A weekend in Whitby – 12 Wonderful Things to Do

Whitby lies on the coast in the north of England. It forms part of the North York Moors National Park and is absolutely stunning. I had no idea it was so beautiful, but it really took my breath away and I loved every minute of visiting. Here are 12 great things to do if you’re there to make a perfect weekend break of it (I recommend doing items 1-9 on day 1, and 10-12 on day 2), or add it to places like York, Ripon, Knaresborough, Thornton-Le-Dale and Helmsley to make a week of it.

1. Whitby Abbey

No trip to Whitby would be a visit without seeing Whitby Abbey, its most famous attraction. Founded in the 600s above a clifftop, this insane ruin was a centre of Medieval life in England. It was dissolved (as with most other such places) by Henry VIII in the 1500s, and today it stands beautiful and majestic atop the cliffs. Be warned though, it’s very very windy!

Interestingly, there’s a very strong link between Whitby Abbey and Dracula as well, as Bram Stoker visited Whitby in 1890 and based a lot of his novel on inspiration from in and around the town.

Sweeping Abbey views from the hilltop

2. Church of St Mary

A beautiful church on the hilltop just in front of the Abbey, this has to be one of the most scenic graveyards you could imagine. There are also normally wild horses in the fields around, which are really nice to see.

Stunning graveyard views

3. 199 Steps

To get some gorgeous views out across Whitby Bay, walk down or climb up (or both) the 199 steps. This was one of my favourite views of the visit,

On the 199 steps

4. Shop in the stunning streets

Whitby has a lovely array of shops – its famous for its jet, a gemstone. It also has lots of boutique stores selling lovely things and it’s really easy to spend a few hours browsing in the town.

5. Captain Cook Memorial Museum

Captain Cook, the famous explorer who sailed to Australia and New Zealand, did an apprenticeship in Whitby, living in a house here for a few years. You can now visit that house to learn about his life, his journeys and his legacy. There are also some interesting exhibits on sailing in general and I easily spent an hour in the museum.

6. The Endeavor Experience

Sticking on the Captain Cook theme, climb aboard the HM Bark Endeavour (a full-size replica of the world-renowned ship Cook sailed) to dive into her rich history to learn about everything from navigation techniques, surgery on board ships (gruesome) and ship security.

You can also take to the seas on many boat trips around the harbour – the pirate boat option looked a particularly fun way to spend an hour.

The Endeavor in the harbour

7. Whitby Brewery

Brewed on-site, this craft beer serving brewery is just opposite the Abbey and perfect for sampling some local produce. We had the Abbey Blonde and it was really refreshing on a hot day.

At the Brewery

8. Dracula Experience

The Dracula Experience is a unique tour through the Dracula story and the connection to Whitby. The museum uses animated scenes, electronic special effects and live actors. It’s a bit of fun and great for children. They also organise night time ghost hunts as well, if you’re in to that sort of thing!

9. Whalebone Arch

In the 17 and 1800s, Whitby had a thriving whaling industry, a port from which ships braved the Arctic seas off Greenland to hunt. Commemorating this tradition is the whalebone arch – there have been 3 over the years, but the current one was erected in 2003 and comes from a Bowhead whale killed legally by native Alaskan Inuits.

The Whalebone Arch

10. Take a trip to Robin Hood’s Bay

One of the most beautiful villages in all of England, Robin Hood’s Bay is just a 5 minute drive from Whitby. Famous for its narrow and stunning cobbled streets, as well as its history for smuggling, this place packs a punch and is perfect for a half day trip. If you like you could even walk from Whitby to Robin Hood’s Bay – it’s around 6 miles.

The beach at Robin Hood’s Bay

11. Visit Staithes

Another absolutely beautiful place along the coast, a few miles from Whitby, is Staithes. Here the star attraction is to walk to the view point with an ice-cream and just enjoy the views. There is also another Captain Cook Museum as he trained here too, as well as some lovely little houses, shops and a local art exhibition.

Stunning Staithes

12. Go to the beach in Sandsend

Another lovely village near Whitby is Sandsend, a small fishing spot. I loved strolling the beach here, and there are also some lovely houses and cottages to enjoy too. It’s also the perfect place to sample freshly caught fish and chips – beyond delicious.

Fish & Chips

What do you think of Whitby? I absolutely loved staying there and am really glad I’ve been able to discover a bit more of Yorkshire this year. As always, stay safe and happy travelling everyone.


  1. Your weekend in Whitby looks wonderful, indeed! There’s so much to see, and you see so much, that I thought to myself…at some point in time, I’m sure that Hannah must rest?! Thank you for sharing your adventures, my friend 🙂

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  2. Whitby is on my bucket list! I stumbled across this place on another blog a couple of years ago, and I fell in love with the eponymous abbey and the rugged coastline. So much to do in the region; that makes for a wonderful weekend jaunt away!

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  3. That’s a great picture of the abbey (founded in the 600’s … the age of some of these buildings are just mind blowing)! Why ‘only’ 199 steps … what happened to step nr 200 😄? Ah, I like the streets of Robin Hood’s Bay and that view of Staithes is rather lovely! Thanks for another great post Hannah – have a great weekend.

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    1. Thank you so much Corna…and I know, the age of the buildings is crazy – as if they’ve survived that long! I’ve no idea how they built it!!! Haha I’ve no idea why only 199, but they were tiring to climb so I was glad for even 1 less!! Aw thanks so much, glad you enjoyed the post 🙂

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  4. It looks like a beautiful part of the world, I keep meaning to plan a visit to Whitby and this is definitely tempting me to make that sooner rather than later. Wonderful read and wonderful photos 🙂

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  5. We went to Whitby for a day and really enjoyed the town. So much things to see and do there. We also loved Robin’s Hood bay and Staithes. We did during that trip Scarborough as well and liked it especially the castle.

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  6. I love your beautiful photos of Whitby Abbey – they are such atmospheric ruins – no wonder it has inspired artists, novelists and poets over the centuries. And when it comes to Robin Hood’s Bay – could there be a more picturesque o fishing village? It looks like a fantastic place to explore for e for adults and children alike. Thanks for sharing and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

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    1. Aw thanks Aiva, that’s really kind of you. You can definitely see why the Abbey is so central to many poems, books, art pieces etc over the years – it’s just gorgeous. It really is a stunning part of England, well worth exploring 🙂 xx

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  7. I have fond memories of a day trip we took to Whitby many years ago, though I didn’t get to do some of those side trips you mentioned. I loved the graveyard most of all. The headstones were so old you could barely make out any writing on them!

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    1. Aw that’s so nice you’ve been! You’re right, it was like something out of a novel in that graveyard, I wouldn’t have wanted to visit at night time!! Thanks for reading – have a great Sunday 🙂

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    1. I’m so glad you liked it….definitely worth a visit and really not too far away for you to make a week of a stay in Yorkshire. You can get to York in about 1.5hrs on a direct train from London so definitely manageable. Thanks so much for reading 🙂

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  8. Wow Whitby seems absolutely wonderful! The abbey is stunning and it must be really impressive to stand in front of those ruins!
    The Robin Hood’s bay also looks really pretty! Thanks for sharing 😍

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    1. Aw thanks Juliette, so glad you like it You’re right, it’s so impressive to stand in front of something so old – how has it survived so well for 1,500 years!!! Mad! Thank you for reading 🙂

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  9. Lovely overview of Whitby Hannah. I have always wanted to visit ever since reading Robin Jarvis’ brilliant ‘Whitby Witches’ trilogy. Many of the places you have highlighted here feature in those wonderful books. I have no idea why Jarvis didn’t become even half as well-known as say J.K. Rowling. Anyway, that’s life I guess. Lovely shot of the horse overlooking the village.

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  10. I’ve never been but so many people speak highly of visiting there so I know I will have to check it out on one of my future trips to England. Your blog has certainly given me a list of things to see when I do get there. Those abbey photos are wonderful!

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  11. That whole stretch of coastline is beautiful and Whitby is curiously dramatic but also understated, if that makes sense? I love that not too much of modern life has crept into those traditional streets and shop fronts. I used to go to Whitby for an annual vintage event but never explored too much of the place, feel like I missed out now!

    I really enjoy your posts, you have a knack for condensing a place into a post in a way that inspires real travel lust!

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    1. Whitby is a stunner isn’t it! I loved visiting as I hadn’t been since I was a little baby. It’s so nice you got to visit regularly, but yes definitely worth exploring as well. Thanks so much for saying that Helen, that’s so very kind of you. Have a lovely evening 🙂

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