When you think of fish and chips, Captain Cook, Dracula and the North Yorkshire Moors Railway which is the first town that springs to mind?! Whitby of course!
After visiting Scarborough last year I felt that there was so much more to explore along the North Yorkshire coast. So almost a year on from that trip, I decided to venture the 160 miles to the seaside town of Whitby.
Whitby is situated on the East coast of Yorkshire at the mouth of the River Esk, 19 miles North of Scarborough and 47 miles North East of York. The town is divided into two parts with the East side being the older of the two sections and the location of the famous Abbey. The development of the fishing port began in the Middle Ages which helped support herring and whaling fleets and was also where Captain Cook learned seamanship.
Before visiting Whitby I decided to take a trip to the picturesque coastal village of Staithes, just a short 10 minute drive away. Staithes is more than just your average fishing village and I would definitely recommend a visit!
By the time I had arrived in Whitby it was lunchtime… what a great opportunity this would be to treat myself to fish and chips! After parking up by the harbour I began to make my way up towards Church street where I would stop in Monks Haven for a small portion of fish and chips. The meal was delicious and even though it was labelled as a small portion, I couldn’t actually eat it all! You certainly get your money’s worth! It has to be said that you are spoilt for choice for places to eat in Whitby! Not only are there cafe’s, restaurants and fish and chip shops but also chain restaurants such as McDonalds and Subway.
The cobbled streets and houses of Church street date back to as early as the 15th century. Around this time smuggling was rife so the numerous alleyways and yards provided good escape routes for the smugglers.
As you come towards the end of Church Street, you are faced with 199 steps (quite literally!). As you can imagine, the steps lead up to the Church which overlook the whole of Whitby. Walking up the steps isn’t as grueling as it may seem, however I found that walking back down them proved to be a much harder task as I kept losing my balance (luckily I didn’t fall over though!). After making my way up to the final step, I turned around and took in the breathtaking view that lay in front of me. The view from the Church is easily the best view of the town!
The Church of St Mary was founded in 1110 and was granted a Grade I listed building status in 1954. It overlooks the mouth of the River Esk and is situated at the top of a cliff which means that it is at risk from rapid rates of erosion. Two landslides have occurred
since 2012 which has placed the churchyard and houses below the cliff in great danger. During these landslides, human remains have fallen onto the streets below and pathways by the Church have been closed. The graveyard at the Church was also used as the setting for a scene in Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
A trip to Whitby wouldn’t be complete without visiting the famous Abbey! The Abbey dates back to around 657 AD and became one of the most important religious sites in the Anglo-Saxon world. The headland now contains the shell of the 13th century Church of the Abbey which was founded after the Norman conquest. The Abbey and its possessions were confiscated by Henry VIII following the dissolution of the monasteries between 1536 and 1545 and was later bought by Richard Cholmley who adapted part of the abbot’s lodgings into a house. The Abbey is currently owned by English Heritage with standard admission price standing at £8.90. The site also contains a Museum which is like a walk through history and details the events that have occurred at the Abbey throughout time and also what it was like to work and live at the Abbey.
The two hours that I had paid for parking was nearing an end which meant that my time in Whitby had come to a close. This beautiful coastal town is steeped in history and is an absolute delight to visit. Whether you come for a day trip or a weekend, I’m sure you’ll
be planning your next trip to Whitby very soon!
My time on the North Yorkshire coast didn’t stop there though… Robin Hood’s Bay was next on the agenda!
Thanks for reading,