Whitby Fish & Ships festival returns this weekend

Wednesday, 21 September 2022
Promotional graphic for Whitby Fish & Ships Festival

Whitby’s Fish and Ships Festival returns this weekend (24 to 25 September) to celebrate the town’s fishing heritage with good food, sea shanties galore and the chance to go behind the scenes at boatbuilders and a lobster hatchery.

Visitors to the festival will be able to taste the bounty of seafood caught by local independent fishermen, fresh from the boat, and see how the produce can be used in mouth-watering dishes in the giant seafood kitchen marquee and village at Dock End.

There will be free demonstrations from top chefs including celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli MBE, Paul Gildroy of Whitby’s award-winning Magpie Café and Rob Green, UK chef ambassador for sea fish. The marquee will be open from 10.30am to 4.30pm on Saturday and Sunday.

Whitby’s Endeavour Wharf and Whitby Bandstand will host live music throughout the weekend, including traditional shanties, blues, rock and performances by local singer-songwriters - from 11am to 6pm on Saturday and 11am to 4.25pm on Sunday. 

Other venues will also host performances throughout the weekend, including the Captain Cook Museum, Whitby Library, Brunswick Centre and Museum of Whitby Jet.

Three unique Whitby venues will offer guided tours throughout the weekend: 

  • The new Lobster Hatchery, a marine conservation project which is due to open its facility and visitor attraction in the coming months. When fully operational, it is hoped that the hatchery will return 100,000 juvenile lobsters per year to the North Sea to replace those landed for restaurants around Europe  
  • Boat builder Parkol Marine will offer tours of its boatyard, where visitors can see the next generation of Whitby’s fishing fleet under construction  
  • Whitby’s RNLI Lifeboat House will offer tours to see the inner workings of Britain’s oldest lifeboat station

Children will be well entertained throughout the town with walkabout acts, face painting and balloon making as well as seafaring themed activities and workshops at Captain Cook Museum, Whitby Library and Pannett Art Gallery.

Elsewhere, festival goers will be able to see how fishing nets and lobster pots are kept in tip top condition and Whitby Museum will show a special film showing Whitby in the 1950s. 

Full details of the festival programme, with timings, can be found online at discoveryorkshirecoast.com.

Janet Deacon, head of tourism and culture, said:

“We are delighted to be able to welcome people to this year’s festival, to celebrate the industry on which Whitby was built and showcase the people, produce and practices that keep it going strong today.

"From the food itself to exploring how Whitby is ensuring that fishing remains a sustainable and viable way of life for the many families who earn their livelihoods at sea, the weekend is a must for anyone, whether local or from further afield, who wants to experience the true sights, smells, sounds and tastes of Whitby."

Councillor Jim Grieve, cabinet member for quality of life, added:

"Not only is Whitby a stunning location, its strong cultural offering, fishing heritage and provenance for great food from a proper working harbour are a winning combination that keep people coming back to the town time and time again.

"The Fish & Ships Festival will celebrate all these attributes and much more in a family friendly autumn weekend not to be missed."