Thursday, May 15, 2008

Discovering Whitby (Part II)

In the last issue, Part I of this series detailed an overview about Whitby, focusing on the history and the various things there are to see and do in this lovely coastal North Yorkshire town. This issue, I will focus on resources for your trip, including discounted accommodation, tours, and places to eat and drink.

Where to Rest Your Weary Head

First things first. Whitby, despite not being all that well known outside the UK, can get extremely busy in the summer and school holiday periods. For the best choice of accommodation, you'd be wise to get your accommodation sorted before you arrive, or at least before you run off exploring the town.

You'll find most of the accommodation high up on the West Cliff, in the converted 18th and 19th century townhouses. While there are plenty of places to choose from, I can highly recommend Jesmond House B&B, at 28 Hudson Street. Run by Kevin and Jane, you'll be treated as one of the family and made to feel very welcome to treat the place as your own.

You can book ahead by calling (0)1947 601 794. Their normal rates start at £17.00 per person per night (a bit more for the en suite rooms), but if you mention the Great Britain Travel Guide, you'll be welcome to a pound or two off the per person price depending on the length of your stay.

If you fancy a flat, you may want to try Magenta House at 7 Esplanade. While I have only stayed there one night, their flats would be ideal for larger families who want to stay in Whitby and self-cater. You still get a cooked breakfast too! Robert and Diane Moore are the owners, and can be reached at (0)1947 820 915.

Bed and breakfast is normally £16.00 per person per night, and again, if you mention the Great Britain Travel Guide, you can expect a pound or two off the per person price depending on the length of your stay.

Where to Stuff Yourself Silly

Whitby is a place where you can eat and eat and eat. Because it is a seaside resort town, it's not uncommon to smell fresh fish and chips, candy and pastries (but hopefully, not in the same snort of air!) nearly everywhere you walk. While you won't be short of a place to try, here are a few of my recommendations:

The Granby (Skinner Street) - this was one of Jane's local recommendations, as she is a Whitby native. She said this pub served excellent grub at great prices, and boy, was she right! I went there one evening with my mum-in-law, and we feasted on the breaded scampi and Shepherd's Pie.

Each dish at the Granby was under £5.00, and was served with a massive portion of the main course and a huge pile of delicious fresh chips. While you're in there, try at least a half pint of the Strongarm bitter. It's a nice way to wash down your meal, or spend a few minutes resting. I would strongly recommend you avoid the mashed potatoes though. Ugh!

The Dolphin (Bridge Street - just on the east side of the Swing Bridge) is another cracking place to have a pint and a bite to eat. They offer above average pub fare and the view is probably one of the best of all the Whitby pubs. You'll not spend more than £7.00 or £8.00 per person here.

Fagan's (Church Street) is my favourite cafe in town, and in my mind one of the best places to stop and have a cup of coffee and a snack after all that hard work shopping in the east side of town. It's definitely a nicer place than many of the other cafes we've tried in Whitby. I highly recommend the Toffee Apple pie! You can excuse the indulgence by climbing the Whitby Abbey steps afterwards, which are just five minutes away.

Last, but definitely not the least, is Cliffemount Hotel ((0)1947 840 103 for directions and to book), which is a new find for us on this last trip. Situated a short drive from Whitby in Runswick Bay, I definitely feel that the food and beautiful views this place offers is well worth the effort to get there. The restaurant and hotel sit on top of a cliff and offer stunning views of the bay and out to sea. We could not tear our eyes off of the window.

You'll likely be greeted at Cliffemount Hotel by Poppy, the black lab, or one of her puppies, when you enter the lounge or bar. Both the restaurant and the bar offer outstanding dishes, such as the delicious Supreme of Chicken wrapped in Proscuttio in a spring onion Dijon sauce. Outstanding! We can also recommend the King Prawns in Cajun Sauce starter, the steaks, and all of the desserts . We enjoyed the food and the view so much the first time that we went back two days later! The bunnies playing outside the window in the garden were just an extra bonus.

Getting Around Whitby

Whitby is a pretty compact town, and fairly easy to get around. It is quite steep in some places though, due to the high cliffs on either side. So if you get too tired, or can't be bothered to walk anymore, hop on the Whitby Tour bus (ring (0)191 521 0202 for enquiries), which runs from April to October. This is an open topped hopper bus that tells you all about the history of Whitby, stopping off at the Abbey, Lifeboat Museum, the Captain Cook Museum, and various other places around town.

You can pick up the bus tour at any stop, and your ticket is valid all day. The prices are £4.50 for adults, £3.00 for students, children, and seniors, and £10.00 for a family of two adults and two children.

If you're up for a walk, Whitby Walks offers a wealth of different tours from Easter to November. During summer, a heritage tour leaves from the Tourist Information Centre at 11.30am on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Their popular Whitby Ghost tour and a new Dracula tour both meet at the whale bones at the edge of the West Cliff (outside the Royal Hotel - meet at the information board).

The ghost tour leaves Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 8pm in the summer, runs on weekend nights in the shoulder months, and is wheelchair friendly. The In Search of Dracula tour leaves at 8pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in the summer. Walks cost £3.00 for adults, and £1.00 for children. For more information on Whitby Walks, ring (0)1947 602 138, or visit the web site at

If you're tired from all that walking, and the bus has stopped running, call a taxi. KT Cars can be reached free at 0800 028 26 56.

Top Travel Tips!

Stop by the Whitby Tourist Information Centre ((0)1947 602 674 for enquiries) on Langborne Road for information about local attractions and help with accommodation and travel.
For more information about Whitby, hit the web! Try the following web sites on for size: - this site will shortly be hosting information from the Disabled Action Group, which will provide information such as disabled friendly accommodation and places to eat.

For a lovely drive through the neighbouring North York Moors, see the related article in this issue!

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