Whether you are visiting Whitby and North Yorkshire for the first time or are a regular visitor to Whitby, you may find the following information about Whitby useful.
Whitby has a population of around 14,000 people. Situated in North Yorkshire on the East Coast of England, Whitby is surrounded by the North Yorkshire Moors National Park. The river Esk runs from the moors along Eskdale and through Whitby to the North Sea.
Above the town on the East Cliff is Whitby Abbey which was founded as early as 656 by Abbess Hilda.
In the middle ages, Whitby developed as a fishing port catching mainly herring. Whitby was also an important whaling port for a time, as can be seen at the town museum and at the whale bone arch on Whitby's West Cliff. Whitby has produced many fine sailors: William Scoresby, who invented the "crows nest" lookout for sailors in 1807 and Captain Cook to mention just two. In the 17th and 18th centuries Whitby's ships were involved in the transportation of iron ore and coal to and from Tyneside.
Every year hundreds of thousands of tourists come to Whitby to visit attractions, the surrounding countryside and to attend the various festivals that happen in Whitby throughout the year.
Apart from its beach, museums, craft shops and tea rooms many people visit Whitby for its literary and television associations. Bram Stoker based part of his novel "Dracula" in Whitby and mentions St Marys church and the 199 steps - both on the east side of Whitby. Lewis Carroll, author of "Alice in Wonderland" was supposedly inspired to write his poem "The walrus and the carpenter" by his walks along Whitby beach. More recently, the town of Whitby and surrounding villages were the setting of the TV series "Heartbeat". Whitby has many pubs, tea shops, fish shops, cafes and restaurants all with a charm of their own.