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
Tourist Information Centre
Phone 01723 383637
Photos are automatically tagged by geographic coordinate proximity and/or are submitted by website visitors, and may not necessarily be specifically of Whitby.
Forecast for Tuesday 17 July
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Located in Whitby, Saint Hilda's House offers bed-and-breakfast accommodation with free WiFi access throughout and features a garden with a terrace. Guests benefit from nearby public parking facilities free of charge. Details...
Opposite Pannett Park in the centre of Whitby, this Victorian villa is less than 5 minutes’ walk from the popular shopping area. There is free street parking nearby, and a pay car park less than 2 minutes’ walk away. Details...
Set in an 1895 Victorian house, this charming guest house offers modern accommodation whilst retaining its original features. It offers free WiFi and freshly cooked breakfasts, 8 minutes’ walk from Whitby Train Station. Details...
Featuring free WiFi, Broomfield House offers accommodation in Whitby, 900 metres from Whitby Abbey. Each room comes with a flat-screen TV with satellite channels and DVD player. You will find a kettle in the room. Details...
Originally built in 1870, this beautiful Victorian terrace house is ideally situated in the heart of Whitby, with stunning views across the historic Pannet Park. Details...
The Waverley Guest House offers accommodation in Whitby. Each room has a flat-screen TV and DVD player. You will find a kettle in the room. Every room comes with a private bathroom. Extras include free toiletries and a hair dryer. Details...
Garden Oasis is a beautiful single-storey apartment in Whitby. The property has a king-size double bedroom, a bathroom, a kitchen and a sitting room with dining area and sofa bed. Outside is an enclosed, private front patio and lawn with furniture; perfect for relaxing. Details...
The Bolthole is a beautiful ground floor garden apartment is set in a Grade II listed Georgian property, in the heart of the seaside town of Whitby and can sleep two people. Details...
Park View is a first floor apartment situated in the lovely seaside town of Whitby. This apartment, part of a Victorian property overlooks Pannett Park and sleeps four people in two double bedrooms. The apartment also has a bathroom and an open plan living area with kitchen, dining area and sitting area. Details...
The Captain's Hideaway is a terraced cottage spread over five floors in the centre of the North Yorkshire coastal town of Whitby. The cottage sleeps seven people and has two double bedrooms (with ensuites) and a family room with three single beds, plus a family bathroom. Details...
Fireman's Rest is a three-storey maisonette set within a Georgian terracedbuilding in the centre of Whitby. This cottage sleeps six and has three bedrooms consisting of one second floor family room, one third floor double and one third floor single, as well as a first floor bathroom and a second floor shower room. Details...
This beautifully restored Georgian house is spread over three floors and has kept many of its original features such as stained glass windows, high ceilings, doors and fireplaces and the house has two staircases leading up to each floor, one of them being the servants' stairway at the back. Details...