Undeniably one of Yorkshire’s most fascinating locations, Whitby has been at the forefront of Northern tourism for centuries. And we’re still in awe of it today. From its unique (and spooky!) history to its top-class seafood – here’s our guide to the very best things to do in Whitby.
Things to do in Whitby: by day
1. See the impressive Abbey
One of Whitby’s most famous attractions, Whitby Abbey stands in all of its glory on the coastal town’s clifftops, towering over the North Sea and continuing to tell centuries-old stories.
Notoriously the backdrop to the famous Dracula novel, the 7th century partially-decayed abbey is one of the country’s most impressive, and well worth admiring during a trip to Whitby.
2. Have a pint at the Whitby Brewery
Once you’ve finished taking in the stunning scenery around Whitby Abbey, enjoy it some more at Whitby Brewery – a local brewery that sits right next door to the historic landmark.
The microbrewery specialises in craft ales, and serves an array of delicious brews made on-site – right by the coastal town’s dramatic cliffs. Whitby Brewery, East Cliff, Whitby, YO22 4JR.
3. Grab a chippy from Magpie Cafe
One of the most famous chippies in town is The Magpie Cafe – a waterfront venue where guests can sample some proper Yorkshire fish. Whether you fancy dining in with a glass of vino or taking away to enjoy your meal by the water, you won’t be disappointed by the cafe’s fresh flavours and large portions. The Magpie Cafe, 14 Pier Rd, Whitby, YO21 3PU.
4. Take on the 199 Steps
Full up from your chippy? Burn off those excess calories with a climb up the famous 199 steps. Leading up to St Mary’s Churchyard, the steps offer fantastic views of the idyllic red roofs of the town and the peaceful harbour, alongside being quite the work out.
It’s believed the steps were originally used as a test of faith for those visiting St. Mary’s Church to worship – so that should answer a few questions about why they’re so tough to clamber up.
5. Dine at the beloved Fortune’s Kippers
Fortune’s Kippers smokehouse has been well-loved for almost 150 years now, and it remains Whitby’s only traditional smokehouse today.
A real sensory experience for fish lovers, those seeking Fortune’s needn’t look too hard to find it, since the aroma of oak wood smoke will surely lead your nose in the right direction. Fortune’s Kippers, 22 Henrietta St, Whitby, YO22 4DW.
6. Chill out at the Falling Foss Tea Garden
For the ramblers among us, Falling Foss is the perfect spot for a bit of a leg stretch – and what’s better? There’s a stunning tea garden right by the waterfall.
Charming, romantic, and a little bit like the kind of place you’d expect from a woodland fairytale, Falling Foss is well worth leaving Whitby (temporarily) for. Falling Foss Tea Garden, Midge Hall, YO22 5JD. Open April-September.
7. Learn to surf
Because what better way to spend your time by the seaside than actually getting in the sea? Sure, the North Sea is bloody freezing, but the East Coast gets some great waves – and it’s a fantastic spot to learn how to surf (before taking on the bays!).
Whitby Surf School has a class for everyone to enjoy, including paddle boarding and even classes for those as young as 8. Find out more.
8. Check out *that* ever-Instagrammed pub, White Horse and Griffin
You’ve probably seen the White Horse and Griffin on Instagram by now, and if you have, it’s officially time to see it in real life.
A cosy and traditional pub located just a stone’s throw away from the harbour, the pub is a fantastic spot to escape to for a pint after wandering the cobbled streets of the town. Four-legged friends welcome. Did we mention they rustle up quite the Sunday roast, too? White Horse and Griffin, 87 Church St, Whitby, YO22 4BH.
9. Grab a coffee and an ice cream at Clara’s
Standing proud and pastel-hued right in front of the beach, Clara’s is locally loved for its delicious hot drinks and even tastier ice creams.
Take in the panoramic views while enjoying an Instagrammable hot chocolate, coffee, milkshake or soft-serve ice cream, or head over at sunset for one of the most fantastic landscapes in Yorkshire. Clara’s, Esplanade Cres, Whitby, YO21 3EN.
Things to do in Whitby: by night
10. Experience one of the town’s freaky Ghost Walks
One thing that Whitby is famous for? All things that go bump in the night. Those fascinated by the darker side of the coastal town can take a stroll to uncover its ghostly history, thanks to Dr Crank who guides the curious through the town to uncover some of its most haunted locations.
Learn about Dracula himself, alongside the Headless Horseman, the Whitby Witches and plenty more ghoulish stories. Find out more.
11. Cosy up in a traditional pub
Whitby’s nightlife scene is dominated by cosy, traditional pubs – reminiscent of the coastal town’s working-class history.
Dotted across the harbour, overlooking the river and forming part of Whitby’s staggering red roofs, visitors will find traditional pubs easy to come by when the craving for a cold pint hits.
12. Try out delicious cocktails at Macy Brown’s
Whitby’s newest cocktail bar, Macy Brown’s, is perfect for those fancying something a little more cosmopolitan during their visit.
Offering a lengthy menu of both classic and creative cocktails designed in house, guests can enjoy old faves or try something new, or, alternatively, get stuck into a satisfying array of crisp, fragrant and fruity wines. Macy Brown’s, New Quay Rd, Whitby, YO21 1DH.
13. Head to Marine Parade to enjoy a drink with a Harbour view
The perfect spot for a weekend drink? Marine Parade. Boasting plenty of bars and restaurants, the strip that runs alongside the River Esk is blessed with numerous venues that provide front row seats to a stunning view of the harbour – making for the perfect place for al fresco drinks.
14. Enjoy a fancy bistro meal at Ditto
Hidden down a quaint street in Whitby, Ditto Bistro is a true hidden gem – serving a menu to die for within a casual, yet intimate space that could easily transport you to a 1920’s Paris.
Beautifully presented and packed with flavour, each dish is designed based on the seasonal produce available, promising the very best quality every time.
Think French bistro vibes with a British twist – perfect for a more upmarket meal. Ditto, 26 Skinner St, Whitby, YO21 3AJ.
Our top bar recommendations:
- Macy Brown’s
- The Moon and Sixpence
- White Horse and Griffin
- The Ship Inn
- Abbey Wharf
- Whitby Brewery
Our top restaurant recommendations:
- The Blitz
- Magpie Cafe
- The Fisherman’s Wife
- Humble Pie N Mash
- Sander’s Yard Bistro
- The Edge
- Albert’s Eatery
- Greedy Pig