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Whitby Fish and Ships Festival

in association with Seafish

16th - 17th May 2020

Celebrate Whitby’s Fishing Heritage at this FREE Festival

Explore everything that’s special about the Yorkshire Coast’s magnificent maritime culture, from the building of its boats to its multi award-winning fish restaurants.

Choose from an endless choice of activities at this jaunty weekend, so much to enjoy for all the family.

Whitby is one of the few places left in Britain where you can still experience the seafarer’s way of life from sea to shore, as it has been for hundreds of years.

Highlights of the 2019 Festival

Fish Market

Whitby Fish Market

Over the festival weekend Fish Quay, on Pier Road will be see a range of demonstrations by local fishermen, fishmongers and chefs. Within the fish market they will showcasing their fish craft skills such fish filleting demo’s and crab dressing, whilst on the pier you can witness the talents required for net mending and lobster pot mending, by the fishermen who rely on them for their trade.

Seafood Kitchen

Seafood KitchenBe inspired in the seafood kitchen theatre by top local and celebrity chefs who will be cooking up some live action seafood treats.

Outside of the theatre, a pop kitchen will give spectators an opportunity to see chefs cooking up mouth-watering seafood dishes to sample, with examples of different types of fish as promoted by our sponsors, Seafish UK.

Parkol Shipyard Tours

Whitby Parkol

Go behind the scenes at one of the UK’s most successful boat-builders, Parkol Marine Engineering to see a fishing trawler being built, a 24mtr vessel that will carry a crew of 8-10 people out to see: explore the working yard and dry dock, and meet some of the team. The yard will be open to the public on Sunday only, where people will be able to have a look around. We will have members of our team on site to answer any questions, together with a display of plans, brochures, photo’s, dvd’s, etc.

Festival Music

Festival Music

Enjoy over 40 hours of free, live music, including top-tapping sea shanties and soulful sailor’s ballads, with some of the UK’s top sea-singers and musicians performing throughout the town. Dancing is highly encouraged!

Trawlers & Coble Boats

North Eastern Guardian

North Eastern Guardian III - will be offering free tours around the state-of-the-art patrol/research vessel.

Parkol Shipyard (Sunday only), Go behind the scenes at one of the UK’s most successful boat-builders. 

See the replica HM Bark Endeavour in the harbour.

Other Activities

Fish and Ships Event Area

Angling Competition

RNLI Open Day inc Tours on the Vessel

Childrens Entertainment

Street Entertainment

Face Painting

Balloon Making

Whitby Abbey

Whitby Abbey

A great opportunity to come and enjoy the new facilities and interpretation on site after an investment of £1.6M Whitby Abbey. 

On Sunday there will Anglo Saxon demonstrations around the grounds.

Captain Cook Museum

Captain Cook Memorial Museum

Fishy Treasure Hunt

Children will be invited to make a recycled plastic fish in a workshop to be held at the museum. 

Recycled plastics raises awareness of the problems of plastics in the sea and the need to keep our beaches clean

Rope Making demonstrations and display

Norman Cockburn will be demonstrating rope making in the courtyard of the Captain Cook Memorial Museum – available to all festival visitors. (could be located to our Endeavour room if weather is bad) This offers an excellent link to the local fish and ship heritage of the town.

Endeavour Experience

HM Bark Endeavour

On board the Endeavour Experience discover just how disgusting ship’s food was, and find out about life at sea. Normal admission charges apply.


We will take a look at sailors’ rations, preserving food, pests on board ship, nutrition and the problem of scurvy. We will show some of the foods and recipes used by Captain Cook to try to combat scurvy and keep the crew healthy.


Whitby Library

Whitby Library

Highlights for 2020 include

Live Music inc Five Divide

Ammonite Quilters Drop In

Mesh Ballet

Songs of Whitby by Richard Grainger


Pannett Art Gallery


Games in the Gallery

Join us to play traditional games in the gallery, with a seaside themed, and an artistic twist. Roll the dice or spin the top to make your move.

On Sunday visitors will be invited to create Lego Ocean Creatures in a grand Lego building competition, sponsored and judged by Parkol Marine Engineering Ltd
Suitable for all ages, children must be accompanied by an adult.

Laura Knight (1877 – 1970) at Staithes

Anniversary display celebrating the work of Dame Laura Knight, who painted at Staithes as part of the Staithes Group of Artists. In these formative years the artists documented the lives and work of this fishing community.

Admission Free

9.30am – 4.30pm last admission 4pm

Whitby Museum

Whitby Museum

Navigational Quiz

Navigate your way around the museum with our specially themed quiz for children and adults alike.

Whitby Ships at War

To honour the 75th anniversary of VE Day we will be holding a temporary exhibition looking at Whitby Ships at War, their stories and the people amongst their crews. The exhibition will focus mainly on those involved in WW2 but will also feature Whitby ships involved in other conflicts.

The Fishermen's Mission

Whitby Fish and Ships Festival is proud to support The Fishermen's Mission.

The Fishermen’s Mission is the only fishermen’s charity that provides emergency support alongside practical, financial, spiritual and emotional care. We help all fisherman, active or retired, and their families.

Fishermen's Friends

Project Servator

Scarborough Borough Council are pleased to be working in partnership with North Yorkshire Police to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable experience at the Fish and Ships event. Project Servator