The town has spread both inland and onto the west cliff, whilst the east cliff remains dominated by the ruins of Whitby Abbey and by Saint Mary's Church. It is quite a distance to reach the east cliff by road, the alternative being to climb the 199 steps, which are famed enough that many who make the climb can be heard counting on the way up. The west cliff has its own landmarks - a statue of Captain James Cook, who sailed from the town, and an arch of whalebone, in commemoration of the once large whaling industry.
One unusual feature of Whitby is the Dracula museum - a large portion of Bram Stoker's famous novel was set in Whitby, including Dracula's arrival in Britain, on a ship washed ashore in the harbour. Lucy watches from the churchyard as the sun sets over the nearby headland of Kettleness, but doesn't know how many steps she climbed to get there.
Whitby was the site of the Rohilla disaster of October 30 1914; when the hospital ship Rohilla was sunk (either by running aground, or hitting a mine; accounts differ) within sight of shore just off Whitby. 85 lost their lives in the disaster, most of whom are buried in the churchyard at Whitby.