"Sittin' on the dock of the bay"

Whitby

Whitby is a seaside town, port and civil parish in the Borough of Scarborough and English county of North Yorkshire. Prior to local government reorganisations in the late 1960s it was considered to be part of the North Riding of Yorkshire. Situated on the east coast of Yorkshire at the mouth of the River Esk, Whitby has an established maritime, mineral and tourist heritage. Its East Cliff is home to the ruins of Whitby Abbey, where Caedmon, the earliest recognised English poet, lived. The fishing port emerged during the Middle Ages and developed important herring and whaling fleets, and was (along with the nearby fishing village of Staithes) where Captain Cook learned seamanship. Tourism started in Whitby during the Georgian period and developed further on the arrival of the railway in 1839. Its attraction as a tourist destination is enhanced by its proximity to the high ground of the North York Moors National Park, its Heritage Coastline and by its association with the horror novel Dracula. Jet and alum were mined locally. Whitby Jet, which was mined by the Romans and Victorians became fashionable during the 19th century.

The earliest record of a permanent settlement is in 656, when as Streonshal it was the place where Oswy, the Christian king of Northumbria, founded the first abbey, under the abbess Hilda. The Synod of Whitby was held there in 664. In 867, the monastery was destroyed by Viking raiders, and was re-founded in 1078. It was in this period that the town gained its current name, Whitby, (from "white settlement" in Old Norse). In the following centuries Whitby functioned as a fishing settlement until, in the 18th century, it developed as a port and centre for shipbuilding and whaling, the trade in locally mined alum and the manufacture of Whitby jet jewellery.

The abbey ruin at the top of the East Cliff is the town's oldest and most prominent landmark. Other significant features include the swing bridge, which crosses the River Esk and the harbour, which is sheltered by the grade II listed East and West piers. The town's maritime heritage is commemorated by statues of Captain Cook and William Scoresby, as well as the whalebone arch that sits at the top of the West Cliff. The town also has a strong literary tradition and has featured in literary works, television and cinema, perhaps most famously in Bram Stoker's novel, Dracula.

While Whitby's cultural and historical heritage contribute to the local economy, the town does suffer from the economic constraints of its remote location, ongoing changes in the fishing industry, relatively underdeveloped transport infrastructure and limitations on available land and property. As a result, tourism and some forms of fishing remain the mainstay of its economy. It is the closest port to a proposed wind farm development in the North Sea, 47 miles (76 km) from York and 22 miles (35 km) from Middlesbrough. There are transport links to the rest of North Yorkshire and North East England, primarily through national rail links to Middlesbrough and road links to Teesside, via both the A171 and A174, and Scarborough by the former.

According to the 2011 UK census, the town had a population of 13,213, a decrease on the 2001 UK census figure of 13,594.

Local authority: North Yorkshire County Council

OS Grid Reference: NZ894109

Local area map loading...
Larger map

Things to see and do in and around Whitby

  • Pannett Park
  • Whitby Museum
  • Doodlepots Ceramic Cafe
  • Whitby Archives Heritage Centre
  • Whitby Whale Watching Centre
  • The Dracula Experience
  • Bark Endeavour
  • Whitby Lifeboat Museum (RNLI)
  • Museum of Victorian Whitby
  • Captain Cook Memorial Museum
  • Studio of John Freeman
  • Whitby Abbey
  • Mary Ann Hepworth
  • Mini Monsterz
  • Robin Hood's Bay

Tourist Information

Whitby
Tourist Information Centre
Langborne Road
Yorkshire
England
YO21 1YN

Phone 01723 383637
Email whitbytic@scarborough.gov.uk

Photos are automatically tagged by geographic coordinate proximity and/or are submitted by website visitors, and may not necessarily be specifically of Whitby.

Weather

Forecast for Friday 26 May

06:00


Chance of rain 0%
Max temp. 17°C
(feels like 16°C)
Wind 2mph, gusting to 4mph.
S
Pressure 1022
Humidity 73%
UV Index
Air Quality

09:00


Chance of rain 0%
Max temp. 20°C
(feels like 18°C)
Wind 3mph, gusting to 5mph.
SE
Pressure 1022
Humidity 68%
UV Index
Air Quality

12:00


Chance of rain 0%
Max temp. 21°C
(feels like 18°C)
Wind 4mph, gusting to 6mph.
SE
Pressure 1021
Humidity 63%
UV Index
Air Quality

15:00


Chance of rain 0%
Max temp. 20°C
(feels like 17°C)
Wind 4mph, gusting to 7mph.
SE
Pressure 1020
Humidity 67%
UV Index
Air Quality

18:00


Chance of rain 0%
Max temp. 17°C
(feels like 15°C)
Wind 4mph, gusting to 7mph.
SE
Pressure 1019
Humidity 72%
UV Index
Air Quality

21:00


Chance of rain 0%
Max temp. 14°C
(feels like 11°C)
Wind 4mph, gusting to 7mph.
SE
Pressure 1019
Humidity 84%
UV Index n/a
Air Quality
Five Day Weather

Nearby coastal places and features

Local area map loading...

Accomodation in and around Whitby

Hotels, guest houses and B&Bs

Self-catering

All nearby accomodation

Tell us what you think about Whitby

SeaBritain.co.uk is a Good Stuff website.