Whitby is situated near to the North Yorkshire Moors, is a coastal resort and incorporates established walks as part of the Cleveland Way. As Whitby is on the North East Coast of Yorkshire it can have quite a bracing climate. It does have some fine sandy beaches and, if your lucky, good weather during the Summer months.
The last time Hubby and I stayed at Whitby was at a Bed and Breakfast establishment, at the Crescent, which is on the headland opposite Whitby Abbey. As we breakfasted each morning we could see the old whalebones, which are on the headland where our accomodation was, and we could look over to The Abbey across the bay.
The Abbey looks particularly atmospheric at night as it stands towering over Whitby.
It is reputed to be the inspiration for Mary Shelly's Dracula and there is a Dracula Museum in Whitby. The Abbey, although mainly in ruins, still is accessible to visitors and has various displays. Part of the site is free to visit and you can just wander around. However, to see the Abbey and displays in their entireity, will cost you an entrance fee.
Admission fees in 2009 were:
I think the prices are fairly good as they reflect that much of the abbey is in ruins and can be seen for free. There are good picnic areas here also and a souvenier shop.
There are a couple of ways that you can access the Abbey.
It is possible to walk along the cliffs to the Abbey from the South, through the town or as most people do climb the 199 steps.
There is a slope here for access also. However, please bear in mind that access will be a little difficult for visitors with mobility issues. The views over Whitby and the harbour are spectacular and, even if it is foggy, as it can be in Spring, this adds to the atmosphere.
I remember visiting Whitby as a child and enjoying a visit to the Abbey, about 45 years ago. In the years that have followed thankfully Whitby has retained most of it's quaint charm and the Abbey is basically unchanged. The Monastery was founded in 657 and actually was two monasteries housing both nuns and monks.
The last time we visited Whitby we decided on the spur of the moment to walk to Robin Hood's Bay, which is another picturesque, coastal village, about 7 miles along the coastal walk from Whitby. We walked from our accomodation, over the harbour bridge and along to the Abbey steps.
Climbing these steps we briefly visited the Abbey and then proceeded to set off along the cliffs. This walk is part of the Cleveland Way, walk, which although an established walk is a little precarious at times. Still, as you enter Robin Hood's Bay you are rewarded with spectacular views and a cafe, just waiting for walkers. The day was very hot and sunny which is a little unusual for this part of the world. The walk is tiring at times but the views are wonderful. For much of the walk we could still see the Abbey in the distance. Even at a distance the Abbey has a ghostly yet impressive appearance.
Whitby Abbey is open to the public:
1st April-1st November 10am-6pm(or dusk if earlier)
From 2nd November until 31st March, it is open 10am-4pm.
Whether you visit the Abbey briefly, in passing or research more of the interesting history of the Abbey, it will be enjoyable. Whitby is a great little fishing town with a working harbour and has much to offer. It is not over commercialised, yet, and one of it's best aspects is it's spectacular surroundings. The Abbey, whether you choose to visit or not, stands in it's prominent position, for all to see, near and far. It is impossible not to sense and feel it's importance and history.
At night, as we looked out from our B and B, it was easy to understand it's links to Dracula.
- Whitby has a Folk Festival, which is usually held for the last two weeks of August, and accomodation, at that time, can be difficult to book last minute.
- Whitby is full of hills and can be tiring.
- There are no trains to Whitby. The nearest main line ends at Scarborough.