In 2012 the first Staithes Festival of Arts & Heritage brought some 3,000 visitors to Yorkshire's historic and beautiful fishing village with a glorious mix of paintings, prints, photography and more as cottages became pop-up galleries for the weekend. Visitor numbers have increased annually and it has become the highlight of the year for many. In September 2017 130 artists displayed their creations in 90 galleries, and the village offered exhibitions, talks, walks, film, workshops, pop-up cafés in cottages and a brand new music programme. The next festival will take place on 8th and 9th September 2018).
Staithes is also the location for the Cbeebies TV programme "Old Jack's Boat" (http://www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/old-jacks-boat)
Within 1-1½ hour's drive are the culturally and historically significant cities of York (York is a compact walled riverside city offering an amazing array of world famous attractions and galleries, independent boutiques, lively events and a lively café bar and restaurant culture)and Durham and the whole area offers a wealth of stately homes, abbeys and other buildings of architectural interest. Scarborough offers a larger, traditional Victorian British seaside resort (said to be the first of its kind).
Just 15 minutes away is Whitby, whose famous ruined Benedictine Abbey, perched high upon a cliff, forms a dramatic backdrop to the town. Whitby has much to offer and is a popular tourist destination, but has avoided the commercialisation which has spoilt many of England's bigger resorts. It was here that Caedmon, a stable boy at the Abbey when Saint Hilda was its Abbess, wrote his Anglo-Saxon "Song of Creation", arguably the first poem in the English language. Bram Stoker became inspired to write his novel 'Dracula' in Whitby. The television series 'Heartbeat' was filmed here. Whitby really is the gem of the Yorkshire Coast'. Throughout the year, it is the scene of numerous events and festivals: Lifeboat Weekend, Folk Week, Whitby Carnival, two Goth Weekends, Pirate Weekend etc. Whitby has a small theatre which also acts as a cinema.
The area boasts the Stephen Joseph Theatre with its resident playwright, Alan Ayckbourn (who, though retired, still writes and directs for the theatre at least once per year), at Scarborough. All his plays have been (and still are) premièred here, before taking them to the West End, and the Theatre celebrated its 50th year during the 2005-6 season. It has two theatres (one Proscenium March and one in-the-round) plus one cinema in the wonderful Art Deco building, where you can also get a delicious meal.
The long, sandy beaches of Runswick Bay, Sandsend, Robin Hood's Bay, Scarborough and Filey (great beauty spots of this wild romantic coast) are all within easy reach, as are the unspoilt, timeless villages of the North York Moors, such as Goathland (of "Harry Potter" and "Heartbeat" fame) and Grosmont (with its restored steam trains plying the 18-mile moorland track to Pickering) offering beauty and tranquillity and ample opportunities to browse and de-stress.
The whole area has inspired artists and writers and the Staithes Group of Artists features regularly in local exhibitions.
Children are well catered for; with Flamingoland Theme Park, Beacon Farm, Mini Monsters (a huge indoor soft play facility) and GoApe (see websites below) only a short drive away; the delights of crab fishing or even more serious sea fishing for the older ones; Kinderland in Scarborough and contact farms, minature railways, boating, go-carts, outdoor crazy golf or the largest indoor crazy golf course in U.K. (or so they claim!) in Skelton.
Shops in the Village (all a short walk from the house):
There is a very good butcher in the village - he opens every morning, except Sunday and has another shop in the next village which opens all day each weekday. He also sells vegetables. In addition, there is also a mobile post office Monday, Wednesday and Friday and general shop who have a daily delivery of fresh bread (sadly it cannot compare to the wonderful European bread!) and a Co-op supermarket who sell "French-type" fresh bread daily.
Further, we have a gift shop, a jet shop, a sweet shop, a fish and chip shop. There is also a very nice Art Gallery who also run Art Courses.
We also have the wonderful fish factory (near the public car park - 5mins away from our house) where you can buy fresh fish from their factory shop. You could be eating cod/haddock etc. for dinner which has been caught that day. They will prepare the fish for you (usually while you look on) if they have none already gutted. They prepare fish for sale all over, and beyond, the area - providing fresh fish for the many fish and chip shops, guest houses and hotels etc. All our visitors love their products. Their oak-roasted salmon is award-winning and has been adopted by Michelin-stared restaurant. They also makes a good oak-roasted salmon paste.
There are Four pubs within a short walk of the house (two of which - Fox and Hounds at Dalehouse, 10 mins walk away and the Cod & Lobster by the harbour, 5 mins walk away) do good meals. Additionally, The Ellerby (whose meals are consistently good and very reasonable) provides a pleasant restaurant or you can eat in the bar and they are only a 6 minute drive away in the hamlet of Ellerby.
The village also has three very good coffee shops where you can buy snacks or lunches (one 2mins walk away from our house, opposite the public car park and the other facing the harbour) and one bistro which is undergoing complete refurbishment (under new ownership) and which is due to open soon (October 2017).
The village even has its own museum:
NB Many of the items on the "tick-list" are available in the village, but some are in Whitby, Saltburn (13/11 miles away).
While some of our exchange partners have had a thoroughly enjoyable holiday here without their car (bus every 30 minutes and train station 11miles away) a car would most certainly increase your enjoyment of the area.
Warning: the walk down to the village will involve a short, but steep incline.