Staithes and Port Mulgrave

With snickets called Gun Gutter, Slippery Hill and Dog Loup (the narrowest street in the North of England with a width of just 45 cm), you just know the village of Staithes will be brimming with character and historical quirks.

In Old English, the word Staithes means ‘landing place’ and it seems perfect as you look across the small harbour to the two protective arms of the towering headlands, Cowbar Nab and Penny Nab, which deflect the worst of the sea’s fury during a storm.

Cod & Lobster pub Credit Ceri Oakes
Cod & Lobster pub by Staithes harbour Credit Ceri Oakes

Vikings first landed here but it was only when the fishing industry boomed that the village landed on the map. It’s hard to imagine now but back in the 1800s Staithes was one of the largest North East fishing ports with over 300 men hauling in the catch on wooden boats called cobles.

Today there are still a handful of fishing boats venturing out to sea mainly for mackerel, lobster and crabs but the herring shoals or ‘silver darlings’ as they were once known are now more likely to be caught by minke whales and dolphins feasting on them as they move down the coast in late summer.

As you wander past tightly packed houses and cottages, and along the cobbled streets and lanes of Staithes, it’s also easy to see why the village was, and still is, a magnet for artists who have been inspired by the quality of the light and landscape for centuries.

From Staithes you can venture up onto the clifftops and follow the Cleveland Way National Trail for a mile to the hamlet of Port Mulgrave. Keep your eyes peeled here to pick out the ruins of the harbour at the bottom of the cliff where locally-mined ironstone would once have been exported.

Please note: there is no access by car down into Staithes old village. There are car parks at the top of the bank, and it is a steep walk down... and up!

What is special about Staithes and Port Mulgrave

Plan your visit

Plan your visit

Getting here

Arriva X4/X4A regular daily bus service from Middlesbrough, Saltburn or Whitby

Walk 2.5 miles from Runswick Bay or 8 miles from Saltburn along the Cleveland Way National Trail


Car park: Bank Top (TS13 5AD) (pay and display - please note there are two car parks here with different operators)

Nearest public EV charging points – Bank Top car park, Staithes (residents only), Bank Bottom car park in Runswick Bay and in Whitby.

Bike repair station: The Jack & Jill Coaching Inn, Scaling Dam

Cash point – Staithes Co-op, Whitby Road

Art galleries, cafés, pubs

Public toilets

Toilets at Bank Top car park by the Gateway Centre and at the bottom near the harbour – both accessible (RADAR key needed)

Care for our coast

Please respect our coast and the wildlife that live there. We want to ensure it remains a stunning place to live and visit for generations to come.

View all share with care
Give nature a chance and take your rubbish and dog poo home

Give nature a chance and take your rubbish and dog poo home

If it’s busy, go elsewhere

If it’s busy, go elsewhere

Respect wildlife

Respect wildlife

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