Staithes is an attractive North Yorkshire fishing village of special character. The picturesque views, the charm of the village and quaint customs has attracted both tourists and artists.
In the 16th century it developed a reputation for shell fishing. By the 1800s it was the largest east coast fishingStaithes Village port north of the Wash with a lively fish auction on the harbour side and a thriving curing and boat building industry. Nowadays, a few fishing vessels still bring in delicious crab and lobster.
It has an attractive cobbled High Street with a collection of cottages, houses, chapels and narrow alleys. As you follow the High Street down towards the sea you catch glimpses of the sea and cliffs until you reach the full view of the beach and harbour framed by sheltering cliffs.
Historic Fishing VillageThe ‘staith’ was once the landing place for boats but now the name applies to the whole village. Captain Cook discovered his love and fascination for the sea when he was employed in the village and for centuries Staithes has provided many master-mariners. The Staithes bonnet was once the daily wear of the fishermen’s wives and it can still occasionally be seen being worn in the village today.
One superstition peculiar to Staithes is the legend about 2 mermaids who came ashore and were North Yorkshire Moorsmade prisoners by the villagers. They escaped back to the sea and put a curse on the village. The ancient prophecy is not far from being fulfilled as the sea has already encroached on 13 houses between the shore and the wall…and if you are walking in the village, don’t mention pigs!
Local Area Attractions
Between Staithes and Whitby there are two pretty coastal villages, Runswick Bay and Sandsend, which both have wide sandy beaches, cafes and pubs. Just South of Whitby there is the picturesque former fishing village of Robin Hood ‘s Bay. Inland from Staithes there is the beautiful Esk Valley with many lovely walks and charming villages.
Robin Hoods Bay
Robin Hoods Bay
Robin Hood’s Bay is a charming former fishing village with a wide range of interesting shops including several second hand bookshops, an art gallery, and interesting curio shops.
Runswick Bay is a picturesque coastal village. There is public parking at the bottom of the steep hill that leads to the lower part of the village. Runswick Bay has a large sandy beach, a pub which serves food, a sailing club and an old lifeboat station.
In the 18th century the original fishing village was well-known for its smuggling activities. There is the Cliff Railway and Saltburn Pier.
Sandsend lies at the bottom of a steep hill 7 miles South of Staithes on the road to Whitby. Now it is a picturesque village with an excellent sandy beach which attracts surfers and kite flyers from miles around.
The historic charm of Whitby, with its narrow, cobbled streets and picturesque pantiled houses is world famous. The ruins of the cliff top Abbey overlook the town, and the 199 steps leading up to the church of St Mary’s, provide breathtaking views of the River Esk, harbour and town.
Situated along one of Britain ‘s finest stretches of coastline, with cliffs, fine bays and safe, sandy beaches and attractive villages, Whitby has been a port for more than 1,000 years and is still a seafarer’s town today.
The town is the centre of “Whitby Jet” the black stone being worked here for over 150 years, and it became popular in Victorian times when Queen Victoria was in permanent mourning for Prince Albert.
Besides its fishing heritage, fresh fish available daily, it’s claim to fame is that the town is where Dracula come ashore in the famous Dracula” book by Bram Stoker.
The other major “son” of the town is Captain Cook. James Cook was an apprentice seaman here and the house is now a museum dedicated to him. There is a bronze statue of him overlooking the harbour.