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On a summer's day, Whitby's beach is sublime

© Creative Commons / startagain

Whitby beaches, Yorkshire

Considering Yorkshire and Lancashire are regions renowned for not suffering fools gladly, these areas are remarkable for the sheer frivolity of their seaside resorts. The coastal towns of Whitby, Scarborough and, above all, Blackpool boomed as workers from the mills flooded here for their summer holidays in the late 19th century. Stunning Whitby, the most genteel of the three, is a gateway to the North Yorkshire Moors, with literary (Bram Stoker) and historic (Captain James Cook) connections.


On a summer's day, Blue Flag Whitby Beach is sublime: a zigzagging path (or funicular railway from West Cliff) leads from the town to 3.2km (2 miles) of sand, deckchair-dotted and beach hut-lined, with good water quality. In summer there are donkey rides, food stalls, and lifeguards on patrol. There's also a tiny, very sheltered beach in Whitby Harbour - Tate Hill Beach - with soft sand and backed by mossy rocks.

Beyond the beach

Whitby is the perfect launching point for exploring the wilds of North York Moors National Park, which has lots of walking and cycling trails. For more information check out the park website (

Family fun

Overlooked by a dramatic ruined 17th-century abbey, Whitby's narrow medieval streets are beguilingly picturesque. Its harbour is filled with brightly bobbing fishing boats, and there are all the requisite noisy amusements. Captain James Cook set off by sea from Whitby, and all his ships were built here. There's a fascinating museum ( devoted to him in the house of his former shipmaster. Bram Stoker wrote Dracula while staying in Whitby and the tourist office offers a fun Dracula Trail leaflet.

You can also have some great, cobweb-blasting walks from here, including along the cliffs to Robin Hood's Bay. Another fantastic option is the Coastal Cycle Trail to Scarborough.

Exploring further

Head along the coast to the larger-than-life resort of Blackpool. Explore Blackpool's Winter Gardens (Coronation Street), a series of pavilions built in 1878. Or go to Blackpool Pleasure Beach (, a thrilling amusement park with a mind-boggling array of rides, including Europe's biggest, fastest, scariest rollercoaster: The Big One. As well as state-of-the-art rides, there is a brilliant collection of vintage rollercoasters, including the world's first Big Dipper.

Splashing out

Although the fish and chips in Whitby are some of the best in the north, you can really treat yourself by eating at Greens of Whitby ( This polished brasserie and fine dining restaurant is the cream of Whitby's restaurants. Set on the Abbey side of the swing bridge, in the old town, it has a warm, contemporary interior, big windows and serves amazing fresh fish and seafood.

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