Whitby Abbey, with its haunting tumbledown ruins and windswept cliff top stronghold, is an utterly atmospheric destination. Plan an evening visit and watch the sun setting over the cliffs, or visit during an illumination evening to see the imposing Abbey bathed in colourful light. You can explore the history of the Abbey at the nearby visitor centre, a perfect hideaway if the weather’s not on your side! If you’re a lover of mediaeval history, you might also enjoy a visit to the Church of St Mary – an ancient place of worship that’s remarkably well preserved, with a Norman arch and sweeping 199-step staircase. The Captain Cook Memorial Museum is based in a 17th Century harbourside house where the great explorer James Cook served his apprenticeship in 1746. See letters in Cook's own hand, original paintings and drawings, ship models and maps, and strange objects from newly discovered lands. Enjoy fun days out for all the family on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. Travel from Pickering to Whitby and be transported back to an era when magnificent steam engines ruled the railways.
Not a fan of ghosts and ghouls? Then look away now, as Whitby was the place where Bram Stoker was inspired to write his chilling novel ‘Dracula’. The town now plays host to many Dracula tours, for example those led by Whitby Walks, taking visitors on a haunting walk round the vampire’s old hunting grounds.
Visit the annual Whitby Folk Week in August, when the town is filled with singers, bands, traditional dancers, storytellers and music workshops. Or perhaps you’d prefer the Goth Weekend? This twice-yearly festival is one of the most popular Gothic events in the world, featuring live bands and fringe events. Don’t forget to visit the Elsinore – the pub where the whole event started. Alternatively, with a first prize of £1,000 for the single heaviest trout, Whitby Angling Festivals are held all year round. Watch expert anglers land some seriously big fish – then celebrate with fish and chips afterwards!