The Wonders of Whitby

View of the town and abbey – Helen Sant

Once a quiet fishing town, Whitby used to be the best kept secret in coastal Yorkshire. Nowadays the secret is pretty much out. Few can resist a visit to this haven of smugglers’ alleys and tiny cottages, flanked by a cliff-topped beach. As you trip into town you catch sight of crab-cages piled high, market stalls, chippys, coffeehouses, garish seafront amusements, hellish hills and winding paths, all crowned with a Gothic abbey.

The sea air is sweet and fresh, the streets alive with gulls’ screeches, while buskers play, human “statues” pose and street artists craft sand sculptures. Meanwhile on the seafront, the locals are hawking short voyages in a pirate ship, or standing by with patient donkeys to offer rides to children. 

Yes the secret’s definitely out. Shops such as these on Grape Lane pictured below, sell the popular Whitby jet jewellery and quirky antiques.

 

With two Goth festivals a year (April and October), Steampunk getting in on the act and a yearly regatta and folk festival in August which often clash, ensuring the North sea is filled with yachts and the roads flowing with morris dancers, more and more visitors are flocking to discover Whitby.

Whitby is famous for many things from its own smoked kippers to being the place where Victorian author Bram Stoker was inspired to pen his novel “Dracula.”

Of course, with the recent lockdowns, it has been a restricting time and not as easy to take a trip to this beautiful part of North Yorkshire. But with normal activity expected to resume from 21st June 2021, these are some of the events that you could enjoy in Whitby this year.

There’s the Steampunk Festival planned for 23-25th July, 2021.

Here are some past photos from the Steampunk event in 2018.

Whitby Regatta is also expected to go ahead in August 2021 from 21st -23rd. This event is normally hugely popular and the town is packed to the rafters. Events include yacht and rowing races.

Fingers crossed, things may have returned to more of a normality for Halloween in October too as this is Whitby’s haunting time, when Goths descend on the city and the ghost walks are busy. The Goth festival is scheduled for 29th to 31st October 2021.

Meanwhile, coming up this weekend 15th-16th May 2021 is a virtual event: Whitby Fish and Ships Festival.

New videos have been specially recorded of workshops and tours behind the scenes of the Captain Cook Museum, Whitby Museum, the harbour and Quayside Fish & Chips! I know the food there is excellent from when I used to be a tour guide in Whitby, though virtual fish and chips is of course not as exciting as the real thing.

It’s great however, that Whitby is still putting itself out there, online. Other events will involve cookery demos from Magpie Cafe and music from Whitby Sea Festival. And who doesn’t like a good sea shanty?

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