10 Best Places to Visit in East Yorkshire (England)

Written by Alex Bird
Updated on
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For just a small county on the North Sea, East Yorkshire changes dramatically as you travel through.

In the south is reclaimed moorland, criss-crossed by historic canals that helped to get coal to the docks at Goole and Hull for export.

Here on the Humber estuary there’s all the activity that comes with prospering industry.

But as soon as you go inland you arrive at a softer landscape of smooth green hills and sweet villages, which is known as the Wolds.

Idle around historic market towns or make for the coast where there’s seaside fun for kids and powerful cliffs in the north around Flamborough.

Lets explore the best places to visit in East Yorkshire:

1. Hull

Hull MarinaSource: flickr
Hull Marina

Hull has been a port since at least the 1100s, and in the last 10 years or so has become one of England’s trendiest towns.

It’s still a major port, but since the decline of England’s fishing industry Hull has evolved into a centre for the arts as well.

There are some really happening areas to investigate, particularly around the old merchants’ warehouses in the Trinity Quarter.

This whole neighbourhood has been thoroughly transformed and now has cafes, stylish boutiques and lots of other great stuff to reward an inquisitive visitor.

There’s also an enormous amount of museum and attractions in Hull.

We’ll name the Maritime Museum, Streetlife Museum of Transport, the Deep (a  first-rate aquarium) and the Ferens Art Gallery, which hosted the Turner Prize in 2016. But that’s just for starters!

2. Beverley

BeverleySource: flickr

Historic and just wonderful to behold, East Yorkshire’s county town is the kind of place first-time visitors fall in love with.

The pinnacle is of course the 13th-century Beverley Minster, an outstanding example of medieval workmanship on a  large scale, bigger even than many cathedrals.

There’s a strong feeling of community here too, with people coming together to organise the annual folk festival in June, as well as beer and food festivals, the famous annual fair, Christmas market and a whole lot more.

And try to be in town on Wednesdays or Saturdays for regular the market which remains a staple of local life.

While there you could take a peek at the North Bar, a brick-built gate from the 1400s and the only surviving fragment of the town walls.

3. Bridlington

BridlingtonSource: flickr

As the top resort in East Yorkshire, Bridlington has all the hallmarks of an English seaside escape.

Think donkey rides, sandy beaches, a windswept promenade and charming little attractions like the Bondville Model Village.

As is often the way, it’s the little ones who will get the most out of a destination like Bridlington, going for a trip on the “land train”, building sandcastles on the beach and having the time of their lives at the amusements and fairground rides.

Older visitors will have their own fun exploring the older part of Bridlington, which took shape centuries before the seaside resort and is some way inland.

4. Pocklington

PocklingtonSource: flickr

A respectable little market town, Pocklington has got plenty of personality and is in a useful location just a few minutes from the City of York.

The town has cafes and tea rooms that spill out on to the pavement, and is a great place to potter around for a while.

All Saints Church is the dominant landmark in the town, with a large tower from the 1400s and a nave mostly constructed 300 years before that.

The best bet for a day out is Burnby Hall Gardens, where there’s a rockery, Victorian garden, shrubbery, walled garden and lakes with more than 100 varieties of water lily.

5. Flamborough

Flamborough LighthouseSource: flickr
Flamborough Lighthouse

Loaded with man-made and natural splendour, Flamborough is next to an awesome headland in the north of the county.

The obvious landmark at Flamborough Head is the lighthouse, which has been guiding maritime traffic for more than 200 years and can be entered during the summer.

The chalk cliffs on the promontory are majestic and you’ll see little hints of human intervention: There’s an earlier lighthouse, from the 1600s, and dividing the headland from the mainland is the 3.2 kilometre Bronze Age dyke, which would have defended against attacks from the sea.

The two beaches, North and South Landing are where invaders would have arrived, and both have a savage majesty about them.

6. Hornsea

HornseaSource: flickr

On warm summer days Hornsea comes to life and brings in day-trippers from all over Yorkshire.

There are caravan parks if you want to stay longer and take advantage  of the Blue Flag sandy beach, amusements and promenade, all complemented by fish and chip shops, tea rooms and the Floral Hall for old-time entertainment.

Kids can befriend lambs and goats at the working Honeysuckle Farm, while the Hornsea Museum has lovely memorabilia from days gone by, like school desks, old shops signs and the once famous Hornsea pottery.

Hornsea Mere is a beautiful inland lake overlooked by Wassand Hall, a fine regency mansion.

7. Goole

GooleSource: wikiwand

Long described as the “Port in Green Fields”, Goole is a functioning port a long way inland, at the south of the county.

It started out shipping coal excavated in South Yorkshire, but decades after this industry died off it continues to grow as a busy container port.

So there’s a scruffy dignity to Goole, and lots of relics of Victorian industry.

One is a Tom Pudding Hoist, a titanic piece of machinery which would lift the old coal barges and tip their contents onto ships at the dock.

It makes sense that the Yorkshire Waterways Museum should be in Goole, a riveting account of the canals and navigations in the region.

8. Driffield

DriffieldSource: wikimedia

This is the largest town in East Yorkshire’s Wolds, a chalk ridge that runs north to south in the county and is treasured for its grasslands, rolling scenery, ponds and villages.

If your idea of a relaxation is discovering country estates and historic houses, Driffield will be up your street.

There’s Sledmere House and its precisely trimmed parterres, and the distinguished Burton Agnes Hall, commissioned during the reign of Elizabeth I in the early-1600s and with a garden that has more than 3,000 plant species.

And to fully appreciate the lovely rural landscapes, have a ramble along the Driffield Navigation or board the Yorkshire Wolds Railway, with steam trains puffing through these hills from April to October.

9. Withernsea

WithernseaSource: flickr

A modest seaside resort, Withernsea is the go-to destination for fish and chips and seafront strolls to blow the cobwebs away.

The town is dwarfed by the Withernsea Lighthouse, which was built in the 1890s and decommissioned 40 years ago.

Now it acts as a museum for the town, with little exhibits about the resort in Edwardian times and the Hollywood Golden Age actor Kay Kendall who was born in Withernsea.

You can scale the 144 steps for fabulous coastal vistas and pop into the tea rooms for some warming refreshment.

A few minutes down the coast is a Cold War relic at RAF Holmpton, where there’s a vast control bunker 30 metres underground that has recently been opened to the public.

10. Bempton

Bempton CliffsSource: flickr
Bempton Cliffs

A sleepy seaside village, the main event in Bempton is the Bempton Cliffs, which soar to more then 100 metres in places.

Their hard chalk composition means they don’t erode easily and their many deep ridges afford an exceptional breeding ground for sea birds like puffins, guillemots, gannets, fulmars and kittiwakes.

So this arresting stretch of coastline is a nature reserve managed by the Royal Society of the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and a goldmine for birdwatchers or anyone with an affinity for nature.

Back in the village the Bempton’s pond, the Mere, is an adorable place to have a picnic on grassy heath in the company of ducks and geese.

10 Best Places to Visit in East Yorkshire (England):

  • Hull
  • Beverley
  • Bridlington
  • Pocklington
  • Flamborough
  • Hornsea
  • Goole
  • Driffield
  • Withernsea
  • Bempton