There is more to Whitby and its surrounding countryside than meets the eye. Let our collection of hidden gems inspire you to make the most of your visit.
Perched high above Whitby on Khyber Pass is a bench with a plaque that bears the following inscription,
“The view from this spot inspired Bram Stoker (1847-1912) to use Whitby as the setting of part of his world-famous novel DRACULA. This seat was erected by Scarborough Borough Council and the Dracula Society to mark the 68th Anniversary of Stoker’s death - April 20th 1980”
It’s easy to miss this spot, but fans of Dracula will want to take a seat and contemplate the view which takes in the ruined abbey as well as the cliff where the ghostship ‘Demeter’ delivered its bloodsucking passenger to our shores.
Hidden behind Whitby Museum’s unassuming facade are some bizarre hidden gems of the historical variety. One is an embalmed hand, known as a ‘Hand of Glory’. Allegedly this was cut from the body of a hanged convict and used as a kind of lucky charm to help ne’er do wells go about their unlawful business.
The museum can also boast a ‘Tempest Prognosticator’ amongst its exhibits. This sounds like something from a Harry Potter novel, and it does have a fantastical purpose - it is a device which uses leeches to predict bad storms. Pretty magickal, right?
From Whitby Abbey, a walk south-east along Hawker lane will take you to Saltwick Bay. This beach is well worth a visit but is mostly used by locals. You can pass the holiday park and walk down to the beach which is situated in a rocky basin that started life as an alum quarry.
Now, Saltwick bay is an excellent place to hunt for fossils with regular finds including ammonites and reptiles. The famous Teleosaurus Chapman was one of the first fossils to be discovered here in 1759.
30 minutes drive from Whitby is the Hayburn Wyke Inn, which is a great place to grab a bite to eat - but the Inn itself is not our hidden gem. To experience that, you’ll need to do a little bit of exploring.
From the Inn, walk down through the wooded valley and you will eventually come to a secluded sea inlet. Here you will be rewarded with a ‘secret’ cove, complete with waterfall - an idyllic place to laze away a warm afternoon.
Located 20 minutes north-west of Whitby itself, Staithes is a beautiful fishing village with a time capsule feel. With higgledy-piggledy streets, beautiful views and a beach scattered with rock pools and fossils, you won’t regret taking the time to discover this gem.
A short drive inland on the A169 will take you to a natural wonder created millions of years ago. If you are ready for a rugged walk, you can take in panoramic views of The Hole of Horcum - a 400 foot deep, three-quarters-of-a-mile wide cauldron in the landscape. This spectacular feature was created as spring water gradually undermined the flat rocks, causing them to disappear from the bottom up.
Mulgrave Woods, just west of Whitby, is well-known, but not so famous is the castle hiding deep within the trees. A little exploration will uncover the ruined Norman castle which is one of three built at different times on the same estate. Access is easy once you find the right path, and there are even information boards detailing the building’s history.
A beautiful woodland walk just 5 miles out of Whitby leads you to a ‘secret’ waterfall. The tea garden at the top of the walk makes this hidden gem even better. With friendly staff and excellent food, it’s a fantastic place to treat yourself to afternoon tea. Covered picnic benches make a trip to this stunning spot enjoyable even on the rainiest of days.