West Cliff has its own landmarks — a statue of Captain James Cook, who sailed from the town, and a whalebone arch, commemorating the once large whaling industry. There is also a new science museum — Whitby Wizard. The whalebone arch is the second to stand on this spot; the original (a larger version) is now preserved in Whitby Archives Heritage Centre. By the inner harbour, next to the tourist information office, there is also a statue commemorating William Scoresby, inventor of the crow's nest.
The black mineraloid, jet, the fossilized remains of decaying wood, is found in the cliffs around Whitby, and has been used since the Bronze Age to make beads and other jewellery. The Romans mined jet extensively, and Whitby jet was at the peak of its popularity in the mid-19th century, especially after it was favoured as mourning jewellery by Queen Victoria and the manufacture of jewellery from locally mined jet was one of Whitby's main industries.
Whitby Museum holds a large collection on the archaeological and social history of jet.
Festivals & Events
Whitby Regatta occurs once a year for three days in August. Originally a local rowing competition, over the years it has expanded to include events such as a large fair stretching along the pier, police demonstrations, fireworks and military displays. Rowing still forms a major part of the weekend and races take place over three days between three old rival clubs - Whitby Friendship ARC, Whitby Fishermen's ARC and Scarborough ARC.
For at least the last two decades the town has hosted the Whitby Folk Week, which currently includes around 600 different events in various venues. Whitby also hosts the bi-annual Whitby Gothic Weekend, a festival for members of the Goth subculture.
One unusual feature of Whitby is the Dracula Museum. Part of Bram Stoker's famous novel was set in Whitby, describing Dracula's arrival in Britain on a ship washed ashore in the harbour, and how Lucy watched from the churchyard as the sun set over the nearby headland of Kettleness, but did not know how many steps she climbed to get there. Stoker's story incorporated various pieces of Whitby folklore, including the beaching of the Russian ship Dmitri, which became the basis of Demeter in the book. Furthermore, it was at the public library in Whitby that Stoker discovered the name "Dracula".
North Yorkshire Moors Railway
The 18-mile (29 km) railway is the second-longest heritage line in the United Kingdom and runs across the North York Moors from Pickering via Levisham, Newton Dale and Goathland to Grosmont. It is the middle section of the former Whitby, Pickering and Malton line which was closed in 1965 as part of the Beeching cuts. The NYMR is owned by the North York Moors Historical Railway Trust Ltd and is mostly operated and staffed by volunteers.
The railway has been seen both on television and in film. The station at Goathland has been used as both Hogsmeade Station in the Harry Potter films, and Aidensfield in the popular sixties drama Heartbeat. Pickering Station was used in the film Possession. Other appearances include Casualty, Brideshead Revisited, All Creatures Great and Small, Poirot and Sherlock Holmes television series.
Robin Hood’s Bay
Robin Hood’s Bay is a small fishing town or village located five miles south of Whitby on the coast of North Yorkshire. Bay Town, as it is known to the locals, consists of a maze of tiny streets, has a tradition of smuggling, and there is reputed to be a network of subterranean passageways linking the houses.
The main legitimate activity had always been fishing, but this started to decline in the late 19th century. These days most of its income comes from tourism. Robin Hood's Bay is also famous for the large number of fossils which may be found on its beach.