Friday 24 August 2007

Whitby, Yorkshire

An atmospheric, but rough seaside town with cobbled streets, high harbour walls and a replica tall ship, overlooked by a ruined abbey. Despite the many tacky arcades, shops and attractions riding on Whitby's tenuous link with Dracula, the swashbuckling and smuggling of the Eighteenth Century lingers on among the steep narrow alleyways and traditional pubs. The town is awash with fish restaurants, but the pick of the shoal is the Magpie Cafe. Ignore the rain and join the queue outside to enjoy the ultra-fresh seafood at reasonable prices. Afterwards, cross over the bridge to the other side of the harbour and thread your way through the eclectic mix of shops in the cobbled streets before climbing the 195 steps up to the church in front of the Abbey. From there you get a sweeping view of Whitby's piers, the higgly-piggly rooftops, elegant Regency terraces and the moors beyond. Bewarned, the grog flows freely in Whitby at weekends and you might see the odd scuffle. 8/10