It was my birthday at the weekend and I had the choice of where to go and what to do. If we aren’t reviewing somewhere I normally give our son a few choices of where to go and he chooses. But for once I made the decision with no outside influence. Being January there isn’t much to choose from as most places are shut (annoyingly as we enjoy days out any time of the year). But for us that gives us the opportunity to visit towns and seaside resorts without the crowds. With that I chose Whitby. Last time we were there we’d spotted the new HM Bark Endeavour boat and although expensive it is such a unique attraction that I thought it would be a good thing to do over winter as it is open all year. Plus they have some great winter offers right now. Read on for our HM Bark Endeavour Whitby review.
Whitby is a seaside resort town on the North Yorkshire coast about 30 minutes north of Scarborough. The drive from Scarborough to Whitby through the Yorkshire moors is stunning and well worth the drive.
About the HM Bark Endeavour in Whitby Harbour
The HM Bark Endeavour is in the harbour at Whitby right next to the harbour car park which is a good place to park when visiting Whitby. It is quite an expensive car park and we paid £5.00 for four hours. But it’s a good location and perfect for exploring if you aren’t familiar with Whitby. The boat is a full-size replica of Captain Cook’s Endeavour boat that he used to sail to Australia and New Zealand. Cook began his maritime career in Whitby and he was born in Yorkshire. The boat was originally built in 1993 and then resorted in 2017. The boat arrived in Whitby in June 2018. It had not been built to sail so had to be towed from Stockton-on-Tees to Whitby.
The original HM Bark Endeavour was built in Whitby in 1764. It sailed from Portsmouth four years later.
HM Bark Endeavour Whitby Review
When you arrive within a few metres of the HM Bark Endeavour ship you will hear the sounds of cows, sheep, chickens and the shouting of boat commands. The first time we heard the noises we couldn’t work out what was going on and it took us a while to work out that the sounds were coming from the ship. They are very realistic and bring an added fun atmosphere to the ship. It sets you back to the 18th Century when the original ship first sailed. HM Bark Endeavour set to sea with 94 people, including Captain cook plus 18 months of provisions including livestock. It took them around two years to reach Australia. To see the boat as a full-scale replica certainly makes you think about how cramped their living quarters must have been.
Winter Prices and Offers
Over the winter they have some really good offers on which provide great savings. Normally the entrance fee is £7.50 for an adult and £4.50 for a child. They have a great offer where for just £10 per adult and £7.00 per child you can have entrance to the Endeavour boat and you can choose from a small portion of fish and chips with mushy peas, pasta with tomato and sweetcorn and tomato or soup with a sandwich. Normally these are £6.50 so if you do want to eat there this is a really good saving. We took this offer and I will tell you more about our meal below. They also have an offer where you can pay for one adult and then another adult can visit for free.
During our visit, the toilets weren’t working as their pump is broken. They are working on fixing this so hopefully, they will be up and running soon. The closest toilets are across the road and you have to pay 40p. At the far end of the car park, there is a free to use toilet block.
When we arrived we were in need of a pit stop. The HM Bark Endeavour has a cafe below deck which transforms into a restaurant with the most fabulous sounding menu at night. It has been furnished really well and we were particularly impressed with their lemon drizzle cake.
While we were having a drink and some cake we perused the menu and we were very impressed with their winter deal. This is when we decided to take up the £10 deal that I mentioned above which includes entry to the ship and a meal at lunchtime. We paid for this at the small gift shop where they take cards or cash as payment. We were given a card and this allowed us to return to eat later on.
There are three levels to the HM Bark Endeavour. There’s the top deck which is the outside deck. Below this is the exhibition deck and then below that the restaurant/cafe deck.
Exhibition Deck on board the HM Bark Endeavour
After you have exited the gift shop you will enter the exhibition deck. There is a lot more to do and see here than you may think. Someone has really put some thought into the exhibitions and a lot of them are interactive requiring you to do things like play games to find answers or plot a course on a magnetic map. There are also little rooms with exhibitions. There was a karaoke room with sea shanties, a surgeons room with mock surgery in shadows and gruesome body parts in a basket. Plus a room telling you how they plotted a lot of their courses using the stars.
The highlight for us was the interactive sandpit. You can dig down or pile up the sand and this will change the environment that is being projected. If we dug down we’d find water and then animals would come to drink. One was drowning and I was able to save it by moving the sand. Another was under the water and you could ‘pick up’ turtles. The man in charge also got a volcano to erupt. It did take a while but it was worth it. This may not be related to Captain Cook and his boat but he certainly visited places similar to what was projected. We spent ages there playing.
On a slightly higher level but still on the exhibition deck you will find Captain Cook’s cabin. It is wonderfully authentic in there. His cabin is also off the main deck area where there was a long wooden table with a video playing of Captain Cook and his men. Plus a desk and a few other things to discover such as a boy in a cupboard, lots of authentic guns and more.
You could certainly spend a long time here playing and learning all about the life and times of life on board the HM Bark Endeavour. To see more of what it’s like on board the boat please watch my vlog below.
Out on Deck
My son could have literally spent all day out on deck. He really got into the spirit of things and took the wheel while telling us to fire cannons, pull the ropes and various other commands. The deck is where the sound effect noises are coming from such as men shouting and the noises from animals. I think this is what really sparked his imagination. We wanted to go for a walk around Whitby before we had lunch onboard so we promised him that we’d return on deck after lunch. He had just as much fun the second time around. There’s nothing quite like the imagination of kids.
Lunchtime Specials on the HM Bark Endeavour
As we had paid for the £10 per adult and £7 per child deal it meant that we could choose our lunch from the lunchtime special menu (£6.50 per person without entry to the boat). My son and Mum had the small fish, chips and mushy peas. They were given the thumbs up by both of them. I tried a bit of fish myself and it was very good. My husband and I had the soup and sandwich. The soup of the day was spiced cauliflower with blue cheese which was fabulous. We chose the pesto, mozzarella and cherry tomato sandwich. This was a bit of a let down as it was too heavy on the pesto which we believe had come from a jar. It was still nice but not as good as the soup and fish. I’d certainly recommend eating there and there are other sandwiches to chose from plus a pasta dish for vegetarians.
A quick walk around Whitby
There is plenty to do on a day out in Whitby, even in the winter. I will write more about other things to do later in the year. We had an hours walk around town and paid a visit to the old RNLI boat shed and free museum. We popped for a quick play on the amusements. Found some fabulous old buildings amongst some not so fabulous buildings and checked out possible boat hire for the spring.
If you are looking for somewhere to stay in the area I can recommend The Spa Hotel in Saltburn by the sea.
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