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Your guide to Whitby
All About Whitby
Whitby is a seaside town in North Yorkshire, England, with a stunning coastline, a picturesque port, and historic ruins set atop a high cliff above the town. Its sprawling beach has soft sands perfect for castle-building, and a row of amusement arcades are just nearby.
Whitby Abbey is considered one of Britain’s most spectacular ruins, and you can walk amid the Gothic stonework while enjoying views over the coast. The abbey was the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s “Dracula,” which has spawned a goth festival that attracts fans from far and wide.
The coastline here has been dubbed Yorkshire’s “Dinosaur Coast,” and near the cliff face you can often find interesting fossils or chunks of Whitby jet, a distinctive black gemstone made from fossilized wood. The cobbled streets in Whitby are dotted with jewelry stores that sell pieces made from the jet. You’ll also find gift and antique stores, traditional pubs and teahouses, and a host of fish and chip shops. Most of the fish in the fryers comes from local fishing boats, which is why Whitby is known for having some of the best fish and chips in the country.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Whitby
Spring and early fall are the most pleasant times to visit Whitby, when mild days make the prospect of spending time outdoors most appealing. It’s also when Whitby’s biggest events take place. In May, the Whitby Fish and Ships Festival celebrates the town’s love of fish and chips along with its long seafaring history. In late October, the goth music festival takes over the city with concerts and fashion parades.
June through August are the warmest months along the Yorkshire Coast, when you can expect sunny days for enjoying a walk along the water. The weather can be changeable in this part of the country, though, so it’s always a good idea to pack a jacket with your sun protection. In winter, you can expect cold temperatures, rain, and even a chance of snow, so make sure you arrive prepared.
Top things to do in Whitby
199 Steps to St. Mary's Church
Climb the famous 199 steps that lead up to St. Mary's Churchyard. Originally built in 1340 from wood, the steps were replaced in 1774 with local stone. As you ascend, look out over Whitby for amazing views of the town and the coastline. Tradition says that you must count the steps as you go. When you reach the churchyard, walk through the eerie 18th-century cemetery and keep a lookout for pirates’ tombstones.
Once you’ve toured the churchyard, take the short walk over to the remains of the gothic abbey. You can wander freely through the crumbling structure and get a sense for what the building would have looked like in the 13th century. The views from here are breathtaking, and you’ll gain interesting glimpses through the abbey’s windows. The site plays host to many events throughout the year, including an illuminated abbey spectacle that happens around Halloween.
Whitby to Robin Hood’s Bay walk
Enjoy breathtaking views all along this popular seven-mile walk. First, you’ll head up the 199 steps. Then the walk hugs the cliff tops, taking you past two lighthouses before reaching the pretty village of Robin Hood’s Bay. Most famous for being part of the smuggling trade, the village’s pubs, cafes, and gift shops are enjoyable to explore. If you don’t fancy walking back, there’s a bus to Whitby, which takes 20 minutes.