Whitby - UK, England

Whitby is a town in North Yorkshire on the North Sea, in the north east of England. The heart of Whitby is the old port, with its steep, narrow streets, on the eastern bank of the river. The western part of Whitby grew up as the town developed as a resort during the Victorian Era. Today, visitors are attracted not only by the sea and the replica of Captain Cooks Endeavour, but use Whitby as a base for exploring the adjacent North York Moors National Park and the Cleveland Hills. Dominating the old town from the heights of the East Cliff, and Whitby's most notable feature, are the gaunt sandstone ruins of Whitby Abbey. Founded in 657 by St Hilda, the abbey was the meeting place of the historic Synod of Whitby, at which the churches in England agreed to follow Roman rather than Celtic Church customs. At this time, the abbey was also home to Caedmon, the first of the Anglo-Saxon Christian poets. The abbey was rebuilt in 1078 after being sacked by the Danes in 867. The existing buildings date from the 13th century and their eerie atmosphere inspired Bram Stoker to set part of his classic Gothic novel Dracula in the town. The port reached its height of importance in the 18th century, when Whitby had a whaling fleet and was a base for coal ships plying the North Sea. The 18th-century explorer and navigator James Cook lived in Whitby for nine years in his youth, learning seamanship on the colliers. Two of the ships used on his voyages to the South Pacific Ocean, the Endeavour and the Resolution, were built locally.