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Whitby, a traditionally beautiful British coastal town, is situated along the East coast of England in the heart of the stunning North Yorkshire Moors. With quaint cobbled streets, a good number of pubs, bars and restaurants, and opportunities aplenty to blow the cobwebs off with picturesque walks, Whitby is the perfect place to spend a weekend exploring.
Where to Stay
As an immensely popular tourist destination, there are no shortage of places to stay in Whitby. To be in the centre of the action, Discovery Accommodation offer a number of locations throughout the town, with my personal favourite being Starfish House. Located on Silver Street, the accommodation offers 6 beautiful, spacious, and modern apartments as a perfect base for exploring the town. You can also stay in two of my favourite pubs in the whole of Whitby; The Black Horse Inn and The Duke of York, both located on the popular cobbled Church Street.
If you are staying a little longer or want to escape the hustle of the town, the neighbouring villages of Egton and Aislaby offer a tranquil change from the busy centre. Aislaby Lodge Cottages are perfectly placed for the silence of the countryside with spectacular views, as well as Cooper’s Cottage, located just down a quiet winding road where you are as likely to see deer, rabbit and pheasants as you are other people. If you do choose Cooper’s Barn, be sure to say hello to the friendly farmhouse cat ‘Boo’ from us!
Arrive on the Friday evening if possible and enjoy a wander along the bustling harbour and across the swing bridge. Head to the modern and spacious Abbey Wharf bar and restaurant located at Market Place at the end of the quaintly cobbled Sandgate for great food, a wide selection of beers, and one of the best outdoor terraces available, with gorgeous views across the harbour. With a wide range of beers from across the world, make the most of a flight of three ⅓ pints of beer to find your favourite, or test some of the worldwide spirits on offer (the selection of rum, in particular, can keep you busy for while). Go for the signature fish and chips for tea, or if not the local steak is another good option.
Head back to your accommodation to get some rest before a busy Saturday!
Market Place, Whitby YO22 4DD
Wake up early for a quiet walk through the town, catching the fishing boats bringing their local catch into the fish market. Wander along the harbour and make your way to the bandstand and along the blustery West Pier. Make the most of the windswept photo opportunities and enjoy the morning light along the coastline before heading back to the town.
For breakfast, head to the Moon & Sixpence. Overlooking the harbour and one of the most popular streets in Whitby, it’s the perfect place to relax and watch as the town gets busier. To fuel yourself for the day ahead, the full English is the perfect option, or go for the Whitby Smoked Kippers for a more local flavour, paired with a coffee or tea. Scout out the cocktail list as you will certainly be returning later one evening!
The Moon & Sixpence
Marine Parade, Whitby YO21 3PR
After breakfast, it’s time to get your walking shoes on and explore more of this quintessentially English town. Your first stop is to head back across the swing bridge and down the cobbled Church Street, before heading up the famous 199 steps. Stop at the top to capture one of Whitby’s most photographed scenes; looking down the steps and out to sea across the two piers.
At the top of the 199 steps you’ll find Whitby’s most famous landmark, Whitby Abbey. This Grade I listed building, found in Bram Stoker’s infamous Dracula novel, dates back to 657 AD and was founded by King Oswy of Northumbria. Time, weather, and war have all affected Whitby Abbey, but it still stands proud above the town, and is one of the landmarks you must visit during your trip.
After spending time at the Abbey, it’s time to hit the shops in the town. With everything from homeware, local crafts, high-end clothing, charity shops and more, there’s plenty to keep you occupied. Personal favourites include Spiders for quality clothing and high-end labels; Abbey Wharf Market for records, musical instruments, sweets and knick-knacks; Justin’s for the absolute finest sweets and confectionary; Whitby Glass for your customary Whitby lucky duck; and The Whitby Bookshop to stock up on your reading material.
Ready for lunch? Of course you are! And there’s no place better than the tranquil and traditional Rusty Shears. Located on Silver Street, the little tea-room has become an increasingly popular place, boasting a beautiful courtyard, extensive gin bar, and fantastic food. It’s the perfect place to unwind, take stock, and enjoy some quiet time in the bustling town.
3 Silver Street, Whitby, YO21 3BU
After lunch, it’s time for a trip to sea on Whitby’s Old Lifeboat. Since 1989, the 80-year-old boat has been offering trips for visitors and residents alike along the River Esk. For £3 per person, the 30-minute trip takes you out to sea, letting those on board see Whitby from a different angle.
Make your way back down Church Street and out onto Tate Hill Sands, famously known as the beach where Dracula’s ship landed in Stoker’s novel. Inspired by a real shipwreck of the boat Dimitry of Narva in 1885, nods to the famous book can be found all over the town, from the Dracula Experience to extensive copies sold in every bookshop, to the annual Whitby Goth Weekend. Spend time on the old pier, wander up to Fortune’s Kippers, or stroll down the East Pier to pass the time.
Before heading home to get ready for the evening, make sure you stop in The Black Horse Inn. Located on Church Street, the 16th Century Inn is understood to be one of the oldest public serving bars in Europe. As a Cask Marque accredited CAMRA pub, The Black Horse is the perfect place to enjoy a real ale, although you can also warm up with a perfect coffee and chaser. For the peckish, there’s a range of tapas to try, or the traditional Yorkshire cheeseboard can certainly fill a hole. When in Rome and all..
After freshening up it’s time to hit the Moon and Sixpence’s famous cocktails. The gin bramble is a very popular choice, and the Jamaican Mule is a personal favourite! You can easily pass away a couple of hours in here, or hit up a couple of other various pubs and bars located along the seafront.
For dinner, take your pick of the many many fish and chips shops that call Whitby home. For the ultimate tourist experience queue for Whitby’s most famous chippy The Magpie Cafe along the harbour, but heading to any of the other should give you the authentic experience that Whitby is famous for. Ask any local and they will give you their own favourite, but ours have to be Silver Street Fisheries, Quayside, or Trencher’s.
On Sunday morning it’s worth getting up early and taking breakfast on the go, before heading up to the West Cliff to admire and appreciate the whale bone arch, a sight that has stood proud above the town since the mid-19th Century. On the West Cliff it’s also worth stopping for a quick game of Crazy Golf at the Arnold Palmer Mini Golf Course, a family favourite for competitive mornings!
Whitby Crazy Golf
North Promenade, Whitby, YO213JX
It’s time to blow off the cobwebs with a walk to the neighbouring Sandsend. At just a couple of miles down the beach, you can spend an hour meandering along the beach if the tide is out, or take in the spectacular views out to see along the clifftop route.
After a wander around the beautiful Sandsend, grab a nice lunch at the seafront Sandsend Cafe, a filming location of the local favourite Heartbeat. In summer, the outdoor seating is an amazing place to enjoy the views across the bustling beach, but tables tend to get snapped up quickly! In the colder months, sitting inside with a fully-loaded hot chocolate and sandwich is the perfect way to enjoy an afternoon. After lunch you can choose to either walk back to Whitby, or catch the bus back to spend more time exploring the town.
E Row Bridge, Whitby YO21 3SU
If you can make it back to Whitby by 3pm, the Whitby Brewery tour is the perfect place to spend an hour for beer lovers. For just £10, the 45-minute tour gives you an insight into the intricacies of the brewing process and the history of the brewery. At the end of the tour you can enjoy three ⅓ pint tasters of the beer, all included in the ticket price! Following this, there’s one more pub to try; The Duke of York. Overlooking Tate Hill Sands, the historic pub focusses on good beer, wholesome food, and a great atmosphere.
After freshening up, the rest of the night is yours! Whether it’s another chippy tea, pub grub, or fine meal, it’s up to you to explore the town and enjoy your final night. For something special, book the White Horse & Griffin for stunning food, with a focus on the very best of local fresh fish and ingredients. Another nice option is Ditto, an intimate and family-run restaurant. Make sure you book though, as it only accommodates 18 covers at a time!
Hopefully you have enjoyed your 48 hours in Whitby! It is a place that truly holds my heart and is the home of so many family memories. Exploding in popularity, many tourists are coming from near and afar to experience that quintessentially English seaside town. Make sure you respect the local people and businesses that work tirelessly to keep this town as amazing as it is.
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