Whitby can boast three of its own fabulous beaches, Tate Hill, West Cliff and Upgang - all waiting to have sandcastles made or rockpools explored. In the old town there are many winding lanes and hidden "yards" to investigate and, if you're feeling fit, you can climb the legendary 199 steps up to St. Mary's Church, with its Georgian box pews. Whitby has a wealth of history and is the perfect base for exploring the fabulous coastline and the spectacular North York Moors, one of the county's two National Parks.
Captain James Cook was born in the nearby village of Marton. His association with Whitby was celebrated in 2018, two hundred and fifty years after his ship HM Bark Endeavour set off to discover Australia. A full-size replica can be found in the original dock and The Endeavour Experience is now a new permanent attraction with fascinating displays, hands-on activities and the Orlop restaurant. Whitby's maritime heritage is also kept alive by offering Boat Trips along the coast, Fishing Excursions (all gear provided) and the spectacular annual Regatta in August.
Shop for jewellery created from Whitby Jet at one of the many workshops and retailers. This gleaming gemstone was made popular by Queen Victoria, and is still fashionable today. Also to be found on the East Cliff are the ruins of Whitby Abbey, which is floodlit at certain times of year.
Go back in time to a more sedate age by spending a day behind steam on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. Trains start from Whitby station and take you on a leisurely journey along the Esk Valley and across the Moors to the attractive market town of Pickering. En-route you will pass through the moorland village of Goathland, its station known to millions as either Heartbeat's Aidensfield or Harry Potter's Hogsmeade. At certain times of year Classic Car events are held at the stations, along with a Wartime Weekend. For enthusiasts there are annual Steam and Diesel Galas.
Check the tide tables and take a walk along the beach to Sandsend - a quiet resort with a pub, restaurant and tea shops. There's a sweep of fine beach, divided by a stream running into the sea, with clear views of Whitby Abbey. It's great for families, surfers and fossil hunters, and has a gallery selling the work of some of the region’s best artists. Further north is the wide sheltered expanse of Runswick Bay, another sandy beach, accessed from the clifftop car park down through winding streets and alleyways. Up the coast again and you'll find the red-roofed cottages of Staithes, once - amazingly- one of the major fishing ports of the north-east coast, but now a sleepy village much favoured by artists. The "Staithes Group" were active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, often painting local scenes including fishermen’s wives in their distinctive draped cotton bonnets (which can still be seen being worn occasionally to this day). If you have young children, chances are you’ll recognise beautiful Staithes. It’s the location for the much-loved CBBC series Old Jack’s Boat, starring Bernard Cribbins as Old Jack and, of course, Salty the dog.
Walkers and cyclists will enjoy exploring The Cinder Track, the old railway formation to Scarborough. Bicycles can be hired at Trailways, the former railway station at Hawsker. If you're on foot you can branch off at picturesque Boggle Hole or Robin Hood's Bay, returning to Whitby along the coast path passing the Old Lighthouse and Whitby Brewery at Abbey Farm.
The setting of key elements of Bram Stoker's novel Dracula in the town draws crowds to the twice-yearly Goth Weekends - great for people watching. Enjoy one of the many Music Festivals throughout the year from the annual Folk Week to 60's and Northern Soul weekends. As you can see, Whitby is very much a year-round resort, and certainly doesn't shut down once the schools have gone back.