Whitby is a town of two parts, with the River Esk carving a path between a huddle of 18th-century fishermen's cottages along its East Cliff and a genteel Victorian suburb atop the West Cliff. It's also a town with two personalities – on the one hand, a busy commercial and fishing port (it was here that 18th-century explorer Captain James Cook gained his seafaring legs) with a bustling quayside awash with fish; on the other, an oh-so-pretty, traditional seaside resort complete with sandy beach, amusement arcades and promenading holidaymakers.
Keeping a watchful eye over the town is an atmospheric ruined abbey, the inspiration and setting for part of Bram Stoker's Gothic horror story Dracula. But tales of witchery and ghostly legends have haunted Whitby ever since Anglo-Saxon St Hilda landed here to found a monastic community in AD 657. The town embraces its reputation for the weird and wonderful, which culminates in two hugely successful Goth Weekends each year.