Whitby. Quaint, classic English seaside. Timeless. Town pier. Abandoned abbey. One hundred and ninety nine steps. Layers and layers of literary, economic history. The abbey is 1600+ years old. The abbey inspired parts of Dracula. The abbey was home to the first known English language poet.
And the Romans minded jet here. Captain Cook learned to sail. A plaque on the pier proudly proclaims this is the “oldest pier in England, possibly in the world.”
Today, tourism is the main thing happening in Whitby. Remote location, undeveloped transportation infrastructure, and changes to maritime industries has meant Whitby has had to adapt. But in spite of all of this, still, it has its mystery. It maintains its seaside charm.
Day 2, Yorkshire Coast Trip
Driving from Staithes to Whitby took about twenty-five minutes. We parked at the top of a hill close to the iconic abandoned abbey, and walked around the abbey exterior, taking it all in before stopping at a barn brewery across the street for a pint. There was folk dancing outside, people, everywhere. We walked around the smaller church, through the graveyard, down the 199 steps to the pier, across the bridge, to town.
Whitby is much bigger and more crowded than Staithes. Alive with families, shops, performances. We spontaneously decided to jump on a departing, twenty-minute harbor boat ride that only cost three pounds per person, a great decision. We passed by an old-school rowboat race from the harbor to the sea. The village-beach-coast from the sea view; incredible.
Instead of sitting for lunch, we grabbed pasties to go and eat while we walked. We had softserve (Mr. Whippy) ice cream, an English seaside classic. Everything was busy, vibrant, loud. Fun.
We walked back past the arcades, the candy stores, through town, past the old pubs and the boat houses, and back up the 199 steps.
Back to the car, back from a detour that became a day.
Whenever I remember Whitby, I will remember the sea and English seaside summer.
Yorkshire Coast, UK
When: August 2019
How long: 2 nights
Via: Drove our car just over 4 hours from Cambridge to Staithes. We stopped in Newark for dinner.
Stayed: Staithes – our Airbnb appears to no longer be listed as of writing this.
Did – Day 2: Quick walk around Whitby Abbey (we didn’t buy a ticket to enter the grounds), Climbed the 199 steps, Yellow Boat tour of Whitby Harbor, Ravenscar National Trust walk to see seals on the beach
You can read more about our first day on the Yorkshire Coast in Staithes, here.