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Little Vikings is an award-winning print and online guide to the best of York (and beyond) for kids, independently run by a York family. Read their guide to Halloween in Whitby and the North York Moors!

The North York Moors, with its misty landscapes and ancient woodland, are a haunting backdrop for atmospheric autumn adventures but where should budding ghost-hunters start? Overshadowed by the imposing ruins of the abbey, Whitby is one of our favourite places to spend time at Halloween. Its winding cobbled streets and eerie cliff-side paths are seriously spooky, perfect for ghostly encounters and eerie explorations. Famously steeped in gothic folklore, this corner of the 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’s the Little Vikings pick of the best things to do with children in and around Whitby during October half term and beyond.

Illuminated Abbey - One of the most atmospheric and unforgettable events on the Yorkshire coast returns for 2023. Camera phones 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 storytelling and a bewitching trail. 

Whitby Goth Weekend - This 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.

October 27th to October 29th 2023

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 synchoronised LEDs, and get ready to dance, sing and watch the illuminated countryside go by. It’s a good laugh that 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 Yorkshire setting for discovering the wonder of the starry skies. The Dark Skies Festival in the North York Moors is a unique event that promotes an understanding and appreciation of astronomy and the delights of the night sky. Book one of the many activities and create lasting memories while you share the awe-inspiring beauty of the universe. 27th October to 5th November 2023.

Other things to do with kids 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'll be rewarded with epic views across the harbour and out to sea. It’s not one to attempt with a buggy, but older kids will enjoy the challenge (and it’s a great way to work up an appetite for freshly caught fish and chips).
  • Take 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 while on an actual boat! Head to the harbour where you'll find a variety of boat trip experiences on offer, from riding an old lifeboat to embarking on an adventure aboard a pirate ship. Most can be booked in person on the day, for maximum daytrip spontaneity.
  • Head to the beach - Great news for those who like their beaches pebble-free: Whitby has a beautiful stretch of golden sand that’s perfect for sandcastle-making, kite-flying and, if you’re feeling brave, a spot of swimming (brrr). Nearby are the quaint fishing villages of Robin Hood’s Bay and Staithes, both excellent places for fossil-hunting.
  • Take a photo under the whalebone arch - If you don’t have a family photo under the whalebone arch, did you even go to Whitby?! It’s the perfect spot for capturing a picture across the town and over to the abbey.
  • Potter around the shops - Whitby’s brimming with lovely independent shops, from antique and vintage stores to delicious delis and places selling glittering crystals and rugged rocks. The town’s well known for its high-quality jet, made from fossilised wood, but our favourite Whitby souvenir is a Whitby Lucky Duck from Whitby glass. And if our children are really lucky, they’ll get a stick of rock too.

Little Vikings is an award-winning print and online guide to the best of York (and beyond) for kids, independently run by a York family. For more recommendations of the best things to do with children in York throughout the year, visit the Little Vikings website ( and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, X and TikTok.

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