Gushing with Gothic romance, maritime history and exceptional landscapes, this coastal location leaves you in no doubt that there’s a wealth of things to do in Whitby. From the rugged ruins of Whitby Abbey that inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula, to the Captain Cook Museum which was once the famous captain’s own home – it’s no surprise Whitby is one of the most popular coastal towns in England.
The bustling cobbled streets of Whitby town are lined with cafes, restaurants, gift shops, and of course, a choice of jewellers specialising in Whitby Jet.
The Best Things to Do in Whitby
The Yorkshire coast boasts breathtaking landscapes and coastal vistas of rugged cliffs, inviting waters, and an assortment of golden and pebbled beaches. Whitby town is a renowned seaport with fishing villages such as Staithes and Robin Hood’s Bay just a mere stone’s throw from the area. And if you head out to sea from Whitby Bay on a whale watching tour you may be fortunate enough to spy these magnificent creatures as they leap through the waves.
Popular Whitby Attractions
North Yorkshire Moors Railway
Hop on board the heritage train to experience the North Yorks Moors National Park in all its glory. Special events are regularly held here, from steam galas to Santa Specials. You can even book yourself a Pullman Dining Experience for a spot of afternoon tea, or a lavish 3-course meal.
The majestic monastic ruins of Whitby Abbey are said to have piqued the interest of none-other-than the author, Bram Stoker whilst he was staying nearby. Perched on a clifftop and casting its shadow over spectacular views, the 7th century Abbey is said to have inspired Stoker’s most famous book, Dracula. Even the 199 steps leading up to the Abbey hold a tale, and it’s believed that Christians would clamber up the numerous steps as a sign of their devotion to their faith. Views from the Abbey over Whitby Harbour and the town are among some of the most spectacular along the North Yorkshire Coast.
Considered the true heart of Whitby, the harbour is a bustling hive of activity during the holiday season. The harbour is the perfect place to watch the sun rise and set over the sea in summer and an evening stroll on the pier is the ideal way to take in the sea views. Musicians and entertainers occupy the bandstand at Scotch Head in summer and the Lifeboat Museum across the way reveals the tales of heroic rescues at sea throughout the years.
Whitby Swing Bridge
You may think a swing bridge is an odd thing to put on a list of must-see attractions in Whitby. However, this historic bridge certainly draws in the crowds. A bridge has been positioned here since the 1300’s and over the centuries, the original wooden bridge was replaced by a stone bridge, and then in the early 20th century, Whitby Swing Bridge was built. It really is a sight to see when the bridge opens to allow larger vessels to pass under its fascinating structure.
Whitby has a great selection of beaches from rock-strewn inlets to sandy beaches, perfect for a paddle. Just a short drive from Whitby, Robin Hood’s Bay promises exceptional views and is well worth a visit, while Runswick Bay is where to head for watersports and rock pooling. Many of the beaches are dog-friendly, including Upgang Whitby Beach, which is also one of the quieter beaches, and Saltwick Bay. Sandsend Beach is a popular spot for families and during high season you’ll be comforted by the presence of lifeguards. If you’re visiting with your dog, be aware of restrictions in place from May to September.
Best places to Stay in Whitby
Find the best places to stay in Whitby with self-catering cottages, holiday homes and stylish apartments.