Friday, 14 November 2014

Breakfast in Staithes

A guest at Dunsley holiday cottage asked me recently if there was anywhere in Staithes that served breakfast: it would save shopping for supplies on their first morning of a three-day weekend break. I offered the two cafes - Seadrift on the harbour and The Tea Shop on Bank Top, both opening at 10am, but it was more like coffee and cakes, than real breakfast. Then, a couple of weeks ago, fantastic news! The Endeavour Restaurant was taken over by Vicky from the fabulous Whitby Seafish smokehouse (behind the council car park on Bank Top), renamed The Endeavour Kitchen, and now open for breakfast! Hurray! Full English, bacon butties, kippers and more (including lunches, afternoon tea, supper) are now available from 8am to 8pm Wednesday to Saturday. On Sunday, it's breakfast 8am-12 noon, then Sunday lunch - roast beef with all the trimmings - until 4pm. We peeped in the window today and saw lots of happy people enjoying lunch; we can't wait to go ourselves: first visit will definitely be breakfast. More at; it's on the High Street opposite the Royal George, about 30 seconds walk from Dunsley.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Old Jack's Boat and Dunsley!

Old Jack’s Boat, the popular children’s show on CBeebie’s digital TV channel, has been filming again in Staithes. Last week (September 2014) the crew were shooting on the steps from Roxby Beck and in Chapel Yard, outside Dunsley Cottage. “It was a 1930s scene, so we propped fishing nets against any visible modern things like electric junction boxes,” they explained.
 Old Jack’s Boat, first aired in 2013, has enjoyed one full series and some Special episodes. The current filming is for a Special to be aired in March 2015, and there is a good chance Dunsley will feature, even if only in the background...
 The TV show features Bernard Cribbins as Old Jack, a retired fisherman who lives in a little village on the North Yorkshire Coast. Helped along by a cast of colourful characters, Old Jack tells tall stories from inside his old fishing boat ‘Rainbow’. The series is a mix of live action and animation which allows Old Jack to wander along the seabed, visit tropical islands and fly high in the air on balloons always accompanied by his faithful dog, Salty (a Hungarian Vizsla, whose real name is Scuzz).
 Bernard Cribben said: “I’ve filmed in a lot of locations throughout my career, but there’s something about the sea air, the beauty and the friendliness in Staithes that makes it a special place to be.”
 The producers added: “Staithes is a wonderful backdrop to the series and we have retained its name as we wanted the programme to feel rooted in a real place. Every story that Old Jack tells begins with the words , “Once upon a twinkly time The Rainbow set off from Staithes, waved goodbye to Whitby and headed off over the horizon…”

Staithes' ageless jigsaw of houses

The cobbled main street makes Staithes a perfect 1930s location
Boats in Staithes' harbour: not Old Jack's though!

Dunsley Cottage, Chapel Yard

Monday, 8 September 2014

Fabulous heather season

From its position on the edge of the North York Moors national park, Staithes and Dunsley ( are perfectly placed for easy access onto the moors. The heather display is always worth seeing: our moors are the largest expanse of heather moorland in the United Kingdom. This year, it is particularly good, due to lots of warm weather that has created an incredible growing season on all levels. This photo was taken this week from Blakey Ridge, of the view into Farndale. It's a 20 minute drive from Dunsley, and there are some really good walks from here. Options include easy strolls along the disused railway line around the heads of Rosedale and Farndale (with refreshments at the Lions Inn on Blakey Ridge, the highest pub in England), or more strenuous hikes into and across the valleys. My book - North York Moors, Freedom to Roam - outlines several in this area; there is a copy in Dunsley's bookshelf.
 The heather will last well into September this year, so there's still a chance to enjoy the purple glory!

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Weird and wonderful tides

We saw some extraordinary tides at Staithes on Tuesday this week: a low tide of 0.25m (compared with the usual neap of around 2.2m), and a high of 6.11m (compared with 4.35m). It was the combination of Spring tides on a full moon, when the moon was exceptionally close to the earth, with high pressure. It was really quite incredible: at low tide at midday the sea actually retreated out of the harbour, and the rock platform that makes up the surf break to the south was completely exposed. There were people walking all over it, where normally there are fish and seals. To the right, under Cowbar Nab, people were walking in 'the tangles', as the kelp beds are known.
 We were working on the parking platform, making it tidy and getting rid of weeds, and took time out to watch the action. These pictures were taken from the footpath that runs from the parking down to the harbour, at about 12.15pm. The first is across the harbour with the boats high and dry, and the second is the view toward Cowbar, showing the tide at the harbour entrance, instead of inside it!

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Dunsley wins Certificate of Excellence

We are really proud to announce that, thanks to fabulous reviews from our equally fabulous guests, Dunsley has won a coveted Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence.
 2014 is the first year that the travel site has given this award to holiday cottages. It is a global award, for the very top tier of businesses on Trip Advisor: those achieving five star ratings, taking into account volume of reviews.
 “TripAdvisor is pleased to honour exceptional vacation rentals for consistent excellence,” their excited letter reads. “The Certificate of Excellence award gives top performing properties around the world the recognition for the consistently positive they receive  from those who matter most – their customers.”
 So hurray: thanks to you all for posting such inspiring reviews for our little cottage... please keep them coming, we love reading them, and so do other guests (although, of course, that does mean you need to share Dunsley with them!). Your feedback and support is, as always, appreciated.
 Thanks again, from Judy and Duncan


Thursday, 22 May 2014

Private Parking for Dunsley Cottage

The private parking platform for guests at Dunsley cottage in Staithes ( is now complete. We are delighted to be able to offer the closest possible parking to the harbour village, on a smart new plinth by the Captain Cook lookout. Our local contractors have done a fantastic job building the 2-place platform, and another lower platform which will, hopefully by the end of summer, be home to a wooden shed. Duncan has made the steel barriers (NASA-worthy, like the cottage gate).
 Next job is to landscape - we plan to plant wildflower meadow seed, and buy montbretia and flax from Poet's Cottage shrub nursery in nearby Lealholm. By the time we've finished, Dunsley guests will have access to a garden with a view over the river and cliffs to the sea, enjoyed in evening and morning sunshine from strategically placed benches. Ah, the plans! In the meantime, the private parking is now available... it's a real rarity in Staithes, and saves our guests £35 per week public car park charges, plus it's a shorter distance to walk from the cottage. Enjoy!

Friday, 25 April 2014

Private parking in Staithes

Parking in Staithes is at a premium. Very few cottages have access to beach-level parking, and the vast majority of guests pay to park at the 'top of the bank', at a cost of £35 per week. Last year, we bought a patch of land by the village lookout, on the lip of the bank, to create a private parking platform for guests at Dunsley holiday cottage ( For months we have been jumping through planning permission hoops with the North York Moors national park and the Highways Authority. Imagine our relief when we finally acquired all necessary permits for the parking and garden shed, which our guests can use to store bikes, surfboards or other items that need security. Work started this week and we hope it will be finished within 10 days. Here are pictures of our wonderful contractor, Nobles of Whitby, hard at work... we will update all our guests with details of how to access the parking, as soon as we have the barriers installed and a padlock code. Parking with a view: at last!
Parking platform in raw state! It will be finished with rolled stone
 Nobles men unloading local stone for the gabion baskets
Stone gabion baskets support the platform on the sloping site
Lowest point of the site, below shed platform and gabions

Digging the shed platform

Monday, 31 March 2014

Eggs: not just for Easter

Great news for egg lovers: they are not just for Easter. While chocolate and fancy designs rule the roost this month, guests at Dunsley holiday cottage ( can enjoy the real thing. Our neighbour Sonia, at Fossil Cottage, now has a brood of six happy hens in her allotment (near the car park). These free-range lovelies are also terrific egg producers, so Sonia regularly fills the egg box in Fossil Cottage's front yard. It's an honesty system, and the eggs are gorgeous! It's the ultimate breakfast treat: wander down to the butcher for fresh bread from Danby's Stonehouse bakery (meat lovers will also appreciate the excellent Staithes bacon and sausages), and an egg or two from Sonia's supply. Then enjoy the meal in Dunsley's private front yard or, if it's too cool, in the cottage with the stable door top open so you can take in the outside, from the inside. Heaven - and not a chocolate in sight.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Mystery TV drama in Staithes

Hot news: Drama at Dunsley! Our early February guests at Dunsley holiday cottage in Staithes ( report that a TV crew was filming on the footpath, directly outside Dunsley's gate. Hilary took this picture from Dunsley's bedroom window. But what were they shooting? She says: "It was definitely drama not documentary  - after about 8 takes we knew the script - also definitely not Old Jack's Boat!"
 If anyone can shed any light on this, we'd love to hear from you! Please email us: . Meanwhile I have my feelers out and will update this if I learn anything new.
TV drama at Dunsley.. photo taken from Dunsley's bedroom window by our guest Hilary