Last updated on February 24th, 2012 | Written By Mark Young
Things to do in Whitby for families
Fantastic photo of Whitby Harbour and Lighthouse. Photo attribution: Paul Stevenson
When it comes to choosing a destination for a family day out, short break, or a full-blown family holiday, I think that Whitby takes some beating. The town is packed full of character and family-friendly activities, and the surrounding countryside and coastline is amongst some of the most beautiful in the UK, but you probably know all that already.
So amongst the ever popular favourites described here, I have dropped in a few ‘local favourites’ to help you feel at home and get the most out of your stay.
The friends of Pannett Park have done an amazing job of transforming every aspect of the park in recent years. The park boasts lots of quite corners for picnics with great views across the town, and is also home to the town’s museum and art gallery.
But the jewel in the crown for families with young children is the nautically themed play park. The park was evidently designed and put together by someone who really understands what children enjoy, and caters for a wide range of ages. I have spent many hours in there and it remains one of our children’s favourite places to go.
Beaches in Whitby
No list of things to do in Whitby could go without mentioning the beach, and with two and a half miles of sand stretching up the coast to Sandsend, you can pick your spot to suit your plans. You can head straight onto the beach directly next to the West pier, where you’ll find all the traditional British seaside staples of donkeys, deck chairs, buckets and spades.
Alternatively, head down from the west cliff above the spa (there’s a cliff lift if you need it) and you will find a cafe on the sea wall, flanked on each side by brightly coloured beach huts.
Sandsend provides another great alternative, where you can combine traditional seaside fun with browsing in the galleries and gift shops that the village is home to (and a special mention has to go to the Sandside Cafe, which has an unrivalled setting right on the beachside and boasts a great range of cakes!)
Soaking up the history in Whitby
You don’t need to look far beneath the skin of this picturesque coastal town to find loads of fascinating stories and facts. There are loads of great books and guides to help you explore this rich heritage (The fantastic independent Whitby Bookshop on Church Street is a great place to look for these), but here are a few pointers towards places to include in your cultural tour of the town!
Pannett Park Museum, an eclectic collection of fossils, local artefacts and documents. It’s like stepping back in time to the museums of your childhood (but in a good way!). Whitby Lifeboat museum, on Pier Road is a fascinating look at Whitby’s proud maritime history from the perspective of the brave crews of the RNLI
If pictures are your thing, then the Victorian photographers collection at Frank Meadow Sutcliffe Gallery, will not disappoint, and the stunning images are a great way for visitors of all ages to access the towns rich heritage. Whitby Abbey – one of English Heritage’s most iconic properties, the Abbey has a fantastic visitors centre with something for visitors of any age.
Other attractions and things to see in Whitby
One of the best things about Whitby is that you are never far from something to stimulate the mind and the senses. Here are some of our favourites to look out for as you take a stroll through the town. Stroll down the West and East Piers, either of the town’s historic piers gives visitors a great connection with the sea, and a great view along the coast or back towards the town.
As you walk up Henrietta Street, at the end of Church Street is Fortune’s Kippers, the smell from the kipper house is an unmistakable treat. Elizabeth the Steam Bus is not just a treat for steam enthusiasts, the steam bus takes you on a tour of the town that you won’t find anywhere else, with a lively commentary and plenty to see as you ride.
Follow Mark on Twitter
Huge thanks to Mark Young who kindly wrote this guide for us. Mark loves to share information, ideas and anything else he think might interest families living in, or visitors to Whitby. He is always on the look out for great activities or ideas that we can help to promote.
Please follow Mark on Twitter for more great tips and advice on Whitby for families.
Map of Whitby
Browse the map and click on the pins to find the location of the places featured in this guide.