W is for… Whitby

We took a day trip to Whitby last week. It’s something we’ve been meaning to do for years – and it made for a really enjoyable change of scenery.

Whitby is situated on the north east coast of England, lying where the River Esk reaches the North Sea.

It’s a picturesque old harbour town with some lovely buildings, cobbled streets and narrow alleyways…

…there are dozens of small fishing boats & yachts moored in the estuary…

…a beach and jetties…

…abbey ruins…

…and an old parish church at the top of the steep hillside.

We arrived at about midday after the 2 hour drive and quickly set about exploring. The town is divided in two by the river – a swing bridge linking the two sides.

We couldn’t resist starting with the local charity shops – fairly slim pickings unfortunately – but we did pick up a beautiful, vintage Welsh Wool coat in one of them.

We had fish & chips for lunch (of course!), having found a bench with suitably impressive views from which to savour them.

Fueled up for the afternoon, we set about further exploration.

There are countless jewellery shops, most of which specialise in the black mineraloid, jet – formed from fossilised wood – and found in the local sea cliffs & beaches.

Whitby is very popular with tourists, so there’s no end of cafes etc.

We stopped again for coffee & cake (well, this break was all about relaxation!). The weather was gorgeous and we sat outside listening to a busker playing the harp.

We then wandered up the 199 steps to look at the abbey ruins and old church on East Cliff. More great views and very atmospheric.

Whitby is famous for its Dracula association. Bram Stoker stayed at the Royal Hotel which overlooks the harbour towards this East cliff where he wrote parts of his famous novel. You can really see what inspired him, imagining the scene on a misty winter evening in Victorian England.

At the foot of the steps was a lovely cobbled street…

… on which was located Fortune’s, a great little kipper smoking house & shop…

… apparently it’s famous round these parts and had already sold out of kippers by the time we passed by.

We found one interiors shop which was much to our liking.  The Stonehouse Emporium on Skinner Street which had a very eclectic mix of antiques, vintage & retro, clothing & jewellery… we bought this 1960s magazine rack.

That was our feet done for the day, so we headed back to the old part of town where we’d booked to stay for the night – The Shepherd’s Purse is a whole food deli, ladies clothes and gift shop – it also has chalet-style rooms arranged round one of the old yards.

Virtually next door to the courtyard was the Black Horse pub.  We had a really enjoyable evening in there eating fantastic local cheese & chutney – washed down with beer & red wine.

The following morning we woke to wonderful weather again. We had a hearty, traditional full breakfast in Sander’s Yard (we didn’t score high marks for light, healthy eating on this trip) – then had a final wander round the old part of town… returning to buy kippers, before they’d sold out this time.

Refreshed and rejuvenated, we headed home.