Church Street was originally made up of several short streets, and it's irregular plan, that can still be recognised today, dates back from medieval times.
Church Street played an important role as part of the commercial centre of Whitby. The Market Place was built in 1640, with a toll booth.
Records show that fishing vessel owners lived here around 1400. Development in the herring trade, resulted in a growth in population and housing. (About 3,000 lived here in 1700, and upto 4,938 in 1816)
The jet industry also meant that workshops were a common sight around Church Street, with shops and a few workshops continuing today.
Public Houses were to be found here, with at least 20 at one time.
The White Horse & Griffin was a meeting place for Whale Boat captains, and Charles Dickens dined here in 1884.
It was also important as a staging Inn, developing the horse drawn goods trading centre for the area, as the owners, and their horses had somewhere to eat, drink and rest.
Walking along Church Street, you can see evidence of its history, by the buildings and cobbled roadway. 188 buildings on this street are listed as national or historical interest.
Narrow ghauts (passageways) and yards lead off the Street. Some with interesting names, such as Arguements Yard! A popular photo opp!
Nowadays, there are many interesting shops and cafes to keep the visitor busy.
It can become quite crowded during the summer months, but out of season, early morning, or late evening, you can imagine life during earlier times.
Poor standard of accommodation for price!
We stayed at the White Horse & Griffin on 11th & 12th of March 2007 for my birthday. The only reason I chose this hotel was because they had a special offer of one night free as it was low season, so we would be paying £80 for two nights which seemed like a good offer as I expected the hotel (at these prices) to be a little more “upmarket” than the other accommodation on offer in Whitby – how wrong I was!
We stayed in the “Scoresby” room which was not very big, the view out of the window was just tiles from another roof (and scattered cigarette butts!), the bath had a shower head but no shower curtain or screen, so as another reviewer had mentioned we had to have a shower sat in the bath – not ideal! The cold tap ran warm every now and again – not pleasant whilst brushing your teeth! The radiator next to the bed was really noisy – even though it never seemed to be on and you could hear everything from the other rooms (not unexpected in an old building I suppose) so I would advise anyone staying to take earplugs. The kettle didnt reach the plug so we had to have it on the floor. The room looked like it could do with a decoration overhaul!
On the plus side, the staff were nice enough and we had a meal on our second night in the restaurant which was delicious, we had three courses with steak for mains and it came to £66 (without drinks) which we thought was quite reasonable for the standard of the food. The hotel is well placed in town and the nearest public car park is only a very short walk away (but very busy) and 24 hour parking is only £6. The breakfast was lovely and there was a good choice of dishes.
All in all I expected a much better standard of accommodation for the price and certainly won’t be staying here again – there are plenty of other B&Bs which are half the price and I am sure offer much nicer rooms. But I would certainly visit the restaurant again if we visit Whitby.
We have just returned from a 2 night break at the White Horse & Grifin and I thought I must write a review.
Positives - fantastic central location, crisp white linen sheets, warm welcome, great breakfast, big bathroom, comfy bed, a building with a lot of history, good dinner.
Negatives - No parking, dinner too expensive, had to ask for a hair dryer, sea gulls very loud ( but what can you expect near the sea).
What they DON'T show on the website!!!
Having just returned from a two night stay at the White Horse and Griffin our review should serve as a warning for anyone who might consider visiting the hotel. We were advised when booking that all but the "family room" were fully booked and with this being the case we would need to pay an additional £25 per night, no reduction for a couple with no children. We were assured that "Resolution" was of an equal standard to all of the rooms pictured on the hotel's website but sadly this was far from the case.
Arriving at the hotel we were met by one of several young, but very helpful staff who led us up several flights of stairs, (complete with missing handrail,) to our room. As an aside any potential visitor of an elderly / infirm nature would find this journey difficult if not hazardous.
We both found the room to be extremely disappointing, particularly when considering the rooms shown on the hotels website and the reassurance that we had been given when booking. It was not clean, ( and was not cleaned during our visit,) and lacked the most basic of amenities for a hotel room costing £85 per night. The television had three channels with dreadful reception, all of the electrical appliances (which showed no sign of PAT testing stickers,) were supplied from a single trailing extension lead which we had to drag around the room. Make a cup of tea and dry your hair? Not at this hotel!!!
In addition to the handles falling off the wardrobe, light switch inside our room which turned off all of the communal lighting on our floor and the shabby towels / towelling robes the room was noisy being adjacent to a large water storage tank which refilled throughout the night and a fan of some sort, ( boiler / extract???) which ran constantly creating a loud humming noise which my wife as a light sleeper, found extremely disturbing.
The bathroom in particular deserves a mention as the "shower" was a short hose connected to the bath taps with a fixed pipe clip several inches above. The only method of showering successfully was to squat in the bath and grip the shower head between your knees while applying soap / shampoo. All of this had to be attempted with great care because the was no shower screen, or curtain. Surely the lack of basic amenities of this kind warrant a lower charge?
Whilst checking out we mentioned some of our grumbles to one of the junior staff members who immediately related them to who we assumed was the hotel manager / owner. He was extremely dismissive with an attitude that suggested "too late, you've already paid!!!"
Although the food and service at the White Horse and Griffin were excellent, the accommodation was very poor falling far below the standard of a basic travel inn. We would suggest that any potential guests think very carefully about spending this much money when so many of the basic requirements of a hotel room were missing.
fantastic little find
White Horse and Griffin is an excellent little hotel, very 'olde worlde' and truely reflects its exterior on the interior. Don't stay here if you want 'modern' , straight lines and London style. Do stay here if you want retro old fashioned and the best position. I had wanted to stay here for years so splashed out on the attic room with fab views from several different windows.
Food is another issue altogether - excellent, just mouthwatering. The restaurant is romantic, menu interesting and taste outstanding, fine service too. Good wine selection. Breakfast is a traditional fish lovers dream, high quality and difficult to choose as it is all so fine - go with someone else so you can go half and half on two dishes!
My only regret is that we only stayed one night.
Poor value & quality
After having stayed in a few other Whitby establishments we thought we would pay a little more this time for a special night away for our 5th Anniversary. After five minutes of being in the room (warrior queen) and trying our hardest to compliment everything we saw, we turned to each other and both said ' its a bit dissapointing really'. The room had less 'wow factor' than a travel lodge. I feel that we are pretty easy to please but make no mistake - the fixtures and fittings are not antiques - they are simply old tat. Let me retract that actually - I think the TV set might have been edwardian. The bathrobes were so old and had been washed so many times they were solid and could have stood upright all on their own. The window does not close in the bathroom and the bath has a chip out of the enamel. As you walk past the front of the WH&G you think how nice it looks - but rest assured you will be advised by the staff that you have to use the tradesmans entrance in the alleyway at the side. The best view from the room is an alleyway and your other option is a flat roof/50ft high brick wall with a series of vents etc on it. After several stays in whitby B&B's around the same time (1st/2nd December) this is also the first one we have come across that did not have any christmas decorations. £100 for one night in a tatty hotel with no parking - i can see the emperor and he has no clothes on
The White Horse and Griffin was an amazing find, taking an impromtu trip to Whitby we were surprised to find accommodation of this standard with rooms still available.
From Check in to Check out the staff were great, very friendly and helpful. The meal we had in the evening was about the best I've ever had (the chicken & banana soup and surf & turf were out of this world.)
When departing a very pleasant lady (who ha\d also served us the night before.) said 'hope to see you again', and make no mistake, they certainly will.
Don't believe everything you read.
When you read bad reviews after you have already booked into a B&B, you suddenly feel that you should have done your research. After reading some of the bad reviews about the Horse and Griffin on this website I was suddenly worried. However, I now realise that unless you're incredibly fussy you will find this place really great. Think about it, if you're booked into somewhere in the old side of the harbour, the stairs are going to be crooked, and everywhere is going to be steeped in old charm. You don't come to Whitby because it's a modern town, you come for the history.
The choice at breakfast was fantastic, from steak to kippers, the facilities were great and you could come and go as you please, the people were helpful, and the view of the harbour and St. Mary's from the attic bedroom is really amazing. Maybe the prices were a bit steep, but then again, if you don't want to pay much book in somewhere cheaper.
To get the true Whitby experience, this place is a fantastic choice, and after you've climbed the 199 steps, eaten fish and chips from The Magpie, bought fudge from the Whitby Fudge stall on the arcade side of the harbour, and bought your own lucky duck, you really feel like the Horse and Griffin adds to the charm.
over priced tat
We visited the white horse and griffin for a one night stay on the 7th march 2007 with a party of 6. the food was very good, both evening meal and breakfast and the staff were fine.
That just leaves the rooms, I'm afraid to say very over rated, scruffy and verging on dirty. I feel the hotel is hiding behind old world charm to get away with grubby. The carpet in our room was badly stained and so was the bedspread. the conditions we found would have been acceptable in a much cheaper b&b above a pub, not a 130 pound a night room.
"Welcome To Whitby"
Whitby is a small town on the East coast of Yorkshire. It was once an important port and Captain James Cook began his seafaring career here. Today it is a popular day trip destination with the people of the North East of England and Yorkshire, and is still a thriving fishing port. Whitby Cod is famous throughout these parts.
"St. Marys Church"
Also on this side of the river is the Abbey and the Church of St. Mary. These are reached by climbing a steep set of steps onto the cliff above the south side of the town.
Here's a great view of the church from the small pier (yes, yet another pier!) accessible from the end of Church street, behind the Duke Of Wellington pub. It's a great place to eat a bag of chips ;-)
"St. Hilds Abbey"
The Abbey dates from 657 and was built by St. Hilda (or Hild).
"The Fishing Harbour"
The harbour is the hub of Whitby. It's always a fascinating place and looks great as night draws in.
Whitby harbour is protected by two piers. Both used to be accesible by the public, but now the one on the south side is closed due to the danger of the cliff subsiding above the route to the pier.
On the North Pier there is an old lighthouse.
From the top of the old lighthouse you get a great view of the harbour and back across Whitby. You can see the largest hotels in Whitby on the cliff above the town.
Me and my lovely sister-in-law Gillian on the Pier.
"Eating & Drinking"
Loads & loads of fish & chip shops, as you'd expect. The most famous and renowned fish in town can be bought at The Magpie, by the harbour on the North side of town. There are sometimes queues to get in here!
For those who like something different (and vegetarian), try The Shepherds Purse. This is half way along the main street in the old town (95 Church Street, over the swing bridge then second left) oppsosite the old market square. As well as veggie meals, this is also a clothes and food shop. The cafe is right at the back, where they also have a courtyard outside, in which you can eat. Round the courtyard are self catering cottages which you can rent.
(Pic: The Shepherds Purse)
Inside the Shepherds Purse - a cornucopia of wines, vinegars, oils, herbs, spices, cheeses... you name it.
Most of favourite pubs are both on the south (old town) side. One is The Duke Of Wellington, which is at the bottom of the steps up to the Abbey. If you're lucky you'll get a seat overlooking the harbour.
The second pub is The Middle Earth Tavern (great name). This is along Church Street (over the swing bridge and turn right) opposite the new Yacht marina. Sit outside on a sunny day and watch the activity in the marina. They sell a great pint of real ale.
Thirdly there's the White Horse & Griffin, a small pub, full of character (and sometimes characters) on Church Street. It's original green tile facade really stands out (see pic).
"Beaches and other pastimes"
Unfortunately, a bit of a let down! Although there are miles and miles of beach running from Whitby (North side) up to the appropriately named Sand End, the quality is rather variable. many a time we've strolled on the beach and ended up with tar on our shoes!
There is a row of beach huts below West Cliff (really it's the North Cliff), and this is a popular spot in the summer, though I'd be very watchful of where you walk or sit.
For really lovely beaces and an extremely picturesque setting, travel a few miles north to Runswick Bay. Here are a few pictures taken around this coastal village.
Runswick lifeboat station. In August is Runswick Lifeboat Day, a fundraising event for the lifeboat. It's a great day out for children of all ages, and the village is absolutely thronging with people. Extra parking is arranged in fields at the top of the cliff on this day.
There is one pub down in the village proper, with another and a hotel standing at the top of the cliffs. The one down in the village is highly recommended especially if you can get an outside seat looking out over the village and the sea.
A short way up the river Esk, perhaps a pleasant 20 minute walk from the railway station, is a stretch of the river given over to rowing. This stretch is between Ruswarp and Sleights, and as well as boating, it's a lovely place for a picnic.
A few stops back down the railway line from Whitby is the station of Grosmont. This is the interchange for the North Yorkshire Moors Railway - the most popular preserved railway in the country (official) and the best (my opinion). Trains run from Grosmont to Pickering, which is itself a lovely Yorkshire market town - give yourself at least a couple of hours to spend there - and stop at a variety of lovely country locations on the way.
One of the most famous stops is at Goathland, the setting for the popular TV series "Heartbeat".
There is a leaflet detailing walks that you can do from one station to another and the timetable gives details of which days steam locomotives will be working the line.
There are special "dinner" trains, where the price includes return trip to Pickering and a meal on the train. We went for a christmas lunch in recent years and the quality of the meal and the service was about the best I have experienced - a first class standard.
For kids, there's a variety of "Santa's special" trains near christmas!
Take a look at their Website
Futher afield is The Lion Inn at Blakey Ridge, in the heart of the North Yorks Moors on the Castleton to Hutton Le Hole road. This is everything a remote country pub should be, with low ceilinged bars, real fires, great food and ales... It has accomodation both in terms of rooms and a campsite. In winter the pub is often cut off by the snow.
You can get a great view of the town and harbour from up on the West Cliff as it's known - though it's more natural to think of it as the North Cliff.
Crab nets stacked on the jetty on the south side of town.
Captain James Cook, who discovered Australia, was born nearby in Middlesbrough and began his seafaring career at Whitby.
In 1998 a replica of Captain Cook's ship Endeavour visited Whitby and proved to be a hugely popular tourist attraction. It is hoped that it will return again on a regular basis.
"Old & New Towns"
Whitby is split into two halves. North of the River Esk is the more modern part of the town which has most of the hotels and guest houses, and also most of the more modern type of shop - supermarket, banks, clothing shops etc. South of the river is the old town. Here the streets are much more quaint and narrow, and the shops have more character, though as you'd expect, they cater mostly for the tourists.
Here are some pictures taken around the shopping streets of the old town.