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Whitby is a popular seaside town and fishing port, on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors and at the mouth of the River Esk.  It is famous for its fish ‘n’ chips, ruined abbey church, Captain Cook, Dracula and Whitby jet – a gemstone, mainly black, popular with Romans and Victorians alike.  The first abbey was established by King Oswy of Northumbria in the 7th century.  It was home to Caedmon, allegedly the first English poet, and famous as the venue for the Synod of Whitby in 664.  The current abbey ruins date from the 11th century and are generally (though not exclusively) reached by climbing the 199 steps from the harbour to East Cliff, pausing to look at the unusual St Mary’s parish church.  Captain Cook learned his trade sailing from Whitby; a statue of him looks out from West Cliff and there is a museum dedicated to him in town.  The town also has an association with Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula – there is a Dracula Experience in the town and references to it are ubiquitous.  Whitby is also a terminus for the North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR), a heritage railway that runs between there and the town of Pickering to the south.

North Yorkshire
Post Code
YO21 3ED
Main Historic Period
Link to featured article
Useful Website Address
Staithes, Runswick Bay, Robin Hood's Bay, North Yorks Moors
Primary Management
Local Authority

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