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Visitors flock all year round to the most atmospheric town along the Yorkshire coast. The famous abbey ruins on the clifftop, and cobbled Georgian old town below, form a beautiful backdrop to days on the sandy beach or strolls around the vibrant harbour.

Captain Cook learned his trade here in the 18th century, while in the 19th century Whitby expanded with the arrival of the railway. Steam trains still serve the town, on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway from Pickering and Grosmont, while the Esk Valley Railway offers a scenic trip through the heart of the beautiful Esk Valley.

Things to see and do

Whitby Abbey was founded in the 7th century AD and has a significant place in England's religious history, for it was here that the date of Easter was agreed between the Celtic and Roman churches. The magnificent ruins and museum shouldn't be missed.

To reach the abbey, take a walk up the famous 199 Steps from the old town, passing historic St Mary's Church. 

Captain Cook is remembered in the Captain Cook Memorial Museum,  housed in the harbourfront building where Cook lodged as an apprentice seaman.

Meanwhile, wonderful Whitby Museum covers the the town's whaling, shipping and geological history, including giant marine fossils and curiosities bought back by roving sea captains.

The North Yorkshire Moors Railway runs heritage steam and diesel services from Whitby to Pickering, via the rail village of Grosmont with its engine sheds and station tearoom. Trains on the Esk Valley Railway also call at Grosmont on their way to Middlesbrough.

Not to be forgotten is the annual Whitby Goth Weekend, which attracts visitors from far and wide.

The coast off Whitby and the National Park is the source of jet, the fossiled remains of the ancient monkey-puzzle tree. It's been used as jewellery for thousands of years, and was popularised in Victorian times, and several shops in town still continue the tradition, including W. Hamond, the town's oldest surviving jet shop. You can also visit the Whitby Jet Heritage Centre to see the last remaining example of an authentic Victorian jet workshop.

Is this beach Dog Friendly?

Whitby has beaches on both sides of the River Esk. On the east side is a sheltered sandy beach that allows dogs all year round. On the other side of West Pier is West Cliff, a larger sandy beach does not allow dogs.

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