Nestled along the Yorkshire Coast is the beautiful seaside town of Whitby. Straddling both sides of the River Esk, this small coastal resort is simply brimming with beautiful things to do and see.
Whitby is guaranteed to be among the most charming British seaside towns you will find in England. From the famous Whitby Abbey ruins to golden sand beaches, narrow cobbled streets, a bustling harbour, a cliff-top graveyard and spectacular coastal views, this idyllic former fishing town is just bursting with character. It’s no wonder it consistently ranks among the most popular destinations on the North East coast of England.
Whitby Abbey is perhaps the most famous attraction in Whitby. While the current ruins date back to the 13th century, the first Abbey was originally founded by the Saxon King of Northumbria in 657AD. Today, these Gothic ruins sit majestically atop the East Cliff, dominating the headland. They are the most iconic site to explore in Whitby.
The impressive medieval site is also renowned for being the inspiration of one of the most famous vampire stories. It was here that the author Bram Stoker derived inspiration for his novel Dracula, published in 1897.
Whitby Abbey is now managed by English Heritage and tickets cost £10 for an adult. Entrance is free to English Heritage members. All tickets currently need to be pre-booked online via the English Heritage website. However, you can also take in many incredible views of the Abbey from all over town free of charge.
The first record of the 199 steps date back to 1340, however, it is believed they are even older still! The original steps were made from wood and weren’t replaced with stone until 1774. It is believed that the 199 steps were a test of faith for those who worshipped at St Mary’s Church.
You’ll notice several benches on your way up which provide a nice place to sit and catch your breath while admiring the views. However, these were originally built to provide pallbearers a place to rest coffins being brought up to be buried at the church. While it is worth exploring this church at any time of day, it is truly something spectacular at night. Both the Abbey and the St Mary’s Church graveyard are lit up and make for some spooky images. We were lucky enough to be there on a full moon to add the final touches to the shot!