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Fishy experiences

Staithes harbour Credit Tony BartholomewStaithes harbour Credit Tony Bartholomew

Generations of fishing families have moulded the unique character of the higgledy-piggledy places such as Robin Hood’s Bay and Staithes, while the whaling and ship-building port of Whitby sent Captain Cook and his men on their epic adventures. Find out more about the area's fishing heritage from local fisherman, Sean Baxter in our coastal brochure

While fishing has declined from its heyday, today the waters off the North York Moors Coast are marine-rich habitats supporting a wide range of fish and wildlife, including whales, dolphins, porpoises and seals, while fishing itself is undergoing something of a renaissance.

Today, the North York Moors offers plenty of fishy experiences for the visitor, from eating fish and chips in Whitby to learning how to fillet a fish at a cookery school, all adding up to a holiday the family will never forget.

  • Take a look at the huge (over 5 metres high) whale jaw bones by West Cliff in Whitby
  • Listen out for the Men of Staithes, a choir carrying on the tradition of a village 'fisherman's choir' that sings shanties and hymns
  • A visit to the coast isn’t complete until you’ve eaten fish and chips or fresh lobster and crab. Take a trip to Whitby where you're truly spoilt for choice. From the legendary Magpie Café to Quayside, the 2014 Fish & Chip shop of the year, Trencher's and locals' favourite Hadleys Fish Restaurant plus many more equally excellent options

Repus restored fishing coble with carved fisherman, Skinningrove

  • Spot the 18ft long ‘Evolution of Life in the Sea’ mural, and restored fishing coble with carved fisherman at Skinningrove. Look out for the Flood mosaic and merman at Riverside Building, the Pigeon flyer and the Spaceman near the jetty on Skinningrove's Public Art Trail. Download a pdf copy of the Art Trail
  • Go down to the harbour and spot lobster pots and ulley boxes (enclosed spaces built to keep lobsters in) – there’s one near the sea wall in Staithes
  • Have a whale of a time watching the teeming sea-life close to our shores on a four-hour Whitby Whale Watching trip. You’ll have the potential to see not just seals, dolphins and porpoises but minke, fin, sei, northern and humpback whales too
  • Pick up some wool from Craft at Cleveland Corner in Staithes and try your hand at knitting a fisherman’s gansey. While you’re there, look closely at some of the cottage names in Staithes: many were named after their owners' boats and houses were even painted the same three colours as their owners’ cobles. Staithes cobles were traditionally painted red, blue and white