Illuminated Whitby Abbey


Whitby Abbey has been inspiring visitors for nearly 1500 years – now it’s your turn.

Follow in the footsteps of artists, writers and religious leaders to explore the soaring gothic ruins and to take in the stunning sea views.

This year, there’s more to see at Whitby Abbey than ever before. You can uncover centuries of history with the new interactive guide, and visit the revamped museum to find out more about how the abbey inspired Caedmon, the first named English poet, and Bram Stoker, the author of ‘Dracula’.

The entrance to the abbey is fully accessible, and you’ll find improved facilities in the visitor centre, including a bigger shop. There is also be a brand new coffee shop by the entrance.

Whitby image

Whitby image

This Halloween, discover the darker side of history among the bright lights of Whitby Abbey.

  • Is Whitby Abbey Illuminated for me?

The event is our colourful celebration of all things Gothic. The ruins will be lit up in an array of colours, performances of Dracula will take place and the photo opportunities will be on top. And make sure to look out for the witch hunters… Food and drinks will also be available.

Explore the soaring gothic ruins as they’re illuminated in a breathtaking display of colour and light. Afterwards, hear tales from Count Dracula and come face to face with a coven of witches roaming about the ruins. Meet a sinister witch-finder to learn about the devious tricks of his trade, and keep out the cold with some delicious hot food and drink.

There’s plenty for all ages to enjoy at Illuminated Whitby Abbey


Member (Adult) £5.00
Member (Child) £3.00
Member (Concession) £4.00
Member (Family) £12.00
Adult £12.50
Child, 5-17 years £8.00
Concession £10.00
Family £32.00


Ticket price includes entry to the event and site.


Purchase your tickets using online system or by calling Ticket Sales Team on 0370 333 1183 (Mon – Fri 8.30am – 5.30, Sat 9am – 5pm). Tickets will also be available to purchase at the event site on the day.


Joe and Geoff xxx

whitby whale watching

Whitby Whale Watching

Join Whitby Whale Watching on a trip to discover Yorkshire’s best kept secret!

Every summer Whales arrive off our coast of Whitby to feast on the migrating herring which come to spawn. In the last two years we have seen numerous Minke Whales, Sei, Fin and Humpback Whales, White Beaked and Bottlenose Dolphins and Porpoise along with Seals and many species of birds.

Whitby Coastal Cruises offer several trips on the “Yellow Boats”. Coastal cruises from Saltburn in the North to Robin Hoods Bay in the south, Trips to the Seal Colony at Ravenscar, Staithes trips, River cruises and Sunset and Twilight cruises and our ever popular short trips around the bay.

See the tell-tale swell, the whales showing themselves while swimming alongside the boat, sharp jets of water being shot into the air from their blow holes and experience the smell of fish on their breath – before they breach and disappear again to the murky depths below!

You don’t need to travel the world to experience this amazing sight, you can do it off the coast of Yorkshire’s premier resort; Whitby. Whitby Whale watching is a unique experience that is open to all.

For more information please visit –

We are easily located on Whitby’s famous harbourside. All trips depart from the Brewery Steps (The Brewery Steps, Lower Harbour, Whitby, YO21 3PR). Just look for the yellow boats of our sister company Whitby Coastal Cruises


Joe and Geoff

Staithes arts and heritage festival

Staithes Art and Heritage Festival 2019 at Staithes


Staithes Art and Heritage Festival has established itself as one of the friendliest festivals on the coast – a must-go-to event in the regional arts calendar.

During the weekend over 150 artists in over 90 cottages and public spaces around the village, become temporary art galleries in a unique selling exhibition. Staithes heritage is also celebrated in fossils, fishing, historic photographs and film shows.

There are talks, walks, workshops and live music from soul to sea shanties. After dark the village lights up with installations and an outdoor film show. Refuel in the local pubs and cafes or one of the visiting pop ups like the harbourside seafood shack.

Make it your event of the year.



Your Guide To Staithes Festival Of Arts And Heritage

Read our handy guide to the Staithes Festival of Arts and Heritage.

The Annual Staithes Festival of Arts and Heritage provides an opportunity for the village to feature the work of artists from far and wide. All the village gets involved with temporary galleries set up in around 100 different locations including cottages, houses and several public places. It is an important event on the North Yorkshire Calendar of Events with its impact now spreading even further.

In most cases, events are free of charge.

MUSIC at Staithes Festival

There is an extensive music programme over the weekend:

Saturday, 1300 at the Lifeboat House featuring

o Jack Parker, the Yorkshire-born singer-songwriter from Hull is kept busy performing across Europe. His debut album will be released next year
o Men of Staithes maintain the tradition of performing songs of the sea and old hymns.
o Sixway is a new 6-man jazz band from the Whitby area, including tenor sax Zak Parlby from Staithes.

Sunday, 1600 – 1830 at the Lifeboat House featuring

o White Sail, the popular trio who regularly perform their songs at festivals and other gigs.
o Dire Staithes perform a wide range of music ranging from George Ezra to Ronan Keating, Stones to Beatles.
o The Alligators from Hull whose original music has appealed to the audience on their previous two appearances.

MUSIC at Staithes Festival

There is an extensive music programme over the weekend:

Saturday, 1300 at the Lifeboat House featuring

o Jack Parker, the Yorkshire-born singer-songwriter from Hull is kept busy performing across Europe. His debut album will be released next year
o Men of Staithes maintain the tradition of performing songs of the sea and old hymns.
o Sixway is a new 6-man jazz band from the Whitby area, including tenor sax Zak Parlby from Staithes.

Sunday, 1600 – 1830 at the Lifeboat House featuring

o White Sail, the popular trio who regularly perform their songs at festivals and other gigs.
o Dire Staithes perform a wide range of music ranging from George Ezra to Ronan Keating, Stones to Beatles.
o The Alligators from Hull whose original music has appealed to the audience on their previous two appearances.

‘John’ the Sailing Coble Saturday 10:00 – 16:30, Sunday 10.00 – 16.30

Anyone interested in the traditional cobles that used the waters of the North East Coast can learn more from members of the Coble and Keelboat Society who will be there to talk about these boats. Venue: The Staithe

Sailing Out of Staithes Saturday 10:00 – 11:00

The heritage exhibition this year tells about the triumphs and tragedies in Staithes’ maritime history. There are plenty of photographs on show and written text. Venue: St Peter’s Centre Venue 33 throughout the Festival

Emma Stothard Wire & Willow Sculptor Saturday 10:00 – 17:30, Sunday 10.00 – 17.30

Emma returns with her wonderful creations from lobsters to dinosaurs. She recently won the gold medal at RHC Chelsea for her life-size polar bear in white willow. Captain Cook’s journey through the North West passage was her inspiration for that figure. Venue: Seaview Garage on the Staithe. Venue 87

Staithes festival

Staithes festival

A Few Feet Up Saturday 10:00 – 17:30, Sunday 10.00 – 17.30

Same Difference Arts will be walking around the streets throughout the two days carrying a periscope. If you see them, stop and get a different perspective on the village.

Lobster Pots and Fisherman’s Tales Saturday 10:30 – 16:00

John Cole from one of Staithes’ oldest families still fishes and over the Festival weekend, he will demonstrate traditional lobster pot making and tell stories of a life at sea. Venue: St Peter’s Centre Garden Venue 33

Staithes Family History Group Saturday 10:30 – 16:30, Sunday 10.30 – 16.30

Try to find any Staithes relatives from records going back 500 years with our genealogy experts. Venue: St Peter’s Centre Venue 33

Katie Ventress: Artist Blacksmith Saturday 11:30 – 12:30

Artist Blacksmith, Katie Ventress has been commissioned by the Festival to create a special piece for the harbour. Katie will talk about her inspiration and her career as a blacksmith. Coming from North Yorkshire, Katie studied at York College before taking a four-year apprenticeship with a local blacksmith.

Today she has her own forge KV Artist Blacksmith at Hinderwell (Unit 2A Station View, Hinderwell Industrial Estate, Hinderwell TS13 5ER). You can see more of Katie’s work on her website and be sure to see her creation by the harbour. Venue: Smugglers Venue 21

Staithes Festival


Bottle Workshop Saturday 12:00 – 16:00

International light artist Mick Stephenson talks about the global use of plastic in a workshop reusing plastic bottles for a dramatic light installation. Free and everyone is welcome. Venue: Cod & Lobster Corner

Saturday Afternoon Concert Saturday 13:00 – 15:00

The Lifeboat House is the venue for a concert featuring Men of Staithes choir, Yorkshire singer songwriter Jack Parker jazz band, Sixway. Venue: Lifeboat House 18.

Sue Nichol Demonstration Saturday 13:30 – 14:30, Sunday 13.30 – 14.30

Sue Nichol’s recently has an exhibition at the Staithes Gallery. Sue will be with us at the Festival behind the gallery to hold demonstration drop-in sessions on Saturday and Sunday. Venue: Laura Knight Studio Venue 37

William’s Walk Saturday 14:00 – 15:30, Sunday 14.00 – 15.30

Bill Hinchley, the local historian will take people on a guided through Staithes whilst recounting stories and the hidden history the village. Please meet at Bank Top View Point/Meeting Point at the top of Staithes.

Aonghus Gordon: Autism, Creativity and Engagement Saturday 14:00 – 15:00, Sunday 10.00 – 11.00

Aonghus Gordon will hold a fascinating session on providing help for adolescents who present challenges to teachers, the community and families. He founded a charity, the Centre for Cultural Development in 1982 and today there are 8 centres across England and Wales focusing on Practical Skills, Therapeutic Education, the application of biodynamic agriculture and craftwork for people with special needs. A number of workshops will be available for those wishing to try these innovative methods. Venue: Smugglers Venue 21

Rosamund Jordan: A Pioneering Colony of Artists Saturday 14:00 – 15:00, Sunday 14.00 – 15.00

Ros and Tom Jordan have spent 40 years with the work of the Staithes Group of Artists. Ros, a retired NADFAS lecturer will give an illustrated talk on the Group with works from the Group available for sale. Venue: Memorial Hall, Cliff Road Venue 8

Expressive Portrait Drawing with Ian Burke Saturday 14:00 – 15:30, Sunday 11.00 – 12.30

Busking on the Staithe Saturday 14:45 – 16:15

Come along to the Staithe to be entertained by Jack Parker, Dire Staithes, Sarah the harpist and various buskers.

Andy Blackford: Um Bongo & Other Poems for Children (and Adults) Saturday 15:30 – 16:30, Sunday 11.30 – 12.30

Poet Andy Blackford will read some of his poems for children and a few comical ones for adults. His colourful history includes performing in his early days in support of bands like Genesis and Lindisfarne.

He was a music journalist, a record company executive and a professional skateboarder. He has written 22 books for kids, two novels and books on a vast range of subjects. Venue: Viking Cottage, Seaton Garth 88

Ian Burke, head of art at Eton College will hold a drawing workshop and explain how he tries to achieve personality and character in his subject, rather than a photographic resemblance using charcoal and pencil. All materials will be supplied and beginners are welcome. You can book through Staithes Gallery T: 01947 841840/07972 012464. The cost is £15. Venue: Sunday School, Wesleyan Chapel Venue 28

Sue Willmington: My Life as a Costume Designer Saturday 15:30 – 16:30

Scarborough born Sue Willmington who lives locally will talk about her work which includes credits at English National Opera, the Aldeburgh Festival, the Edinburgh Festival, the Royal Albert Hall, the Welsh National Opera, the National Theatre in Prague, the Bolshoi Theatre and La Fenice in Venice.

Sue is exhibiting at Bethel on the High Street, but will talk at Smugglers about her fascinating career. Venue: Smugglers 21

A Talk with John Cole Saturday 16:30 – 17:30

The Coles have fished out of Staithes for 500 years. John Cole may be the last of his line and his reflections on families, fishing and a life at sea are sure to be fascinating. Venue: St Peter’s Centre Venue 33

Swinging the Lamp Saturday 17:00 – 18:30

The true story words and song of the life of a Hull trawler skipper. It was written by Gordon Meredith and Richard Avery, based on the life of Jim Williams.

Several well- known and much- loved songs from the fishing industry are included in the performance. Venue: Kindly Light, Wesleyan Chapel Venue 22

Outdoor Picture Show Saturday 21:00 – 22:00

Come to Kipper’s Corner to enjoy the outdoor picture show projected on to the gable wall with musical accompaniment. Venue: Kipper’s Corner Venue 23

Jack Barber: The Art of Digital Design Sunday 11:30 – 12:30

Jack will talk about how technological advances have affected art and design. An interactive digital artwork will form part of the presentation. For anyone currently interested in art and design this is a must.

Newcomers wanting to learn more and even get involved are more than welcome. Venue: The Smugglers, Venue 21

Chris Toth: Mined Over Matter Sunday 14:00 – 15:00

Chris Toth, a research scientist at the Boulby Underground Laboratory, returns to talk on ‘’dark matter’’ in a way that ordinary folk will understand. Venue: Smugglers 21

Tea Time Concert & Farewell Sunday 16:00 – 18:30

As another Festival draws to a close, it is time for more music. The cast is White Sail, our own Dire Staithes and the Alligators making their third appearance. Dire Staithes will lead the closing procession as is traditional from the Lifeboat House to Bethel. Venue: Lifeboat House Venue 18

For further information about Staithes Festival, visit the official website at

Abbey Wharf

Abbey Wharf Review (and you can take your four legged friends with you)!

Abbey Wharf Review, A Local Review Of The Abbey Wharf in Whitby

Immerse yourself in the stunning visuals of the harbour with a maritime scene of yachts, fishing boats and the lifeboats station.

The sun has finally appeared here in Whitby and the harbour is glistening with the sun’s rays. The old cobbled streets of Church Street lead you to The Market Place where the Abbey Wharf is situated. This is the place to take in the essence of Whitby’s heritage and how the contemporary merges with it’s history.

The origins of this building that overlooks the harbour and the historic cobbles of The Market Place and Sandgate is that it was a Burberry Clothes Factory and it was transformed into a restaurant/bar with shops underneath. The style of the Abbey Wharf is that of modern maritime theme but still in keeping with a seaside style.



The Drinks

The Abbey Wharf holds a well-stocked bar and it is proud to have its own beer especially by Whitby Brewery, ‘Abbey Wharf Dry Hopped Blonde.’ It stocks over 20 gins and you can even order some of new latest gin to hit the market, ‘Whitby Gin.’ I have tried a sample (or two) of the Whitby Gin and it is one to try if you are a gin fan.

The Abbey Wharf also have a cocktail menu for those who would like to enjoy a Porn Star Martini whilst watching the lifeboat launch on the Abbey Wharf’s balcony that wraps around the building with the East and West Piers in the distance.



The Venue

The Abbey Wharf has all areas covered for any occasion. They have a take away area so that you can grab some fish and chips and take pleasure in eating alfresco on the fish pier outside with the armour of hot vinegar. This place also has a restaurant with 250 covers with a seafood menu and a section of meat dishes cooked in a Bertha, a charcoal fired oven.

There is also an entertainment area that holds regular live music events and acts. Larger parties and functions can be situated in upper mezzanine level.

I visited the Abbey Wharf with my family for a meal whilst the sun was shining, and the Abbey Wharf was busy with a big cross section of people, families, big friendship groups, couples and dogs. The Abbey Wharf creates a relaxed atmosphere that can be felt all around as it is spacious for the different elements of drinking, food and music.

The Abbey Wharf also has free WIFI to help teenagers endure meals with their families. This facility also helped to take the edge of the news that my teenage daughter broke to whilst eating that she had used up all her 4MB on her mobile phone for this month. This data allowance has been used up whilst she has been walking home from school whilst watching ‘Waterloo Road’ on Youtube. But don’t worry folks, she was very safety conscious of traffic by only listening with one ear phone in one of her ears!!! But let’s not think about the fact that she is watching her phone while walking!!!!!

Final Word

We had a lovely family meal sat with panoramic views of the harbour and piers. Peter Holloway, deputy manager of the Abbey Wharf said the fabric of the business comes from his saying of “By Whitby, For Whitby.”

Overall the whole vibe of the Abbey Wharf is that it is non-stop venue of food, drink and entertainment whether you are with friends, family or your four-legged friend. You can emerge yourself in the stunning visuals of the harbour with a maritime scene of yachts, fishing boats, the lifeboats station and the local rowing clubs training in the harbour. You can be a witness to the hustle and bustle of pier road whilst drinking a pint of the Abbey Wharf Blonde beer on the Abbey Wharf balcony.

Joe and Geoff

Northern Lights Express

Northern Lights Express

Join the North Yorkshire Moors Railway for a trip on their new, Northern Lights Express! This truly spectacular illuminated journey starts at Pickering Station, where our train with heritage carriages awaits you – decorated with thousands of lights.

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Halloween Things To Do At Halloween In Whitby

Things To Do At Halloween In Whitby

With its connection to Dracula, it’s iconic Abbey and rumours of local ghosts and witches, Halloween in Whitby is a must for spooky shenanigans.




Be afraid, be oh so afraid for Halloween is approaching! The ghosts, the ghouls, the witches, the vampires they are now awakening.

It’s a wonderful night, for getting a fright, but where to celebrate the vampire’s bite? I’m struggling now for rhyming prose, so I’ll just get straight to what I propose, and that is you go to Whitby!

Whitby, of course, is a gorgeous fishing town on the North Yorkshire coast with all the charms that you need to have a wonderful traditional seaside holiday.

However, as the sun sets, it is also a town of numerous ghost stories, shipwrecks, legends and home to chapters of the Dracula story! Due to these spooky attributes, Whitby is a town that people flock to from all over the world to celebrate Hallowe’en.

Whitby image


You may have noticed that there has been three different spellings of Halloween already. This is because Hallowe’en has been and still continues to be spelled three different ways fairly commonly. Why? Well, that’s down to Hallo’eens strange history journey.

The name Halloween comes from a Christian festival that is held on the 1st November which is All Hallows Day, but the actual festival itself is of Celtic heritage and known as Samhain.

Samhain was celebrated on the 31st October and symbolised the end of summer and the harvest period.

It was on this night that the Celts believed the boundaries between the world of the living and the dead became open. Bonfires were lit to ward off evil spirits.

In the 8th century, the Catholic church was in the midst of trying to rid England of all other religions and festivals associated with them.

Samhain soon fell under the churches gaze and it was decided that their festival All Hallows Day would be moved to the 1st November from the 13th May. This meant that Samhain would now become All Hallows Even, even meaning eve.

By the 16th century, the name All Hallows Even had been shortened and became either Hallo’een or Hallowe’en. By the 18th century, this changed again, and the apostrophe was dropped leaving Hallowe’en as we know it today!

Thank you to the Whitby Guide for all the useful information…

Joe and Geoff

North Yorkshire Moor Railway

As you may probably know by now, the North Yorkshire Moor Railway passes by the Unique Retreats cottages here in Whitby. Therefore, this makes the railway very dear to our hearts. We always get lots of lovely feedback from our visitors about the trains. But, did you know you can get involved behind the scenes this year?

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North Yorkshire Moor Railway Pullman Dining

Did you know what that the North Yorkshire Moor Railway Pullman Dining 2019 Services are now available.

Sit back, relax and enjoy the enchanting North York Moors National Park with friends and family as you experience an unforgettable lunch, afternoon tea or evening meal on board the Pullman Dining Train. With years of catering experience behind us, we pride ourselves on offering the highest quality of service. Experience seasonal menus featuring the best locally sourced food and drink, as you travel on a journey through the heart of our wonderful countryside.

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Attractions and Events Guide 2019 Yorkshire Coast

Attractions and Events Guide 2019 Yorkshire Coast & North York Moors

There really is no shortage of things to see and do on the Yorkshire Coast and North York Moors. This handy guide gives you sneak peek at the plethora of castles, museums, coastal resorts, theatres, shops, waterparks and sea-life centres in the area.

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