A-Z Guide to Whitby – Crabbing, Cobbles and Coastline


Visiting Whitby with children means getting back to the basics, creating memories and really enjoying quality family time. A visit to Whitby with children is not complete without catching a crab or two on the harbour side. The thrill of slowly pulling your net back in, feeling the weight of your prized catch as you carefully pull your net out of the water, and the tricky job of placing your new friend into the waiting bucket. It is a pastime that has been enjoyed for as long as there has been a harbour. The pastime is so popular that a designated area next to the bridge is populated by excited youngsters with every high tide.

Tips for successful crabbing:

  1. Always enjoy your crabbing during high tide, when the crabs are most active and looking for food.
  2. Make sure sure you have a bucket of sea water already set up and waiting before you start your crabbing. Whilst crabbing does not harm the crabs, you must ensure you do not cause them any distress. Having your bucket waiting will shorten the time they are out of the water and feeling exposed.
  3. Using a net and line, you need to make sure you have the best bait. There are a number of places in Whitby to get your buckets, nets, lines and baits and we’ve included some of them on our crabbing suppliers list.
  4. Always lift your net gently out of the water. Crabs don’t always go into your net to get the food, sometimes they attack from the side, so when you pull them up they will be using their claws to hang on to the side of your net.  Make sure you lift them out gently, as if they get frightened they will simply let go and fall back into the water.
  5. To safely hold a crab, you need to grasp it from behind, with your thumb on top of its shell, and your fingers supporting the crab underneath. This will give allow you to safely carry the crab from the net into the waiting bucket.
  6. Do not overfill your bucket. It may be tempting to fill your bucket with as many crabs as possible, but remember crabs are living creatures and should be treated with respect. Plus if you place too many crabs in your bucket they will climb on top of each other and escape from the bucket and head straight back to the sea.
  7. ALWAYS return your crabs to the sea. Crabs are not domestic animals and they do not make good pets. They belong in the sea. When you have finished crabbing gently turn your bucket over and allow the crabs to gently come out. The crabs will instinctively head back to the sea. Don’t worry about them dropping off the harbour side into the sea, even if it seems a long drop as it is in their instinct to do this.
  8. Recycle your bucket, nets and lines. Whilst we all enjoy crabbing please do not leave your nets, lines and buckets to fall into the harbour and pollute our waters. Nets and lines can cause damage to the boats that use the harbour, but more importantly, they cause problems for the sealife. If you are intending to return to Whitby, then take your nets, lines and buckets home ready for your next visit. If you don’t need them again, then give them to other people for another family to use.  It is important that we protect our seas from pollution.



The Lost Cobbles of Baxtergate 

With its quaint cottages and picturesque views it has always been a special place for those that visit. Steeped in history the town has grown and changed over the years, but the cobbles on Church Street remain glistening brightly on a wet evening. 

However, did you know that beneath the recently laid tarmac on Baxtergate, there were also cobbles? The road was covered with tarmac to raise it to the same height as the pathways, creating a shared space for pedestrians and cars. The cobbles were another indicator of the age of Baxtergate, despite its more modern look than that of Church Street. 

Who knows, maybe one day the cobbles will see the light of day once again. 

Crabbing Suppliers List

Buckets, Lines & Nets:

K & S Dryden, Baxtergate



Landers Butchers, Baxtergate


Buckets, Lines, Nets & Bait:

Hook, Line & Sinker, Church Street