Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Wonderful Whitby. . .

Just back from a week's walking holiday in Whitby with the Liverpud and my Mum.  Along with St, Ives in Cornwall, Whitby has to be one of my favourite coastal towns in the U.K.  The Brits love their seaside holidays but many towns are quite shabby and their faded splendour has certainly seen better days.   Not so with Whitby.  It too has its beach, arcades, souvenir shops and screaming seagulls but it's a really vibrant town,  filled with interesting cobbled streets, well-maintained houses in a variety of architectural and period styles, and lots of literary and historical atmosphere. I absolutely loved it. 

The docks are colourful and thriving where the boats vie for the fishing and tourist trade.

You can walk out to the town's magnificent pier and if you are there at sunrise or sunset you can see either taking place over the water (the pier actually faces north).

The town's whaling industry is commemorated with this giant whalebone arch.

Yorkshire is always reputed to have the best fish and chips in the country and Whitby is famed for having the best in Yorkshire. The Magpie Cafe is one of the most recommended places to go with long queues at lunchtime, although we managed to nip in just before noon with only a five minute wait.

Their fish and chips were really good, but there were several restaurants in the town that looked just as enticing.  If I ever go back to Whitby (and I definitely will), I'll have to try the Magpie's scallop dish as well.

After lunch, it's the perfect time to climb the 199 steps up to the famous Abbey.

Also at the top is St. Mary's Church which dates from the 12th century and has a three-story pulpit.

It also houses this gorgeous carved chair - the Scoresby Chair - in honour of William Scoresby, a whaler and important polar explorer who among other things,  invented the crow's nest.

In the churchyard is Caedmon's Cross, a richly detailed piece of carved stonework.

And of course you have the moody but very beautiful remains of Whitby Abbey, famously mentioned in Bram Stoker's Dracula.  I read the novel in my teens and it scared the stuffing out of me but I think I'm ready to revisit it. 

Close up, you can really see the different coloured stones. They've weathered beautifully.

I really enjoyed spending a day exploring Whitby and I haven't even mentioned all the great independent shops to be found (post to come).  There's also some fantastic walks around the area and I'll share some of that tomorrow.

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