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UK breaks: 24 hours in Whitby

Perched on the Yorkshire coast, Whitby is Gothic, historic and dramatic.

Scratch the surface of Whitby to unravel a town layered with history and intrigue. The spooky ruins of Whitby Abbey that stand above the town are a gothic wonder and the inspiration behind vampire masterpiece Dracula. Find boutiques, tearooms and quirky museums in town, before watching the sunset over the ocean from St Mary's Churchyard.

 

1

Scoff at Cranberry Swamp

Cranberry Swamp

Start your day right with brunch in this gluten-free cafe on Whitby’s bustling West Cliff. The house kedgeree pulls in the foodies and feels particularly apt in this fishing town. The décor is heart-warmingly retro – think your stylish gran’s front room in the ‘70s, complete with glittery toilets!

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2

Swot up at Whitby Museum

Whitby Museum

Exterior of Whitby Museum in Yorkshire

You’ll know exactly what to do in Whitby once you’ve swotted up on local history in this independent museum that covers everything that Whitby is famous for is represented here; Whitby jet, Captain Cook, whaling, fossils, you name it. If you’re squeamish, perhaps skip the Hand of Glory, a mummified human hand that was found in the wall of a local cottage and was purported to have dark magical powers. 

Learn about local history
3

Face your fears at the Dracula Experience

The Dracula Experience

Bram Stoker wrote Dracula in Whitby and the eponymous villain leapt ashore here as a big black dog. These scenes form two of eight depicting Whitby’s Dracula connection, brought to life by animatronics and human actors in this chilling experience. Sir Isaac Newton also used to own the building which is said to be haunted.

Scare yourself silly
4

Take a stroll and enjoy the views

West Cliff

Whitby Whale Bones, Whitby, North Yorkshire, England

One of the most rewarding things to do in Whitby is to simply meander through the streets. Start at the whalebone arch high up on West Cliff, amble down to the harbour, cross the bridge and climb the famous 199 Steps to St Mary’s Churchyard. The views back across Whitby are well worth getting your sweat on.

Walk around Whitby
5

Hunt down tea and cake at Sherlocks

Sherlocks Coffee Shop

This cosy little cafe is charming both inside and out. Pop in for tea and cake in quirky Victoriana surroundings that, as you can probably guess, pay homage to Arthur Conan Doyles' Sherlock Holmes.

If you dare, why not take part in the cafe's escape room experience? Use your detective skills to find the missing Hand of Glory before it falls into nefarious hands (pun intended). 

Do some decadent detecting
6

Shop for jet jewellery at W Hamond

W Hamond

Whitby’s original jet jeweller is the place for souvenirs. It has been making and selling jewellery from its spot at the foot of the 199 Steps since 1860, and they still source their jet –  fossilised wood – from England’s north-east coast. Watch their jewellers in action, then pick a statement piece to show off back home.

Discover jet jewellery
7

Enjoy fresh cuisine at Ditto

Ditto

According to locals, Ditto is one of the best restaurants in Whitby. It’s an intimate bistro-style place that prides itself on offering cuisines from across the globe. Expect dishes such as beef and beetroot cannelloni, and a potage of vegetables topped with a crispy egg. Book ahead is essential, as there’s only space for 20 covers per night.

Dine out at Ditto
8

Take a spooky walk with Dr Crank

Whale Bone Arch

You can’t escape the supernatural vein running through Whitby so enter into the spirit of things (sorry) on a ghost walk. Starting at the Whale Bone Arch, Dr Crank of Whitby Walks whips up tales of the paranormal so rooted in the town’s alleyways, crannies and pubs that you’ll never see Whitby in the same light again.

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9

Snooze at La Rosa

La Rosa

Antique style bedroom at La Rosa Hotel in Whitby

There’s more than a touch of the boudoir about this hotel. It’s furnished with antiques and thrift-shop gems, and the views and breakfast hampers are to die for. Each of the bedrooms is themed after an aspect of Whitby’s quirky heritage – the Bram Stoker room is for fearless souls only.

Good to know

The tiny fishing village of Robin Hood’s Bay is a five-mile bus ride walk, or three-hour walk south if you’re feeling active. Explore the twisting alleyways once favoured by smugglers or hunt fossils on the craggy, elemental beach.

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03 Jan 2024(last updated)

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  • 1

    Cranberry Swamp

  • 2

    Whitby Museum

  • 3

    The Dracula Experience

  • 4

    West Cliff

  • 5

    Sherlocks Coffee Shop

  • 6

    W Hamond

  • 7

    Ditto

  • 8

    Whale Bone Arch

  • 9

    La Rosa

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