One of the things that I enjoyed the most about Leeds is its location. From Leeds, you can easily visit the beautiful countryside, hike the dales, visit a vintage fair in a quaint little town or try a dip in one of the beaches nearby (weather permitting, of course!). So last week, I decided to visit the picturesque beachside town of Whitby, located in North Yorkshire. I joined Leeds University Union Give It a Go (GIAG), which organises various activities for students to try throughout the year. It covers everything from sports, hobbies, traveling, volunteering to meditation and chocolate tasting. Check out their upcoming activities here https://www.luu.org.uk/giag/ and I’m sure you’ll find something you like.
There were around 30-40 of us during the Whitby trip so you’re likely to meet new friends along the way. I paid £15 for the trip and it took around 2 hours by bus to Whitby from Leeds, passing through several scenic routes along the way. We left at 9 am from the university, arrived around 11 am in Whitby and were given free time to explore the town by ourselves, before meeting up again at 5 pm for our journey back to Leeds. This gives us around 6 hours in Whitby, which I think is enough time to see most of the major spots there. We were also quite lucky that the weather was nice despite some light showers in the afternoon.
As a tourist spot, Whitby is famous for many things including being the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula story, producer of local gemstone: the Whitby Jet and of course, home to various fish and chips shops. For my first stop, I decided to visit the beautiful Whitby Abbey (or the remains of it), which is said to be the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s haunting tale of Dracula. You can enjoy the beautiful remains of the Abbey, while watching a play about Dracula staged along the complex, which is both hilarious and entertaining. The Abbey is also situated on a cliff, so you can also see the ocean below.
After visiting the Abbey, I walked towards Whitby’s centre, taking the path called 199 steps, which is a long staircase consisting of (supposedly) 199 staircase, leading to St. Mary’s church. The view from the staircase is breathtaking since you can see the ocean and the beautiful houses along the way and because St. Mary’s church itself is beautiful. If 199 stairs are too much, you can rest on the benches along the way or in St. Mary’s church compound, where they put benches overlooking the ocean. Once you completed the 199-steps, you will be welcomed with pretty little shops, selling various things from chocolates, souvenirs, gemstones, foods and ice creams. These shops are situated in narrow, cobblestone streets with quaint window shops. Since it was lunch time already, I decided to stop by in one of the many fish and chips shop and sample the restaurant’s famous cod fish and chips.
After lunch, I continued my journey towards the beach and headed to the far end where the beach huts are located. Whitby is also famed for its beautiful colourful beach huts, so I decided to see it for myself. I took a couple of pictures there because I think it would look nice on Instagram (Instagram-freak here!) before taking a walk on the beach. It was a lovely afternoon and there were several people collecting seashells, building sand castles and even sailing.
After enjoying a good stroll on the beach, I went to my last destination in Whitby: the lighthouse. The lighthouse is located at the end of the pier towards the ocean, so it’s quite windy and cold. If you feel like it, you can climb to the top of the lighthouse and enjoy a panoramic view of the town. I also spent some time here to just sit down, relax, marvel at the view and enjoy some ice cream before heading back to our meeting point. If you feel like taking a cruise, you can also choose among the many cruises on offer along the pier. After enjoying a nice relaxing time on the beach, it’s time to head back to our group’s meeting point. On my way back, I watched several street magicians perform and artists playing traditional Indian-American music instruments which is really entertaining. I also passed several museums, including the Lifeboat Museum, Whitby Jet Museum and Captain Cook Memorial Museum.
We left Whitby at exactly 5 pm and arrived in Leeds around 7 pm which is precisely according to the schedule. I was happy with the way everything was organised and am looking forward to LUU’s next GIaG trip. I’ve checked their schedule and it seems like I’ll join either the Lake District or Scarborough Trip, so watch out for my next blog post on this.