Known to the locals as Steers, Staithes hotels and Staithes cottages are popular destinations for those looking for a break in a picturesque North Yorkshire village. Steeped in nostalgia, the historical Staithes fishing industry may have died out but the mineral mining industry continues today at Boulby Potash mine, one of the deepest in the UK. Former residents include Captain James Cook who moved to Staithes in 1744, who soon fell in love with the sea after living in this small fishing village. Whereas once around eighty full time fishing boats patrolled the harbour now only one remains, but thanks to the thriving tourist trade the waters can still be found filled with boats.
The traditions of the village have also been kept alive, with the annual nightgown parade still taking place where many local women will still wear the customary Staithes bonnet for the event. Staithes is also known for its spectacular sunset over the sea, typifying the natural beauty of the area. Boulby Cliff is the highest cliff in England, situated a mile to the West and overlooking the many houses and hotels in Staithes clinging to the landscape.
Historically, artists in the village were actually known as the Staithes Group or Northern Impressionists and drew on the work of Monet and other impressionists. Inspired by the natural beauty of the area, artists still travel from miles around to recreate the innate splendour of the surroundings.
Staithes Art School carries the tradition into the modern age, offering short weekend courses for budding Staithes artists. Staithes accommodation can also be found here above the Staithes Gallery which showcases the work of the Staithes Group as well as more contemporary artists.
Fossil hunting in Yorkshire is immensely popular. The Yorkshire coast is often referred to as the Dinosaur Coast thanks to the frequency and condition in which Yorkshire fossils are found, and Staithes lives up to this reputation. In the early 1990s the remains of a seagoing dinosaur were unearthed in the cliffs to add to the thousands of fossils Yorkshire has provided over the years.
Staithes lies within the North York Moors National Park and the geology of the area is that of the lower Jurassic period, encouraging Yorkshire fossil hunters to flock here looking for the next big find. One of the most productive regions in the country for fossil hunting, Yorkshire is rich in prehistoric relics, especially ammonites, one of the most regularly uncovered fossils in Yorkshire and best described as squid-like creatures in shells resembling those of snails.
A coble is a traditional locally made fishing boat with origins in the Viking longboat. Developed to operate from beaches rather than harbours, cobles are complicated to sail and the skill has been passed down through the generation into the modern day, where the tradition of sailing the Yorkshire coble is still going strong.
Despite the almost complete death of the once vibrant fishing trade in Staithes, fleets of fishing cobles still head out every day mainly carrying tourists on day fishing trips, with some coble boats tending lobster pots.