Secret Britain: Whitby

Secret Britain: Whitby

Whitby is described as the 'jewel in the crown' of Yorkshire's coastline. Here are reader Caroline Field's favourite things to do there.

A rich history

Whitby is one of the oldest fishing ports in England, starting life as a key element of the whaling industry. The Captain Cook Museum is a must to discover how Whitby was put on the map. It's set in a beautiful 17th century house, where a young Cook came to be a captain's apprentice. Then pop into Whitby Museum in Pannett Park which houses one of the largest displays of Victorian Whitby Jet – made popular by Queen Victoria when in mourning for Prince Albert. It also houses one of the largest marine dinosaur fossils discovered along that coastline and a massive model collection of copies of the boats once sailing the nearby seas.  

Lace your walking boots

The Cleveland Way is an ideal place for walkers, taking a leisurely stroll along the pier or the sandy beach - awarded one of the cleanest beaches in England and a wonderful place for children to play. One beach, Tate Sands, was made famous when in 1879 Bram Stoker wrote his gothic horror story Dracula. In the book, Count Dracula jumps from the ship Demeter in the guise of a dog and lands on this small cove of sand. 

Abbey days

If you feel energetic walk up to the Abbey (up the 199 steps or a gentler climb up Caedmons Trod). On the 199 steps look out for stopping points where coffin bearers rested their cargo on the way up to the church. The Whitby tour bus visits the Abbey hourly. Once there, visit the visitors' centre, the shop or the cafe. Look in the graveyard too for the two ancient pirate graves marked with skull and crossbones but no names! 

Foodie fans

Will love Sherlock's - it's the quaintest of tea rooms on Flowergate, look for the old butcher's bike outside and you've found it. I defy anyone to gaze at their cakes in the window and not be tempted. Their large cups of hot chocolate will warm anyone on a cold day.

Blast from the past

Go back to the 1960s when, twice a year, the Pavilion Theatre hosts a retro weekend. Don your mini dress, white boots and bobbed wig and dance the night away t the likes of The Searchers, PJ Proby, The Ivy League and Marty Wilde.

On a rainy day...

Head to the arcades for ten pin bpwling, pool, air hockey tables and 'Long John Silver' crazy golf!