Whitby is a wonderful place to be, summer or winter. It is located at the end of the Esk Valley where the river meets the sea, travelling gently through a traditional fishing harbour along its way. The town is overlooked by the ruins of Whitby Abbey and the church of St Mary’s along with its wonderfully atmospheric churchyard. The Abbey itself adds more than enough atmosphere, lending a distinctive outline to the view across the cliff tops. Travelling down a steep slope of 199 steps, which adults and children alike will want to count as they climb to the top, gets you into the winding streets of the old town. Across the years some of the graves in the churchyard have weathered away, the bones falling down the cliff face and into the sea, perhaps the remains of sailors that once fished the waters here returning to the waves once more.
A Gothic Romance
Bram Stoker fell in love with the town of Whitby and this is the place where he chose for his most famous literary character, Count Dracula, to come aground during a raging storm. His ship wrecked within sight of the Gothic Abbey, one moment in one book that has linked Whitby to all things Gothic ever since. Whitby is a place for those with a love of the macabre and all things Gothic, from the beautiful Whitby Jet mourning jewellery which is sold in small shops nestled within the town’s narrow and winding streets to the more modern retailers selling fabulous Gothic Fashions and jewellery. Don’t be surprised to visit here and find ladies and gents walking the streets in seemingly Victorian attire, such is the atmosphere of the place.
An Ancient Town
Whitby is at its heart an ancient harbour town, with a long established fishing industry. The overall look of the town has changed little over the last century or so. The beaches are perfect for families enjoying the sun during the summer months and you will find that there are many traditional seaside activities to enjoy such as donkey rides on the sand and fairground rides. One of the things that Whitby has become famous for is the quality of its fish and chips. With fresh fish landed in the harbour daily the restaurants here have the pick of the catch.
Old & New
Whitby is a town of two halves, with the River Esk slicing neatly through the middle. An old swing bridge connects the two side of the town. On the old side are the Abbey and the churchyard, the streets are cobbled and narrow. This is the east side of the town, which attracts those looking to explore the small old shops and purveyors of jet, fossils and unique pieces of art. Across the river on the western side you will find many of the high street shops that grace all towns in the UK, as well as some unique local retailers. The streets are still cobbled in parts, though a little wider than they are across the river.