Steeped in history Whitby is known for its quirky narrow streets and bustling harbour overlooked by the striking ruins of Whitby Abbey. Explore the Captain Cook Memorial Museum, where you can learn about the famous explorer's life or visit the Dracula Experience on the seafront.

Staying in Whitby? Climb-on board a heritage train and explore further afield by taking a trip to the market town of Pickering. Trains depart daily form Whitby Railway Station.

Things to see and do

Whitby Abbey – founded in the 7th century AD – 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 brought back by roving sea captains. 

The Whitby coast is the source of jet, the fossilized remains of the ancient monkey-puzzle tree. It's been used as jewellery for thousands of years, and was popularised in Victorian times. 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.

Walks

Clifftop walks along the Cleveland Way National Trail run north to Staithes and south to Robin Hood's Bay. 

Whitby also marks the end of the 37-mile Esk Valley Walk, which follows the River Esk from its source high on the moors to the North Sea. For a great half-day's walk, take the train to Grosmont and walk back to Whitby, following the 'leaping salmon' trail signs.

Activities

Harbour trips and fishing trips depart from various points along the harbour – check the noticeboards for the latest departures.

Whitby Leisure Centre on West Cliff has a pool with public swim sessions and swimming lessons. Call 01947 604640 for further information.

Eating and drinking

Whitby is well-known for its fish and chips, including famous venues like The Magpie Café and Quayside, 2014 winner at the National Fish and Chip Awards. There are lots of cafés, pubs and restaurants in town. Head to the old town to seek out Fortune's Smokehouse for the best traditional smoked kippers in England.

Festivals and events

Whitby Goth Weekend (usually April and again at Halloween weekend) brings thousands to town, to celebrate Whitby's Dracula connections with gigs, events and a Goth market. Two more don't-miss music events are the venerable Whitby Folk Week every August, with traditional music and dance, workshops and street entertainment; and October's Musicport Festival, the UK's biggest indoor world music festival.

Whitby Regatta (August) takes a different tack, showcasing four days of yacht racing, rowing races and entertainment, finishing with a spectacular harbourside firework display.