Ryan Maley, frequent visitor of Whitby and owner of A Single Step travel blog, shares a photoblog of some of his favourite things to do in the area.
After visiting Whitby every year since being born, it’s truly a place that holds my heart. Family traditions, from the scenic walk between Aislaby and Grosmont, to playing crazy golf at the Arnold Palmer Putting Course on the cliff, has cemented Whitby as one of my favourite places in the world.
In this photoblog I hope to share some of my favourite places in the area, and inspire you to visit this beautiful, quintessentially British, seaside town.
1. Whitby Pier
If you’ve seen any pictures of Whitby, you’ll no doubt have seen the iconic piers reaching out into the North Sea. Some form of harbour protection has been present since the 14th century, but the piers as we know them were built in the 18th century. Pier extensions were built in the early 1900s.
Taking a walk down the West Pier is one of the first things we do when getting to Whitby. It certainly blows the cobwebs off after the 2 hour drive up from Manchester. Visitors can enter the lighthouse halfway down the pier, and the views are certainly worth the walk up the winding stairs!
2. Whitby Beach
Stretching all the way from the West Pier towards Sandsend is the beautiful, open and spacious Blue-Flag Whitby beach. Set at the foot of the dramatic cliff, there’s plenty to explore along the stretch, perfect for an afternoon stroll. And for those brave enough, the annual Boxing Day dip in the sea takes place from Whitby beach.
3. Tate Hill Sands
Whitby’s other beach, Tate Hill Sands, is another of our favourite things to see. Housing the old pier, which was first constructed in the early 12th Century, Tate Hill Sands is most famous as the location where the infamous Dracula crashed his ship in Bram Stoker’s novel. Stop for a quick drink at the Duke of York set above Tate Hill Sands, and try and grab a window seat. The views out across the harbour are certainly worth it!
4. 199 Steps
Leading up from Church Lane to Whitby Abbey are Whitby’s famous 199 steps. Originally constructed some 7 centuries ago, the steps are offered as a challenge for those wanting to explore the wonderful Abbey and marvel at the views from the top. Stop halfway up for one of the most picturesque (and most photographed) views of Whitby.
5. Whitby Abbey
Once you’ve conquered the 199 steps (or hopped on the Whitby Tour Bus instead), it’s time to explore the Grade-I listed Whitby Abbey. The incredible 7th century Christian monastery is now fully accessible and owned by English Heritage. Learn about the history and heritage of the Gothic ruins with a tour of the abbey, including museum, exhibitions, and on-site café. This is without a doubt one of the most popular things to explore for first-time visitors to the town.
6. Whitby Old Lifeboat
Whitby’s 80-year-old lifeboat is now one of the favourite tourist attractions in the region. The 30-minute trip takes you out of the harbour and out to sea for just £3 per person. You’ll get to see Whitby from a totally different angle!
Just one mile along Whitby beach takes you to the lovely Sandsend. Head for lunch at the popular Sandsend Café, used as a filming location for local favourite Heartbeat. Spend time wandering around the shops, on the beach, or take on the Sandsend Trail walk along the cliff.
Another village local to Whitby is Grosmont and you can take the classic steam train from Whitby to Grosmont. Or, enjoy one of the many walks into the village, which is most famous for the North Yorkshire Moors Railway that dominates it.
9. Church Street
One of Whitby’s most popular, quaint cobbled streets, Church Street has some of my favourite places to visit ever. Check out Whitby Bookshop for popular and local literature, the Black Horse Inn for a drink in a 16th century pub, and Justin Chocolatier for the best confectionery around!
10. Fortune’s Kippers
Continue along Church Street and along Henrietta Street until you see (or most likely smell) Fortune’s Kippers. The traditional smokehouse has been smoking kippers for an incredible 140 years! Just 10 seconds away from the sea, you won’t find much fresher produce anywhere in the world!
If you’d like to hear more tips from Ryan, check out A Single Step’s guide to what to do in Whitby in 48 hours.