Newest Review: ... did visit quite late on in the day and we were some of the only visitors there. I think we saw two or three couples whilst we were walking... more
A sense of calm
Whitby Abbey (Whitby)
Member Name: juicy_lucy
Whitby Abbey (Whitby)
Advantages: Lovely day out
Disadvantages: Lots of steps to climb!
A BIT OF HISTORY...
The abbey stands high on a cliff and can be clearly seen when standing in the centre of Whitby, so even first time visitors like ourselves find it easy to locate.
The first abbey was built in AD 657 by St Hilda and was destroyed in a Viking invasion in AD867. It was rebuilt in the late 1070s and the building of the present church began in 1220. Because of its location on the top of a cliff, it was not destroyed during the dissolution in Henry 8th's time but was (and still is ) used as a navigation marker.
We went to the abbey from the Whitby harbour area, where the abbey can be reached by climbing the 199 'abbey steps' (or Caedmon's Trod). Foa anyone not feeling up to this, the abbey can be reached via a well-signposted road leads from the town outskirts to the cliff-top abbey. The walk up the steps is quite tiring and not at all suitable for anyone with mobility problems. However, if you can walk them then I would recommend you do so as the views to the sea are tremendous. Also, the time of year we went allowed us to see lots of chicks peeping out of the chimneys chirping for food- fantastic!
Into the entrance we went, paid our admission fees and walked up some stairs. I do believe there is a lift so wheel chair access is possible, but remember, once back outside again it's all grassed to the abbey.
The museum part of this attraction is actually situated inside the recently renovated Abbey House. There is a long room with lots of interactive activities which was really appealing for the children. Children and adults could use the Medieval stamps to write letters and make patterns, and there were lots of different rubbings as well as books making funny people depending on the era you chose and archaeological dig games. As well as the interactive stuff, there were the usual museum exhibits with small bits of information about each one so we didn't get too bogged down with information. The children in this area seemed to be having a great time and we came out with lots of illuminated writing type stuff as well as rubbings.
Once out of the museum, there is a short walk across the grass to the actual abbey, and it is indeed very impressive. We can still see where the windows were and it's quite awe inspiring walking through the ruins. There are little bits of information dotted around the place and pictures of what it may have looked like, but just like the museum the information is in small doses so it's all very easy to understand and to explain to little ones.
One of the things I liked about the place is that it is really relaxing, and nobody seems overly "precious" about the site. People are free to have picnics around the abbey and there were plenty of people just sitting on the old stones enjoying the sunshine. For anyone with a picnic there are also some geese ready to greed food from you but fortunately for us (and perhaps unusually) these are in fact very friendly geese and not at all hissy.
ADMISSION CHARGES AND OPENING TIMES...
There is an audio loop included in the admission price with a history of the abbey
So for the 3 of us we paid £12.50 which at the time I thought was a bit steep, but once we got inside all that changed because there was a lot more to do than I originally thought.
Opening times depend on the time of the year. It is open longer during the summer months, but for anyone wanting to visit, it's best to check.
OTHER BITS OF INFORMATION...
*There is a tea room in Abbey House which is rather pleasant because visitors can sit outside when the weather is nice.
*Dogs are allowed if they are kept on leads but are not permitted in the visitor centre
* There are toilets close to the tea rooms, and also toilet for disabled users.
* Very limited parking close to the Abbey (charge payable)
For anyone in this area, I would recommend a visit to the abbey. There is plenty for children to do in the visitor centre, and once outside, the large open spaces with the sea air has a real feel good factor. The abbey is incredibly historic and I learnt a lot just by reading the bits of information, but apart from all of this, it's a great place to see. Very peaceful with a real sense of calm- a day out for all the family.
Thanks for reading.
Summary: Whitby abbey