This English Town Looks Straight Out of a Storybook

Andrew Bret Wallis/Getty Images

Why the quaint town of Whitby should be at the top of your travel list.

England is filled with quaint, picturesque towns reminiscent of times past, but one stands out from the rest. 

Sitting on the banks of River Esk, Whitby, England is a charming town that looks as if it were pulled straight from the pages of a fairytale. At the top of a majestic hill on the east coast of County Yorkshire, the town offers stunning views down each winding street, of River Esk and the nearby Whitby Beach. 

The streets of this seaside town are lined with cafés, bakeries, and shops, anchoring the ground floors of centuries-old buildings. A walk down Flowergate—one of Whitby's main streets—is any Instagram-lover's dream. At nearly every turn, you'll find picturesque gardens and architecture, with the breathtaking rural backdrop of the surrounding countryside peeking through.   

On the opposite bank of the river, you'll find the stately Whitby Abbey—the medieval ruins of a 13th-century cathedral—that's likely the most notable attraction in town. Sitting in the middle of a park-like setting abutting the North Sea, the Abbey is a stark reminder of the city's abundant history—the town's origins date back to 656. While the Abbey may be the oldest attraction in town, you'll find history around nearly every corner.

Just a short five-mile drive south sits Robin Hood's Bay, an idyllic retreat that offers stunning vistas of the sea. Although the name may seem an unintentional nod to its storybook semblance, there is no affiliation with the heroic outlaw who's been memorialized by Disney.

While London draws millions of international visitors for its stately architectural icons, like the Elizabeth Tower, London Eye, and the National Gallery, and its cosmopolitan charm, Whitby offers a different, more relaxed appeal. So the next time you're planning a trip to the country known for its history and beauty, consider a stop in the tiny town to the east.