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Where do I start, Whitby has it all. Whitby has been a huge feature in my life since I first went there when I was 16 with my Mum and Dad, I didn't really appreciate it as much as I should of done at the time, so when I went back there as a 20 year old it was safe to say it was then when I discovered just how amazing this place is.
When you first stroll into Whitby you are greeted by the iconic Whitby Abbey that overlooks the entire town like an ever featuring guardian, the Abbey itself dates back to 657AD where St.Hilda made it her sanctuary, the Abbey has survived various hardships including Henry VIII's rampages and the Germans coastal bombardment in the first world war. It is one of the most beautiful and iconic sites that I have been to.
Enough about the Abbey, Whitby has so much more to offer! The restaurants are all top quality as are the B&B's the food is just fantastic, fresh fish caught that very same day are often served up in the restaurants and chippies.
The first time I went I stayed in one of the B&B's for three day's and it was fantastic, I could very well of stayed forever.
The second time I visited we stopped in a self-catering cottage and the experience was just incredible, it was my home away from homes and a sanctuary which I did not want to leave. (I stayed in Harriet Hannah's which is owned by Ingrid Flute who own many self-catering cottages in Whitby).
The locals in Whitby are all very welcoming and friendly and the pubs are fantastic some of which like the Board Inn and the Duke Of York offer harbor views and there's not much better than relaxing with a pint while the sunsets over the harbor.
There are also plenty of cafe's and tearooms in Whitby should you want to pop in for a quick bite to eat and a cuppa, A visit to the Captain Cook's museum was mandatory for us as he has his own history embedded within Whitby's roots.
Whitby also offers those that are brave enough spooky night-time vampire and ghost walks where you are taken around the Gothic settings at night by a tour guide who provides great descriptions of Whitby's past spooks and vampires, (Bram Stoker originally wrote Dracula in Whitby and used it as his initial setting of the story).
Some of the prices are steep but I would gladly pay for them as the quality of the whole experience is just so high, many of the top restaurants in Whitby do offer cheaper take-out services for those that don't necessarily want to eat-in as well, I can vouch for 'Mr.Chips' takeaway service the chips and fish there are just fantastic.
I would recommend the experience to anyone, this is a town that is so self-sufficient and source most things locally which makes me proud to see in a day and age were we are importing so many different things from around the world instead of recognizing our own potential and building on that like we used to. It's an experience unrivaled by anything else in my life and I'm certain that anyone who visits will instantly fall in love with this fantastic tranquil little town.
As a family,we tend to go to the south of england for our holidays, but last August we decided to try Whitby in North Yorkshire. A friend had told us what a nice place it was, and we were keen to give it a try. We didn't really know what to expect, or know much about the local attractions before we went.
We stopped in a large self catering cottage, about 10 minutes walk from the harbour itself. We had to walk down a few winding, cobbled streets on the way, very picturesque and all lined with quaint shops full of interesting things to see. We started to fall in love with the place there and then, and that was before we saw the lovely harbour...
The harbour is the heart of Whitby.You can see many beautful boats going out to sea, and even have a ride in some of them. There is a replica of captain Cooks boat, "the Endeavour". This was the first boat we went out of the harbour in.The day we went was extremelly windy, so the boat was bouncing around and the poor people sitting at the front got completely soaked. Luckily, we had a hint to sit at the back! On the boat they play lots of old sea shanties to get you in the mood.
When you return to harbour, you can see lots of people trying to catch crabs by putting lines down over the harbour wall. People everywhere are carrying clear buckets with crabs in!
The next boat we went on was the old lifeboat of Whitby. We were able to sit on cushions right at the front, but the water was calmer this time. We also had a ride on a speedboat, which was really exhilarating.
Further down the harbour was a massive ship that you could board and look around. There were guides on the ship who talked you through what it was actually like to live on a ship like this.
There are a multitude of fish and chip shops in the harbour, with amazing fish meals served. No wonder Whitby has a reputation for being the fish and chip capital of England.
There is so much to see in the harbour area itself, as well as the nearby Abbey and Captain Cook museum, that it is impossible to do it all in a day. Whitby is truly a special place, with lovely friendly locals and a welcoming atmosphere. The surroundings are beautiful, and I can't understand the need to go abroad for a holiday when there are places like this on our doorstep.
Whitby is a small fishing town in the north east of England and in my opinion it is one of the most beautiful picturesque seaside locations in this part of England. The town itself has a real old worldly feel to it with its bustling narrow streets and each week thousands of visitors descend on the town to soak up its charm. At the heart of Whitby is its harbour and without this harbour there is no doubt that Whitby would not be the wonderful place that we find today.
The town grew up along the two opposite banks of the River Esk, which is spanned by a swing bridge that was constructed in 1908. It is however known that a bridge has spanned this river since medieval times, whilst the town itself predates that by a further thousand years or more. Whitby's most famous landmark, its abbey was built in the year 657AD.
Today, Whitby's harbour covers an area of around eighty acres and includes two piers and two different lighthouses but its origins date back to the early 16th century. By 1615 coal from Newcastle was being shipped out from Whitby and also aluminium that was mined at Guisborough. It is during this period that the harbour area experienced its greatest growth and by 1635 Whitby had began building its own ships to supply the coal and aluminium trades. By 1706 Whitby was the sixth largest port in Britain and during that year it built 130 different ships and vessels.
Within another few decades Whitby had also established itself as the premier fishing port on the Yorkshire coast and between 1735 and 1837 it became the home of the whalers and the Baltic Traders. Its association with shipbuilding however continued until 1908 when the last vessel to be built here called "The Olive" was launched. Weighing 6,000 tonnes this marked the end of continuos shipbuilding in Whitby for almost four centuries. There was then a period of thirty years before boats were once again to be built in Whitby and two shipyards still exist near the harbour today, building small fishing boats known as "Yorkshire Cobles". These fishing boats are still constructed by traditional methods and during the summer months, when much of this work is undertaken outdoors, it is a joy to stand at the harbour and watch these skilled craftsmen keeping alive a centuries old tradition.
The harbour is the location of the town's Tourist Information Centre, which is always a good place to start if you are visiting Whitby for the first time. Regular visitors will probably head straight for one of the piers and if the weather is fine, take a stroll along it to its very end. A stroll along to the end of the pier and back can easily take more than an hour despite the fact that except for a lighthouse there is very little else on it. The views out to sea and along to rocky Yorkshire coast to the north and to the south are what most people walk along the pier to achieve. There can be no denying that if the weather is fine then these views are breathtaking but be warned if the sea is rough or it is blowing a gale then this is a completely different world.
Whitby has two different lighthouses and technically speaking also two piers as well, although it is the west pier that most of the visitors will stroll down, as the east pier is only quite short. The lighthouse on the east pier has a green fixed light whilst the lighthouse on the west pier has a fixed red light. The east lighthouse was constructed in 1855 and stands 83 feet high. During the summer months this lighthouse is open to the public and each year thousands of people climb to the top of it to enjoy its wonderful views. There is a charge to enter the lighthouse which is currently £1.50 per adult and 75p per child so this is the sort of attraction that you would probably only do once and only if the weather is good.
I climbed to the top of the tower last year and if I am honest it is not really worth the price. The staircase twists around the side of the building and it certainly would not be suitable for the disabled or the infirm. At the top there is a small platform with a safety rail around it. The views are good but there are much better views in Whitby for free, especially from the area around the Abbey. The top of the lighthouse is not recommended to anyone that suffers from vertigo by the way.
The walk along the west pier from beyond the lighthouse is not an especially easy one. All along its length there are wooden planks arranged across its width but these are very unequally spaced and in places I actually considered them to be rather dangerous. During my most recent walk along this pier a few weeks ago I had two small children with me and my heart certainly missed a few beats as they ran ahead of me.
At the very end of the pier there is a lovely view of Whitby with its two beaches nestled either side of its piers and its rugged limestone cliffs with seabirds circling high above. I love to stand at the very end of this pier, as there is a certain sense of isolation and tranquillity. The pier extends for over 600 metres out into the North Sea so this does not only offer wonderful views it also provides an ideal platform for fishermen, who can undertake a spot of sea fishing without the need for a fishing boat. The end of the pier is double decked, with the lower platform accessible by a set of rusty ladders. This lower deck is where the majority of the sea fisherman jostle for a decent spot. If you are brave enough to descend the rather formidable looking ladders at the end of the pier, that seem to drop vertically down into the sea below, then you will see the fisherman displaying their catches of bass, herring and crabs. For those that are unable to make the walk along the pier however there are usually a few fishermen in the harbour itself displaying their catches of the day, and it is also possible to buy fresh fish from some of them.
I love Whitby and especially its charming harbour. Highly recommended.