We really wanted to kick off our website with a wonderful post about crabbing in the lovely fishing village of Staithes in North Yorkshire. But the British weather had other plans and as we neared the coast the heavens opened…
At the sight of raindrops the kids’ faces dropped and to top it all a thought suddenly struck, “Oh Oh! Perhaps I should have checked the tide times!”. I’d been reliably informed that the best time to catch crabs is just before and just after high tide. Guess what? It was 11am and high tide wasn’t until 6pm – first schoolgirl error of the day!
On the positive side, the car park at the top of the cliff was almost deserted! And even on a rainy, cold day in June, Staithes looked picture-postcard pretty. Be warned though that it is a real schlep down the hill to the harbour, and slippy in the rain. And it’s an even bigger schlep on the way back!!
We decided to have lunch first before braving the crabbing expedition. We went to the Cleveland Corner Bistro which we thoroughly recommend (see below) and then onto the harbour clutching our buckets, bacon and crabbing lines. As we turned the corner though it was worse than I’d thought – there was no sea to be seen! The harbour is completely drained of water at low tide! Ooops!
We consoled ourselves with rock pooling and did manage to find loads of edible crabs and other sea creatures to keep the kids amused. We also found a clutch of fossils including belemnites and ammonites; it’s amazing to think that we were the first people to see these in 130 million years.
Another word of warning, stay away from the cliffs as there were lots of rock falls while we were there. And the green seaweed on the rocks is treacherous under foot.
We finally decided to call it a day when our youngest fell headlong into a rockpool and became drenched in nano seconds. Shivering and cold we consoled ourselves with Coble Cake and coffee at the Seadrift cafe on the harbour front. The staff was fantastic and didn’t seem to mind the puddles we left in our wake!
We finally left the harbour about 2pm and the sea was just beginning to surge into the harbour. We tried to buy a crab to take home from Whitby Seafish situated in an industrial unit near to the top car park (see below) but alas on Saturdays it is only open from 7am till 11am.
The kids had to travel back home in their underpants with a blanket wrapped over them to keep warm.
Our takeaway from the day? Yes it was cold and rainy, yes it was deserted and yes we failed to use our crabbing lines. But we loved Staithes, a real little gem on the North Yorkshire coast. The small fishing village is quaint and pretty and we had it all to ourselves, in June! It’s a great natural playground for kids for crabbing, rock pooling at low tide and fossil hunting. And the best of all? Not a fruit machine in sight!
When we visit Staithes next time we will:
1. Check the tide times before we leave
2. Take plenty of waterproofs, non-slip shoes and umbrellas
3. Take a change of clothes and towels
4. If it’s a Saturday get there before 11am so we can get crab from Whitby Seafish
Pay and display at the top of the cliff (be warned: steep walk down to the harbour).
At the pay and display car park and next to the Seadrift Cafe on the harbour front
There is a butcher in the village but it was closed when we got there. There is a Co-op on the Whitby Road: 5 Whitby Road, Staithes, Saltburn, North Yorkshire, TS13 5AL
You can buy crab buckets and lines at the gift shop in Staithes.
Cleveland Corner Bistro, lovely crab sandwiches, moules marinere and hot chocolate. The place is tiny (we counted 16 seats) but the food is lovely. Check out the reviews on Trip Advisor or visit their website.
As it was extremely wet we took shelter in this lovely cafe next to the harbour. Check out the Coble Cake with warm cream, Trillos of Whitby ice-cream and their assortment of old fashioned jars of sweets. Although small inside there is seating outside. (Staithes Coble Cake is made with apricots, walnuts and cinnamon and filled with apple, yummy!)
There are three pubs in the village but we didn’t try them out: The Royal George; The Cod and Lobster, which looks out over the harbour; and The Captain Cook, at the top of the hill before you leave the village (once CAMRA pub of the year).
Any other Recommendations?
The Captain Cook Museum housed in the village. The upper floor is dedicated to the life and voyages of Captain James Cook (who lived in Staithes in 1745).
Whitby Seafood situated close to the main public car park. Whitby Seafood is a wholesale supplier of fish to restaurants but they are happy to supply fish to personal callers. Open Monday to Friday 7am till 4pm and Saturday Mornings from 7am till 11am.