The romantic ruins of the abbey and the Church of St Mary, perched on the cliffs, inspired Bram Stoker's novel Dracula and fans of this gothic masterpiece flock here from around the world.
The town is also famous for its striking semi-precious Whitby Jet, made from the fossilised wood found in the cliffs here. Today it is still used in jewellery, as it has been since Roman times.
Robin Hood's Bay, a picturesque old smugglers' haven, makes an excellent day trip from Whitby. Walk down to the sea at low tide when the rock beds, studded with fossils, are exposed. Or explore the network of narrow streets lined with pink-tiled cottages tumbling down the steep hill to the harbour.
Whitby is about 5 hours north of London by a combination of bus and rail.