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Cook 250 Festival in Whitby

Captain Cook Festival – 250th Anniversary Celebrations, 6-8 July 2018

A celebration of the 250th Anniversary of Captain Cooks first expedition to the South Seas. A weekend of discovery and entertainment for the whole family.


Maritime adventurers can step back in time and climb aboard the Tall ship ‘Atyla’ to experience life at sea, retrace Captain Cooks voyages on board the replica HMS Endeavour and re live the Battle of Trafalgar on the smallest ship in Nelson’s fleet, the replica warship topsail schooner, HMS Pickle.


Step onto dry land and indulge your senses watching local chefs bring history to life, an 18th century twist on modern day cuisine in the live cooking theatre. Navigate and explore Whitby on the Cook ‘Selfie’ tour, enjoy live music, street theatre and sea shanties alongside local ales and a celebration firework display.

Click here to download the Cook 250 Programme


Cook250 Official Logo

In October last year, a project was given to 140 year ten student teams at Whitby's Caedmon College as part of their Enrichment Day. They had four hours in which to plan and group ideas for a weekend of entertainment to celebrate the 250th Anniversary of Captain Cook.

Two members of the winning team, Maddie Bennion and Jasmin Stonehouse, were invited to be on the town's working party for the Cook250 weekend. They are now involved in many of the weekend events they had proposed!

One of their concepts was to create a marketing logo for the event. Maddie Brennion designed the winning logo and it will now be featured on the event advertisement and posters. It will also be printed on flags which will be given to hundreds of school children as they line the piers ready to give the tall ships a big Whitby welcome.

What To Expect Across The Weekend...

Cook's Kitchen

You will be able to enjoy the delights of Cook's Kitchen on both, Saturday and Sunday of the Festival. For FREE, you will be able to catch all the gourmet galley action on Endeavour Wharf, between 10.30am – 3.30pm.

Cook's Kitchen will inlude: 

Saturday 7 July: 

  • 10:30 - Christian Taylor - Chef and creator of the street food 'Taylor Made'. 
  • 11:30 - Captain Mal Nicholson - Chef onboard the HMS Pickle, which will be in Whitby for the festival.
  • 12:30 - Rob Green - UK Ambassador for Seafish, and award winning chef. 
  • 13:30 - Martyn Hyde - Chef at award winning café 'Eat Me', will be serving an array of food with an Asian twist. 
  • 14:30 - Harrison Barraclough - Chef at Raithwate Estates and the Plum & Partridge. 
  • 15:30 - Dan Hargreaves - Chef and creator of Hedgehogger Cider. 

Sunday 8 July: 
  • 10:30 - Andrew Pern - Michelin Star Chef & Head Chef Matt Leivers of The Star in the Harbour, Whitby.
  • 11:30 - Gilli Cliff - Critically acclaimed food writer, with her own TV series which have featured her restaurants. 
  • 12:30 - Charlotte Cumberbirch - Starting out as a volunteer onboard HMS Atyla, she is now the chef onboard the Tall Ship!
  • 13:30 - Rob Green - UK Ambassador for Seafish
  • 14:30 - Rob Clark - Chef at Clark's Restaurant Scarborough and a previous tutor at Yorkshire Coast College. 
  • 15:30 - The Cooks Cook Off!! - Watch in oar as Martyn Hyde and Dan Hargreaves battle it out!

For all timinings and further information click here

Evening Fireworks

To round off a busy day of activities and entertainment. On Saturday 7 July at 21:45 there will be a colourful firework display! The build-up will start from 21:00 and include a performance from Whtiby Music Centre Big Band!

Pavillion Theatre

On Thursday 5 July at 7:30pm, the Pavillion Theatre will be showing 'Eye Of The Wind' by Richard Grainger. It tellls the story of James Cook and his first voyage of disvoery aboard 'Endeavour'. A cast of Yorkshire musicians, actors and performers from Eskdale Schools Drama Group will pay tribute to the life and achievements of James Cook. 

Whitby Abbey

Celebrate the 250th Anniversary of Captain Cook's first expedition by visiting Whitby Abbey. 

Enjoy the views, the history and some theatre! A specially commissioned play by Time Will Tell theatre will transport you back to the 18th Century and throw you into an age of exploration and discovery. 

The play will be shown at 11am, 1pm and 3pm on festival weekend. The  captivating Cook related performance will also be shown at the same times on other weekends including, 21-22 July, and 28-29 July.


  • HMS Pickle will spend the evening of Thursday 5 July moored offshore in Staithes Harbour.
  • On Friday 6 July, the Captain Cook and Staithes Heritage centre will be open all day with exhibitions of James Cook and his Endeavours.
  • On Saturday 7 July, local historian Bill Hinchley will conduct a history tour of the village at 10am and 2pm
  • On Sunday 8 July, "Dire Staithes" will be performing and entertaining outside the Staithes Art Gallery. 
  • Also on Sunday the Staithes fisherman's choir will be performing outside the Cod and Lobster.

To book onto the history walk please call 01947-841029

Cook250 Coins!

The Royal Mint has created commemorative Cook250 coins, which are now on sale at the Captain Cook Museum! These coins will not be introduced into circulation so grab one while you can!

Cook 250 Music Programme

Friday July 6

Endeavour Deck
14:00 Flash Jack
16:00 Pont Nuef

Endeavour Cafe
14:00 Dawes & Pitt
14:30 Margaret & Tony Maughan

Bandstand – Live Music until 10pm
14:00 Eskdale School Drama Group
14:30 Pont Neuf,
15:10 Marilla Homes
15:40 Flash Jack
16:20 Tim Hunter
16:50 Endeavour Shantymen
17:30 Margaret & Tony Maughan
18:00 Pont Neuf
18:40 Steve Dawes & Helen Pitt,
19:10 Flash Jack
19:50 Beth Burrows
20:10 Endeavour Shantymen
20:50 Maggie Feeney
21:10 Pont Neuf
22:00 End

Endeavour Deck
14:00 Flash Jack
16:00 Pont Nuef

Endeavour Cafe
14:00 Dawes & Pitt
14:30 Margaret & Tony Maughan

Sanders Yard Bistro - Backyard Concert
19:30 'Cook250 Welcome Evening'
Festival Guests Singers and ALL Shanty-Crews FREE ADMISSION

Saturday July 7

Endeavour - On Deck
12:00 Short Drag Roger
13:00 Monkeys Fist
14:00 Ramshackle Shantymen
15:00 Short Drag Roger
16:00 Endeavour Shantymen
17:00 Flash Jack

Endeavour - Cafe
12:00 Renata & Trev
13:30 Hughie Jones
14:00 Dawes & Pitt
14:30 Maggie Feeney
15:00 People from the Past
15:30 Margaret & Tony Maughan

Bandstand - 11:00 – 22:00 Live Music & Stalls - All Day
11:00 Whitby Area Concert Band
11:30 Flash Jack
12:00 Renata & Trev
12:30 Whitby Area Vocal Ensemble
13:00 Pont Neuf
13:40 Steve Dawes & Helen Pitt
14:10 Ngati Rnana Maori Ensemble
14:50 Flash Jack
15:20 Renata & Trev
15:50 Ramshackle Shantymen
16:20 Men Of Staithes
16:50 Maggie Feeney
17:10 Endeavour Shantymen
17:50 Margaret & Tony Maughan
18:20 Monkeys Fist
18:50 Hughie Jones
19:20 Pont Neuf
19:50 Ngati Rnana Maori Ensemble
20:20 Richard Grainger Band
21:00 Flash Jack
21:30 Esk Valley Concert Band
22:00 Finish

Dockend - From 5pm
Pont Neuf, Monkey Fists, Endeavour Shantymen, Flash Jack.

Sanders Yard - Backyard Concert - 7:30pm
'Festival All Stars Concert' with Short Drag Roger, Pont Neuf, Monkey Fists - Tickets £15

Sunday July 8

Endeavour - Deck
11:00 Endeavour Shantymen
12:00 Pont Neuf
13:00 Corsaires De La Vedre
14:00 Flash Jack
15:00 Short Drag Roger

Endeavour - Café
12:30 Margaret & Tony Maughan
14:00 Steve Turner
14:30 People from The Past
15:00 Hughie Jones

Bandstand Live Music and Stalls - All Day Until 5pm

11:00 Short Drag Roger
11:30 Maggie Feeney
11:50 Flash Jack
12:30 Steve Dawes & Helen Pitt
13:00 Pont Neuf
13:40 Colleens Fancy
14:10 Endeavour Shantymen
14:50 Margaret & Tony Maughan
15:20 Pont Neuf
16:00 Steve Turner
16:30 All Hands On Deck
17:00 End

Sanders Yard - Back Yard Concert - 7:30pm
'Festival Farewell' with Hughie Jones, Richard Grainger & The Endeavour Shantymen, plus Steve Turner. Tickets £15 (

Treasure Hunt & Selfies

Hunt around Whitby for Cook clues! Every treasure hunter will have the chance to enter a competition to win a prize! A magnificient Brass and wood telescope, courtesy of the Captain Cook Memorial Museum. 

Discover new ways to navigate and explore Whitby with the 'Tintamarresques Selfie' challenge. This will comprise of a series of cut-out Cook characters located across the town.

Live Music

The live music and action will take place on Whitby's streets. Inlcuding a rare appearance by Hughie Jones from legendary folk group the Spinners. Other musical performances will also include, Richard Grainger and Steve Turner, Pont Neuf, Flash Jack Shanty, Sea-Balladeers and Monkey's Fist from West Yorkshire. They will be joined by fishermen's choirs, acoustic duos, and shanty groups from the Yorkshire Coast.

Most performances will be free to visitors.

Street Theatre & Dance

Street theatre from comedy duo Inner State Theatre, and 18th-century costumed characters by living history group ‘People from the Past’, including Ol’ Abel Parkin who sailed the seas with Cook on board the Endeavour.

Ngāti Rānana with Maori music and dance, fresh from performing for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Also do not miss the Whitby Brewery's boat-shaped bar that will be on the HM Bark Endeavour!


The Endeavour Experience

HM Bark Endeavour arrived in Whitby on June 1st and is to become a permanent visitor attraction.

The full-scale replica of Captiain Cook's 18th Century vessel will become a Whitby resident and open its doors on July 1. Just in time for the festival itself! 

The opening of The Endeavour Experience will show you what it was like to be a memeber of Cook's Crew on-board the ship for the 3 year voyage! Incredible graphic design, lighting and interactive features will transport visitors back in time!

For further information on the Endeavour visit -


The School & College VOYAGE

Seven Whitby students and a teacher will feel the wind in their sails as they embark on a truly memorable experience sailing the high seas.
The students from Caedmon College, Eskdale School and Whitby Fishing School will spend five days living on board the Atyla, in celebration of the 250th anniversay of Captain Cook's first voyage on the South Seas. 

They will take an active part in crew life from setting sails to washing dishes, from helming the ship to reading the navigation chart, and from doing engine checks to pulling ropes. The places have been funded by North Yorkshire County Council’s Councillor Locality Budgets Scheme and Scarborough Borough Council.

Their trip down to London has been sponsored by Virgin Trains and Northern Railway. Craig from Virgin Trains East Coast Communities said: "The Cook250 Festival is a great opportunity for people from all over the country to explore Whitby, uncover its history and take part in a weekend of discovery and entertainment for the whole family.Wirgin Trains East Coast are passionate about supporting lacal communities and are proud to support the fantastic event by sponsoring the travel of 7 students from local schools and colleges, to travel to London then sail back to Whitby...we're certain it'll be an experience to remember."

During the trip, the young people will also work with artist Fiona Macdonald and writer Natasha Pulley to document their journey through film, drawing and writing, part of an ambitious arts project by the County Council’s library service, supported by science organisation Invisible Dust with Arts Council funding.

Their trip will finish in Whitby where they will be sailing into the harbour in time for the Cook250 Whitby festival taking place on 6-8 July.

Travel Tips

Parking within Whitby will be limited, so why not travel to the Yorkshire Coast for the #Cook250whitby festival by train! Virgin East Coast Trains, Northern Railway and TransPennine Express are on hand to make your journey to Whitby that little bit easier!
Transpennine Express are thrilled to be supporting the Cook 250Festival. With regular train services connecting towns and cities across the North, book your train journey to Whtby via Middlesborough at and take part in the festival.
Ensure you plan your trip thoroughly and book your tickets by clicking on the above logos.


You can also use the Whitby Park & Ride service which will operate until 8:44pm on Friday July 6 and Saturday July 7. On Sunday July 8 the service will operate until 6:44pm! For further Park & Ride info click here