Places of Interest on the North Yorkshire Coast
North Yorkshire Moors
Whitby on a steep wooded inlet of the
Whitby is a town in the borough of Scarborough in North Yorkshire, England, UK and has been part of many historic events over its years. Whitby is now a holiday resort and a busy fishing port, situated 47 miles from York, on the mouth of the River Esk and spreads up the steep sides of the narrow valley carved out by the river's course to the East and West of Whitby town. At this point the coast curves round, so the town ports entrance is due north. According to the 2001 UK census, Whitby parish had a population of 13,594.
The earliest recorded name for Whitby was the Old English Streonshal in 656. Streanæshalc, Streneshalc, Streoneshalch, Streoneshalh, Streunes-Alae in Lindissi were recorded spellings between the 6th and 8th centuries, Prestebi, meaning the habitation of priests in Old Norse, is a 9th century name. After the Norman Conquest it was recorded as Hwitebi, Witebi, meaning the white settlement, in Old Norse in the 12th century, Whitebi in the 13th century and Qwiteby in the 14th century.
Oswiu or Oswy king of Northumbria, had
been converted to the faith of Christianity, founded a monastery after
defeating Penda, the pagan king of Mercia. Oswiu consecrated his
infant daughter Ælflæda to the service of God. Oswiu granted 12 small
estates for monasteries to be built. One was at Streanæshealh,
which became known as Whitby Abbey. Ælflæda entered Whitby Abbey as a
pupil and later became abbess. The first abbess, Hild or Hilde was
later venerated as a saint and became St Hilda of
In 867, Whitby Abbey was destroyed by Danish Viking raiders who had landed 2 miles from Whitby at Ravens Hill and attacked the settlement, destroying Whitby Abbey. After the Norman Conquest of 1066, William de Percy ordered that the monastery be re-founded in 1078, dedicating it to St Peter and the now St Hilda. It was in this period that the town gained its current name, Whitby, meaning "white settlement" in Old Norse language.
In the 18th century Whitby became a famous centre for shipbuilding, whaling and many a well known name has been apprenticed in Whitby, such as James Cook who circumnavigated the world 3 times in ships built in Whitby. Whitby also traded in alum and black jet.
Over the centuries, the town has spread inland and onto the West Cliff, where you now find most of the popular guest houses and hotels, whilst the East Cliff, the Haggerlythe is dominated by the ruins of Whitby Abbey and St Mary's Church. Whitby Abbey is now owned and run by the English Heritage, which restored the Banqueting House, the House of Sir Hugh Cholmley, for exhibitions and displays which opened in 2002.
On the West Cliff there is a statue of Captain James Cook, who served his apprenticeship in the town, and the whalebone arch, commemorating the once large whaling industry in Whitby. The whalebone arch is the second such arch, the original is preserved in Whitby Museum, the Whitby Archives Heritage Centre in Pannett Park. By the inner harbour there is a statue commemorating William Scoresby, inventor of the crow's nest, who came from a great whaling family in the town.
Large fossils have been found in the area including entire skeletons of pterodactyls. Whitby is known for its well preserved ammonite fossils, which can be found on the east seashore or purchased from stalls and souvenir shops in the town. Three green ammonites are featured on the coat of arms of the Whitby Town Council. These ammonites are shown with a head carved on, as snake stones, which were sold as religious souvenirs in memory of Hilde who became Saint Hilda of Whitby.
Whitby Abbey Visitors Centre ... The new visitor centre has been placed discreetly behind the fine classical facade of the Cholmley`s House. The Cholmley family acquired Whitby Abbey and its land after the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539 and lived in the Abbey`s lodgings and the gatehouse until they built the Banqueting House, costing the princely sum of £232,000. The money for the development came from a fortune amassed from the local alum industry and Sir Hugh Cholmley`s involvement in building a fortified harbour wall in the English colony of Tangiers.
Tourist places to visit outside of Whitby:
Robin Hoods Bay .... The origin of the name is uncertain, and it is doubtful if Robin Hood was ever in the vicinity. An English ballad and legend tell a story of Robin Hood encountering French pirates who came to pillage the fisherman's boats and the northeast coast. The pirates surrendered and Robin Hood returned the loot to the poor people in the village that is now called Robin Hood's Bay.
Staithes .... In 1745-1746, Staithes most famous resident, the young James Cook, born in Marton, worked in Staithes as a grocer's apprentice where he gained his first passion for the sea. He later moved to nearby Whitby where he became apprenticed to a local sea faring family and later joined the Royal Navy.
Pickering is an ancient market town the parish of Ryedale district
of North Yorkshire, England, on the border of the North York Moors
National Park. It sits at the foot of the Moors, overlooking the Vale
of Pickering to the south. According to legend the town was founded by
a certain king Peredurus around 270BC; however the town as it exists
today is of medieval origin.
Grosmont .... Grosmont is home to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway's engine shed and the North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group's workshop, where the staff and volunteers maintain and restore the steam and diesel locomotives. You can take the steam train from Whitby to Grosmont onto Pickering.
Glaisdale .... Glaisdale is a village close to Whitby, North Yorkshire, England. It lies on the River Esk, between the villages of Lealholm and Egton Bridge, 8 miles west of Whitby, and is served by Glaisdale railway station on the Esk Valley Line of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. The village lies on the national hiking trail the Esk Valley Walk.
Goathland .... Goathland is a village close to Whitby, North Yorkshire, England. It is in the North York Moors national park situated due north of Pickering, off the A169 to Whitby. It is surrounded by beautiful scenery, and has the advantage of having a station on the steam-operated North Yorkshire Moors Railway line to Pickering.
Lealholm .... Lealholm, sometimes known as Lealholm Bridge, is a small village in the Glaisdale civil parish of the Borough of Scarborough, in North Yorkshire, England. It is sited at a crossing point of the River Esk, in Eskdale which is within the North York Moors National Park. It is 9 miles by road from the nearest town of Whitby.
North Yorkshire Moors Steam Railway
The NYMR carries more passengers than any other heritage railway in the UK and
may be the busiest steam heritage line in the world, carrying around
350,000 passengers in 2009. The 18-mile railway is the second-longest
standard gauge heritage line in the United Kingdom and runs across the
North York Moors from Pickering via Levisham, Newton Dale and
Goathland to Grosmont. It is the middle section of the former Whitby,
Pickering and Malton line which was closed in 1965 as part of the
Beeching cuts. The NYMR is owned by the North York Moors Historical
Railway Trust Ltd (a Charitable Trust and Accredited Museum) and is
operated by its wholly owned subsidiary North Yorkshire Moors Railway
Enterprises Plc. It is mostly operated and staffed by volunteers.