harbourside lobster nets at the Whitby Fish and Ships Festival

Fish and Ships Festival 2020

We’re thrilled that the fantastic Fish and Ships Festival is returning to Whitby this year. Following the success of last year, the festival is back for 2020 with lots of exciting themed events for you to enjoy…all for free!

The festival is in town 16th – 17th May 2020 to celebrate our incredible maritime culture. In Whitby, you’ll get one of the last authentic experiences of a British seafarer’s way of life that’s been largely unchanged for hundreds of years.

Check out Discover Yorkshire Coast’s video highlighting all the best bits of the 2019 Whitby Fish and Ships Festival 2019.

What’s On at the Fish and Ships Festival

There are so many events, tastings and demonstrations taking place all weekend. Enjoy watching local fisherman demonstrate the tricks of their trade, including net mending, fish filleting and crab dressing.


You’ll get a real taste of the coast with seafood kitchen theatre. Local and celebrity chefs will cook seafood treats live and we’re sure they’ll let you sneak a taste! There will be a vast range of fish used in the cooking, promoted by the festival’s sponsors Seafish UK.

Exploring ships

Take a tour of Parkol Shipyard and get a first hand view of a fishing trawler in construction. Members of the team will be on hand throughout Sunday to answer all your questions and talk to you about their jobs.

You’ll also be able to explore North Eastern Guardian III, a state of the art patrol and research vessel, as well as enjoy a tour of Whitby’s RNLI. The replica HM Bark Endeavour is also docked for your exploration, and you can imagine what Captain James Cook might have experienced on his long discovery voyages.

Fun for the whole family

The whole town is getting involved in the festival fun. The Captain Cook Museum is hosting rope making demonstrations and a fishy treasure hunt for children.

You can see Anglo Saxon demonstrations in the ground of Whitby Abbey on Sunday and why not test your navigation skills with a quiz hosted by the Whitby Museum?

All weekend, there is also going to be an incredible line up of sea-singers and musicians to entertain you. There will also be music, ballet and lots more fun in the Whitby Library too.

You can test your skills in the angling competition and enjoy a fantastic range of street entertainment, and kid’s activities. Don’t forget to also visit Pannett Art Gallery for traditional games and a Lego ocean creatures building competition.

Stay a while

If you’d like to make a whole weekend (or more!) trip for the 2020 Fish and Ships Festival, there are lots of welcoming places you can stay. Check out our accommodation listings for our recommendations of trusted self catering cottages, campsites, hotels and B&Bs.

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