This trip to the North Sea town of Whitby was filled with stories of vampires, wizards, and giants. Whitby is a small town with a big history. Most of its history stems from famous works of fiction. It is the town where Dracula was written and based. Nearby the town is a “hole” in the earth, which according to legend, was made by a giant. Also not far from the town is the train station filmed as the Hogsmeade station in the Harry Potter movies. The real life history of Whitby is just as enjoyable. It hosts a ruined cathedral, beautiful beaches, and the home of James Cook.
After stopping by this massive unimpressive ‘hole’ in the earth, that kinda just looked like a valley, we continued onto Whitby. We were dropped off by the ruins of a cathedral. It was beautiful and mysterious. Not far from the ruins is a church. it is famous for being the first place Dracula visited in England. The graveyard was particularly interesting at this church, given that each headstone had a skull and crossbones marked somewhere into the stone.
The church and cathedral ruins sit on top of a hill. At the bottom of the hill, 99 steps later, is the city of Whitby and the North Sea. Whitby is a town of small pastel painted houses sandwiched together facing the ocean and bay. The bay opens up to the sea with two long pier. All along the pier children are running, tourist are eating fish-n-chips, and seagulls soar over head hoping for a stranger to gift them with some chips.
Before heading into the city, we walked down to the beach. This is the first beach I have been on since the Florida beach my best friend was married on in August of last year. I am in love with the beach. Every time I see it, I don’t want to leave. This was no exception. I didn’t mind that I was fully dressed in a coat, scarf, and beanie drinking my mocha, I would have stayed all day. Instead of staying, we took some photos, touched the water, and drew our names in the sand, then headed into the winding streets full of shops for sweets, gifts, and local art.
We took a break from the breathtaking views to enjoy fresh and filling fish’n'chips! Whitby is a fishing town, and the difference between the fish there and in Bradford was absolutely noticeable.
After lunch we went on a hunt for the Captain Cook mini ship replica. We found the home he grew up in and a museum dedicated to him, but had no luck in finding his ship. The splendour of all the sweet shops filling the streets turned out to be irresistable, so we stopped to get dessert before heading to the pier. Walking down the pier ended up being a little more difficult than we expected. The wind kept threatening to steal our hats or blow us over the edge. The fight was worth it. At the end of the pier was the most spectacular view of the city. The ocean crept into the streets of neatly lined colourful buildings retreating up a hill. There at the top of the hill, the ruins of a cathedral watches the city live come alive with floods of tourists. A camera simply couldn’t capture the magnificence of it all.
During our remaining hours at Whitby we visited a museum dedicated to lifeboats (which is essentially the idea of a coast guard not life boats to escape a sinking ship) and a statue of Captain cook.
With only a bit of time remaining we wandered the streets looking for something undiscovered. We walked through alleys and past the tourist attractions. The salty air and sounds of seagulls was enough to make me want to return. Even if I never make it back to the mysterious and enchanting Whitby, I cannot wait to see the ocean again.
Here are more photos of Whitby
Before heading home the tour bus took us to a small remote train station. This was special because it served as the Hogsmeade station in the filming of the Harry Potter movies. It is nestled in a cluster of trees and protected by large rolling hills covered in heather. Leaving the station is a staircase climbing the hills of heather. You can almost imagine young Harry walking them on his way into Hogwarts. The train station definitely filled all of us with a sense of magic. Some of my companions even found sticks (or wands) and began to duel. We were all pretty worn out by this point, and spent only the time to take photos before heading home.