Whitby is a charming North Yorkshire seaside town, situated around the mouth of the River Esk on the North Sea coast of England. Steeped in history, the town is an ideal holiday destination for cosy weekend breaks, family holidays, or as a base to explore the nearby North York Moors. The town is a working fishing port and there are reminders all around of its historical and literary connections. Sheltered from the west by the moors, Whitby generally enjoys warm summers and mild winters.
The harbour is sheltered by two piers, where Captain Cook set out on his voyages of discovery, and is overlooked by the churchyard that provided the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The imposing Whalebone Arch dominates the West Cliff as a reminder of the town’s former whaling industry. Whitby has over two miles of golden sands, divided between the larger West Beach with its colourful lines of Beach Huts, and the smaller, dog friendly, Tate Hill Beach. Steep narrow cobbled streets, wind their way up from the pretty fishing cottages around the harbour. A climb of 199 steps leads to the Abbey ruins at the top of East Cliff, or for an easier way to see the stunning view, there is always the famous West Cliff lift.
As well as enjoying the traditional delights of donkey rides and sand castles on the beach, there are plenty of activities to keep the kids amused, whatever the weather. Encourage them to find out about the local area and landmarks by following the Whitby Vampire Curse Treasure Trail, or explore the gothic splendour of the Whitby Abbey ruins. Whitby’s coastal location provides plenty of opportunities for watersports including sailing, surfing and diving.
The Whitby Regatta, in August, is the oldest sea regatta on the northeast coast and takes over the town with competitions, exhibitions and street entertainment, culminating in a spectacular firework display on the waterfront. To explore further afield, the North Yorks Moor Railway runs steam trains from Whitby through the glorious countryside, passing through Goathland Station, better known to many as Hogsmeade in the Harry Potter films. Whitby is a great base for hiking along the cliffs to the romantic Robin Hoods Bay, or to explore the nearby market towns of Helmsley and Pickering.
When it comes to hearty, traditional, quality dining, Whitby certainly does not disappoint. Many of the pubs and restaurants are situated in quaint and quirky Georgian and Victorian buildings with fantastic views of the town and harbour. Fresh fish is central to most menus, and Whitby claims to have some of the best Fish and Chips in the country including the family run Humble Pie and Mash Shop and the award winning Magpie Cafe. For a cosy treat, try afternoon tea with freshly baked scones and bakes at Botham’s, or the Harbourside Tea Room.
Whitby welcomes visitors all year round and offers accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets. Choose from comfortable Guest Houses, convenient bed and breakfast, or cosy self catering holiday cottages. For something a little bit different, North Shire holiday retreat is only 15 minutes drive from Whitby and offers a range of unusual accommodations including a grass roofed hobbit house, gypsy caravans and even a story book themed cottage.
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