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Why it HAS to be Whitby

Whitby day trip

Yorkshire’s beautiful coastline is dotted with fantastic seaside towns and quaint former fishing villages – and the jewel in the crown of this spectacular Jurassic coastline has to be Whitby.

Whether it’s the lure of Britain’s best fish and chips, the mystery and intrigue of the town’s Dracula connections or the challenge of walking the 110-mile Cleveland Way, there are so many reasons to visit Whitby:

Captain Cook
James Cook was born in the village of Great Ayton in the North York Moors, just a few miles from Whitby. He earned his first wage packet as a grocer’s lad in Staithes, where he spent many shifts staring out to sea, watching passing ships and dreaming of a life on the open water. He sson moved to Whitby to become an apprentice sailor, and the building where he served his apprenticeship is today the Captain James Cook Memorial Museum. You can chart the life of Britain’s most famous explorer, learn about his incredible adventures and see the attic where he lived before setting sail to discover the new worlds.

Find out more about the museum here:

Whitby Abbey
The 11th century monastery towers over Whitby from its location on the clifftop beside St Mary’s Church. The abbey was partially destroyed by order of Henry VIII, yet much of the ruins have survived. You can explore the abbey on your day trip to Whitby; the ruins are managed by English Heritage, so entrance is free for English Heritage Members and for holders of the English Heritage Overseas Visitors’ Pass – click here to learn more about the pass.

Our Whitby Abbey Guide gives more information about the Abbey, its history and what you can see there today.

The North Yorkshire Moors Railway
Britain’s favourite heritage railway is a must on all trips to Whitby. The preserved railway runs from Pickering to Grosmont, but it links with the mainline at Grosmont, which allows the North Yorkshire Moors Railway to bring steam trains all the way in to Whitby Harbour.

The North Yorkshire Moors Railway runs from April until the end of October – visit their website at for timetables. Don’t forget the Grand Yorkshire Steam Train Guarantee, which means you’ll have chance to ride on steam train on our day trip to Whitby from York.


  • The North Yorkshire Moors Railway have a Steam Gala Weekend – details, including dates, will appear here when they are confirmed.
  • The North Yorkshire Moors Railway also take part in the 1940s Weekend, when Pickering and villages along the route of the steam railway are transformed in 1940s style. 1940s costumes and 1940s music make this a truly unforgettable weekend – details, including dates, will appear here when they are confirmed.

The Cleveland Way
The 110-mile Cleveland Way is a walking trail which begins in the market town of Helmsley, crosses the North York Moors, follows the Yorkshire coastline and ends at Filey Brigg. On the way it takes in many of Yorkshire’s greatest sights and some of the UK’s most awe-inspiring scenery. And it passes through Whitby. Walkers and ramblers don’t need any excuse to visit the North York Moors or Whitby, but the challenge of the Cleveland Way gives them one nonetheless.

For more information about the Cleveland Way see   or

If you don’t have time walk the trail you can explore Whitby, Helmsley, Rievaulx Abbey, the North York Moors and even Robin Hood’s Bay on day trips from York with Grand Yorkshire.

Goth Weekends
The incredible Whitby Goth Weekend has been taking place in the seaside town since 1994 and has grown into one of the Eorld’s top events. It attracts thousands of visitors to Whitby for its two Goth weekends every year. And not just Goths – all genres of the “alternative lifestyle” are welcomed to Whitby in large numbers – including Punks and Steam Punks, Emos, Metallers and Bikers. It’s a colourful (and dark) weekend of music, dancing, drinking shopping and celebration which takes over every corner of Whitby.

See for more information.

Bram Stoker visited Whitby before writing his Dracula tale, and he chose the seaside town as the setting for the early scenes of his novel. Today Whitby’s connection with Dracula lives on; you’ll see reminders f Dracula throughout the town. You can also enjoy a visit to the Dracula Experience Museum for a rather spooky way to find out about the Dracula story.

See for information about the museum.

Fish and Chips
According to the celebrated food critic AA Gill, “Whitby has the best fish and chips in Britain”. He visited Whitby 10 years ago, and he came back in 2016. On both occasions he had his fish and chips at the world-famous Magpie Café, and on both occasions he deemed it to be the best fish and chips anywhere on the planet. His most recent visit was with Jeremy Clarkson, who disagrees with his choice of restaurant. Jeremy prefers Mister Chips.

In our opinion, you’ll be hard-pressed to find bad fish and chips in Whitby, and whether you go to the Magpie, Trenchers, Quayside, Mister Chips or anywhere else, we’re confident they will be some of the best fish and chips you’ll ever have.

Read about AA Gill’s latest trips to Whitby here: AA Gill Review, Whitby

Other links:

Need more reasons to visit Whitby?

Here are a few more articles about visiting Whitby: