Great Britain Road Trip: Whitby, England

Whitby, England. 

Was it originally on our radar? Nah. This small, eastern coastal town in North Yorkshire was actually a suggestion from a friend for our road trip -- and let me just say, PTL for friends who travel well, because we LOVED Whitby. Out of all of the places we stopped, this town ranks at the top of our list as places you must checkout in Northern England! It's full of charm, fresh fish, and landmarks that make you feel a tad lost in time. {cue all the heart emojis}

One of our favorite things to do was simply stroll the streets and wander in and out of shops along the cobblestone alleyways. Going into our trip, we made sure to read up on the local history {cause we're nerds like that} and found that Whitby is home to legendary stories of Captain Cook, Robin Hood and Dracula.

Pictured below are the '199 Steps' mentioned in Bram Stoker's "Dracula." Not only is it a great workout to climb {& count} the stairs, but it has an AUH-MAZING view of the city at the top! It's also the route you would take to view Whitby Abbey, one of the most popular landmarks in the city.

As cute as the town is during the day, Whitby has the tendency to turn a tad creepy at night. It's typical for a heavy wave of fog to roll into the bay as the sun goes down. The fog, plus the legendary tales of shipwrecks and vampires that float around the locals, only adds to the eerie atmosphere the town embraces at night. {As if a large graveyard overlooking the city wasn't already enough...}

Whitby is not only known for its medieval Abbey ruins at the top of the cliff, but also for their history in the whaling industry. Whaling is something completely foreign to me, but still fascinating to learn about, and how it affected small coastal towns like Whitby. One of the most interesting facts I learned was how fisherman would tie the whale bones to the masts of their ships to show victory over the whale which brought comfort and reassurance to their family and community upon their arrival. This tradition is what inspired the Whitby Whale Bone Arch, pictured below. If you're interested in learning more about the Whitby Whale Bone Arch, I would highly recommend checking out this article by Atlas Obscura.

Speaking of fish, if you're looking for fresh local cuisine, The Magpie Cafe is the ultimate dinner spot. Recommended by just about every local we talked to, The Magpie Cafe offers that southern hospitality we Arkansans love {and miss so much while traveling}, and a variety of fish dishes and non-fish dishes {for weirdos who travel to the coast and STILL won't eat seafood... *guilty*} 

This was probably one of our favorite meals of the trip... not because of the food {although it really was great}, but because of the sweetest English family that was celebrating their grandfather's birthday next to us. One thing that we constantly experienced around England was that regardless of where you're from, or if you're just passing through -- everyone treats you like friends, and this family was no expectation. That's one of my favorite things about traveling, the fact that regardless of where you go, you still have the opportunity to connect and share your lives with one another. {Or in our case, birthday cake too!}

The REAL attraction of this coastal town is the Whitby Abbey which dates back to 657 A.D. TALK ABOUT OLD PEOPLE. This landmark has seen a lot through the years -- from Anglo-Saxon rule, to monastic occupation, to house parties by the Cholmley family, and eventually being shell-shocked by Germany in WWII which transformed the Abbey's appearance into what it is today. 

There really is something to be said about stepping into a place full of so much history. It's sometimes hard to comprehend everything that has come before this moment, ya know? But yet amazing to see that regardless of both the triumphs and destruction of the past, something as beautiful as Whitby Abbey can still stand before us today.

On top of the fact that I love this town already, the Abbey is what really put me over the top on making this one of my most favorite places to ever visit. I mean look at the those faces below! Obviously we were loving every moment of our day exploring Whitby. I think we both hope to return one day for a seaside vacation... ya know, like a true Englander... because we're basically half way there with how much we love this country.

Well done England on creating such a perfect place to escape, refresh and remember.

Well. Done.