The Village of Staithes
Staithes is a historic fishing village located in North Yorkshire. Staithes means ‘landing place’ – and it is thought to have originated as a port for the nearby Seaton Hall and the village of Hinderwell. It has a sheltered harbour once home to 80 full time fishing boats – however only a few fishing boats now operate. There is a long tradition of using the coble – an ancient fishing vessel reputed to be modelled on the Viking longboat. Many of the cottages in the village are named after former fishing boats of Staithes. For example there is a cottage called ‘True Love’ this was a fishing vessel that operated out of Whitby composed entirely of men from Staithes. The village is famous for the women’s ‘Staithes bonnets’ – now a picturesque reminiscence – but they once played a vital role in protecting the heads of the women as they harvested mussels collected from the rocks and carrying them home on their heads.
In the 18 th century Staithes’ now most famous resident – James Cook – was apprenticed to William Sanderson a grocer and haberdasher whose premises were on Church Street in Staithes. James would later join and rise to the rank of Captain in the Royal Navy making famous voyages of exploration.
During the late 19 th century the village was home to artists known as the ‘Staithes Group’ – also known as the Northern Impressionists. Dame Laura Knight was the most well-known of the group and with her husband had an artist’s studio in the village.
Due to its tightly packed cottages, courtyards and ancient alleyways Staithes has been used as the backdrop to a number of tv series and films. Recently ‘Phantom Thread’ (2017) – an Oscar-winning film starring Daniel Day-Lewis had some scenes shot in Staithes. The children’s BBC Series ‘Old Jack’s Boat’ starring Bernard Cribbins has been filmed there for a number of years.
The village has a butcher’s shop, a delicatessen, a toy shop, 2 art galleries, a gift shop, 2 cafes and a museum . A mobile ice cream van attends every day in summer. There is also a museum – The Captain Cook and Staithes Heritage Centre.
Dogs can be taken on the beach – dog waste bins are available at various points.
Parking in the village is restricted and ‘short stay’ only in the village. Overnight (paid) parking facilities are available at the top of the hill.
There are a number of pubs in the village ‘The Cod and Lobster’ and ‘The Royal George’ serving meals, ales, wines and spirits.
Every August the Staithes and Runswick RNLI Lifeboat team hold a fundraising weekend to raise money for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. The weekend has a wide range of activities and events for all the family to enjoy. Traditionally events include the Nightgown Parade through the cobbled streets of Staithes on the eve of the weekend’s activities.
In September each year Staithes hosts the Staithes Festival of Arts and Heritage. Visitors can walk through the maze of lanes and alleyways visiting the ‘pop up’ galleries in local cottages. There is also a programme of guided walks, workshops, talks and film shows. The history of the village is also celebrated with events and exhibition throughout the weekend