After exploring the Cotswolds of England by public footpaths, Jarrett and I took a train from Moreton-in-Marsh to the city of Scarborough along the northeast coast of the country. We arrived late in the evening after a full day of travel but were up early the following morning to head with our friends to the town of Whitby.
The geography of North Yorkshire was hilly and open with vast fields of heather. Though the purple was not in bloom at that time of year, the views were still spectacular.
We arrived at the car park of Whitby, which was just beginning to crowd with day visitors, and began to stroll the streets. Before our trip, we had never heard of this quaint English seaside town, but within one day we discovered why Whitby will remain one of our favorite places.
What Whitby is Today:
- Whitby is a quaint fishing village that boasts the best fish and chips on our travels in England. With “sea to table” service, you are guaranteed a good bite.
- Whitby is a summer residence for many Brits with a sprawling beach set against the North Sea.
- Whitby is an idyllic English tourist town with seafood restaurants, shops, a long pier, and even arcades.
- Whitby is the best known spot for “jet” jewelry, a fossilized mineraloid from a Jurassic period tree known to us as Monkey Puzzle Trees.
What Whitby Used to Be:
- Whitby was home to a monastic site for Benecditine monks after the erection of the Abbey which was commissioned by the Christian King of Northumbria in 657 A.D. The remains may be a pilgrimage for some and an architectural wonder for others. Staring up at the stones that still stand majestic and proud will fill your soul with historic wanderlust. From Vikings to King Henry VIII, the well-maintained site seems to whisper atop the cliffs all it has seen through the centuries.
- Whitby was the training seaport of Captain James Cook. The town currently has the Captain Cook Museum which is presumed to be located in the famous Captain’s own lodging when he was not at sea.
- Whitby was the inspirational town for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The town thrives on the little known fact that Stoker stayed at the Grand Hotel, stared out at the North Sea and up at St. Mary’s churchyard and envisioned his famous tale. Whitby is a favorite of Drac fans so don’t be alarmed by the long black coats you see pacing the street.
- Whitby was the site of many Viking raids. The name says it all. Whitby held other names before 867 A.D. but after the Vikings began their raids, the name of Whitby, meaning “white settlement” in Old Norse, stuck.
Whitby is truth that travel connects you to the past. It became a part of our travels by the soul fact that our friends lived in nearby Scarborough. We did not seek out Whitby, but Whitby found usand we left there feeling that we had found the most picturesque English seaside town; one full of great food, beautiful architecture, and fantastic history.
The 199 Steps from the town to St. Mary’s Church is a popular attraction on its own. It is heavily debated if it truly is199 steps… You will just have to visit and count yourself!