Halloween Half Term in Whitby & North York Moors

The North York Moors, with its misty landscapes and mystifying myths and legends, are a haunting backdrop for an atmospheric adventure – but where should budding ghost-hunters start?

Overshadowed by the imposing ruins of the abbey, Whitby is one of our guest’s favourite places to spend time at Halloween. With its winding cobbled streets and eerie cliff-side paths which are seriously spooky, perfect for ghostly encounters and other-worldly explorations.

Famously steeped in gothic folklore, this corner of the North Yorkshire coast is well known as the setting for Bram Stoker’s Dracula and there are plenty of activities and events to celebrate this kooky connection.

Here are some of the best things to do in and around Whitby during October half term and beyond.

Illuminated Abbey

One of the most atmospheric and unforgettable events on the North Yorkshire coast returns for 2023. Cameras at the ready, as Whitby Abbey glows with dramatic illuminations once again for Illuminated Abbey this October half term.

It’s an unforgettable, Instagrammable evening that families will love, with Victorian Gothic entertainment thrown in. Visit during the daytime for a more gentle offering, with spooky stories and a bewitching trail.

Whitby Goth Weekend (October 27th – 29th)

This Halloween half term, see Whitby as you’ve never seen it before, as thousands of goths descend on the picturesque seaside town for ‘Whitby Goth Weekend’. This free, alternative festival plays host to live music, unique shopping opportunities and fringe events, many of which are Dracula-related, thanks to Whitby’s links with Bram Stoker.

North Yorkshire Moors Light Spectacular

For an all-singing, all-dancing experience like no other, head for the pretty town of Pickering and the North York Moors Light Spectacular.

Take your seats aboard a vintage engine, adorned with thousands of synchronised LEDs and get ready to dance, sing and watch the illuminated countryside go by. It’s a good laugh and gets a thumbs-up from us.

Visit the North Yorkshire Moors Railway website for dates and times.

Dark Skies Fringe Festival 2023

Away from the twinkling lights of the region’s towns and cities, the North York Moors is the perfect setting for discovering the wonder of the starry skies. The Dark Skies Fringe Festival from 27th October to 5th November is a unique event that promotes an understanding and appreciation of astronomy and the delights of the world above us.

Book one of the many activities and create lasting memories while you share the awe-inspiring beauty of the universe.

Other things to do in Whitby

Climb the 199 steps: A famous landmark and a good workout, climb the 199 steps up from the town to Whitby Abbey and you will be rewarded with mystifying views across the harbour and out to sea. It’s not one to attempt with a pushchair, but older kids will enjoy the challenge and it’s a great way to work up an appetite for freshly caught fish and chips.

Set sail on a boat trip: To immerse yourselves in the full seaside experience, nothing beats the sensation of wind in your hair, and the occasional splash from the North Sea. Head to the harbour, where you’ll find a variety of experiences on offer, from boarding an old lifeboat to embarking on an adventure on a pirate ship. Most can be booked in person on the day, for maximum spontaneity.

Wander along the beach: Some good news for those who like their beaches pebble-free; Whitby has a beautiful stretch of golden sand that is perfect for sandcastle-making, kite-flying, and, if you’re feeling brave, a spot of swimming. Nearby are the fishing villages of Robin Hood’s Bay and Staithes, which are both excellent places for fossil-hunting.

Potter around the shops: Whitby’s brimming with many lovely independent shops, from antique and vintage stores to delicious delis. The town is also well known for its wonderful-quality jet, made from fossilised wood and a favourite souvenir is a Whitby Lucky Duck from Whitby Glass.

Little Vikings is an award-winning print and online guide to the best of York and beyond for families, independently run by a local family.

For more recommendations of the best things to do with little ones when joining us for a stay in North Yorkshire throughout the year, visit the Little Vikings website.

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