Whitby: the ideal seaside getaway.

Ah, Whitby, the idyllic seaside town; famous for its stunning abbey, top-class fish and chips, and its connection to Dracula, the blood-sucking vampire. This is a place soaked in myth and legend, attracting tourists from all over, many of whom hope to catch a glimpse of some supernatural activity on a ghost walk or stumble across the eerie sight of Dracula’s grave through some thick, spooky fog. If you were to climb the 199 steps up to the abbey and pass through to the graveyard, I am afraid you would be sorely disappointed because, as a slightly passive-aggressive sign points out, Dracula’s grave does not actually exist so ‘please refrain from asking staff where it is.’ If you manage to recover from this devastating news, however, I would highly recommend having a walk around the clifftop and enjoying the breath-taking views of the harbour which are not to be missed. Once you’ve had a look round, if you are willing to fork out £12.50, you can wander round the abbey ruins and spend a lovely hour pretending to be a Benedictine monk but to be honest, there’s not much to see; instead, I’d recommend skipping straight to the gift shop and spending the money you saved on some glorious tourist tat.

For me and my family, Whitby is the perfect holiday destination, and we visit every year without fail. It has an understated charm which is infectious and, without a visit, I’m not sure you could truly appreciate. Somewhere you must visit to get a taste of this Whitby charm is Mr Chips, the world-famous fish and chips shop, allegedly loved by none other than Jeremy Clarkson, Jimmy Carr, and James May, all food connoisseurs, I’m sure. Mr Chips has been a key player in my family holidays for many years, brightening up our evenings with the irresistible taste of chunky chips and flaky fish doused in salt and vinegar. If you have room for dessert, another Whitby speciality you need to try is Botham’s Tea Rooms where you can purchase incredible cakes, biscuits, bread and all kinds of baked goods which, I can promise, taste absolutely fabulous.

If you’re a history geek like me, I would highly recommend visiting Whitby Museum which houses an array of fascinating artefacts, among which is the weird yet wonderful Hand of Glory. The Hand of Glory is, for want of a better phrase, a dried and pickled hand. Yes, you read that right, on display in the Whitby Museum there is the severed hand of a felon from the 18th century which was allegedly combined with a candle made with the fat from the corpse who died on the gallows. So the story goes, the candle, when lit and placed in the Hand of Glory, as if in a candlestick, could unlock any door and render motionless all persons to whom it was presented. An incredible story and one which, you can safely say, would not appear on any other family holiday. You could also visit the Captain Cook Museum and discover all about his adventures but, after the Hand of Glory, this may seem a bit tame.

If you’re looking for a more traditional seaside holiday, there is also a wealth of beaches to choose from in and around Whitby which, like most British beaches, can promise a fun, if somewhat wet and windy experience. Enjoy a beautiful, bracing walk around the harbour, walk along the piers, or hop over to Sandsend and have a coffee at the fabulous café overlooking the sea. As well as visiting the beaches, a holiday to Whitby, for me, wouldn’t be right without a bit of shopping. Whitby has an array of shops where you can purchase anything from books to clothes to lucky glass ducks- the possibilities are endless. My personal favourite are the charity shops which always seem to have some absolute gems in them.

Whitby truly does have it all, the history, the shops, the beaches, and the fish and chip shops all make it the perfect holiday destination. I have been there every year for as long as I can remember and all I can say is long may it continue!

Featured Image: taken by Kate Langton

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