavilion Top car parks. Families flock to this beach during summer days to relax and enjoy the sun. You can rent colourful beach huts, deckchairs, and windbreaks near the slipway at West Pier.

Whitby Pavilion.

Be entertained at Whitby Pavilion

If you’re looking for entertainment in Whitby, the Whitby Pavilion is excellent. With a variety of performances all year round, there’s something for everyone. Including the Annual Folk Weekend to the 60’s Music Festival

Additionally, the Pavilion offers cinema showings of the latest films, and a range of theatre shows, including children’s shows. Book your tickets online or visit the Pavilion Box Office. While you’re there, check out the Pavilion Café.

Arnold Palmer Putting Course.

Play mini golf or footgolf

The Arnold Palmer Putting Course is fun; this nine-hole course is open from February to October. With various obstacles, including a Windmill, Watermill, and Lighthouse, all with moving parts, it’s an excellent activity for people of all ages and abilities.

Plus, you could win a free game if you’re lucky! To test your skills even further, Whitby Pitch and Putt Golf Course and Footgolf is home to an 18-hole Pitch and Putt course, an 18-hole Putting green and a new 9-hole Footgolf course.

Screaming Tunnel West Cliff Whitby.

Visit the Screaming Tunnel aka ‘Dracula’s Tunnel’

As you take a leisurely walk along the West Cliff towards Khyber Pass, you’ll catch sight of a small tunnel that frames Whitby Abbey in the distance. To reach the tunnel, walking up Khyber Pass from the Fisherman’s Wife restaurant is best. As you walk, the tunnel will come into view on your left, about midway up the road. For those brave enough to venture down, there’s a fantastic photo opportunity waiting at the end of the tunnel!

Learn more about the tunnel and the stories that surround it here.


Whitby’s West Cliff is such a beautiful part of Whitby that offers activities and attractions for visitors of all ages. If you are fancy exploring the beach, taking in the stunning views, or want to learn about the area’s fascinating history and culture it’s a special part of the town to visit.

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