Getting there is well worth it. The town is centred around its charmingly picturesque harbour where the River Esk meets the North Sea. On the East Cliff are the magnificent ruins of Whitby Abbey and the historic Norman Church of St Mary the Virgin, reached by a flight of 199 steps. At the opposite side of the harbour at the top of the Khyber Pass on the West Cliff is a whalebone arch landmark commemorating the town's whaling history and a statue of ocean explorer Captain James Cook, who served his apprenticeship in Whitby.
Although the whaling industry eventually ended, Whitby's history as a traditional fishing port continued and still does, albeit to a lesser extent today. But the harbour is busy with an amazing selection of sea trip boats ranging from coastal cruises to trips in a miniature replica of Captain Cook's HMS Endeavour or one of the town's old lifeboats. There are also longer whale-watching excursions and sea fishing trips. The port has plenty of sea fishing charter boats available.
Whitby has become famous for some its places in literary history. Whitby Abbey is where Caedmon awoke to poetry. The 7th century poet, in what was then part of the Kingdom of Northumbria, was the earliest named poet on record in England. More recently, Whitby was an inspiration of the 1897 Gothic horror novel Dracula by Bram Stoker. It has led to Whitby hosting an annual Goth Weekend (November 4-6, 2016), an event which has grown since 1994 to become one of the foremost events in the calendars of those who celebrate all things Gothic.
The town has plenty of places to stay, including hotels, but more noticably a large number of high-quality guest houses to choose from.
The main post office in Whitby is at Bridge Street. There are also branches at the Co-op at Endeavour Wharf and at The Parade, in Upgang Lane.
Whitby has bank and building society branches.
Whitby has a number of pharmacies.
A good selection of pubs centred around the harbour keep the area lively well into the evening. Some have expanded to cater for the tourist trade with a few offering live music at weekends without intruding too heavily into the peaceful harbour setting. There are also plenty of quieter and less bustling pubs in villages around the Whitby area.
Whitby has some of Britain's finest fish and chip and seafood restaurants, but within its quaint streets can also be found cafes, restaurants and pubs catering for many different tastes.
Whitby has a good range of guest house accommodation, a few hotels and self-catering cottages.
There are a number of public toilets around Whitby which are run by Whitby Town Council which varies opening times depending on the season and requires school parties to fill in a form and pay a £10 fee in advance if they need to use the loo. Find the form via this Whitby Town Council
Whitby has Anglican, Catholic, Methodist, Baptist and United Reformed places of worship.
Among the churches in Whitby, the Norman Church of St Mary the Virgin on the East Cliff stands most prominently in the local landscape in front of the ruins of its historic abbey, about which there are more details below.
Situated on the town's West Cliff overlooking the beach, Whitby Pavilion is a multi-purpose entertainment venue with music, comedy and drama, dances, cinema, cafe and an exhibition, conference and banqueting hall.
Whitby TownThe Seasiders play at The Turnbull Ground, Upgang Lane.
Whitby Town official website.
Whitby Rugby ClubWhitby Rugby Club play Rugby Union at White Leys Road.
Whitby Rugby Club official website.
Whitby Cricket ClubWhitby Cricket Club play at Upgang Lane.
Whitby Cricket Club official website.
Captain Cook Memorial MuseumGrape Lane,
A fascinating and detailed insight into the great voyages and life of Captain James Cook and his crews as he navigated coastlines and charted much new territory, including circumnavigating New Zealand and building upon the work of other sea explorations and Dutch explorers who had sailed to Australia before him. Excellently presented information about the explorer is contained in the museum in a 17th century house where Cook lodged as an apprentice and trained as a seaman. The museum is open from February to November with opening by appointment in the winter.
More details at the
Whitby MuseumPannett Park
Whitby Museum is in Pannett Park, a short walk from the harbour and station and the West Cliff area. It tells many aspects of the town's history with whaling, natural history and jet jewellery among several featured collections. The museum is run by the Whitby Literary and Philosophic Society, founded in 1823. Admission to Whitby residents is free but there is an admission charge for visitors. The museum adjoins the municipal art gallery, which is free to enter for all and features a fascinating collection of historic paintings of Whitby and other subjects.
More information at the
Whitby Lifeboat MuseumPier Road
An exhibition celebrating the lives saved by volunteer crews from Whitby since 1802 is in a boathouse used by the RNLI from 1895 to 1957 which still houses one its historic lifeboats. Stories are documented of tragic wrecks and amazing rescues which have led to no less than 36 RNLI gallantry medals being awarded to Whitby crews over the years. Admission is free, but the RNLI is a charity which depends on public donations to help save lives at sea.
Find out more at the
Places to visit
More information at the
Heritage coastWhitby is at the centre of 36 miles of coastline which make up the North Yorkshire and Cleveland Heritage Coast. This is Yorkshire's Jurassic Coast, where ammonites can easily be found and occasionally bones from marine reptiles and dinosaurs have been discovered. For more see our
North York Moors National ParkStarting just outside Whitby is the beautiful scenery of the North York Moors National Park, which covers 554 square miles (1,435 square kilometres). Within its area are moorland and coast, historic stateley homes, remains of castles and abbeys and attractive villages including, not far from Whitby,
Whitby is a terminus station with two platforms. Northern trains operate along the Esk Valley line towards
Some journeys on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway between
Station managed by Northern. Operators: Northern and the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.
An open top Town Tour bus also runs around Whitby from the harbour-side bandstand to the West Cliff, Pannett Park and Whitby Abbey.
Road travelReaching Whitby usually means travelling by one of the main roads across the North York Moors National Park. From the north the most direct route from
Whitby is a town for exploring on foot having first found somewhere to park. There are busy car parks near to the station and some controlled on-street parking, principally around the West Cliff area. There is also a car park near Whitby Abbey. A late-March to late-October park and ride scheme operating from the
Emergency servicesNorth Yorkshire Police
North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service
Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust
Civil parish councilWhitby Town Council
Whitby Town Council provides public representation and a limited range of services in the town and elects a Town Mayor and deputy each year. It holds its meetings at the Pannett Art Gallery (pictured).
District authorityScarborough Borough Council
Scarborough Borough Council covers a large district extending for around 40 miles along the coast to the north and south of
A large proportion of the district is within the North York Moors National Park.
Elections are held every four years.
A revision of wards on the council from May 2019 means the number of wards of Scarborough Borough Council is reduced from 25 to 20 and the number of councillors elected is reduced from 50 to 46. Each ward has one, two or three councillors.
More places in
Scarborough Borough Council website.
The political composition after the 2019 election was:
County authorityNorth Yorkshire County Council
Includes the Scarborough borough and six other non-unitary districts of North Yorkshire.
Police and Crime CommissionerPolice, Fire and Crime Commissioner North Yorkshire
Covers the county of
Fire AuthorityThe North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service was previously governed by the North Yorkshire Combined Fire Authority made up of elected members from across the broad areas of North Yorkshire and City of York councils which it serves. Following a ministerial announcement in June 2018 the governance of the fire service was transferred to the Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire from 15 November 2018.
Further information at the
National government regionYorkshire and the Humber
Ceremonial countyNorth Yorkshire
Historic1894-1974 Whitby Urban District and Whitby Rural District (for areas around Whitby) within North Riding of Yorkshire.
1974-present Part of the enlarged Scarborough district authority within county of North Yorkshire.