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A Gothic abbey, eerie churches and ancient winding streets with shrunken buildings all make Whitby a great place to capture some classic pictures – just be sure to bring some garlic along with you.
Getting to Whitby
Travelling by car on the A171 will take you on a beautiful drive through the North Yorkshire Moors where rolling hills of heather dispersed only by the odd stream and intrepid group of walkers can make for some truly spectacular pictures. Arriving by steam train on the North Yorkshire Moors railway is surely the only way to see the surrounding countryside that leads into Whitby while you soak up the atmosphere of travelling by steam.
Things to see in Whitby
The ruins of St. Hilda’s Abbey on the top of Whitby’s East Cliff dominate most people’s list of things to see in the town. A regular in photographs, sketches and paintings, the Abbey is a thousand different photo opportunities in one. It can be viewed from the front with the pond at it’s feet providing an eerie foreground and whether you visit in rain or sunshine, day or night, the Abbey seems to adjust to it’s surroundings to provide endless chances for capturing a great photo. Inside the Abbey the remaining arches and crumbing stone work encapsulate the Gothic atmosphere, although it will cost you a £4.20 entrance fee to get this close. Views from the East Cliff stretch out right across the town and out to the North Sea providing some nice shots of the harbour and light house in the valley below.
A short walk along the cliff from the Abbey stands another Gothic icon – St. Mary’s church whose churchyard inspired Bram Stocker to write Dracula. Sinister, wild and battered by all the available elements, St. Mary’s churchyard is a sprawling mass of cliff top graves and the church itself has many interesting and original features including box pews and an upper gallery.
The ancient 199 steps which lead down the valley side will take you into Whitby’s old town where bustling streets lined with tiny houses break every now and then to reveal stunning views of Whitby harbour. As you walk past the many gift shops you’re sure to see postcards and prints of photographs by famed photographer Frank Sutcliffe who set up his own professional photographic studio in a disused jet workshop in Waterloo Yard in 1875. His photographs of local fishermen, the harbour and Whitby’s streets are world famous and it’s refreshing to see that much of what he photographed still exists today with highlights including Argument’s Yard off Church Street and Whitby Market Place built in 1884.
Whitby harbour’s vast area covers approximately 80 acres and from here you can jump on one of the many boat trips that will take you around the bay and give you a totally different view of the Abbey and Whitby itself.
Whitby was the main whaling port for the North of England from the mid 1700s to 1800s and a whale bone arch was presented to the town by Norway in 1963. This arch stands on the West Cliff and provides an excellent photo opportunity looking out to the North Sea.