The ruins of Whitby Abbey stand above the coastal town of Whitby in the North York Moors. The first Abbey was founded on the site in 657AD and the headland is now dominated by the shell of the Benedectine Abbey, which is one of the most celebrated and iconic sights in North Yorkshire. Whitby Abbey is also famous for its connection with the Dracula story and is said to have inspired the author Bram Stoker during one of his visits to the town.
Today, visitors to the site can enjoy the Abbey ruins and visitor centre, as well as taking in the panoramic views over the coast, the town and the surrounding area.
Travel by public transport
Visitors arriving by train have an 11 minute walk to Whitby Abbey. This is up a steep gradient and includes 199 steps. Visitors with additional access requirements may therefore prefer to take the Whitby Town Tour bus, which stops at the Abbey entrance, or book a local taxi for the short journey.
For those wishing to leave by train from Whitby station, there is level access into the ticket office via a permanent access ramp with a gentle slope.
In summer, the main car park (owned and operated by the local council) is open and situated close to the ticket office.
In winter, visitors should use the West Front car park, which has four accessible parking spaces.
There are additional accessible parking spaces at the West Front entrance of the Abbey which can be accessed through the Abbey Lodge archway.
Path to main entrance
The main entrance into the Abbey is through the West Front Entrance, through the Abbey archway and courtyard. This leads to the grounds through the shop / visitor centre where tickets can be purchased.
A mobile ticket and information point is also located here during the summer months. During this busy period, there is also an additional entrance via the council car park. This is known as the 'summer ticket office'. Visitors entering at this point proceed through the ticket office via automatic doors (1360mm wide), up a slope (with a 3 degree gradient) which leads directly into the Abbey grounds.
Visitors requiring level access into the Abbey without a gradient are advised to park in one of the four accessible parking bays accessed via the archway at the West Front Entrance.
Getting around inside
Visual Impairment - General Information
Visitor Centre Lift
Ticket/ information desk
Ticket desk in Visitor Centre / Shop
This ticket desk is located at the left hand side of the shop. It operates all year round and has a hearing loop available.
Things to See and Do
This area has a number of displays which provide audio information about the Abbey and its history.
Accessible Toilet in Visitor Centre / Shop
There is a space of 700mm to the underside of the sink in this facility. There is no electric hand dryer in the toilet but paper towels are provided.
Visitor Centre Shop
The shop offers a wide selection of items for sale and there is good circulation space of at least 800mm throughout.
Getting around outside
Abbey Ruins via Council Car Park Entrance (Summer months only)
The entrance to the Abbey ruins from the council car park includes a long slope which has handrails to either side located at a height of 950mm.
From this entry point the Abbey Ruins are accessed via grass and gravel pathways which are uneven in places. Some limited parts of the Abbey ruins also have ramped access and again, the ground here can be uneven.
Abbey Ruins via Shop / Museum
There are two sets of double doors to access the outdoor area at this point. The external doors are held open during visiting hours. The internal, glazed doors, which have clear manifestation markings, are automatic doors operated via a push button.
From this entry point the Abbey Ruins are accessed via a gentle downward slope with dual height handrails, then across a level, grassed area which leads to a wooden Boardwalk. This then becomes a level, solid stone floor leading into the Abbey ruins.
Once in the Abbey ruins, the route includes a combination of wooden, concrete, stone and light gravel pathways. There is also access over grass and the ground is uneven in places. Some parts of the ruins have ramped access which may suitable for some, whilst other manual wheelchair users may find this terrain a challenge. The majority of the site is suitable for power wheelchairs or scooters however.
Despite the potentially challenging terrain, the overall experience of being close to the Abbey and the surrounding dramatic scenery makes the ruins well worth a visit.
Customer care support
Emergency evacuation procedures
Customer care support
There is an audio guide on site which has over 200 information points, spanning both our inside and outide spaces.