Whitby Abbey

Revamping Whitby Abbey

This year we have been investing almost £1.6 million to transform Whitby Abbey and celebrate the history of this iconic landmark.

You can now explore 3,000 years of history in the new permanent exhibition with dramatic displays of unique objects and a new and free interactive experience – The Ammonite Quest.

You will also be able to enjoy new facilities, including a coffee shop and improved welcoming visitor's areas, making sure you get the most of your visit to the abbey. 

 

New facilities

In April 2019 Whitby Abbey was reopen following a major project to improve the visitor centre, museum and interpretation across the site.

Outside, the courtyard area has been transformed with a tree-lined avenue, new seating and green spaces planted with herbs. You’ll also find a cosy coffee shop near the entrance to the abbey.  

3,000 years of history - Telling the story

Visit the museum to delve into thousands of years of the abbey’s history of Whitby Abbey from the early Bronze Age through medieval times to the occupation by the Cholmley family in late 17th century.

You can also find out how the abbey has inspired artists, novelists and poets over the centuries. For instance, you’ll discover how Bram Stoker imagined his character Dracula leaping ashore from a wrecked ship and up the 199 steps. JMW Turner, JRR Tolkien and Lewis Carroll have all also been inspired by Whitby and its famous abbey. 

History of Whitby Abbey

The Ammonite Quest

As legend has it, the headland at Whitby was infested by snakes until a nun called Hild came to build her monastery. Fearlessly, Hild slayed the snakes and threw them off the cliff, turning them miraculously into stone. Today these snakestones are best known as ammonites, and many can be found in and along the cliffs at Whitby. 

Guided by an ammonite, a map and information via the free dowloadable Live Beacon app, you and your family or group can explore the site and discover Whitby Abbey’s hidden history through some of the objects and lost buildings that people once used.

 

 

Learn more about The Ammonite Quest

Illustrating Whitby Competition

Congratulations to Mark Elvins - the winner of our illustration competition. You'll shortly be able to see Mark's evocative artworks in our new exhibition.

Thanks to everyone who submitted an entry. There were so many wonderfully imaginative responses to interpreting the history of the abbey.

The winner of our illustration competition will have their artwork featured in the design scheme of our new exhibition. The winning designs will be incorporated on 3D voiles, illuminated and suspended from the ceiling of the museum.

'step into englands story