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A scenic seaside town with a Gothic edge, Whitby is a busy tourist hub, but it handles that fact so well you might not notice (except at dinnertime, when it's hard to get a seat in a restaurant). Whitby curves around its symmetrical harbor and winds its way up the cliffs. The glassy waters of the slow-moving River Esk cut through the town. Fine Georgian houses dominate the west side of the river (known as West Cliff), and across the swing bridge smaller 17th-century buildings mark the old town (known as East Cliff). Here cobbled Church Street is packed in summer with people exploring the shop-lined alleyways.
Whitby came to prominence as a whaling port in the mid-18th century. Whaling brought wealth, and shipbuilding made it famous: Captain James Cook (1728-79), explorer and navigator, sailed on his first ship from Whitby in 1747, and all four of his subsequent discovery vessels were built here.
Whitby at a Glance
Elsewhere in Yorkshire
- Bolton Abbey
- Castle Howard
- Haworth: Heart of Brontë Country
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