England’s best views: Whitby

England’s Best Views: Whitby From West Cliff

‘The best view of the Whitby headland is from the West Cliff across the mouth of the harbour. Upon the headland stand the ruins of Whitby Abbey, founded in the 7th century and dedicated to St Hilda.

The parish church of St Mary is set in a graveyard of the blackest and gloomiest headstones, many of men lost at sea. A contrast is offered by the church’s jolly Georgian interior. The box pews are crammed into every corner and beside the three-decker pulpit is an ear trumpet for a rector’s deaf wife. It is approached from the harbour up a flight of 199 steps.

The view out to sea is of waves crashing against the curving breakwater that protects the harbour entrance.’

Recommended videos for you

Extracted from ‘England’s 100 Best Views’ by Simon Jenkins, to be published by Profile books in October 2013 (£25 hardback)

* Subscribe to Country Life; Get Country Life on IPad