Whitby is a little sleepy this time of year, with most of the major attractions opening up just on weekends. Don’t expect the same buzzing pub and restaurant scene, although a few spots do keep their normal hours to welcome you in from the cold.
Moody skies make Whitby Abbey even more eerily beautiful. This is the spot that inspired Bram Stoker to write Dracula while he was a Whitby resident, and coastal mists certainly cast a spell.
Warm up by the fireplace at the Captain Cook Memorial Museum. The famous British seaman got his start working on steamships in Whitby’s port before going on to navigate the world’s seas.
Take a quick road trip to nearby Scarborough, which is a bit more lively in the wintertime. That’s especially true around Christmas, when the town hosts holiday markets and quirky Boxing Day traditions.
After a long, dark, wet winter, Whitby is in full bloom by April. Crowds stay blissfully thin, so if you dream of a charming atmosphere but prefer a little less hustle, spring is the time to come.
With the rough seas of winter calming down a bit, spring is a great time to head to Whitby’s surf schools, especially if you’re a surfing newbie looking to level up your skills.
Flocks of returning shorebirds make spring the best time to visit North York Moors National Park, which surrounds Whitby almost entirely. Another highlight from this time of year? The wild daffodils that carpet the meadows throughout the park.
The North York Moors Steam Railway is a great way to time travel through Whitby’s history. This 24-mile route winds its way between the village and rolling hills of Yorkshire, and it’s a great way to tour the area when the weather is clear but still chilly.
Whitby shines brightest in the summertime, but you won’t be the only one drawn to its megawatt sunshine, charming streets, and beaches galore. Warmer temperatures bring out the crowds, even if there’s rain—as there often is—on the horizon.
Summer festival season is in full swing in Whitby, with new events getting added to the calendar almost every year. But one mainstay is the long-running Whitby Regatta, with boat races, carnival rides, and fireworks.
Donkey rides, bumper boats, and fish-and-chips vendors are summertime draws at Whitby Beach. And if you’re blessed with a clear-weather forecast, set an early alarm—this is an amazing spot to watch the sunrise.
Looking to shake off some of the summertime crowds? Get behind the wheel for a tour of the villages scattered around the Esk Valley—including Danby and Castleton—where you can pull over at pubs, bakeries, and tea rooms.
As the days shorten and the temperatures drop, the crowds start to depart Whitby—even though the town remains fully open until the end of November. Those that arrive during this shoulder season will find the woodlands that wrap around this area make for prime leaf-peeping.
Two biannual Whitby Goth Weekends take over the town every year. (One in this season over Halloween weekend, the other in April.) Throw on your best all-black attire and hop between performances from some of Europe’s best goth bands.
This is the perfect time of year to tour the ruins of Whitby Abbey and discover if there’s any truth to the local legend that a woman in white wanders the grounds.
One of Yorkshire’s greatest leaf-peeping trails is just a 15-minute drive away. The woodlands and waterfalls along the circular May Beck and Falling Foss Walk are at their best this time of year.