Tourist Information in North York Moors
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Whitby Town Information

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The unique flavour of this seaside resort is reflected in one of its most popular attractions, the Dracula Experience. The town was partly responsible for Bram Stoker penning his famous vampire story after he heard the tale of how a dog was the only survivor of a shipwreck in the harbour. His imagination turned the real-life dog into a wolf which took refuge in St Mary’s Churchyard before embarking on a killing spree as a shape-shifting vampire.

Whitby Sunset Taken form the Pier - Photo © Phil Catterall
Whitby Sunset Taken form the Pier - Photo: Phil Catterall CCL

Whitby Abbey - Photo © Colin Westley
Whitby Abbey - Photo: Colin Westley CCL

High above the town is a dramatic headland on which stands the ruin of Whitby Abbey. The Vikings destroyed an original abbey founded in 657AD by St Hilda but the Normans rebuilt it. The modern ruin dates from the 13th century. The nearby St Mary’s Church is approached by 199 steps, giving a glorious view of Whitby and its environs.
Whitby’s most famous inhabitant was the explorer Captain James Cook who served his nautical apprenticeship in this one-time whaling port and sailed for Tahiti in a locally-built ship in 1768. His house is marked by a plaque. Another well-known son of the town was the photographer Frank Meadow Sutcliffe. Many of his evocative pictures are on show locally.

Replica of Captain Cook's ship, Endeavour, leaving harbour - Photo © Colin F M Smith
Replica of Captain Cook's ship, Endeavour, leaving harbour - Photo: Colin F M Smith CCL

The town’s Pannett Park Museum tells the history of Whitby’s famous jet mining industry. Jet, or fossilised wood, has been turned into jewellery since prehistory. It was worn by Queen Victoria while she mourned the death of Prince Albert.