I often visit Whitby, but this was the first time I’d been to the abbey. You can park by the abbey, but to visit the town as well there’s the 199 steps down – and up! If you do the tour bus, one of the stops is the abbey, then you can get back on to visit other areas of the town.
Luckily my daughter in law gave me and my husband a lift to a caravan park at Saltwick Bay, from which we could walk along the flat coastal path to the abbey. Our first stop was the YHA tea rooms adjacent to the abbey, where we enjoyed coffee while overlooking the town.
The abbey is an English Heritage site and has a very good museum in adjacent Cholmley House. A shop and interesting displays, with audio guide to bring it all alive, were on the ground floor. There was a lift to go to the higher ground level of the abbey itself. A Benedict abbey perched high on the east cliff; a monastery before an abbey, it has been a sacred site since 657AD. Although in ruins, there was sufficient detail to see that it was once a truly magnificent building. The audio guide brought it alive too, with stories of the people who lived there. It is said that Bram Stoker’s gothic tale, Dracula, was inspired by the place.
We walked down the 199 steps to the town, looked round and ate fish and chips by the quay before catching a bus back to my son’s house in nearby Fylingthorpe. Worth noting that there is a half hourly bus service along the coast – very useful with a OAP bus pass!