Whitby: What to visit and do

Whitby: What to visit and do

The 199 Steps

Whitby, the great little town. Whitby is a seaside town in Yorkshire steeped in history, culture, and myths. From its association to Captain Cook’s Endeavour voyages, as well as Bram Stoker taking inspiration from Whitby’s Gothic Abbey for his best-known novel (Dracula), Whitby covers it all. That’s even before we consider Whitby’s cobbled streets and period buildings, which give the town a special character and mysterious atmosphere well worth a stay. And, if you like your Goth looks, bands like Siouxsie and the Banshees and The Cure, Whitby hosts the annual “The Whitby Goth Weekend” celebration. See? I told you this town covered it all!

Besides the history and gothic atmosphere, it is also a seaside town with a pretty sand beach and pier and fresh delicious seafood to try on. Whitby is also known to have the best fish & chips in the country!

There are many things to do in Whitby, some we have done on another trip last year, such as the Whitby Walks with walks on selected days at 7:30 pm. The guide, Dr Crank, is very funny and tell lots of tales about Whitby in the olden times taking us to interesting buildings and streets. There is also the Captain Cook Memorial Museum, boat trips, the Whalebone Arch and if you have time a trip on the North York Moors Railway train from Whitby to Pickering. It is a fabulous day out packed with beautiful scenery and interesting stories. There are plenty of activities for families as well. However, this time we will not have time to do much, but enough to enjoy the town’s exiting vibe.

Whitby with the Abbey in the background

We left our little town, Ramsey, in Cambridgeshire at 9 am. We took the A1 all the way up until Leeds and then we turned right on the A64 to Whitby direction to the east. Our friends had to leave much earlier as they live in Buckinghamshire and it is much further south than us. We drove pretty much straight there only stopping once to use the toilets. Our friends and us arrived in Whitby at about the same time, 1 pm and we went straight to the accommodation we had booked to stay for the night. As we were not allowed to get access to the rooms until 4 pm, we just parked the cars in the carpark next to the accommodation and went out for a walk. We headed to “The Fisherman’s Wife” restaurant for lunch.

The Fisherman’s Wife restaurant has the most amazing views of the beach and sea and we did manage to get a table facing the sea. The restaurant specialises in seafood but there are a few dishes for someone who does not eat fish or is a vegetarian. We all eat fish, so we had no problem.  My friend D had mussels cooked in a smooth white wine and cream sauce, T had the fish pie, my husband J, had the fish cakes, and I had the famous Whitby fish and chips. All dishes were perfect, and we all loved it.

After lunch we went for another walk passing through the harbour and the old town heading to the 199 steps to go up and visit the ruins of the Abbey. The view from the town at the top is beautiful and you can see both, the East and West areas of the town that are linked by a swing-bridge. By the time we had arrived at the top it was too late to get inside of the Abbey, but we still managed to get closer and take some photos.

Whitby Abbey

After walking around and exploring the top, it was time to start going down the steps. Once back in the Old Town we stopped for some tea and cakes at the W Hamond Tea Room and looked at the amazing jewellery made with Whitby’s jet stone they have there. Whitby Jet stone is a black stone, one of the oldest British gemstones and is made of fossilized Monkey Puzzle trees from the Jurassic era. It was very fashionable in the Victorian days, popularised by Queen Victoria when she worn it while mourning Prince Albert’s death.

It was time to walk back to our accommodation and get access as it was more than 4 pm now. The access to the Silver Street Suites is only after you receive an e-mail at 4 pm with the access code to enter the front door and another code to your room. There is no reception or anyone on site to talk to, but there is a telephone number you can call in case you have a problem and need help. As we were going to stay only one night, we wanted to book somewhere close to town, clean and comfortable providing good value for money. While looking for accommodation I came across the Silver Street Suites in Booking.com and by looking at photos and descriptions of the rooms it looked like that was exactly what we were looking for. The price was very good as well, so we quickly booked it for the night.

The place seems to be newly refurbished/converted and some aspects of it are good, but others are not. Although the place was new, we had the impression that it was not properly done, and the finishes and materials used were not of a very good quality. The heating system was electric and controlled via Alexa, with just a small radiator on one wall. This was the end of May and the evenings were still cold, so we did use the heating at night. However, it was very difficult to control and although the heating provided was sufficient for that time of the year, I think in winter, when the temperature is lower, the room might not feel too comfortable.

The bed was a DIY contraption made of simple timber frame and not to the standard of a double sized bed. The duvet was so thin, and plasticky! There was no bathroom matt and you had to walk out of the shower directly on the cold floor. But the worst of all was that they did not leave an extra roll of toilet paper. Yes, just a small roll previously used with some paper on and that was that – no spare rolls at all.  I don’t need to say that I didn’t leave very good reviews to the Silver Street Suites, do I? However, if you want to stay in town and save some money, the place is clean and recently refurbished. On a positive side, if you are travelling with your dog, they welcome dogs in there. In the end of the day, as the saying goes, you get what you pay for.

Bedroom at Silver Street Suites

After some rest and a quick shower, we went for dinner. I had booked the “Star at the Harbour” restaurant which is near the train station. We had been there before and enjoyed the food, so I thought that it deserved a come back to enjoy their delicious food. The kitchen is under the supervision of chef Andrew Pern who had a Michelin star at one of his other restaurants. The menu covers fish and meat all with local produce and seasonal menus. We had an excellent meal there and everybody was happy with everything. This is a quality restaurant serving quality food, very enjoyable.

After eating and drinking we made our way back to the Silver Street Suites.

We all wake up early and by 8:30 were out of our rooms and walking around town looking for a place to have breakfast.  The Silver Street Suites does not provide breakfast. Many places were still closed, and we walked to the old town. We found the White Horse and Griffin Pub open for breakfast and we made our way to the dining room. Apparently, this pub was frequented by James Cook who moved to Whitby whist training with a local shipping firm. Fun fact: two of the vessels Captain Cook used on his travels to New Zealand and Australia, “Resolution” and “Endeavour” were built in Whitby.  Breakfast was plenty and tasteful with Whitby Kippers and traditional English Breakfast.

With our bellies full and ready to start the day we headed back to the hotel to check out and continue with our trip.

White Horse and Griffin Pub

After checking out we drove to Robin’s Hood’s Bay. You cannot visit Whitby and not go to the picturesque village of Robin Hood’s Bay. It is such a lovely village, and you will always feel like going back in time. We walked down to the beach passing through the lovely houses alongside the main road and reached the beach. We had a long walk on the beach and had an ice cream. The way back up was via the large sea wall and the steps leading to the top.

Robin Hood’s Bay

After getting back to the top of the village, we continued our trip driving north by the coast. Our next stop was in Saltburn-by-the-Sea.

It was a sunny day, and the beach was very busy, packed with young people as well as families enjoying the great weather. There were also plenty of dogs taking their owners on leisurely walks on the promenade. We parked the car and went for a walk on the promenade as well. It was lunch time and we looked for a place to eat. Unfortunately, the restaurant I had in mind, “Seaview”, was closed for refurbishment and we could not eat there. They are famous for their delicious crab sandwiches. We ate at a pub in front of the beach on the outside tables and soaked up the sun. We only had some nibbles and beers as we were not very hungry after having had such a rich breakfast. After lunch we were back on the road and this time all the way up to lovely Edinburgh.

To read the full trip to Whitby, Edinburgh and York click here

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