How to spend a weekend in Whitby UK

Spending a weekend in Whitby


Whitby is one of the north east’s premier tourist destinations, thanks to its unique location close to the North Yorkshire Moors and the Cleveland Way. There is much to see in Whitby and attractions for all ages. It is no wonder that tourists come back to this picturesque area with its Gothic atmosphere and tales of smuggling.

Whitby offers weekend visitors great opportunities for exploring the rugged moors and its wonderful coastline with some of the highest cliffs in England. Close by there are attractive fishing villages to explore, such as Robin Hood’s Bay which is easily accessible by cheap local bus services. Walkers will enjoy the excellent coastal paths around Whitby at the weekend.

The town is dominated by Whitby Abbey, owned by English Heritage and founded in 657 AD. The atmospheric Abbey is reputed to have been an inspiration for the writer Bram Stoker, well-known author of the novel Dracula. Visitors need to climb 199 steps to reach the site but once there they can learn more about its history at the interactive Visitor Centre or take an audio tour when exploring the ancient ruins.

Gothic ruins of Whitby Abbey

English Heritage organises many special events here throughout the year including falconry displays. In October the Abbey is illuminated by floodlights and visitors are entertained by costumed characters with stories of witch trials and grave robbing to chill the blood. There’s also a performance of Dracula to entertain visitors. 

Transport enthusiasts are sure to enjoy a trip on the North Yorkshire Railway, which is run by a large team of enthusiastic volunteers. This is a great way to experience the stunning scenery of the North York Moors aboard a heritage train service. The 24-mile rail journey runs from Whitby to Pickering and visitors can enjoy riding on board a steam or diesel train, stopping off on the way at Goathland station which featured in the first of the Harry Potter films. The season operates from the beginning of April to end of October and visitors can enjoy a meal on board the train, for a memorable day out.

Just off the coast of Whitby weekend visitors can experience the excitement of whale watching by booking a trip on a Yellow Boat, cruising along the coast from Saltburn to Robin Hood’s Bay. During the summer months, Minke and Humpback Whales arrive in the Whitby area to feed on migrating herring. Other species that can be spotted include dolphins, porpoises and seals, making Whitby a paradise for visitors interested in natural history. The Whale Watching season runs from July to November and trips usually last about 4 hours.

Whitby Harbour in England

Returning from a thrilling whale watching trip or a steam train journey, visitors are bound to feel hungry. Fortunately, Whitby offers an extensive selection of eateries to suit all tastes and budgets. Not to be missed is the famous Whitby fish n chips. One of the best-known fish n chip shops is the Magpie Cafe on Pier Road, close to the quayside, where long queues can be seen waiting to be served the freshest fish and crunchiest chips. Elsewhere there is a great selection of local pubs selling real ale. The Elsinore is a traditional pub popular with locals and visitors alike, offering live music.

Whitby Goth weekend has grown in popularity over recent years and now takes place twice a year, in April and November, drawing in large crowds of visitors. The Festival attracts goths, punks and emos to a celebration of music, culture and art. The town is alive with music and other events, mostly held at Whitby Spa Pavilion and there is a Goth Market selling cheap clothing and jewellery. This is undoubtedly a great time to visit Whitby, although cheap accommodation can be hard to find due to the popularity of this event. 

Accommodation in the Whitby area includes traditional guesthouses and charming hotels. For visitors on a budget, there is a youth hostel at Whitby Abbey with stunning views across the town, offering cheap accommodation with the bonus of a café where they can buy breakfast or dinner. Other cheap options include bed and breakfast, self-catering cottages and camping and caravan parks. Prices for bed and breakfast start from around £25 to £35 per person per night. Visitors can be sure of a really filling full English breakfast in Whitby.

Whatever your interests or budget there is sure to be something to interest and entertain you in Whitby. This is a great destination for a weekend away that won’t break the bank.