Places to visit in Whitby
It’s easy to amuse the children when the sun is shining and the beach and sea are so inviting but there is a great deal more to do in Whitby whatever the weather.
Open Top Bus Tours
One way to start your visit is to travel on the open top bus and get a feel for the town. The lively commentary gives you an idea of what there is and where to go.
If it’s not raining, a good place to head is the West Cliff beside the large car park where you can putt, pitch and putt, trampoline, dip your toes in the paddling pool or enjoy the bumper boats or go-karts. There is also a café there with Beacon Farm ice-cream (try the cinder toffee flavour!) and you can just sit on the grass and chill out. Across the road, on the promenade, there is Arnold Palmer’s Crazy Golf which is a real leveller even for the most accomplished golfer. Continuing the fitness theme, Whitby Leisure Centre by the West Cliff car park, offers swimming pools, a gym and weights. On a Friday evening there is an activities night for kiddies there.
When the children are really full of energy and you are trying to calm them down, take them along to Pannett Park where there is a wonderful new playground. In a safe environment, the children can play to their heart’s content and run off some of that energy while you have a sit down in very pleasant surroundings.
Whitby Surf School
For yourselves and older children, there is always the Whitby Surf School. Your chance to impress all around with your style and finesse as you fall off your surfboard in all sorts of amazing ways! If you want to stay dry but work out at the same time then there is always the chance to go up the 199 steps leading to Whitby Abbey. Of course, the return journey is a great deal easier!
A popular trip out to sea is provided by the mini Bark-Endeavour, a reminder of when the full scale replica made such an impression when it first sailed into Whitby in 1997. There are also fishing trips available and whale-watching too.
Those of you who enjoy a museum and a little bit of culture will have quite a choice during your time in Whitby. The Pannett Museum, at Pannett Park on the West side, has treasure chest of paintings, many to do with the sea and some from the Staithes Group of painters. There are skeletons and many other artefacts to do with the sea and, of course, the famous mummified hand. The Captain Cook Museum on Grape Lane, just over the swing bridge on the East side, offers a great visit for those who want to see letters in Cook’s own hand, maps and original paintings by famous artists such as Gainsborough. This museum was the inner of the Gold Award 2013 for the best small visitor attraction in Visit England's Awards for Excellence. Another really interesting place to visit is the Whitby Jet Heritage Centre at the end of the cobbled Church Street.
It’s difficult to go anywhere in Whitby without being aware of the Abbey on the eastern headland towering over the town. The state of the art visitors centre and the ruins of the 7th century abbey provide a wonderful day out as well as providing an insight to the importance of St Hilda in modern Christianity. Don’t leave the Abbey without a visit to St Mary’s Church next door. Dating back to 1110 AD, the church has galleries and a triple-decker pulpit! Many of the pews still retain doors and have family names on these doors with one having the inscription, “for strangers only”. The graveyard is also the setting for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Just along the way from the church is the old Whitby Lighthouse.
The Dracula Experience and Ghost Walks
Mentioning Dracula, you may want to take the family to the Dracula Experience on the harbour side. Guaranteed to scare even the most fearless, it’s well worth a visit. A similar experience can be gained by taking a Whitby Ghost Walk. Superbly delivered by Mr Harry Collett, it gives you a chance to see parts of the town that you would never know about as well as hear some of the ghastly tales of Whitby.
For those of you who prefer less scary experiences, why not take the family to Doodlepots where you can all choose a pot to paint and then have it glazed and fired. A great place to relax and produce a unique piece, whatever your talent as there are helpful staff around.
Of course, expending all of this energy makes you hungry and Whitby does not disappoint with its selection of restaurants and cafes. There are plenty of fish restaurants with The Magpie Café and Trenchers the most often named. Passage to India near the railway station offers Indian cuisine whilst Long Kings near the Metropole Hotel satisfies those who prefer Chinese. Moutreys, Cosa Nostra, White Horse and Griffin, Ditto’s and many more provide for a wide range of tastes. Takeaway fish and chips come from many outlets with Royal Fisheries, Silver Street and Riverside Fisheries most often mentioned.
Once you have exhausted Whitby, you can take the train one stop to Ruswarp (from April to October, this could be on a steam train). Here you will find boating on the River Esk, Mini Monsterz (big play area for youngsters), a mini farm and a miniature steam train.
Apart from the above, there are plenty of other things going on in Whitby and it is always worth purchasing the Whitby Gazette to find out the latest.