If you’re of a certain vintage you’ll remember the saying “wet weekend in Whitby”. That was derogatory in the 1970s but, my oh my, how times have changed.
Now, many of us would love to spend time in the north’s most fashionable coastal town… whatever the weather.
So, with that in mind, we’ve compiled a few of our favourite places to visit – most involve food! We also enlisted the help of unofficial “tour guide” Susan Goss-Clements, who co-owns www.yorkshirecoastalcottages.com on Skinner Street in Whitby (another must-see, as it has some of the very best places to stay).
The Stonehouse Emporium, Skinner Street
This wonderful shop belongs to Numi Solomons and her husband Charles O’Connor, a member of the Irish rock band Horslips. The couple are vintage aficionados and plied their trade on Portobello Road before settling in Whitby. They source the beautiful and the unusual and stock fashion and homeware. The couple have two holiday apartments above their store. www.thestonehouse.co.uk
Whitby Museum, Pannett Park
We love the eclectic mix on offer here, everything from jet jewellery and fossils to fashion and hundreds of artefacts. The staff are brilliant and happy to help. www.whitbymuseum.org.uk
Natural Wonders fossil shop, Grape Lane
The area is famous for its fossils and if you want to learn more about them you can book a trip with an expert. It’s informative, tremendous fun and led by a palaeontologist Byron Blessed. Trips leave from the shop and cost a very reasonable £10 for adults and £5 for children. www.fossils-uk.com
La Rosa Hotel, 5 East Terrace
We’ve devoted a whole post to this amazing place in our Stays section. It’s paradise for vintage lovers and a real treat for anyone who appreciates great interiors. It also does afternoon tea. www.larosa.co.uk
Whitby Youth Hostel, Abbey House, East Cliff
If you’re on a budget, this is a great option and its location at the top of the 199 steps is breathtaking. The accommodation in grade one listed Abbey House is basic but you can stride out into town or turn right onto the Cleveland Way. www.yha.org.uk
Botham’s bakery, Skinner Street
One of the best bakeries ever and the ginger parkin is to die for. The business has been in the same family since 1865. www.botham.co.uk
Green’s Restaurant and Bistro, Bridge Street
Rob Green and his wife Emma are lovely and the restaurant is warm and welcoming. The food is superb. Rob is national Seafood Chef of the Year and uses fresh, local produce. Local meat and game is also a speciality and there are great options for vegetarians. www.greensofwhitby.com
The Fisherman’s Wife, fish and chip/seafood restaurant, Khyber Pass
We love this for the amazing views plus, of course, the fish and chips are wonderful. This has to have one of the best locations in town – ask for a window table – you can look out over the beach and out to sea, with Sandsend in one direction and Whitby harbour in the other. There’s an extensive menu with lots of locally sourced produce; Sunday brunch of haddock, chips and mushy peas, with a glass of cold white, or a cup of tea if it’s a tad early, is wonderful. www.thefishermanswife-whitby.co.uk
Silver Street Fisheries, Silver Street
Tucked down a side street on the west side of town, this lovely family-run business serves wonderful fish and chips. There are tables and chairs outside if you can’t wait until you get home! We find we never can. Add a white bread cake/bap/barm cake/bread roll (depending on where you come from) and make a wonderful chip butty out of the spare chips – the portions are large!
The Humble Pie ‘n Mash, 163 Church Street
This is a slice of pie heaven – a lovely vintage café with décor reminiscent of the 1940s; lots of nostalgia and serving a wide range of pies with mash and lashings of gravy – braised steak and stout, mince, creamy chicken and cider, haggis and neeps and even veggie. We especially like the goats cheese and vegetable pie. Then there are puddings like jam roly poly with custard. All meals are just £5.95 each. www.humblepienmash.com
Justin Chocolatier, 129 Church Street
A cute little shop on Whitby’s cobbled Church Street in the ‘old town’; it smells heavenly as you walk through the door and you can feast your eyes on an array of sumptuous chocolates, toffees and fudge, all handmade in Whitby. We rather like the Brazil Nut Toffee and the Dracula Dream Fudge. The problem is knowing when to stop. www.justinchocolatier
The Shepherd’s Purse, 95 Church Street
This is a shopful of gorgeousness – as you enter your senses are assaulted by the fragrance of a wide range of organic foods, fresh breads, cheeses, teas and coffees, chutneys and preserves. Further in the shop is a range of enchanting clothes in cottons, silks and wools, and fascinating accessories. It’s very rustic and wholesome with a strong ethical ethos. www.theshepherdspurse.com
Sherlock’s Coffee Shop, 10 Flowergate, Whitby
It’s certainly no mystery why this is such a favourite. It has a lovely ambience and fascinating décor reflecting turn of the 20th century England. There’s a range of homemade cakes and scones all baked daily with fresh coffee and lots of different teas from around the world plus a lunch menu. Hard to say which cakes are the best – coffee, walnut, chocolate, Victoria sponge or big fat fruit scones, all sitting sweetly in their resplendent glory, in old fashioned glass cake stands, tempting you as you pass. A lovely little relaxing oasis for morning coffee, lunch or afternoon tea.
**With thanks to Welcome to Yorkshire, www.yorkshire.com for the picture of the harbour. Thanks also to Susan Goss Clements for her contributions and photographs.