Those of you who follow me on Instagram will have already been subject to my pictures of Whitby, but as so many people seem so enthralled with the place I thought I’d round up some of the best places to eat and drink in the town and on the North Yorkshire Coast.
I spent many happy childhood holidays in this fishing town, but my last visit was about eight years ago. In the ensuing time I’ve developed a brutal taste for real ale and good food – and realised that my goth tendencies are nothing to be ashamed of – and, as Whitby has plenty of all these things, figured it was time to revisit the place.
Lots of Googling went into our planning, so to save you the effort if you do end up going any time soon, here’s my guide to some nice places to eat, drink and be generally gleeful about how amazing the place is.
Best places to drink in Whitby
The Black Horse, 91 Church Street, Whitby YO22 4BH
Little (very) old man pub where we spent just about every evening on our recent visit. Really good selection of ales and interesting ~pub tapas. Which basically means a really, really good cheeseboard and lots of pork pies. The food is bloody brill and if you are a London dweller who is used to paying Southampton Arms prices for a pint and a pork pie, you will cry like a baby at the cost of your round. Fun fact: Andy lost a wallet of money, cheques, cards and train tickets here. It was handed in untouched. People, eh! Lovely bloody people.
Duke of York, 124 Church Street, Whitby YO22 4DE
Handily located at the bottom of the 199 steps, this pub has a pretty amazing location overlooking the harbour. Again, it’s Cask Marque-tastic in terms of ale AND it has free wifi – which comes in handy in a 3G blackspot like Whitby. They do standard pub grub which isn’t anything spectacularly mind-blowing but pretty good all round – sometimes you can’t go wrong with pub scampi and chips, can you? Especially not when you’re basically sitting in the harbour. Really though, you’re here for the beer and the view.
The Board, 125 Church Street, Whitby YO22 4DE
Hold on, you’re thinking. All of these pubs are on Church Street. That’s right. Whitby is small, that’s what makes it brilliant. This is a proper locals’ pub but don’t worry, this being Yorkshire everyone’s dead friendly. I’ve not eaten here but it does have food and, again, amazing views and top ales.
The Endeavour, 66 Church Street, Whitby YO22 4AS
Ale. Friendly people. Are you getting the message? Everywhere in Whitby is nice and cheap with good beer, I can’t really tell you any more than that.
Middle Earth Tavern, 25 Church Street, Whitby YO22 4AE
One for the hobbit fanciers.
Jolly Sailors, 13 Saint Anne’s Staith, Whitby YO21 3PW
Over on the other side of the harbour, this is one of Whitby’s two Sam Smiths pubs. It has a fire and beer is £1.30 a pint. The other Sam Smiths in town is called The Plough and it’s on Baxtergate – I prefer this one for its harbourside location. It also has a beer garden, apparently – bit cold for those larks on our visit.
The Shambles, Market Place, Whitby YO22 4DD
If you want to revisit your teenage holiday to Newquay with all your mates, this place goes some way to taking you back there. It’s bloody massive, there are lots of sofas and you will buy some cheap pints of lager and a bag of Mini Cheddars and you will be extremely happy. This place also has an enormous balcony which, I vaguely recall, is smashing in summer. As we were there this time in December I didn’t venture out to see if my memory was correct.
Ye Dolphin, King Street, Robin Hood’s BayYO22 4SH
If you walk from Whitby to Robin Hood’s Bay, this is a good pub to reward yourself at. It’s a seven mile hike over the cliffs so you will deserve the reward, trust me. Good ales and more good pub food, although we missed out on the serving times and had to make do with a bag of nuts. There are quite a few pubs in Robin Hood’s Bay, considering its population is less than 1,500. I’ve not been in any others but as you may be gathering – it’s hard to go wrong with any watering hole round these parts.
Best places to eat in Whitby
The White Horse & Griffin, 87 Church Street, Whitby YO22 4BH
FANCY! This is definitely one of Whitby’s jewels – incredible historic building with lots of nooks and crannies and open fires and utterly brilliant food. It’s a tiny bit expensive (I mean, it isn’t at all – but after a few days of laughing in the face of the price of everything, this is more back to normal standards) but they do ~early bird special menus and breakfasts and all sorts of things, so make sure you visit at some point.
Trenchers, New Quay Road, Whitby YO21 1DH
Oh god, the chips from these guys. You won’t be short of choice for fish and chips in Whitby but after the Magpie, this place owns my heart. Nice art deco kind of feel to the restaurant but even if you just got a bag of chips and sat outside eating them, you’d be happy.
Magpie Cafe, 14 Pier Road, Whitby YO21 3PU
The Magpie is probably the most famous thing in Whitby, if you remove Dracula from the equation. It’s won a billion awards, got pages of rave reviews and has a queue outside every day for good reason. It is bloody brilliant. Sprawling over more floors and rooms every time I visit, it nevertheless loses none of its charm – the staff are just brilliant and keep a tight ship running at all times. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, frankly. I had crab pate and fish pie this time and just thinking about them now is making me salivate like a cartoon dog. Go early and book your table, then run on the spot for two hours to build up your appetite.
Humble Pie, 163 Church Street, Whitby YO22 4AS
Pie, mash, gravy, peas. £4.99. I know what you’re thinking – Goddard’s pies are the best in the world. Nuh-uh. There’s no Henderson’s Relish in a Goddard’s pie. And you can get a pint from the Middle Earth Tavern to carry over the road and enjoy too!
The Moon & Sixpence, Marine Parade, Whitby YO21 3PR
You want a fancy bistro? Well SURE, Whitby can cater to that. This smart wine-bar-kinda hangout does a mean breakfast, quality lunches and, obviously, loads of Whitby fish for your dinner. It’s tiny, so choose your timing wisely – then sit and look at the harbour and enjoy your lunch and feel smug.
Green’s of Whitby, 13 Bridge Street, Whitby YO22 4BG
If you want more fish (obviously you do) but you don’t want to visit a chippy again, Green’s is your super fancy alternative. Chef Rob Green is a former winner of Seafood Chef of the Year and with the quality of raw materials available to him you’ve got a fairly winning combination, haven’t you? You’ll probably need to book and it’s not cheap, but if you want to experience some of the best seafood you’ll ever eat then add it to your list. Oh, and there’s non-fishy stuff too if you’re weird and can’t eat any more fish.
Sandside Cafe, East Row, Whitby YO21 3SU
If you walk from Whitby to Sandsend (the opposite direction to Robin Hood’s Bay), this is your reward. A smashing little cafe right on the sea front, with cakes and sarnies and sausage rolls and all sorts of delicious things to reward you for that bracing stroll along the front. It’s only a couple of miles, but hey! You deserve it.
Best places to buy food in Whitby
If you end up self-catering like we did, you’ll be faced with the daily dilema of whether to go out and eat amazing food in all of the awesome places listed above or whether to take advantage of the brilliant local butchers and bakers and fishmongers. Tough call, I know. Here are some places we bought our supplies – there’s also a big Co-Op down by the station if you need anything else.
Fortune’s Kippers, 22 Henrietta Street, Whitby YO22 4DW
Smoking kippers in the same little ol’ hut for 139 years, this is as much another Whitby landmark as somewhere to buy your fish. Only open in the mornings, it’s worth getting up and over there before breakfast to pick up some kippers wrapped in newspaper or the pate, which is the stuff of dreams. You can smell this place a mile off and I mean that in the best possible way.
Botham’s of Whitby, locations throughout the town
You can’t beat a proper bakery, particularly one that’s still in the same family hands as it has been in for 147 years. You know when you go to a bakery and buy a loaf and toast it and have it with real butter or kipper pate and you think, I will never again buy a loaf from Sainsbos? That. See also; pork pies, sausage rolls, cakes, pasties.
Shepherd’s Purse Whole Food, 95 Church Street, Whitby YO22 4BH
Oh god, the cheeses. And the spices and the sauces and the condiments! Forget what I said about the Co-Op, just go here and smell everything.
Breckon Butchers, 6 Golden Lion Bank, YO21 3BS
There are loads of good butchers in Whitby but this is where we seemed to do most of our shopping. Best bacon I’ve ever eaten in my life. I know it’s obvious and non-London dwellers will roll their eyes to the heavens, but it’s so nice to go in a butchers and chat to them about what you’re cooking then be handed a bag of meat that costs less than a fiver for enough to feed a family of four. That bacon though, seriously.
Ellis Greengrocers, 8 Baxtergate, YO21 1BD
Again, there’s no shortage of grocers in Whitby but we liked this place. See, there really is no need for the Co-Op, forget I even mentioned it.