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Seaside resort that’s one of UK’s best with sandy beaches | UK | Travel

A small fishing boat sails by this idyllic seaside town (Image: Getty)

Recognised as one of the UK’s best seaside entertainment spots, this quaint coastal town has long been a favourite for those seeking a classic beach holiday.

Situated at the mouth of the River Esk, Whitby in North Yorkshire boasts a rich history steeped in the maritime, mineral and tourism industries.

Its allure as a tourist magnet is further enhanced by its close proximity to the North York Moors national park and the heritage coastline, not forgetting its chilling connection to the horror novel Dracula.

The town’s most iconic landmark is undoubtedly the ruined abbey that sits atop the East Cliff. Other key features include the swing bridge over the river and the harbour, which is protected by the grade II listed East and West piers.

Whitby’s seafaring past is commemorated through statues of explorer Captain Cook and whaler and scientist William Scoresby, as well as the whalebone arch that adorns the West Cliff.

The town also has a strong literary tradition, having featured in numerous works, television shows and films, most notably Bram Stoker’s most famous novel, reports Yorkshire Live. If Whitby doesn’t take your fancy, you can try this gorgeous town on the coast of Wales. 

Rooftops of Whitby lead down to the sea

Rooftops of Whitby lead down to the sea (Image: Getty Images)

An aerial view of Whitby showing its abbey

An aerial view of Whitby showing its houses, abbey and the sea (Image: Getty Images)

A recent study placed Whitby in seventh place on the list of the UK’s top holiday entertainment destinations.

The survey takes into account number of pubs, restaurants, museums, parks, zoos and aquariums, water and amusement parks, arcades, beach review scores, hotel prices, Google searches, average temperature, average rainfall, and local train stations.

Where to eat in Whitby

Whitby is home to a number of top-rated eateries, from coffee shops to gastropubs and restaurants with sea views. There are three five-rated restaurants on TripAdvisor which may be the perfect place to stop off if you’re looking for a bite to eat.

The first is Lush Coffee on Silver Street, which was voted the TripAdvisor Travellers Choice for 2023. With a ‘warm welcome’ guaranteed, the coffee shop serves freshly brewed coffee, all important Yorkshire Tea, full English breakfasts, hot and cold sandwiches, toasties, burgers and a selection of homemade cakes and treats.

A row of Whitby's colourful beach huts at sunset

A row of Whitby’s colourful beach huts at sunset (Image: GettyImages)

They also offer outdoor seating and are dog friendly too.

If you’re looking for something a little fancier, then Ditto, another five-star rated place which has also won the TripAdvisor Travellers Choice for 2023, may be an option. Located a stone’s throw away from the beach on Skinner Street, the family-run restaurant is the perfect spot for foodies who want to enjoy a special meal while in the town.

Just a stone’s throw away, Beckett’s clinches the third spot for five-star dining in Whitby, with 875 TripAdvisor reviews singing praises of its hot drinks, savouries, breakfasts, brunch options, and cakes, all celebrated for their “excellent quality”. Don’t miss out on Cranberry Swamp, a hotspot for breakfast enthusiasts, Al Taco for a Mexican twist, and The Postgate Country Inn for a traditional touch.

Evening sun on Whitby beach

Evening sun on Whitby beach (Image: Getty Images)

The best pubs and places to drink in Whitby

A seaside escape isn’t complete without a refreshing pint, prosecco, cocktail or mocktail under the sun. Whether you’re after a tranquil tipple or a night of karaoke fun, Whitby’s array of bars and pubs has something for everyone.

The eight best pubs and bars in Whitby, as ranked by TripAdvisor, are:

  1. The Stiddy, High Street
  2. The Esk, Golden Lion Bank
  3. Macy Browns, New Quay Road
  4. Middle Earth Tavern, Church Street
  5. Cafe Montmartre, Market Place
  6. The Golden Lion Inn, Golden Lion Bank
  7. The Met Lounge Bar, Argyle Road
  8. Cleveland Inn, Commondale

Where to stay in Whitby

Looking for a romantic retreat or a family-friendly staycation?

Whitby boasts an array of hotels and B&Bs catering to various budgets, some offering breathtaking sea views.

TripAdvisor rates Hillcrest as a premier hotel choice, conveniently located near the town centre and within easy reach of Whitby’s myriad shops, restaurants, pubs, and attractions.

The hotel also offers storage for bikes and other adventure sports gear on site and with their local expertise they can recommend fantastic places for cycling, walking and watersports like paddle-boarding and surfing. They also boast deluxe rooms that are roomy enough for families.

Other highly rated accommodations in Whitby include The Stables, The Penny Hedge Lodge and The Belfry.

A view from above of Whitby's beach huts with lots of sand visible on the beach below

A view from above of Whitby’s beach huts with lots of sand visible on the beach below (Image: Getty Images)

What are Whitby’s beaches like?

Whitby boasts one of Yorkshire’s cleanest and safest beaches. It’s recently been awarded a Blue Flag, an international accolade given to well-maintained beaches with excellent water quality.

There are plenty of other beaches to enjoy. Whitby West Cliff Beach, a popular sandy spot with some rocky areas, is patrolled by lifeguards from May to September.

The beach stretches from Upgang Beach to the mouth of the River Esk and is conveniently located on the northern edge of Whitby town, just a short walk from the town centre.

Access to the beach is available via various points along Cleveland Way, North Terrace, and North Promenade. On sunny days, families flock to the stretch of sand between Upgang Beach and West Pier.

A row of vibrant beach huts can be rented, and deckchairs and windbreaks are available near the slipway at West Pier.

A seasonal dog ban is in place on Whitby West Cliff Beach from May to September, but dogs are welcome all year round on nearby Tate Hill Beach. Other well-liked beaches in Whitby include Sandsend Beach and Runswick Bay.

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