The relatively unheard of, except by Whitby residents, Captain Cook District is a small area of Whitby with the ancient Grape, or Grope, Lane at its heart.
‘Grope’ is the original name of the lane dating back to 1425 when it was just a dark passageway that you had to ‘grope’ your way through! The name Captain Cook District is for the historical importance of the area with regard to the great Captain himself.
Captain Cook and The Memorial Museum
Captain Cook is a renowned British explorer, navigator, and cartographer who led the famous expedition on the HMS Bark Endeavour in search of Terra Australis in 1768. Not only did he do this, first landing at Botany Bay, but he also went on to captain further successful expeditions.
Born in 1728 in Barton, Middlesbrough, Captain James Cook would go on to first live in the North Yorkshire town of Staithes where he was apprenticed as a draper. Here he would fall in love with the sea which led to him moving to Whitby where he trained with a local shipping firm before joining the Royal Navy. Once in the Navy, he rose quickly through the ranks until he was promoted to command.
During his time in Whitby, Captain Cook lodged with his master at the shipping firm, John Walker, in a house on Grape Lane. This house would go on to become the Captain Cook Memorial Museum.
Within the Captain Cook Museum you will find highlights such as the attic where Cook himself reputedly slept, now home to annual special exhibitions, memorabilia such as models of the ship’s Captain Cook sailed on, letters he wrote to home, South seas paintings and treasures, and huge collections of materials all relating to Captain Cook.
It’s a real treasure trove of all things maritime and well worth a visit. As is the White Horse and Griffin, where Cook plotted many of his great adventures.
The museum itself is not the only place worth visiting whilst in the Captain Cook District. The area is also home to some wonderful shops, restaurants, and bars.
Shopping in The Captain Cook District
There is a myriad of fabulous shops to check out in the Captain Cook District, we take a closer look at some of them below.
Natural Wonders is a world of wonder where you can find all manner of fantastic fossils. Want a framed Eocene fossil fish to display on your wall? You can find it here! Need a Triassic dinosaur pooh to amaze your friends with? You can, yes you guessed it, find it here!
Owned and run by Byron Blessed, Natural Wonders has been collecting and selling fossils for over twenty years. Every fossil in the store has been hand-picked by Byron himself or a select group of fossil finding friends.
Collections available include museum-quality pieces, interior decorations, ammonite, trilobites, vertebrate, and dinosaur. Every piece comes with the guarantee that if it is not good enough to be in Byron’s own collection, it will not be sold in the store!
Natural Wonders is located at 20 Grape Lane and opens 10.30 am to 5 pm seven days a week.
Address: 20 Grape Ln, Whitby YO22 4BA, UK
The Green Dragon
The Green Dragon is a little piece of heaven for any connoisseur of real ale. Selling over 200 locally sourced and international ales there is sure to be something for everyone. Ranges of ale here also include a multitude of gift sets for that loved one and Green Dragon merchandise such as their bottle opener keyring. Why not try a pint on one of the excellent real ale pubs in Whitby?
If you’d like to try before you buy, you can here as the Green Dragon also boasts a quirky and cosy taproom that has been set up in a Georgian style. Lit by candlelight and full of charm with its taxidermy and pet portraits the taproom is well worth a visit.
The Green Dragon is located at 4 – 5 Grape Lane and opens 11 am – 5 pm Monday to Thursday, 11 am to 6 pm Friday and Sunday, and 11 am to 7.30 pm Saturday.
Address: 4-5 Grape Ln, Whitby YO22 4BA, UK
Simpsons Jet Of Whitby
No area of Whitby would be complete without a Jet Jewellery store and happily, the Captain Cook District has one. In fact, Simpsons have been making and selling Whitby jet items in this part of the town for over 30 years. It is a family run business and all items that they sell have been handcrafted in their local workshops.
Simpsons Jet of Whitby collections includes not only Whitby Jet but also mixes of amber, Blue John, and labradorite which has to be seen to be believed. Discovered in Labrador, Canada it has a predominant blue colouring with flashes of gold, green and coppery red.
Simpsons Jet of Whitby is located at 21 Grape Lane and opens 9.30 am to 5 Monday to Saturday and 10 am to 5 pm on Sundays.
Address: 21 Grape Ln, Whitby YO22 4BA, UK
Undeniably, the first thing you will notice about Squid Rock is its signage which shows a huge squid holding a rock. There is no way you can miss this store or be unable to locate it! Inside you will find a fabulous range of rock orientated clothing such as tops, skirts, dresses, hats, handbags and much, much more. Do not be put off browsing if you are no rock god or goddess as again there is something for everyone to wear in this unique clothing store.
Squid Rock is located at 16 Bridge Street and opens 10 am to 5.30 pm Monday to Sunday.
Address: 16 Bridge St, Whitby YO22 4BG, UK
Eateries Around Captain Cook District
Off course when you’re all shopped out and have explored the museum the chances are that you are going to be hungry. If you are, the Captain Cook District has some fabulous places to stop for a bite all offering something tasty and in their own unique way. Read more about all the restaurants in Whitby here.
Humble Pie & Mash
Whitby, of course, is well known for its fabulous fish cuisine but what if you fancy something different? Well, we’d suggest you try the Humble Pie & Mash shop for some hearty homemade food.
Freshly made on the premises every morning the pies at this cozy and comfortable little restaurant are literally to die for. They come in a massive range of flavours using meats and vegetables from local farmers. That’s not to mention the gorgeous pastry that is made from scratch and completely organic.
The mouthwatering flavours here include black pudding and sausage, Romany homity, slow braised beef and stout, and roast vegetables and goats cheese. Don’t fancy a pie then why not try their ever so tasty haggis and neeps?
Humble Pie & Mash is located at 163 Church Street and opens from 12 to 8 pm Monday to Sunday.
Address: 163 Church St, Whitby YO22 4AS, UK
Hadley's Fish Restaurant
If you decide you want to go traditional and indulge in a mighty portion of fish and chips, you can’t go far wrong by trying Hadley’s. This lovely restaurant first opened its doors in 1937 and has been serving their fishy delights for over 75 years. Hadley’s uses only the finest ingredients including British spuds, MSC certified cod and haddock, home-cooked mushy peas and tartare sauce. Gloriously all the fish and chips are cooked in the traditional way using beef dripping – yummy!
Hadley’s also has five guest rooms above the restaurant should you wish to stay in Whitby longer than a day. All rooms are en-suite and either doubles or triples.
Hadley’s Fish Restaurant is located at 11 Bridge Street and opens 11 am to 7 pm Monday to Sunday.
Address: 11 Bridge St, Whitby YO22 4BG, UK
The Dolphin Hotel
Located right in the harbour and with glorious sea views, The Dolphin is a hotel and traditional style pub. They have on-site entertainment every night with live music featuring on Tuesdays and weekends. Food wise The Dolphin serves local and traditional pub grub including a hearty breakfast menu and a sumptuous Sunday Carvery. You can also enjoy a great selection of local cask ales, craft ales, ciders, a fab wine range and over 40 gins from their gin palace here.
The Dolphin also has six double en-suite rooms should you wish to extend your visit to the Captain Cook district. The Dolphin is located on Bridge Street and opens 8.30 am to midnight Monday to Sunday.
Address: Bridge St, Whitby YO22 4BG
If your food of choice is Italian, then you will love Moutreys. Here you will find all your Italian favourites including fresh pizza, pasta, meat dishes, and seafood. The menu here is created from only the finest ingredients, local when possible. Choices include traditional garlic bread, garlic mushrooms, tasty bruschetta, melon and parma ham for starters. For mains, there is spaghetti bolognese, wild mushroom and leek cannelloni, cajun chicken, pollo funghi, steaks, and burgers.
Fresh from the wood-fired oven comes Gambero, Di mare, Azzuro, and carne festa pizza. Read our review of the food at Moutreys here.
Moutreys is a restaurant suitable for couples, families, and parties with booking being recommended. They are located at 9 Grape Lane and open Monday to Sunday from 6 pm to 9 pm.
Address: 9 Grape Ln, Whitby YO22 4BB
Cosa Nostra is a small but quaint restaurant with both dining up and downstairs. A mixture of paintings covering the walls and ornate chandeliers make this dining space cozy and elegant. The menu includes ribeye steak, sea bass, bruschetta, smoked haddock risotto, pollo al funghi, agnello lamb, and both sirloin and fillet steak.
Cosa Nostra is located at 161 Church Street and opens from 4 pm to 11 pm Monday to Sunday.
Address: 161 Church St, Whitby YO22 4AS, UK