33 tips from regulars on how to survive Whitby Goth Weekend
If you’re thinking of going – whether it’s this year or the next – then preparation beforehand will go a long way to ensure you make the most of a weekend that packed with more fun than you’ll be able to experience fully in 48 short hours (even less, if you shun the daytime for sanguinarian reasons of your own).
Take heart – these wise words from past attendees, many of them Whitby Goth Weekend regulars, will set you up for a sumptuous experience!
1. La Rosa would be the perfect place to stay. We stayed in the Lewis room and had our own skeleton.
2. We booked early and stayed at self-catering places, Poets Corner on the cliffs and St Hilda’s cottages next to the abbey, but you might find more luck booking hotels and B&Bs in town if you’re looking for last-minute options.
3. If you have a Spa ticket, booking a B&B near the Spa is a reasonable plan. They do book up quite fast though – Whitby isn’t so big that you can’t just walk from anywhere in Whitby, as long as you’ve a modicum of basic fitness. (There are hills though, which don’t suit everyone).
4. Definitely book accommodation as early as possible. I had a nightmare booking as early as something like July when I went. Also, some of the B&Bs I enquired with didn’t take goths “because they’re noisy, make a mess, and come in at all hours”.
5. Booking early is good, but you can sometimes get away with booking last-minute. With that many people, there are inevitably cancellations…
6. I know people who have taken the ‘I don’t need accommodation, I don’t usually sleep in my own bed anyway’ approach, and it has worked for them!
7. Pack your “blacks”.
8. Whitby Goth Weekend is gothic, but eclectically so. Pack your victorian/gothic/steampunk/vintage clobber and promenade! Promenade!
9. Like many people, some goths can be on the shy side until they get to know someone. A common introduction is to compliment someone on their boots.
10. Don’t be rude – ask before you take someone’s photo and if they refuse be gracious about it.
11. Don’t disrespect the locals and the Parish by posing up in St . Mary’s. It’s a common problem with non-goths who visit and give respectful goths a bad name. The village is very picturesque if you’re looking for wonderful photo opportunities. The Abbey is also a great backdrop.
Things to do in Whitby
12. Get your tickets for gigs early. There are lots of stalls and stuff happening at the Pavilion, but there are also other brilliant Steampunk – and more – markets in abundance at this time, so shop around.
13. The Abbey is superb, especially at Halloween, so take your camera, and enjoy the ambience; it’s well worth paying the ticket price to get in.
14. Whitby is a pretty seaside town, so is fine for wandering around and shopping. The locals like goths, because they’re friendly, spend lots of money, and are much less trouble than the morris dancers.
15. There’s usually something on at the Shambles, with excellent times to be had there…
16. Beyond the festival, the place can get quite quiet after 8 unless you head to the evening spots where the goths gather.
17. It’s not Goth as such, but do visit the Frank Sutcliffe gallery. It exhibits very evocative early photographs of Whitby.
18. Attend the Spa – great bands, great people, the original and still the best event. It’s great for first-timers, too.
19 There are lots of fringe events as well as the Spa.
20. If you’re at a loose end (not that you will be, if it’s just a weekend – you can quite comfortably make a week of a trip to Whitby) – there’s a steam train to Pickering.
21. On Monday night it might be worth popping down to the beach in the evening, on the ‘non-spa’ side, because Nothing is Organised and “it was like that when we got here”. (Often people gather and socialise on the beach.)
22. Head to RAW Nightclub for Thursday, Sunday and Monday night good times.
Food & Drink
23. You MUST get fish and chips from Magpie’s!! They’re the absolute BEST!!!
24. If someone hands you a drink saying ‘here, try this’ then the correct approach is to enquire what it is before having a swig. There have been a variety of… interesting drinks passed around this way.
25. Elsinore is a popular pub to hang out in. And the Tin Angel opposite.
26. Sanders Yard does good tea and cake.
27. Sherlocks does good tea and cake.
28. Whitby has a smokery; the kippers are good.
29. Justin’s does chocolates. The cannonballs are worth it.
30. The pub opposite the Elsie is the Little Angel (not the tin angel). The Shambles and The Duke of York are also excellent. I’m a Little A fan myself – bring on the sambuca!
31. The off licence on Skinner street rocks.
32. Beckett’s coffee shop on Skinner Street is hangover heaven. Cafe Java on Flower gate is the place to go for a fry-up and huge coffees!
33. Whitby is wonderful, but be prepared for cold and cold winds. Also – the sea is colder than you think.
All photo credits: © Robert Slassor