Whitby Abbey

Whitby Abbey, the imposing ruin overlooking the North Yorkshire coast, has re-opened to the public following a major £1.6 million re-interpretation project by English Heritage – including a new museum and new interpretation around the historic site.

To celebrate the re-opening and as part of English Heritage’s Telling Tales season, the charity has re-imagined a famous legend associated with Whitby, the abbey and its founder, St Hild.  A temporary installation of giant inflatable snakes will evoke how Hild dealt with a plague of snakes in the abbey by driving them over the cliff. The snakes smashed their heads in the fall and were miraculously turned into stone. Visitors to Whitby today can see the remains of these ‘petrified’ snakes on the town’s beaches (in reality, ammonite fossils).

English Heritage’s new museum tells the story of Whitby Abbey, from the Bronze Age to today, and features a rare and internationally significant collection. It explores the history of settlement on the exposed Whitby headland, the spiritual significance of the site and how generations of writers have found inspiration in the dramatic landscape and wind-swept ruins.

To find out more about the Abbey click here.