Captain James Cook’s connection to Whitby, Staithes and the Yorkshire Coast is well known, and from 6th to 8th July inclusive, the Cook 250 Whitby and Staithes Festival will celebrate the 250th anniversary of his first voyage to the distant South Seas. 
 
His first voyage was aboard HMS Endeavour, a replica of which is currently moored in Whitby Harbour. Cook’s maiden maritime quest lasted from 1768 to 1771 and part of the voyage was to observe a rare astronomical occurrence: the transit of Venus across the face of the sun in 1769. 
 
The voyage visited distant lands including Borabora and New Zealand, and later reached the east coast of Australia. 
 
Cook returned to England in July 1771, nearly three years after he first set sail. 
 
Whitby and the surrounding area inspired Captain Cook, one of our most famous explorers, and the three day festival will recognise the sights and sounds that shaped his career and the splendid tall ships under his command. 
 
Film fans will enjoy showings of ‘The Man Behind The Legend’ at Whitby Coliseum, Whitby Pavilion, the Captain Cook Memorial Museum, Whitby Museum, Staithes Village Memorial Hall and Staithes St Peter’s Church. Times vary. 
 
In theme with the event, three tall ships will anchor at Whitby Dock End, and the newly spruced up Captain Cook Monument can be enjoyed at any point during the festival (and is just a few feet from our front door). 
You can’t have a maritime event without some sea shanties and Staithes Fisherman’s Choir will provide this evocative, timeless and harmonious sound during the event. 
 
For the modern Captain Cook fan, there’s a selfie trail, ideal for social media sharing; Pannett Art Gallery, Whitby Museum and the Captain Cook Memorial Museum will be ‘taking part’ and these sites, among others, form the backbone of the celebration of Captain Cook’s connection with Whitby. 
 
If you can tackle the 199 steps, then Whitby Abbey will be the ideal place to watch a live performance with the ‘Time Will Tell’ Theatre on Saturday and Sunday at 11am, 1pm and 3pm. 
 
The North York Moors National Park Cook Trail offers an exciting array of clues with their Look Out! Trail. Pick up a copy at Whitby Tourist Information Centre. Bookworms are certainly not cast off, as there will be various free or ticketed events from 10am in Whitby Library on Saturday and Sunday. 
If you have a musical ear, then enjoy a performance of the folk opera, ‘Eye of the Wind’ written by musician Richard Grainger at Whitby Pavilion, which relays the fascinating story of Cook’s first voyage, performed by Eskdale Schools Drama Group on Thursday 5th July. 
 
It wouldn’t quite be a festival without some liquid refreshment! The Whitby Brewery Boat Bar will be open from 2pm on the Friday and from 11am on the Saturday and Sunday and will be located by Whitby Band Stand. 
 
Other little gems throughout the event include the Endeavour Café and various performances on Endeavour Deck and at Whitby Band Stand including Pont Neuf, Flash Jack and Beth Burrows, among many others. 
 
Enjoy the Cook’s Kitchen and grab a portion of gourmet galley action at Endeavour Wharf between 10.30am and 3.30pm on Saturday and Sunday. Local chefs will be creating tasty dishes. And you can indulge in a Botham’s locally made Captain Cookie using special spices associated with his voyages. 
The lovely fishing village of Staithes is also taking part with Staithes Art Gallery, Staithes Heritage Centre the places to visit, and HMS Pickle making an appearance on 5th July. There will also be history walks and sea shanties to help set the scene. 
 
And on Saturday 7th July at 9.45pm there will be a spectacular fireworks display for all to enjoy. 
 
Please note all the information in this blog is correct at time of publication. 
Please check before you travel in case there are any last minute alterations. 
Allow more time for your journey and where possible, purchase advance tickets. 
 
Find out more here about this fantastic festival! 
 
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