Historic maritime Whitby with stunning Whitby Abbey ruins high up on a ridge overlooking the coast (still used as a navigation marker by shipping) is the perfect coastal holiday destination. Captain Cook trained here, and Bram Stoker was inspired by the church yard and abbey in Whitby to write 'Dracula'. Whitby jet stone, the town's iconic deep black stone popular with the Victorians, is on sale in many unique craft shops and the Victorian bay offers fantastic sandy seaside fun for the kids including boat trips from Whitby's historic harbour.
The River Esk cuts through Whitby and a swing bridge connects the two West and East sides of the town. To the East you've some of the best arts, crafts and specialist shopping in Yorkshire alongside fine tea rooms, atmospheric inns and the Cook Museum. To reach the abbey the only way up is via the 199 steps (Caedmon's Trod).
To the West sit Theatres, cinemas, Whitby Sands beach and high on the cliff the Captain Cook Monument and distinctive Whitby whale bones. Whitby offers a superb choice of accommodation from hotels to B&Bs, particularly around the West Cliff area.
The town appeals on many levels, including fun family beach holiday to arts and crafts shopping mecca to exploring Whitby's maritime heritage at the Cook Museum and around the old harbour to touring the historic Whitby Abbey ruins and visitor centre high on East Cliff which date from 1220.
Whitby Tourist Information, Langborne Road, Whitby YO21 1YN. Tel. 01723 383636.
The Dracula Experience weblink right guides you through Whitby's links with specifically Bram Stoker. The author stayed in Whitby on West Cliff and dug into the history of the town, spawning eventually his novel Dracula. Certain historic sites such as St Mary's Church and the abbey feature in the novel. Kids will love the quirky Whitby Dracula Experience attraction down on Marine Parade which has its fair share of Dracula themed exhibits with special effects and live actors!
Why not join Harry Collett - the Man in Black for a ghost tour (usually lasting about 75 minutes) around Whitby, starting at the Whale Bone Arch on West Cliff usually at 8pm. (see the Whitby Walks and Ghost Tours webguide right for details). St Mary's Church and churchyard, is up on the hill near Whitby Abbey and is featured in the novel Bram Stoker's Dracula.
Bram Stoker's Dracula Experience, 9 Marine Parade, Whitby. Tel. 01947 601923.
You'll take in St Mary's and other sites in Whitby pertaining to Dracula and the Bram Stoker trail. The famous 'Man in Black' also offers heritage town tours and Dracula specific tours around Whitby. See the Walks and Tours webguide right for details.
Whitby Walks and Ghost Tours, Harry Collett, Half Acre, 22 Rosemount Road, Whitby, North Yorkshire YO21 1LB. Tel. 01947 821734.
The lustre black beauty of Whitby Jet is unmistakable. The stone is the fossilised remains of a tree dated in the Jurassic period and can only be found along a stretch of the Whitby coastline - making it distinctive to this area.
You can purchase beautiful Whitby Jet crafted jewellery from numerous jewellery and craft shops in the town. The Victorian Jet Works, 123b Church Street, Whitby, YO22 4DE. Checkout also Abbey Jet on Rosedale Close, Whitby and Simpson's Jet Jewellery of Whitby. See a selection of Whitby Jet jewellers' weblinks right. Most Whitby Jet jewellers are located around the arts and crafts shopping area in Whitby based around Church Street on the East side of the town. The narrow cobbled streets in this area are a specialist shopper's paradise, akin to the shopping experience on York's Shambles.
Browse weblinks right for some of Whitby's many fine bookshops, jewellers, glass studios, tearooms and restaurants.
A number of award winning restaurants sit with Whitby town centre, many of which serve up fresh seafood caught locally. Whitby is also renowned for its best fish and chips which don't come much better than here in Whitby! Checkout Mister Chips on Church Street and the Quayside Restaurant on Pier Road (webguides right).
Situated high on the cliff east of Whitby town centre, the ruins of Whitby Abbey are the town's iconic emblem. Although the first Abbey recorded here was in 657 AD, which originally contained the shrine of St Hilda, the founder of the Abbey and Northumbrian royal who died in 680 AD, the ruins you see today date from around 1220 AD. Whitby Abbey is particularly renowned for its links with the first of the Saxon poets - Caedmon who lived and worked here. Find out more in the abbey's visitor centre.
Whitby Abbey saw less destruction than others during Henry VIII's dissolution, although the structure was later plundered by the Cholmley family who built a mansion adjacent to the abbey. This mansion now serves as visitor centre. The site is an archaeological feast, and evidence has recently been found hinting at a large settlement up here as well as the abbey being the site for Northumbrian royal burials. The visitor centre pays due attention to the multi-layering of this site which has revealed not only Anglo-Saxon treasures but also a more recent 17th century 'hard garden' built by Cholmley which has now been restored.
It's a hard climb up the famous 199 steps to the Abbey but well worth the effort to view one of England's most striking abbey ruins on an equally striking cliff top location. The views up here are breath-taking. The steps is the only way up from Whitby Harbour, but you can also access the Abbey via signposts off the Whitby to Robin Hood's Bay road. Destroyed by Vikings, revived by knights under William the Conqueror - Whitby Abbey has consistently changed hands and all have left their mark. Visit the on-site visitor centre for a comprehensive history. Always a concern is the erosion of the coastal cliffs in the area and that the site is shifting closer to the sea!
Whitby Abbey, Whitby North Yorkshire YO22 4JT. Tel. 01947 603568.