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656 in Whitby, United Kingdom


Story - told by Philip Dainton

In North Yorkshire, across seemingly endless rolling hills of heather and limestone, where the land greets the North Sea, stands the ancient town of Whitby. First colonised in 656 AD by the Saxon king of Northumberland, Oswig, The town has stood the test of time and become a charismatic and bustling seaside town and port. Throughout its long history the port was an important site for whaling and mass fishing of herring and cod. Although it gained fame from Bram Stoker’s 1897 gothic novel Dracula, which was inspired by the town’s 7th Century Abbey, the town is misinterpreted as a spooky and foreboding place when in actuality it is quite the opposite. Whitby oozes charm with its quaint sea front shops, cafes and market stalls. With its twisting cobbled streets, whale bone archway, golden sand beaches and the resident harbour seals, the earie setting of Bram Stoker’s Dracula seems a million miles away.

Bram Stoker is not the only household name that frequented this little town. Captain Cook lived in Whitby for many years and studied his maritime routes of global conquest from his home on the hillside. Today the spot is marked with a Captain Cook museum, where you can view copies of his original maps and drawings that would ultimately change the world as we know it.

Just as it has always been, throughout its centuries of existence, the port of Whitby is alive with a variety of different boats that pass in and out of this iconic town just like their long-lost ancestors of the past. The towns reliance on the bounties caught at sea are still very evident today with an abundance of fish n’ chip shops and fresh seafood restaurants littering the seafront.

The town of Whitby is small in stature but ginormous in spirit and charm. A real gem in the treasure trove that is North Yorkshire.     

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