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19 Things to Do in a Weekend in Whitby, Yorkshire

Updated: Nov 13, 2023

Are you planning a short break to the beautiful coastal town of Whitby, Yorkshire? This picturesque destination on the North Yorkshire coast is the perfect place for a weekend break, offering a variety of events and attractions that cater to all interests. From Gothic architecture to historic landmarks, Whitby has something for everyone. Here are 19 must-see and must-do activities during your visit.

1. Explore Whitby Abbey

Whitby Abbey, a ruined abbey in Whitby, UK

No visit to Whitby is complete without a visit to the iconic Whitby Abbey. Perched dramatically on a cliff overlooking the North Sea, this ruined abbey is a star attraction! It offers breathtaking views of the town and coastline. Fun fact: In 664, a meeting to decide the date of Easter was held here.

2. Visit the Captain Cook Memorial Museum

Statue of Captain Cook in Whitby, looking out into the morning sun

Discover the fascinating maritime history of Captain James Cook, the legendary explorer. The Captain Cook Memorial Museum provides insight into his voyages and the life of one of the town's most famous residents. On your visit, you will find original letters written by Captain Cook, ship models and maps, original paintings and drawings, and other items depicting his and his shipmates' history.

3. Discover Natural History and Social History at Whitby Museum

If you want to learn about Whitby's natural, social, and rich history, a trip to Whitby Museum is a great way to spend your time. Learn about the town's heritage through its extensive collection of artifacts and exhibits. Moreover, there are plenty of fossils and dinosaur footprints to marvel over. This museum is a great place to learn about this historic coastal town from the Jurassic era to now!

4. Relax at Pannett Park

Wood crafted statue in Pannett Park, Whitbey, UK

After visiting the Whitby Museum, step outside and enjoy some downtime at Pannett Park, a beautiful green space in the heart of Whitby. It is a great place to unwind and have a picnic. This park is also filled with walking trails, beautiful garden displays, and public art for all to enjoy. They even have a playground for the kiddos.

5. Witness History at St. Mary's Church

Caedmon's Cross, overlooking Whitby. This cross is at the entrance of St Mary's churchyard

St. Mary's Church is a historic 12th-century Anglican church on the East Cliff of Whitby, close to Whitby Abbey. It is still a functioning church in the present day and offers stellar views of the sea and town. If you are a fan of Bram Stoker's novel Dracula, one of the scenes in this novel takes place in the St. Mary's churchyard!

6. Step into the Dracula Experience

For an adrenaline-pumping adventure, delve into the world of Bram Stoker's Dracula at the Dracula Experience. Live actors and immersive storytelling make this a unique tour you will not forget. This experience is also good for learning about Whiby's history since the book was written in Whitby and has several scenes around the town - inspired by its atmosphere and ghostly superstitions.

7. Explore Robin Hood's Bay

Robin Hood's Bay in Whitby, UK

Robin Hood's Bay is a small fishing town. It is known for its stunning views and sandy beaches. This village is named after Robin Hood, who is said to have hidden in the nearby woods of this area and prevented a French attack on the village's fisherman. While you visit, you can check out Robin Hood's Bay Museum to learn more about the history and tales of this small town.

8. Visit the Whitby Pavilion

The Whitby Pavilion is the largest venue in Whitby, with 380 seats that host movie screenings, plays, concerts, and festivals. The pavilion was built in 1878 with Victorian-era architecture and is positioned to overlook Whitby Bay. Check out their website for more details on what events are going on to purchase tickets.

9. Hike the Cleveland Way

View from the North York Moors towards Whitby

Hiking enthusiasts will enjoy a scenic walk along the Cleveland Way, offering breathtaking views of the North Yorkshire coast and the North York Moors National Park. The Cleveland Way is a 110-mile National Trail in Cleveland, England - seven of those miles are between Whitby and Robin Hood's Bay. That stretch of the road includes the highest point on the path, Urra Moore, at 1489 feet high. Thus, this hike is not for the faint of heart as it is a moderate trail with some intense components.

10. Explore the Town of Whitby on West Cliff

Sunset at the lighthouse in West Cliff Whitby

West Cliff offers stunning views of Whitby Harbour and the North Sea and is a great place to witness a beautiful sunset over the North Sea. On top of the beautiful views, there are plenty of attractions within West Cliff, perfect for those looking for adventure! They have mini-golf, go-karts, a cliff lift, and many options for eating and shopping.

11. Discover Whalebone Arch

Also, in West Cliff is Whalebone Arch. This 20-foot arch is made up of real whale bones and is a symbol of Whitby's history as a whaling town. The original arch was built in 1853, but the current one on display is a replacement donated by Alaska in 2003.

12. Wander Through nearby Market Towns

Coastal town of Runswick Bay

If you have an extra day, venture to the market towns of Pickering or Runswick Bay for some more history, historic buildings, and delicious treats. Pickering is a market town about 35 minutes away from Whitby and on the border of the North York Moors National Park. It is known for its North Yorkshire Moors Railway steam train, antique stores, and historic buildings. Moreover, Runswick Bay is a seaside village about 20 minutes away from Whitby. It is sought-after for its picturesque cliffside views, fossil hunting, and sandy beaches.

13. Embark on a Whale-Watching Adventure

Whitby has a history of being a whaling town, making it a magnificent place to go on a whale watching tour. The best time to see whales would be between June and October, with August and September being the peak season for whale spotting. On your excursion, you may even get the opportunity to see dolphins, seals, and sea birds. If you are lucky enough, you might see the majestic bowhead whale!

14. Indulge in Ice Cream on Whitby Sands

Colorful house structures in Whitby Beach

During the warm summer months, there is nothing quite like enjoying a scoop of delicious ice cream while taking a leisurely stroll along Whitby Sands, also known as Whitby Beach. It is a perfect way to cool down and savor the seaside atmosphere. You can also take a donkey ride along the shores of Whitby Sands!

15. Shop for Whitby Jet Jewellery

Whitby Jet is a gemstone formed from fossilized wood of trees that grew during the Jurassic period and is found in the debris from fallen cliffs near Whitby. Do not miss the opportunity to browse and purchase some Whitby Jet jewelry on your visit. It is a unique local specialty and a perfect souvenir from your trip!

16. Attend the Famous Whitby Goth Weekend

The Goth Express by the North Yorkshire Moors Railway during Whitby Goth Weekend

If you are a fan of alternative music and all things goth, time your visit to coincide with the famous Whitby Goth Weekends. These happen twice a year, with the first in April and the second around Halloween weekend. The two upcoming dates are October 27 - 29, 2023, and April 26 - 28, 2024. The festival consists of two nights of live bands, three days of alternative trade stalls, and tons of gothic apparel. One of the unique features of these weekends is that they have a "Goth Express," a North Yorkshire Moors Railway train that arrives at Whitby station during the festival.

17. Experience the Whitby Steampunk Weekend

Another festive weekend to visit Whitby is during their Steampunk weekends in July. Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction that combines social practices from the Victorian Era with re-imagined technology with an emphasis on steam power. There will be activities, presentations, demonstrations, and a Steampunk Retail Emporium.

18. Explore the Town Center and Church Street

The 199 steps in Whitby

Enjoy a stroll through the center of Whitby and Church Street, one of Whitby's charming cobbled streets. On your walk, you will experience the quaint and historic atmosphere that makes this town unique! If you are feeling extra adventurous, embark on the 199 Steps. These steps begin at the intersection of Church Street and Henrietta Street, and they lead you to St. Mary's Church.

19. Enjoy Delicious Food and Refreshing Drinks in Whitby

A street in Whitby with cobblestoned roads

Check out the local shops and cafes to get a taste of the local offerings. Experience the vibrant pub scene in Whitby by visiting some of the charming local pubs, where you can enjoy a drink and mingle with locals. Church Street is also known for its delightful eateries. Make sure to indulge in a scrumptious evening meal at one of the local restaurants, offering a taste of the region's most delectable cuisine. Moreover, no visit to a coastal town is complete without sampling some fish and chips. Head to the chip shops in Whitby for a classic taste of British cuisine.

Happy Travels!

Homes in Whitby, North Yorkshire, UK

Whitby is a town with an abundance of sights and experiences. Whether you are a history buff, a nature lover, or simply looking for a relaxing getaway by the sea, Whitby offers the best of all worlds. Enjoy your weekend break in this beautiful place with rich history and scenic beauty.

Have you been to Whitby, Yorkshire? If so, let us know in the comments below - we would love to hear about your visit! If you have not gone, is it on your bucket list of places to visit now? Let us know in the comments below, and share this article with the person or people you want to go with! Either way, SUBSCRIBE below to learn about other places you should add to your "To Visit" List! Ready? Okay, vamos. Time to have fun!

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