Whitby has always been one of my favourite places to visit. Picturesque sites, cute little shopping alleys and an association with one of the most renowned fictional novels Dracula, what isn't there to like?
Whitby is a small seaside town that resides along the North Yorkshire coast in the Borough of Scarborough. This small little fishing village is famous for its maritime history, being the place where Bram Stoker wrote the infamous book Dracula and for its large collection of fossils and minerals. Whitby is popular with tourists due to its quirky independent stores, scenic walks, the beautiful abbey that overlooks the sea and its abundance of annual music and maritime festivals, particularly Whitby Gothic Festival that takes place bi-annually to celebrate Dracula.
Last weekend my family and I took a little ride out to Whitby to celebrate my father's birthday and to spend a long awaited day together as we have all been so busy lately. We used to go to Whitby at least once a year to visit one of the music or maritime festivals when I was younger, but the years have somehow managed to creep up on us and until recently, we hadn't visited in a very long time.
I don't know how to put it down in words, but Whitby has a certain charm about it - everyone who has visited will tell you that. This is attributed to many things - the cobbled streets, charming daily markets and even the endearing little pirate ship that takes tourists out for a little trip around the bay. There's something for everyone at Whitby from it's penny arcades to its wealth of history and despite being under pressure to urbanise like most seaside resorts, Whitby has still kept its rustic, vintage style charm.
Whitby town is split into two areas via a bridge across the river, these areas are known locally as the older Whitby town and the newer Whitby town. One side has a lot more high street stores, arcade machines and caters towards those looking for touristy seaside attractions whilst the other side houses some of the more independent stores, the museums and of course the famous Whitby Abbey. When I visit Whitby I spend most of my time in the older district seeking out antiques or looking for hidden gems.
As my Husband had never visited Whitby before, after a spot of shopping we decided to take a short stroll up to Whitby Abbey. Whitby Abbey is a Grade 1 listed English Heritage site and was established in 657 AD by the Anglo-Saxon King of Northumbria. The abbey has survived through many historic battles and has many notable burials. In 1540 the monastery was destroyed by Henry VIII during the Dissolution of the Monasteries and then in World War 1 the Abbey had been shelled by a series of German battlecruisers forming the ruins in which we can see today.Whitby Abbey can be quite difficult to get to due to the large number of steps you have to walk up, but once you're up there the views are amazing and the museum is a great way of learning more about the local history and the abbey itself.
After a brief visit to the Abbey we made our way to the opposite side of the bridge and came across the RNLI and Whitby Lifeboat museum. The RNLI have a special place in my heart due to my father's passion for sailing and the fact that he has had to be rescued on several occasions when the weather turned unexpectedly rough - even though he is a highly qualified sailor. My dad now works as a volunteer for the RNLI in his spare time and his devotion towards the RNLI has rubbed off on me over the years. I often donate to the charity as I believe that the RNLI don't seem to get the recognition that they deserve compared to other services. These people risk their lives in serious weather conditions to save others and many of these cases have been documented in this small museum.
On the way back from Whitby we stopped at Goathland Village to explore the small little area where the television series Heartbeat was filmed. I loved watching Heartbeat when I was younger due to the 1960s music, the way they dressed and the fab police cars like the one above that featured in the show. During the visit to Goathland we saw the Aidensfield Garage, the famous Aidensfield Arms and the renowned railway that regularly appeared on the hit series.
The sun was shining, the weather remained calm and as always Whitby had been a delight to visit, I had the most wonderful weekend.
Have you ever been to Whitby?