Once a small fishing village, over the years Whitby has transformed into a bustling seaside resort drawing visitors from across the country and overseas. For us, Whitby is much more than Dracula and fish and chips, for us Whitby is home. From the imposing Abbey to the quaint winding streets of the old town, this gem on the North East coast of England captures the hearts of all who visit it. We wanted to share with you our recommendations for a day in Whitby, what to see, where to eat and of course, where to enjoy a Whitby Gin. For those visiting Whitby for the first time, we can guarantee it won’t be the last.
A day exploring Whitby requires a good breakfast. Whitby boasts an abundance of fine eateries and cute cafés serving up delicious breakfasts and brunches, from a traditional fry up to the millenial staple- avocado on toast. To name just a few of our favourites include Sanders Yard on Church street and Java on Flowergate, serving brunch from 9am everyday, hungry explorers can fuel up on the ‘full monty’ whilst their granola and homemade porridge are equally delicious. Oh, and don’t miss their excellent coffees, certainly one of the best in town!
We’re starting the day by heading over to the old town. Characterised by its cobbled streets lined with galleries, boutique shops and cosy cafés, Whitby’s Old Town is as charming as it gets. A morning stroll down Church Street is the perfect opportunity to do some window shopping in one of the (many) Whitby jet stores. Whitby jet became immensely popular following the death of Prince Albert; the intense black of Whitby jet jewellery used by Queen Victoria as a symbol of her grief.
Reach the end of Church Street and you will be met by the steps which lead up to the Abbey. No trip to Whitby is complete without counting the steps- all 199 of them- as you climb to the top, you will soon find out that the views are more than worth the effort. Such an integral part of Whitby’s history, we took inspiration from the Abbey steps in the creation of out Limited Edition Whitby Gin: the Stoker Edition.
Whitby’s connections to the gallant voyager Captain Cook are evident throughout the town. To learn more about his early life and the adventures that changed our understanding of the world, we highly recommend visiting The Captain Cook Memorial museum on Grape Lane. Both educational and inspirational, it’s great for the whole family. Find out a little about Cook’s connections to Whitby before you go here.
You’re sure to have worked up an appetite after all that walking and sea air, time to take a break and refuel. Whitby is famous for its fish & chips, and for a good reason: the freshest cod and haddock are used by the wealth of restaurants and takeaways to feed hungry tourists and locals alike. Accompanied by crisp chips and mushy peas, what could be better? The Magpie Café, perhaps the most famous fish & chip shop in town, is where we are heading. Don’t be put off by the often lengthy queue, this is just testament to the quality of the food on offer and, trust us, it’s worth the wait. In like of covid-19 the que is now virtual! You get your name put on the list at the front desk and they will give you a call once your table is ready. If fish and chips aren’t your thing, or you fancy something lighter, fear not. The Magpie’s extensive menu is varied, try their infamous fish pie or a steaming pot of mussels.
Feeling full? Time for a leisurely stroll along the pier. Not only is this a great way to walk off lunch, it’s also a chance to enjoy some of the best views of Whitby, across the beach and with the Abbey ruins towering over the town. Cameras at the ready, this is a photo opportunity you won’t want to miss. If you’ve left room, do treat yourself to an ice-cream on your return to pier road, after all, no trip to the seaside is complete without a 99.
For further photo opportunities, we recommend the hike up Khyber pass to the iconic whalebones.
See Whitby from the sea aboard the replica HMS Endeavour which sets sail daily from Whitby Harbour along the coast to Sandsend. The Captain Cook Experience is a fantastic way to learn more about Cook’s heritage as well as getting a different perspective of the town. What’s more, the ex-fishermen and lifeboat men who make up the crew will be only too happy to share their in-depth knowledge of the local coastline with you.
Once back on dry land it’s time to relax with a pre-dinner drink at Harry’s Bar or Moon & Sixpence. With Whitby Harbour as its back drop, they are the perfect place to wind down and soak up the early evening atmosphere with a Whitby Gin & Tonic in hand. Move on to neighbouring Bar 7 for a final drink before heading for dinner.
Whitby boasts a plethora of excellent restaurants dispersed throughout the town offering everything from the freshest seafood to top-notch pub grub. To end the day in style we recommend booking a table at Mademoiselles, a French-style café bistro set within a beautiful Georgian building. The menu includes French classics such as Poulet Breton and Moules Marinières, just be sure to save room for dessert as their Creme brûlée is irresistible. If that isn’t enough to tempt you, at Mademoiselles you will also find a cosy gin bar. We can’t think of a better way to end the day than relaxing here with a Gin & Tonic, perhaps planning your next trip to Whitby.