Things To Do In Staithes (North Yorkshire)

Over the last couple of years, Staithes has become a special place to me and my girlfriends. A weekend retreat that feels like a big northern hug, and a salty detox of our fast-paced city lives. It continues to tick all of our boxes, and there are plenty of things to do in Staithes that keep us rebooking this gorgeous little harbour village.

So before I get on with a list of what to do in Staithes I really wanted to recommend it as a suggestion for a weekend break in the UK. Book a short break at Harbour Cottage for a luxurious calming reboost, a stone’s throw from the beach, and a very short walk to the famous Cod and Lobster pub. Staithes is the kind of place where you’ll know all of the locals by the end of the weekend and the slow pace will really charge your batteries. Staithes village does receive visitors during the day, although not as many as nearby Robin Hoods Bay, but come 5 o’clock it’s back to you and the residents to enjoy an evening stroll. And I have to mention the fact that due to the surrounding cliffs, Staithes has its own micro-climate! So when the rest of the northeast coast are batoning down the hatches, here in Staithes the wind just wooshes straight over them, it can be a proper little sun trap.

Harbour Cottage, Staithes

Staithes is a great base for exploring more of North Yorkshire, both coastline and countryside. You could make day trips to Whitby, Robin Hoods Bay, Sandsend, Gromont, and Goatland. Or plan some scenic hikes – Staithes is actually on the Cleveland Way, but there’s is also some pretty stunning scenery inland in the National Park.

View of Staithes from the Cleveland Way National Trail

Things To Do In Staithes

Can you believe, Staithes was once one of the largest fishing ports in the UK, so as you can imagine there’s a lot of history and heritage to explore. Many just walk the main street not really delving behind, but there are a few little gems you mustn’t miss.

1. Visit The Staithes Heritage Museum

Before you go any further down the High Street, stop off at the Staithes Story Museum for a brief narrative of Staithes’ history and all of the reasons why this picturesque Yorkshire fishing village is on the map in the first place.

It’s run by locals who are more than happy to chat with you about the exhibitions – last time we visited we got a fascinating demonstration of how the lobster pots are still made. However, Staithes is more than just about the fishing – it has links with Captain Cook, pressure stone, the Jurassic period and much more.

Downstairs is an impressive array of locally crafted goods for sale – so if you’ve ever wanted a genuine fisherman’s sweater…

2. Visit The Staithes Lifeboat Station

The Staithes Lifeboat Station is one of the smallest I’ve ever visited and is located on North Side. The work these guys do is nothing short of heroic and a quick look at some of the story-boards inside the station spark awe and appreciation for their self-sacrifice.

And if you’re lucky you might even catch a practise drill.

3. Peruse Staithes’ Art Galleries

It’s no surprise that such an idyllic seaside scene could inspire artists to capture the charm of Staithes. From the traditional red-tiled rooftops and cute cottages to the infamous seagulls and catch of the day, you can find any marine-worthy subject in any practised medium.

The main 2 galleries are the Staithes Gallery and Mitchell & Mitchell, both on Main Street, but there are other local artist’s work displayed at the Staithes Art and Craft Centre on Church Street.

4. Do The Staithes Painted Illusion Trail

A trail of optical illusions are painted around Staithes village in the 3D trompe l’oeil technique and it’s your job to find them! Some are pretty obvious and in plain sight, like the hanging buoys on the way to the Lifeboat Station. However, some require you to get off the beaten path a bit!

Artist Paul Czainski allegedly painted 11 of these wonderful illusions (although I’ve only ever found 7) and I love the fact this trail takes you to places you might not have otherwise explored. Veer off the main street down the alleyways towards the sea, and see how many you can spot – they’re really quite something! And this being Staithes – there’s always a friendly local to help you out a bit.

5. Fossil Hunting On Staithes Beach

You’re going to want to take a walk on the gorgeous sandy Staithes Beach anyway so why not combine it with a spot of fossil hunting. Head on down to the rock pools just beyond the harbour walls when the tide is out and keep your eyes peeled.

Staithes is famous for ammonites but if you look at the cliffs you can see all of the formations in rows and bivalves aren’t too hard to find either. Just be careful with the tides.

6. Where To Eat And Drink In Staithes

  • If you’re just visiting for the day and wondering what to do in Staithes for food, there are plenty of options. You could produce a picnic fit for a king from the Deli behind the Betsy & Bo sweet shop.
  • Get an ice cream from Sea Drift and eat it on the front – but watch out for the seagulls.
  • Have coffee and cake at Dotty’s Tearoom.
  • Sample the freshest seafood at the infamous Cod & Lobster.

Sadly there aren’t any fish and chip shops in the village but up at the top where Staithes meets the main road (A174) Excelsior Fisheries does award-winning fish and chips. We reckon if you ordered them wrapped to go, they’d still be warm enough to eat on the front in the sea breeze.

As you can see, there are plenty of things to do in Staithes. Whether you are walking The Cleveland Way, popping down for a day out, or like us, staying for the weekend, Staithes is worth visiting for sure.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Sharon Palmer says:

    Well all I can do is agree with all you have said . Such a relaxed little gem of a place with surprisingly lots to do and see and such delicious food too .

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