Things to do in Whitby

About Whitby

Whitby Abbey, with its haunting ruins and sweeping sea views, tops the list of must-see attractions. Don't miss the chance to climb the 199 Steps for a breathtaking panorama of the town, or navigate the cobbled streets of the old town, brimming with history and charm. The Whalebone Arch, a nod to Whitby’s whaling past, offers a picturesque photo opportunity overlooking the coastline.
For a family-oriented adventure, you can't go wrong with a day out at Whitby Beach, building sandcastles and paddling in the surf. The Whitby Wizard Science Museum engages young minds with fun, hands-on experiments, and the Pannett Park's whimsical play area provides a fantastic space for kids to run and play.
Outdoor enthusiasts should embark on coastal walks along the Cleveland Way or take a boat tour from Whitby Harbour for some sea air and chances to spot marine life. Biking or walking in the beautiful North York Moors provides endless scenic vistas just a stone's throw from Whitby.
On rainy days, delve into the Captain Cook Memorial Museum or the Whitby Museum to learn about the town’s fascinating past. The Whitby Pavilion also offers a range of indoor events, including shows, cinema, and concerts to enjoy.
The best tours in Whitby offer a blend of history, culture, and scenic beauty. Join the Whitby Abbey Tour to step back in time or take a guided heritage walk through the old town. Coastal cruises and ghost walks add unique dimensions to the Whitby touring experience.
Among the most visited museums are the Captain Cook Memorial Museum, offering insights into the famous explorer's life, and the Whitby Museum, with its eclectic collection of local history, maritime, and geology exhibits. The Museum of Whitby Jet also captivates visitors with its display of the town’s renowned jet jewelry.
Rainy days are perfect for exploring Whitby's indoors through the myriad of guided audio tours available for the Captain Cook Memorial Museum and the Whitby Museum. These immersive experiences offer a deep dive into the area's rich heritage from the comfort of the indoors.
For those pressed for time, the Whitby Heritage Town Walk, lasting around an hour, gives a quick yet informative introduction to the town’s historic heart. Alternatively, shorter boat tours are available, providing a swift sail around the harbor and along the coast.

Best Things to Do In Whitby

Discover the enchanting coastal town of Whitby, where culture, history, and stunning views combine for a memorable experience.

Whitby: St. Mary's Church

What is it?
A charming historical church with stunning architecture, perched near Whitby Abbey.
Why you should go?
St. Mary's Church in Whitby commands attention with its elegant structure and historical significance. Located adjacent to Whitby Abbey, it completes the experience of the Abbey's tour. Visitors captivated by Whitby activities are drawn to this church for its intricate interior and the storytelling gravestones in its cemetery. It offers not only spiritual reflection but also a panoramic view of the picturesque town below, making it one of the most soul-stirring things to do in Whitby.

Whitby: Whitby Goth Weekend

What is it?
An iconic biannual music festival celebrating goth culture, attracting visitors from all over.
Why you should go?
When considering what to do in Whitby, the Whitby Goth Weekend is a cultural phenomenon not to be missed. It's a spectacle of fashion, music, and counter-culture community that transforms the town into a vibrant showcase of creativity. This event is one of the most distinctive Whitby excursions, where attendees can revel in the live bands, themed markets, and the eclectic parade of gothic attire amidst the town's historic backdrop.

Whitby: The Whalebone Arch

What is it?
A symbolic landmark in Whitby, representing the town's rich whaling history.
Why you should go?
The Whalebone Arch is a significant historical marker and one of the best things to do in Whitby for those interested in maritime heritage. Perched atop the West Cliff, it offers an impressive photo opportunity with stunning views of the North Sea and the Abbey across the river. This attraction, combined with the nearby Captain Cook statue, provides an insightful window into Whitketby's adventurous past and vibrant seafaring legacy.

Whitby: Sandsend Beach

What is it?
A tranquil coastal stretch, ideal for peaceful walks, fossil hunting, and family outings.
Why you should go?
Visitors looking for a quieter beach experience will find Sandsend Beach one of the most rejuvenating places to visit in Whitby. Nestled just a short distance from the main town, it offers a respite from the bustle with its sweeping sandy shores and rock pools teeming with marine life. It's a location that’s perfect for fun things to do in Whitby, such as fossil hunting, building sandcastles, or simply basking in the coastal ambience.

Whitby: Robin Hood's Bay

What is it?
A picturesque fishing village and bay, renowned for its narrow streets and smugglers' history.
Why you should go?
Close to Whitby, Robin Hood's Bay is a must-see destination offering a labyrinth of tiny, winding streets and storied cottages that seem to cascade towards the sea. This village draws visitors with its romantic atmosphere and tales of old smugglers' passages. Embarking on this Whitby excursion transports adventurers back in time and offers a charming contrast to the main tourist spots, making it a unique aspect of the best Whitby tours.
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Whitby: Whitby Abbey

What is it?
An evocative and ancient Abbey with Gothic splendor overlooking the North Sea.
Why you should go?
High atop the East Cliff, Whitby Abbey's haunting beauty stirs the imagination. As things to see in Whitby go, this is a prime location that offers an immersive glimpse into the past. Its majestic ruins not only inspired famous literature but also offer a tangible connection to centuries of history. Visitors can embrace the dramatic views, delve into the site's stories through Whitby tours, and experience the peaceful ambiance that pervades its timeless stonework.

Whitby: The Captain Cook Memorial Museum

What is it?
A historic museum dedicated to the world-renowned explorer, Captain James Cook.
Why you should go?
The Captain Cook Memorial Museum, situated in the explorer's former residence, is a pivotal place to visit in Whitby. It provides insightful exhibits of Cook's voyages, skills, and the vessels he navigated around the world. This museum is not just about what to see in Whitby; it's an inspiration packed with maps, handwritten letters, and nautical instruments. One of the best Whitby tours involves stepping into Cook's world and retracing his monumental journeys.

Whitby: Whitby Beach

What is it?
A picturesque stretch of sandy beach framed by cliffs and the charming town.
Why you should go?
One of the best things to do in Whitby is simply to take a leisurely stroll or unwind at Whitby Beach. With its juxtaposition of rugged cliffs and stretches of golden sand, the beach promises relaxation and contemplation. Attendees can partake in beachside activities or enjoy the delicacies from nearby seafood stalls. The sounds of waves provide a natural soundtrack for one of the most serene Whitby excursions.

Whitby: 199 Steps

What is it?
A historic staircase providing a scenic route from the town to Whitby Abbey.
Why you should go?
For those pondering over what to do in Whitby, the iconic 199 Steps attract both history enthusiasts and fitness buffs. Climbing these steps not only bestows a sense of accomplishment but also unravels a panoramic vista of the town and harbour. Each step is a narrative piece of the town's past, leading to one of the best Whitby excursions – the majestic views and atmosphere at the top are unparalleled.

Whitby: Whitby Pavilion

What is it?
A vibrant entertainment venue with events, theatre, music, and festivals year-round.
Why you should go?
Fun things to do in Whitby are exemplified by the Whitby Pavilion, which nests on the cliff above the beach. This historical venue showcases local and touring performances, ranging from cinema to live music, contributing to the cultural fabric of Whitby. Its charming Victorian theatre and modern facilities make it a must-see for entertainment seekers. The Pavilion encapsulates a slice of local life and the dynamism of Whitby activities.

TOP-5 Tours in Whitby for First Time Visitors

  • Explore the historic Whitby Abbey, famously inspiring Bram Stoker's Dracula, and uncover the rich history that seeps through the ruins while enjoying breathtaking coastal views.
  • Stroll along Whitby Harbour on a guided audio tour, delving into the vibrant seafaring legacy and the picturesque marina, a popular choice among Whitby activities.
  • Embark on a gastronomic journey to sample local delicacies, discover what to do in Whitby for food lovers, and learn about the town's fishing heritage and famous Whitby kippers.
  • Visit the Whitby Museum, one of the essential places to visit in Whitby, where a self-guided tour narrates the tales behind the town's sea, science, and local history exhibits.
  • Unwind with a leisurely audio-guided walk at Pannett Park, among the fun things to do in Whitby, enjoying its beautifully landscaped gardens and outdoor art.

Fun things to do in Whitby with kids

Nestled on the picturesque North Yorkshire coast, Whitby is a treasure trove of family-friendly activities. Delight young explorers with a trip to the Whitby Wizard Science Museum, where interactive exhibits spark curiosity and wonder. Kids can experiment with hands-on displays that make learning about science a magical experience. The thrill of discovery continues at Pannett Park, which is perfect for a family picnic and features a play area designed to resemble Whitby's iconic Abbey. This verdant haven offers ample space for children to play and explore. No family visit to Whitby is complete without embracing its seafaring heritage aboard the Bark Endeavour Whitby. This scaled-down replica of Captain Cook’s famous ship provides a swashbuckling adventure on the high seas, imbuing a sense of adventure and history. These attractions provide not only an educational and entertaining day out but also create lasting memories for the entire family.

Things to do in Whitby with family

Embarking on a family holiday in Whitby presents opportunities for adventure, learning, and unforgettable moments. Gather the clan for an intriguing visit to the Whitby Museum, where collections of fossils, maritime artifacts, and relics of bygone eras fascinate visitors of all ages. Children's imaginations will be captivated by the tales of sailors and explorers who shaped this historic port town. The allure of the seaside beckons families to the sandy shores of Whitby Beach, where building sandcastles, searching for sea glass, and dipping toes into the sea make for joyous activities. Wrap up a day of exploration and fun with a picturesque steam train ride on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway from Whitby station. Here, families can sit back and admire the breathtaking landscapes of the moors, deep valleys, and quaint villages, all while experiencing the nostalgic charm of vintage travel. These experiences are woven into the fabric of vacations, creating family memories to cherish in picturesque Whitby.

Free things to as in Whitby

Visitors to Whitby will be delighted to find a variety of activities that are as enjoyable as they are cost-effective. First on the list is the iconic Whalebone Arch, which provides a photogenic viewpoint of the charming town and its captivating coastline – a perfect spot for budding photographers and history enthusiasts alike. Next, there’s no better way to soak in the town's ambiance than strolling along the picture-perfect Whitby Harbour. It offers a serene, yet lively locale where one can appreciate the boats, observe local fishermen, and enjoy the sunset. Lastly, a visit to the picturesque Pannett Park grants families a peaceful retreat with well-maintained gardens, a children's play area, and the Whitby Museum within its grounds – it's an idyllic setting for a leisurely day out. These attractions showcase the essence of Whitby, proving that exploration and enjoyment don't necessarily come with a price tag.

Cheap things to do in Whitby

Whitby's rich heritage and stunning natural beauty offer an array of budget-friendly activities. Visitors can delight in the historic ambiance as they meander through the cobbled streets of Whitby's Old Town. Here, the charming shops and the market square tell a story of times past without the need to spend. For a touch of Gothic intrigue, the legendary 199 Steps await; climbing this storied staircase provides not only a free workout but also unparalleled views of the harbour and ruins of Whitby Abbey. The venture rewards with enthralling photo opportunities, making it a worthwhile pursuit for adventurers. Additionally, seekers of cultural experiences can encounter the artistic side of the town by perusing the artworks at the Pannett Art Gallery. With thoughtful exhibits and local masterpieces, this attraction offers insight into the area's creative spirit. Each of these affordable pastimes in Whitby enriches the visit without straining the wallet, proving that the best sights often come with the smallest price tag.

Things to do in Whitish for couples

Couples seeking a romantic getaway in Whitby will find an array of enchanting activities. A must-do is a leisure walk along Whitby's atmospheric coastline at sunset. The soft glow of dusk creates a dreamy ambiance perfect for hand-in-hand strolls. Connecting over shared marvels, partners can also visit the Whitby Abbey ruins that inspire both awe and intimacy against the backdrop of a dramatic sky. For a taste of adventure, embark on a coastal cruise from Whitish Harbour, offering stunning seascapes and perhaps a glimpse of wildlife - a memory to treasure in the heart of North Yorkshire. Lastly, winding down at one of the quaint and cozy pubs in town allows for snugly conversations over traditional ales and delicious pub fare, rounding off the day with warmth and good spirits. Whitby, rich in history and beauty, offers couples a bespoke tapestry of experiences sure to kindle and nurture the flames of romance.

Things to do in Whitby at night

When the sun sets on this historic seaside town, Whitby transforms into a place of nocturnal charm. The glow of street lamps illuminates the ancient cobbles, inviting couples and friends alike to embark on a ghost walk. These chilling tours through Whitby’s eerie alleys and bygone haunts are a thrilling way to discover the town's darker history and perhaps encounter past residents. For those preferring a spirited evening over spirits of the past, Whitby’s traditional pubs offer a convivial atmosphere with live music, local beers, and engaging tales from friendly locals. The night owers among art aficionados can also find intimate galleries hosting evening exhibitions, often accompanied by the soft strumming of acoustic guitars, adding a cultural note to the night's escapades. Whether it’s evoking the macabre, savoring the nightlife, or soaking in the arts, Whitby at night provides an array of experiences for every nocturnal adventurer.