Staithes: A picture postcard fishing port on the North Yorkshire coast

Staithes is an idyllic fishing village sandwiched between the dramatic cliffs of North Yorkshire’s cragged coast. The town is a muddle of quirky cottages and winding streets that lead down to a dramatic sheltered harbour. In a word (or two) it’s simply stunning.

Once a thriving fishing port, Staithes now makes most of its income from tourism, with more than half the village’s cottages available as holiday lets. However, while locals might have flown the nest, the location has still managed to retain all of its laid-back charm.

The town was once the home of Captain James Cook. But, he worked as a grocer and had to move to nearby Whitby to pursue his dream of sailing the open seas. However, there’s still some nods to his legacy including a cottage named in his honour.

It’s also known for its rugged cliffs which are jam-packed with ammonite fossils and therefore attract a steady flow of amateur geologists desperate to get their hands on a perfect specimen.

However, in recent years Staithes has found fame as the setting for CBBC’s Old Jack’s Boat. The show stars the legendary Bernard Cribbands who plays a wise and wonderful raconteur.

Being so beautiful, it’s probably unsurprising to learn that Staithes has a long tradition of attracting artists. In the 19th century, the town was home to a group of artists who, inspired by the French Impressionists, immortalised the destination in a range of watercolours. And, to honour this history, the village now holds an annual festival of arts and heritage.

And, if you can’t bear the thought of a trip to the seaside without fish and chips – or chips and mushy peas for us vegans – the Cod & Lobster is probably the place for you. We sat outside looking out onto the harbour, however the interior is equally as pleasing and cosy as can be.

To walk off our meals, we headed for the harbour walls. Then, with the tide on its way in, we decided to go and look at some of the rock pools. We found two little fish and a crab. But, we soon tired of the slippery rocks and headed towards the valley to have a walk in the woods instead.

As we scaled ever higher, we stumbled across a glorious view of the harbour and the ruby red rooftops below. And, it was at this point I found Staithes to be at its most beautiful. Away from the day trippers and flocks of seagulls, the village looked just like a postcard. Stunning, still and seemingly unchanged by time.


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