Surrounded by the North York Moors National Park and strongly associated with Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Whitby hotels are an excellent base for exploring this historically and culturally rich coastal landscape.
Although it started life as a small fishing village, Whitby boomed as a tourist destination during the Georgian period and grew later with the introduction of the railway. One of the most impressive historical buildings in the area is Whitby Abbey, based on the East Cliff headland. The ruined Benedictine abbey is an impressive sight to behold and was one of the main sources of inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Beside the abbey is Cholmley House, which contains a museum and visitor reception to the abbey site.
Also worth visiting is the Captain Cook Memorial Museum, housed in a 17th-century building that was the former residence and training ground of James Cook during his time as an apprentice in the Royal Navy. The museum features a number of informative exhibitions detailing Cook’s voyages of discovery through various artefacts and documents. Whitby Museum and Pannett Art Gallery are both great destinations for rainy days. The museum has an eclectic collection of fossils, models of sailing ships and other curiosities. The art gallery, adjacent to the museum, has a fantastic collection of 20th-century British impressionist art.
The rise of the tourism during the Victorian period made Whitby a very popular destination. Jet jewellery also grew in popularity during the Victorian period and Whitby Jet, mined in the local area, became a fashionable item to wear throughout British society during the reign of Queen Victoria following the death of Prince Albert. At the end of the 19th century Whitby grew once more to prominence as a result of Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula. Stoker found the name of Dracula in Whitby’s pubic library and based a large chunk of the novel in the town. This association with Dracula can be explored in the Dracula Experience and the world famous Goth Festival takes place in the town twice a year.
North York Moors National Park
Travel inland from Whitby and you’ll find the vast North York Moors National Park. This enormous area of exceptional natural beauty is the perfect location for outdoor activities, from gentle strolls to longer bike rides and horse riding. One of the best starting points for exploring the park is The Moors National Park Centre in nearby Danby. The centre has a selection of engaging exhibitions dedicated to teaching the geological and cultural history of the area. The centre also has a cosy tearoom and an outdoor play area – perfect if you’re travelling with kids in tow.
Whitby is home to several outstanding beaches. Whitby Beach is a great place to spend a sunny day – whether you plan on making sandcastles with the kids or dipping into the sea. Tate Hill Beach is a pleasant beach set within Whitby harbour, Runswick Bay is an east facing sandy beach and Sandsend Ness contains thousands of fossils embedded in the shale banks.
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