Your Guide to Whitby Abbey & Other Places to Visit in Whitby

There are many enthralling places to visit in the Whitby area.

Perhaps the most famous landmark in Whitby, Whitby Abbey has many interesting tales to tell and is a sight not to be missed. Nestled along the cliffs of the North Sea on the scenic Yorkshire coast, the hauntingly beautiful ruins of Whitby Abbey are teeming with history, boasting stories of Vikings, saints, and more. Once a 7th century Christian monastery, it later became a Benedictine abbey before falling into ruin. The majestic abbey’s Gothic splendour has inspired countless visitors, including artists, photographers, and authors such as Bram Stoker, who used it as a backdrop for part of his legendary novel Dracula. Enjoy the stunning coastal views these ruins offer, solo or with your family.

Are you planning a visit to Whitby? Check out our guide below to ensure you do not miss any of the area’s best events and attractions, including Whitby Abbey and its prominent place in English heritage.

Britain’s Most Romantic Ruins Are Rich With History

Whitby Abbey was established as a Christian monastery in 657 AD by Oswy (Oswiu), the Anglo-Saxon King of Northumbria. It was initially a double monastery for men and women presided over by Abbess Hilda (also known as Saint Hilda of Whitby). The abbey quickly became a centre of learning, playing a critical role in the Christianisation of England. Over the centuries, the abbey fell prey to the ravages of time and Viking raids. The second Abbey at Whitby was founded in the 11th century, shortly after the Norman Conquest, when it became a Benedictine monastery. The Suppression of the Monasteries under King Henry VIII led to its eventual decline and ruin in the 16th century. 

Relish the Elegant & Gorgeous Gothic Architecture

The current ruins largely date from the 13th century, showcasing early English Gothic architecture’s elegance and grandeur. With its pointed arches, ribbed vaults, and flying buttresses, the abbey embodies the period’s sophisticated architecture. Despite being considered ruins, Whitby Abbey remains a magnificent structure to behold. The surviving arches and walls evoke a bygone era and a tangible connection to the region’s past. Sunset is a striking time to visit for an awe-inspiring view. 

Visiting Whitby Abbey: Guide Prices & Opening Times

English Heritage recently refurbished Whitby Abbey’s facilities, so those interested in learning more about its history can view permanent exhibitions with interactive guides. Visitor centre opening times vary throughout the year. It is open daily from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM from April 1 to October 31 and from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM Wednesday to Sunday from November 1 to March 31. Times may be subject to change due to special events or maintenance work. Admission starts at £5.90 for children under 17 and £10.00 for adults (*prices may vary). Admission is free for English Heritage members. 

Spectacular Year-Round Events at Whitby Abbey

Whitby Abbey is equipped with toilets, baby-changing facilities, a café and souvenir shop, and picnic areas for those interested in bringing their own refreshments. Be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes, check the local weather forecast, and allow yourself enough time to make the most of your visit. There is never a wrong time to visit the ruins, as the spectacular coastal views change with the seasons. Whitby Abbey hosts various events throughout the year, including open-air theatre performances, historical reenactments, the Whitby Abbey Dracula Experience with paranormal investigation nights, and the popular Illuminating the Abbey events during the wintertime.

Getting to Whitby Abbey to Enjoy the Coastal View

Many Whitby Abbey visitors enjoy the challenge of climbing the infamous 199 Steps leading from the town up to the ruins and St. Mary’s Church. However, Whitby Abbey is easily accessible by car, bus, and train (via the North Yorkshire Moors Railway) for those who do not prefer to make the climb. A car park is at the top of the headland for your convenience. Whether visiting to uncover Whitby Abbey’s history or admire the breathtaking views, this landmark provides an unforgettable experience.

Other Not-To-Be-Missed Whitby Events & Attractions

There are many enthralling places to visit in the Whitby area. This seaside town is perfect for a weekend getaway or extended vacation, with plenty of events and attractions to fill your itinerary. Do not miss a visit to the Captain Cook Memorial Museum, Whitby Beach, Pannett Park, or the Whitby Jet Shops. Whitby Gothic Weekend is a bi-annual event celebrating gothic culture, music, and fashion in a vibrant gathering attracting global visitors. Hungry for local cuisine? Numerous eateries offer fresh seafood and traditional Yorkshire fare, making Whitby a delightful destination for visitors of all ages. 

Book Luxury Holiday Accommodations With Together Travel

If you are planning a visit to Whitby Abbey in North Yorkshire, Together Travel offers luxury holiday accommodations to suit any preference. Soak up the local charm of this picturesque coastal town while staying in a beautiful holiday cottage, apartment, lodge, or villa. We can help you tailor your stay for the ultimate getaway. Contact our expert concierge team to assist with bookings in Whitby and beyond.