And now for the opposite to our last post….
If you live in Yorkshire or the north-east of England, there’s a good chance you’ve visited Whitby at some point. And if you’ve been to Whitby, you’ve probably climbed the 199 steps that lead up to the town’s historic abbey.
No visit would be complete without a trip up the famed staircase and many people will have a chuckle to themselves on the way down as they pass children climbing up and counting the steps as they go, mainly because a lot of grown-ups still like to do it themselves! In fact, many would say it’s a tradition.
And while this North Yorkshire seaside town may be known for having the best fish and chips anywhere in the country (not an opinion, but an out-and-out fact), there is so much more to Whitby. The place is steeped in history with settlers recorded as early as the 7thcentury. It was also the setting for part of Bram Stoker’s Dracula – something which has helped to fuel the town’s already-booming tourism industry, thanks to the bi-annual Whitby Gothic Weekend.
The stone steps were built as a means of getting from the town below up to the Abbey and St. Mary’s Church on the East Cliff. A cobbled track runs up the cliff alongside the staircase and was used in days gone by for transporting coffins by horse and cart up to the cemetery in the church grounds.
For the nimble and agile, getting from bottom to top takes just a few minutes (as long you’ve haven’t lost count of the steps and decided to go back down and start again), while seasoned veterans take things at a more leisurely pace, knowing that the reward for those who reach the top is the same for everyone – the stunning view across this beautiful town. Or if you’re below a certain age, an ice cream.
Jamestown on the island of Saint Helena, as we wrote about in a previous blog, might have the world’s longest staircase (a mammoth 699 steps!) but for the sheer history and the ability to completely immerse yourself in your surroundings, you simply cannot beat the Whitby steps.
So whatever your reason for ascending the steps, or whatever number you come up with when you try to count them, just make sure that if you ever spend a day in Whitby, take a trip up that historic stone staircase. Whether it’s a breathtaking view, a bit of exercise or simply an ice cream you’re after, you won’t regret it.
From a few steps to 199 to 699, we can help transform your staircase into something special.