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  • Krista the Explorer

A Day Out in Whitby, England

Updated: Feb 7, 2022

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I've not explored England's east coast as much as I would have liked, so I did a bit of research and took some recommendations into account, and decided Whitby looked like a good place to start. I looked at some photos online before going, but nothing prepared me for how beautiful this North Yorkshire seaside town really was. For our day out in Whitby we parking on the West Cliff, where we had a good vantage point over the bay as we made our way through the town towards the abbey. There is always a lot going on in Whitby, so you can easily find something that everyone will enjoy. My favourite facts? Of course it would have to be that it was the inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula and that they host a Goth Weekend every year.

There are a number of fantastic historical attractions in Whitby to visit, and this North Yorkshire seaside town more than lives up to its reputation for being one of the most beautiful towns in the whole of England. Here's what I got up to during my day out in Whitby:

Things To Do in Whitby

View of Whitby from West Cliff in England
West Cliff

Whitby town centre is not the easiest to drive through, or find parking in. We decided to park on the West Cliff and take a stroll into the centre from there. It's only about a 15 minute walk, and the views of the town and the abbey are incredible.

Captain Cook statue standing at the top of a hill in Whitby England
Captain Cook statue

The first Whitby attraction we came across was the Captain Cook statue which stands atop the West Cliff, overlooking Whitby Bay. This bronze statue was built to commemorate the men who sailed with him as well as the men who built the Whitby Ships.

Whalebone Arch facing the coast of Whitby England
Whalebone Arch

One of the best free things to do in Whitby during a day out is to walk through the Whalebone Arch. The 20-foot jaw bones were erected in the mid-nineteenth century to recognize the importance of the whaling industry in Whitby. It sits right next to the Captain Cook statue so is easy to locate if you're on the West Cliff.

Whitby east pier reaching into the sea in England
East Pier

The East Pier stretches out into the sea, and is lovely to walk along on a sunny day. To the right you can see the abbey perched high on the cliff, and to the left you'll be able to look out over the beach, which is a popular spot in the summer.

Boat tour full of people in Whitby, England
Boat tour

There are plenty of boat tours you can go on as well, which take you around the Bay of Whitby. There's also a replica of Captain Cook's ship that you can travel on. Unfortunately I didn't have time to go on a boat tour, but it's considered one of the best things to do in Whitby.

Cute sweet shop along the seafront in Whitby, England
Sweet shop

Buying a stick of Whitby rock is an absolute must. The entire town is filled with independent sweet shops for you to sink your teeth into, and many of them also serve a wide variety of ice creams too.

View of Whitby Abbey while holding gothic charcoal ice cream in England
Charcoal ice cream

Did someone say ice cream? Just near the East Pier there was a stall selling "gothic" ice cream. I had no idea what the flavour would be, but it turns out it tastes like vanilla, and the black colour comes from charcoal extract. In my opinion, no day out in Whitby is complete unless you try one of these.

Union Jack flag flying above a shop in the streets of Whitby England
Streets of Whitby

The old cobbled streets leading up to the abbey are gorgeous and full of quaint little shops and pubs. Most of the pubs are packed with people though, so if you can find a spot in one of them you should take it quickly.

Whitby Abbey graveyard at the top of the 199 steps in England
Top of the 199 steps

How do you get to the abbey? Well first you need to trudge up the famous 199 steps to the top of the cliff, and then take a stroll through the "Dracula" graveyard. The steps themselves are a major tourist attraction, and were once thought to be a test of Christian faith. Those who made it to the top of the steps were deemed to be faithful.

The ruins of Whitby Abbey on a sunny day in England
Whitby Abbey

Whitby Abbey dates back to the 7th century, and is the main tourist attraction in Whitby. It costs around £8 to enter, and is definitely worth visiting. They may just be ruins, but they are immense. They were also part of a famous scene in Bram Stoker's Dracula.

Whitby Abbey from inside of the ruins in England
Inside Whitby Abbey

I don't think there's any point in walking up the 199 steps to get to the abbey and not go inside. It's a beautiful historic site to walk around, and has recently been named Britain's most romantic ruin.

Fish and chips on a hill facing Whitby Abbey in England
Fish and chips

The best way to end a day trip to Whitby is by grabbing some of their famous fish and chips. We stopped at Silver Street Fisheries, after doing some research online, and sat down to take in the views from the West Cliff one last time. Alternatively, both Trenchers and The Fisherman's Wife are a big hit with the locals.

Where To Stay in Whitby

Whitby is a unique seaside town in Yorkshire, so if you’re planning on staying in Whitby you need an equally unique hotel to stay at. That’s where La Rosa Hotel comes in. It’s situated on the West Cliff, offering amazing and unrivalled views of the harbour and abbey. Its quirky interior is just one of the many reasons people choose to come back time and time again. Plus, the hotel was once a favourite of Lewis Carroll.

Each room in La Rosa Hotel is decorated in a different style. They have everything from Stoker to a Saloon theme. During our visit to Whitby, we stayed in their famous Sacre Coeur room, which as the name suggests is both romantic and a bit religious. The room is bursting with unique antiques and displays. In fact, there’s so much to look at that you’ll probably spend a couple of hours exploring the room itself.

The view from our window was breathtaking. I would recommend waking up just before sunrise so that you can watch the sun coming up behind the abbey in the distance. The Sacre Coeur room also features a large Victorian bath, a beautiful double bed, and a seating area near the window where you can sit and enjoy your breakfast. Breakfast at La Rosa Hotel is continental and brought directly to your room in the morning. The perfect way to start the day!

If you thought the room was quirky, you’ll love exploring the rest of the hotel. Even the walls of the staircase are decorated with antiques and paintings. What we really enjoyed though, was sitting in the bar of the hotel. Its dim lighting and 1930's themed decor really made us feel like we were stepping back in time. They also have a variety of drinks available at the bar, including their own signature cocktails which are a must-try. The Turkish Rose was a personal favourite of mine, but for something a bit stronger try the Vampire Velvet. La Rosa Hotel is without a doubt the best place to stay in Whitby, especially if you enjoy unique experiences partnered with breathtaking views.

>> Click here for the most up to date prices at La Rosa Hotel <<

There are many things to do in North Yorkshire, and I can't wait to explore more of what this area has to offer. If you find yourself with some free time, I couldn't recommend having a day out in Whitby enough. But if you want to stay a little longer, that's completely understandable too.

I'm slowly making my way around England, so if you need any recommendations on what to do in Manchester, Liverpool, or Bath, check out my blog posts about these cities. And remember to follow me on Instagram to keep up to date with my latest adventures!


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