15 Best Things to Do in Whitby, England

15 Best Things to Do in Whitby, England

By will

On England’s North Sea coast, the small seaside town of Whitby is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered.

With its quaint cobblestoned streets and spectacularly dramatic coastline, it’s the perfect place for a weekend getaway.

From exploring the ruins of Whitby Abbey to sampling some of the local seafood delicacies, there’s plenty to keep you busy during your stay.

Here are 15 of the best things to do in Whitby that will satisfy any traveler’s yearning for freedom and adventure.

1. Whitby Abbey

Whitby Abbey
Photo by Steve Daniels

Whitby Abbey is an iconic landmark in the charming coastal town of Whitby, England.

Perched atop a headland overlooking the North Sea, this ancient ruin is a must-see when visiting this picturesque area.

Dating back to 657 AD, it’s one of the most significant Anglo-Saxon religious sites in Britain and has been linked to famous figures like St Hilda and Caedmon.

The abbey offers visitors a stunning view of the sea and coastline, while also providing insight into its historical past.

The ruins are surrounded by tranquil gardens with pathways winding through them, giving visitors ample opportunity to explore.

Visitors can also take time to admire some of the remaining architectural features such as stone arches, walls, and towers – all of which add to the abbey’s beauty and grandeur.

An audio tour is available for those wishing to learn more about the site’s history in greater detail.

Visiting Whitby Abbey provides an unforgettable experience; not only does it offer spectacular views but also an opportunity for exploration and discovery that will stay with you long after your visit has ended.

2. Whitby Beach

Whitby beach
Photo by Malcolm Neal

Whitby Beach is one of the best places to visit in Whitby, England.

With its stunning sea views and sandy beach, it offers a perfect opportunity to relax and enjoy the scenery.

It’s a great spot for families too, as the beach is generally quite safe and there are plenty of activities to keep everyone entertained – from sandcastle building to rock pooling.

The beach has a feeling of freedom; you can wander along the shoreline or take a dip in the cool waters without a care in the world.

The sunsets here are truly breathtaking and make for some wonderful photographs.

There are also plenty of cafes and ice cream vendors nearby, so you can grab a snack while taking in the breathtaking views.

This beach is certainly worth visiting if you’re looking for some rest and relaxation amongst stunning surroundings!

3. Whitby Heritage Jet Centre

The Whitby Jet Heritage Centre
Photo by Andrew Diack

Visiting the Whitby Heritage Jet Centre is an absolute must for those who are looking for a unique experience.

Located in the heart of Whitby, this center brings together a passion for jet engines and classic aircraft to offer visitors a glimpse into the past.

The center is home to a wide range of historical jet engines, as well as various aircraft from the 1950s and 1960s.

Tours are available so that visitors can learn more about these amazing machines and explore their inner workings.

In addition to tours, the Whitby Heritage Jet Centre also provides plenty of interactive experiences for guests.

Visitors can take part in simulated flights that recreate the feeling of being inside an actual cockpit.

The center also offers a variety of other activities such as model airplane building and kite flying competitions.

There’s even an on-site café where visitors can relax after exploring all that the center has to offer.

The Whitby Heritage Jet Centre is truly a must-see destination for anyone looking to immerse themselves in aviation history and culture.

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Whether you’re a fan of planes or just looking for something different to do, this unique attraction is sure to provide an unforgettable experience!

4. Captain Cook Memorial Museum

Continuing your exploration of Whitby’s rich heritage, the Captain Cook Memorial Museum is definitely a must-see.

Nestled in the heart of Whitby, visitors can take a step back in time and experience life as it was during the 18th century.

The museum offers a captivating retelling of the story of James Cook, one of Britain’s greatest navigators and explorers.

The museum houses an incredible collection of artifacts from Cook’s voyages to the South Pacific and beyond, including maps, paintings, instruments, journals, and other objects.

Visitors can also learn about his early life in Yorkshire and his life-long friendship with Whitby astronomer William Wales.

The interactive displays provide further insight into this remarkable man’s career and achievements.

With audio tours available in multiple languages, there’s something for everyone at this fascinating museum.

Visiting this memorial will bring history to life for any explorer looking to uncover more about Captain Cook’s legacy.

It is sure to be an educational yet entertaining experience that will leave you inspired by the incredible stories behind Britain’s most celebrated navigator – making it an invaluable part of any tour around Whitby.

5. North Yorkshire Moors Railway

For those who want to explore the beautiful countryside of Whitby, England, the North Yorkshire Moors Railway is a must-see.

This iconic railway first opened in 1836 and today it’s one of the most popular tourist attractions in the region.

The 20-mile journey takes you through some of the most breathtaking scenery in the country and offers plenty of opportunities to admire nature’s beauty.

On board, you’ll get to experience a unique journey that will take you back in time and transport you to another era.

The steam locomotive chugging through rolling hills, winding valleys, and picturesque villages will make your heart flutter and fill your soul with joy.

Along the way, you can also spot wild deer, pheasants, rabbits, and other wildlife that inhabit the region.

What’s more, this train line also serves as a gateway to explore Whitby’s stunning coastline – from Robin Hood’s Bay to Staithes – allowing visitors to soak up stunning views from different angles.

No matter where your journey takes you on this historic railway line, it promises an unforgettable experience for all ages that’ll be remembered for years to come.

6. Robin Hoods Bay

Nestled between Whitby and Scarborough, Robin Hoods Bay is a charming village that’s sure to captivate any traveler.

It was once a smugglers’ haven in the 18th century, and its winding streets are full of character and history.

The village’s cobbled streets are lined with quaint cottages, pubs, and shops.

When you take a stroll along the beachfront here, you can really feel the spirit of adventure come alive.

The beach itself is perfect for swimming or just lazing around in the sun.

You can explore the many caves tucked away here too – it’s like stepping into another world!

There are also plenty of hiking trails to explore nearby – ranging from easy to difficult – so there’s something for every type of hiker.

If you’re looking for something more laid back, take a boat ride out to sea or try your hand at fishing off the pier.

No matter what activity you choose to do here, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience.

7. Pannett Park

Pannett Park, located in the center of Whitby, is a must-see for anyone visiting this charming seaside town.

Its sprawling green space offers plenty to explore and enjoy.

From its winding pathways and colorful gardens to its plentiful wildlife, there’s something here for everyone.

And if you’re looking for a bit of exercise, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to get your heart rate up.

The park itself is full of vibrant colors and beautiful sights.

There are plenty of trees to climb, flower beds to admire, and sculptures to explore.

You can even catch glimpses of Whitby Abbey from some spots in the park!

In addition, Pannett Park has an array of activities such as outdoor movie showings, live music performances, and free art classes—perfect for exploring with friends or family.

It’s also home to several historical artifacts too; these include a restored windmill and an ancient bell tower which have been relocated here from elsewhere in the town.

On top of all that, there are plenty of benches scattered around the park so you can take a break whenever you need one.

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So whether you’re looking for a peaceful stroll or an afternoon filled with fun activities, Pannett Park has it all!

Whether you come alone or with friends and family, it’s sure to leave you with memories that last long after your visit has ended.

8. Whitby Coastal Cruises

Whitby Coastal Cruises is an experience not to be missed when visiting Whitby, England.

Aboard a traditional trawler boat, visitors can explore the majestic coastline and view the breathtaking views of the North Sea.

The cruise lasts for two hours, so there’s plenty of time to take in the sights and listen to interesting stories about local history and folklore.

The crew on board are welcoming and knowledgeable about the area, providing a warm atmosphere and ensuring passengers have a memorable trip.

As the boat sails along the coastline, there are plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife including seals and birds such as puffins.

There’s also a chance to take some stunning photographs of Whitby Abbey or see some of the iconic shipwrecks that line this stretch of coast.

For anyone looking to explore Whitby’s captivating coastal scenery, taking a cruise with Whitby Coastal Cruises is an absolute must.

With informative commentary from experienced skippers, beautiful views, and abundant wildlife, it is guaranteed to be an unforgettable journey that will leave you feeling rejuvenated and inspired.

9. 199 Steps

If you’re looking to explore Whitby, there are plenty of steps you can take.

Whether you want to stroll around the town center or take a hike in the countryside, this charming harbor town has something for everyone.

For a dose of history and culture, visit some of its fascinating landmarks like Whitby Abbey and St Mary’s Church.

You can also check out the Captain Cook Memorial Museum, where you’ll get an insight into the life of one of Britain’s most famous explorers.

To experience Whitby from a different perspective, head up to the 199 Steps.

This set of stairs leads from the bottom of Church Street up to St Mary’s churchyard and provides great views over the town and surrounding coastline.

If you don’t fancy climbing them all, make sure to at least go as far as St Mary’s Church so you can appreciate its beauty for yourself.

Once up there, why not pause for a moment and soak in the stunning scenery?

If you’re looking for something a little different in Whitby, the Whitby Museum and Pannett Art Gallery is an absolute must-visit.

Located in the heart of town, it’s a great spot to while away for a few hours and explore the region’s history and culture.

The museum houses a range of fascinating exhibits, from prehistoric relics to maritime artifacts.

You can also learn about Whitby’s industrial past, with collections relating to the whaling industry and fishing fleets.

The gallery boasts artwork from local artists, plus pieces from renowned British painters such as William Turner.

And if that wasn’t enough, there are regular talks and activities for all ages – perfect for those seeking some creative inspiration.

So why not take a wander through this unique attraction?

With its rich history and vibrant culture, the Whitby Museum & Pannett Art Gallery offers an unforgettable experience that will stay with you long after your visit is over.

11. Whitby Pavilion

Whitby Pavilion is an iconic and beloved local landmark in the quaint seaside town of Whitby.

Situated right on the waterfront, visitors can take in stunning views of the harbor while enjoying a variety of entertainment options.

From live music and theater performances to amusement rides, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

The Pavilion offers a full range of activities, making it one of the best places to visit in Whitby.

If you’re looking for a night out, there are plenty of pubs, clubs, and restaurants to explore.

For those seeking some family fun, check out the arcade or mini golf course.

And if you’re feeling adventurous, hop on one of the thrilling rides or take a stroll along the pier!

Whether you want to relax or let loose, Whitby Pavilion has something for everyone.

12. Whale Bone Arch

The Whale Bone Arch is a must-see when visiting Whitby, England.

It’s one of the town’s most iconic landmarks and is free to visit.

The arch is made up of the jawbones of two whales, with the larger bone measuring 12 feet in length.

The structure was built in 1853 by a local man named John Parkinson who wanted to commemorate his love for whales.

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Strolling through the arch, you’ll get an incredible view of Whitby Harbor and the North Sea beyond.

At night, the Whale Bone Arch looks especially beautiful – it’s illuminated with hundreds of lights that make it glow against the dark sky.

Taking a walk to this special spot is great for couples or families; there are plenty of benches around so you can sit back and enjoy the scenery.

Even if you don’t have much time in Whitby, be sure to take at least a few minutes out of your day to admire this impressive monument!

13. Whitby Brewery

Switching gears from the iconic Whale Bone Arch, let’s turn our attention to another Whitby highlight – the award-winning Whitby Brewery.

Located at the old railway station in the heart of town, visitors can sample an array of locally brewed ales and lagers as well as take a tour of the brewery itself.

The brewery prides itself on using traditional methods to create its craft beer range.

All their beers are unfiltered and use only natural ingredients, including hops from local farms and pure Yorkshire water.

As you step through their copper-clad doors, you’ll be greeted with a warm and inviting atmosphere that makes it easy to while away an afternoon sampling their amazing brews.

From pale ales to hoppy IPAs, there’s something for every taste bud here.

You can even pick up some bottles or cans to take home with you – perfect for enjoying a cold one around the campfire after exploring the stunning North York Moors National Park!

14. West Cliff Beach

West Cliff Beach is a must-see in Whitby, England.

It’s the perfect spot to escape the hustle and bustle of town, with views of the harbor and stunning cliffs.

The beach is full of natural beauty, with rugged rocks, dunes, and lagoons all around.

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day or an adventure, West Cliff Beach has something for everyone.

On the shoreline, you’ll find plenty of activities to enjoy such as kayaking and paddleboarding.

For those interested in wildlife watching, there are regular sightings of birds and seals that can be spotted from the beach.

The area is also great for fossil hunting – it’s a popular spot for budding geologists and archaeologists alike!

No visit to Whitby would be complete without experiencing West Cliff Beach.

Take some time to explore this stunning natural landscape – it may just become your favorite place in town!

From peaceful moments spent on the sand to thrilling adventures in the waves, this beach offers something special for everyone who visits.

15. Runswick Bay

Runswick Bay is a stunning beach on the North Yorkshire Coast and one of the best things to do in Whitby, England.

Offering breathtaking views over the bay with its picturesque sandstone cottages, it’s no wonder it’s such a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.

Plus, with its nearby cafes, restaurants, pubs, and shops – it’s the perfect spot for a relaxing day out!

The beach itself is quite large, with golden sand stretching as far as the eye can see.

It’s perfect for sunbathing or taking a leisurely stroll along the shoreline.

There are also plenty of rockpools to explore and if you’re lucky enough you might even spot some dolphins swimming by!

For those feeling adventurous, there are plenty of water sports activities to enjoy such as kayaking and paddle boarding.

With its laid-back atmosphere and stunning scenery – Runswick Bay is sure to make your visit to Whitby an unforgettable experience.

Best Things to Do in Whitby – Final Thoughts

Whitby, England offers so many things to do that it’s hard to know where to start.

From exploring Whitby Abbey and the Captain Cook Memorial Museum to enjoying a leisurely stroll along the beach or a ride on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, there’s something for everyone here.

If you’re looking for something a bit more adventurous, why not try taking a trip out to RUNSWICK BAY and seeing if you can spot any whales?

Or if you’d prefer to stay on dry land, there’s plenty of fun at Whitby Brewery and West Cliff Beach.

No matter what your preference is, Whitby has something for everyone!

Whether it’s exploring its historical sites, relaxing with some craft beer or simply taking in the scenery along the coast – we guarantee that you’ll leave this charming English town with memories that will last a lifetime.


What are the best things to do in Whitby with kids?

The best things to do in Whitby with kids are visiting Whitby Abbey, Whitby Museum, and Pannett Park.

What to do during the day in Whitby?

The best things to do during the day in Whitby are visiting 199 Steps, Captain Cook Memorial Museum, and Eden Camp Museum.

Is Whitby worth visiting?

Yes, Whitby is worth visiting because of its great English heritage and mesmerizing coastlines.

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About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.