RECOMMENDATION | Whitby in Winter

1st January 2017

The quaint cobbled Dickensian streets of The Old Town with alleyways, yards and passages by all sorts of wonderfully mediaeval names dating back to as far as the 1500s. The rather dramatic Whitby Abbey ruins and the 199 steps that one has to climb to get up to them. And there’s also a humongous jaw bone of a whale that sits on the cliff tops overlooking the North Sea.

In the height of summer, like any other British seaside town, the place does attract its fair share of topless, beer-belly sporting, Benson & Hedges smoking, holiday-making chavs. And don’t get me started on the men.

They pitch up their deckchairs on West Cliff Beach before knocking back pints in the many traditional pubs and spend hours playing the fruit machines in the town’s amusement arcades all whilst gorging on a paper-bag-full of a dozen sugared donuts.

Fast-forward six months and Whitby attracts a whole different crowd. Whilst most Northern UK seaside towns are boarded up and deserted from October onwards, Whitby plays host to crowds of Barbour coat and flat-cap wearing middle-class Yorkshire folk who flock here to bring in the New Year it seems.

The town’s many salubrious restaurants to include The Moon & SixpenceHarrys Lounge Bar & Brassiere and Greens are packed with Mulberry handbag (real ones) clutching, well groomed ladies sipping Cosmopolitans and Mojitos.

I’m attempting dry January so I couldn’t put myself through the torture of popping into one of the many swanky bars for a mineral water with everyone rubbing up against me necking cocktails. We opted for a slice of lemon drizzle cake and a frothy coffee in Rusty Shears instead.  Followed by a Trencher’s Fish and Chip supper on the dashboard of the car.  Well worth the 30 minute queue by the way. Diet starts tomorrow.

The queue for The Magpie Cafe and Trenchers just to purchase haddock and chips, is still outrageous, even in January.

The quaint, cobbled streets of The Old Town are teeming with well-dressed tourists shopping in the boutique shops and taking afternoon tea in one of the many pretty little tea rooms.

It was Baltic today, but that only adds more drama and excitement to a trip to Whitby in winter. The Abbey, perched majestically on the rugged clifftops of the North Yorkshire Coast looked spectacular in the crisp, bitter-cold wintery conditions today brought with it.

There’s no whiffs of B.O. from overweight tourists trying to climb the 199 steps – be warned, you may experience this in mid-August.

The Old Town, still adorn with Christmas Trees and lights clinging to the many picture-perfect shops is right out of a Dickens novel. The North Sea’s wintery waves crash powerfully against the beach – not a pair of speedos or socks and sandals in sight.

A fabulous start to 2017. Blowing out those festive cobwebs in Yorkshire’s most historic seaside town beats feeling sorry for oneself of the sofa on New Year’s Day.

Another great trip for the mind, body and soul. Wish we’d have stayed the night really.


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  1. mell dunwell

    Whitby is my hometown, a wonderful little place with many great places to explore. If you’re planning another visit you could time it to coincide with the goth weekend in October when they illuminate the abbey and the town is filled with all manner of wierd and wonderful people dressed to gothically impress…It takes people watching to a whole new level!

    • Lyndsey Thomas

      Hey Mell. I have always wanted to go to Goth Weekend. It sounds incredible. I’m definitely going to get up there this October. Thanks for the tip!


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