Whitby (population 13,000) is an attractive historic town surrounded by the North York Moors. Whitby is built on both sides of the small estuary of the river Esk centred on Whitby harbour which is overlooked by the ruins of Whitby Abbey.
The coast at Whitby almost faces North so is exposed to Northerly winds and seas. Whitby is a historic town with links to Captain Cook, Dracula, whaling, jet jewelry, boat building and fishing. Whitby was an important fishing port until very recently. The fishing fleet here is a shadow of its former self due to diminishing stocks and regulations. There are many old buildings and narrow streets.
Whitby is a real honeypot and parts can get very crowded at times.The large sandy beach extends North to Sandsend and providing the tide is out there is plenty of room for all. Probably the most photogenic and historic town on the Yorkshire Coast. Captain Cook sailed from here for a while and it is also where Bram Stoker wrote Dracula and so Whitby has many themed attractions. The town’s museum is very interesting as is the old lifeboat house museum down on the harbour.
Beach and Piers
The beach is to the north west of the harbour and has good quality sand close to the pier. The beach extends for several miles to Sandsend. Walking along the the beach from Whitby to Sandsend and back is a popular walk. The sand becomes more coarse in parts as you go towards Sandsend. Sandsend has car parking and has some popular shore fishing marks although some are on the cliffs to the North West so are not for the novice angler. I do remember the railway viaduct that carried the railway across Sandsend. Mr Beeching saw to that.
There is virtually no sand at all to the east of the harbour although there is some sand inside the harbour of variable quality. East of the harbour there are flat rocky scars but this is one of the best places to find Whitby jet if the sea conditions are good but expect a lot of competition because if the weather is right the locals will be down. The rock is fairly flat and the sea comes in quickly and reaches right up to the cliff so it is easy to get cut off. Be very aware if the tide is coming in. There are many rock fishing marks around this stretch of the Yorkshire coast but most do not make for easy fishing.
The extension to Whitby’s West Pier is a popular shore angling place and a good place to watch the boat traffic coming and going. This is the North East Sea Fisheries launch. Whitby has a 4/10 scale replica of Captain Cook’s HMS Endeavour. It has appeared in quite a few TV shows. When in Whitby you can also have a trip on the old Whitby lifeboat. Whitby also has the largest number of boats on the Yorkshire coast that take angling trips probably because the boat fishing is generally better here. If you are interested its worth looking at Whitby charter skippers association
There is a small but interesting free RNLI museum on the harbour side. Well worth a visit. Most people on a visit to Whitby walk from the West Pier area to the East side of Whitby which has very narrow old streets with a mixed collection of interesting shops and attractions with quite a few Jet themed shops.
Whitby is famous for its fish and chips. I have always had good quality fish and chips from any of the fish and chip shops behind the fish quay. It may not be caught locally anymore but it is high quality with some of the shops knowing which boat caught their fish and how. I would always go for line caught fish if given the choice. I have worked both methods myself and line caught fish is generally higher quality due to the fish being alive when brought aboard and then individually dealt with straight away.
There is also a good museum in Whitby which has good information on all local History including the jet industry and Fossils. A local jet shop discovered an old jet workshop in its loft you can visit. Whitby museum also has an Art Gallery which hosts the local Staithes collection. Whitby is famous for its fossils and you can arrange fossil hunting trips with a qualified palaeontologist. Frank Sutcliffes Photos are world famous. They are lovely artistic portrayals of how life was in and around Whitby around 1900.