One Day in Whitby Itinerary – How to Spend a Perfect Day in Whitby, England

Whitby is a stunning, quaint town on the coast of North Yorkshire and is extremely popular for its colourful beach huts, local geography, wholesome feel, and delicious restaurants. If you’re heading there for a day and want to enjoy as much of the town as possible, you’re in the right place! From things to do, fun facts, where to stay if you’re wanting to go overnight, and a few extra tips for visiting, we’ve got you covered. Don’t worry, your one day in Whitby will be a blast!

One day in Whitby Itinerary

What’s the best time to visit Whitby?

The summer months between June and August are the most popular times to visit Whitby, as it’s usually lovely and sunny and you can make the most of the harbour and beach. However, our favourite time to visit Whitby is spring, as the sunsets are just stunning, it’s less busy and it’s still nice and warm to enjoy the beach, walks, and sitting outside at cafes to take in the lovely harbour. You’ll also likely find that accommodation is cheaper outside of the peak summer seasons, which is an added bonus!

Whitby, Author: Peter, Source: Flickr

A few facts about Whitby

  • Smuggling History – Whitby was big in the world of smuggling, as many coastal towns were, with spirits being snuck in and then transported through secret tunnels!
  • Bombed in WWI – Whitby was bombed in WWI, with many people dying or being injured.
  • Whaling Port – Whaling was also a really big industry starting in 1750 and 1840, bringing wealth to certain families in the area. The whalebone arch on top of West Cliff is a reminder of this!
  • Captain Cook – Captain Cook was born near Whitby and even moved to the town for his seaman’s apprenticeship!
  • Dracula Inspiration – Bram Stoker took inspiration from Whitby for Dracula, with various areas of the town being used as settings for his novel. You’ll see plenty of Gothic items sold around Whitby as a result! Stoker also stayed in Whitby whilst writing parts of the novel.
  • The UK’s Best Fish and Chips – Plenty of the fish and chip shops in Whitby have won awards for their offerings, with very fresh fish and high-quality food overall. When you’re visiting, make sure to give them a try!
  • Fossils On The Beach – If you’re willing to have a good dig, you can find fossils around the beach, especially after very heavy rain or storms where they fall down from the cliffs.
Streets of Whitby
Streets of Whitby, Author: Peter, Source: Flickr

One Day In Whitby Itinerary

Welcome to Whitby, a quintessentially English town that will entrance you as soon as you step foot in it. If you don’t know what to do here, just keep on reading to learn all about the main sights and must-dos in the area. You are about to have a perfect day!

Grab some coffee and a great bagel

For the best start to your one day in Whitby, head straight to Mr Cooper’s Coffee House to set you up for the day. There is a wide variety of stunning coffee options, from your classics to matcha lattes, delicious teas, and warming hot chocolate. Plus, we’ve not even gotten onto food yet! Think wonderful fresh bagels filled with unique and delicious combinations, then incredible sweet treats to finish off the start of your day.

Mr Cooper’s Coffee House, Whitby
Mr Cooper’s Coffee House, Whitby

Head to Whitby Abbey

From the coffee shop, you’re just a short walk from Whitby Abbey, a beautiful historic monastery that overlooks the North Sea on the East Cliff. With such a picturesque backdrop and wonderful architecture, visiting this incredible historic site is very much a must. The abbey was constructed in the 7th century, and its ruins were long used by sailors as a landmark to help them navigate these waters.

Whitby Abbey
Whitby Abbey

You can then head down towards the waterfront and climb the 199 steps, with incredible views from the top. If you’ve read Dracula, it is these very steps the famous vampire traverses in his dog form when he first arrives in England. They aren’t too steep and there are plenty of places to stop on the way up. The view is definitely worth it!

Whitby Abbey
Whitby Abbey, Author: Barney Moss, Source: Flickr

Enjoy the beach

Once you’re done with the Abbey, cross the Esk and head for the beautiful Whitby Beach. It’s very close by, and you can walk down there to see the two Whitby Lighthouses. Enjoy a walk along the seafront and also don’t forget to see the beach huts!

Whitby Beach
Whitby Beach, Author: James West, Source: Flickr

This place is ideal for the whole family if you’ve brought them along, with ice cream, donkey rides during summer, fish and chips shops and all sorts of other things. A perfect way to just enjoy a moment a bit and be glad you’ve come to visit this amazing town.

Stop for lunch

When you’ve worked up an appetite, it’s got to be fish and chips for lunch. Cross over the bridge across the River Esk and walk down to Magpie Cafe, one of Whitby’s iconic fish and chip shops.

River Esk, Whitby
River Esk, Author: Matthew Hartley, Source: Flickr

They also have a wider menu featuring lots of excellent local seafood, so stopping here is pretty much obligatory. You can either sit in or get takeaway fish and chips, so if you’re visiting during peak time, we’d definitely recommend booking a table.

Megpie Cafe
Megpie Cafe

Visit the Whitby Museum…

If you want to learn a bit more about the history of Whitby, dedicate the afternoon to museum-hopping as there are some great places around. First on the list is the Whitby Museum, a place where you can learn literally everything about the town. From fossils to toys, from model ships to costumes, the museum has loads of Whitby-related items.

Underage people go in for free, and the adults’ ticket is only 7 pounds, so this museum won’t set you back too much, either.

… and Captain Cook Memorial Museum

The next museum on the itinerary should be the Captain Cook Memorial Museum. Yes, it was here in Whitby that James Cook, one of the most famous British explorers, started his naval career, so a museum dedicated to him was a no-brainer for the town, really.

The museum itself contains all sorts of fascinating details from the captain’s voyages, including various sketches and artwork. By learning about Cook’s life, you will be transported back to 18th-century England and gain a complete perspective of what life was like almost 300 years ago.

And if you have time to kill after the museums, head to Abbey Wharf, a relaxed bar with harbour views and lovely cocktails!

Whitby Harbour

Hop on an evening cruise

Whitby is a port town, so booking an evening cruise is a great idea. Not only will it give you a whole new perspective of the town, but you will also be able to relax and collect your thoughts after a whole day of sightseeing.

Evening Cruise, Whitby
Evening Cruise, Author: John Robinson, Source: Flickr

With a gentle breeze and various seabirds around you, the cruise will be very pleasant indeed. Oh, and if you come during the right time of the year, you might even get to see some whales passing by!

Evening in Whitby
Evening in Whitby, Author: Phil Fiddyment, Source: Flickr

End the day with an amazing dinner

For those of you looking for the perfect way to finish your one day in Whitby, it’s got to be with a meal in Cosa Nostra, a great Italian restaurant. With a great wine list, an authentic interior, fresh ingredients and incredibly delicious food, you can’t go wrong. We particularly love the roasted fig starter, followed by the Linguine Puttanesca or the Proscuitto and Wild Rocket Pizza (why not get both and share!). The kids menu is also great if you’re visiting as a family.

Cosa Nostra, Whitby
Cosa Nostra, Whitby

Where To Stay In Whitby

The Belfry Whitby

The Belfry

2 Church Square, North Yorkshire, Whitby, YO21 3EG

One of the best hotels in Whitby is The Belfry, a stunning modern hotel that is just a few minutes walk from the harbour and beach. There are beautiful rooms as well as self-catered apartments which are incredibly cosy. Room prices sit at around £120 a night out of peak season, which may be slightly higher when tourists start coming in.


The White House Inn

The White House Inn

Upgang lane, Whitby, YO21 3JJ

A more affordable, yet really lovely option, is The White House Inn. A short walk down from the beach and slightly less central than The Belfry, the views are clear and really breathtaking. This is a pub with rooms above, which are spacious and offer great views of Whitby. Prices are closer to £85 a month here, with a wonderful breakfast included!


Saxonville Hotel, Whitby

Saxonville Hotel

Ladysmith Avenue, Whitby, YO21 3HX

Close to the centre of Whitby, Saxonville Hotel is a great choice for your stay here. It’s a family-run place, and you can really see these people try hard to make everyone feel welcome. The breakfast is absolutely fantastic, and the rooms are bright, spacious, and comfortable, with some very pretty furniture giving out that traditional English vibe.


Duke of York, Whitby

Duke of York

124 Church Street, Whitby, YO22 4DE

How about a hotel on the beach? Duke of York is close to Whitby Beach and serves a tasty and filling Full English/Irish breakfast. Each room comes with a coffee machine, plus the guests can enjoy a nice flat-screen TV, too. Everything is well maintained, perfectly clean, and the staff working here is exceptionally kind. In short, it’s a great stay at a unique location.


Day Trips From Whitby

One of the best day trips from Whitby if you have the time is to head to the North York Moors National Park, which is extremely beautiful and tranquil. With lovely hikes, along with festivals, events, and activities regularly going on, this park focuses on helping to recover local nature as well as showcasing how beautiful the area is! It’s just a 7-minute drive from Whitby, so if you don’t have a car with you, it won’t cost much in a taxi. This is a wonderful day and you can always plan some well-deserved fish and chips when you get back!

Extra Tips For Visiting Whitby

In terms of transport, if you’re not able to drive, you can easily get buses or trains to this stunning seaside town. If you’re heading from another place in the UK and want to break up the journey, you could stop off at a shopping centre in Leeds, enjoy a quant day in York, or visit Sheffield overnight if you’ve got a very long journey from down south!

Make sure you have everything you need

What to pack for your next trip?

Make your next trip as simple and as enjoyable as possible by packing smart. It’s amazing how much stress top travel items can save you, so choose carefully.
Things like lightweight travel backpacks, for example, are ideal for short trips and allow you to move around with ease, and a passport holder will make sure you keep your documents safe at all times.
Check our travel checklist guide for 2021 to make sure you haven’t missed anything, and travel to your next destination in style and with maximum comfort.

Rose Morley

Rose Morley is a freelance writer who loves visiting different towns and cities across the UK to appreciate everything there is to offer. When she’s not writing or visiting new places, you’ll find her in a local coffee shop enjoying some downtime with her book!

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