Hornsea boasts a lovely sandy Blue Flag beach and attractively refurbished award-winning promenade to stroll along. It has retained a pleasant village atmosphere, quieter than its more brash neighbour Bridlington 15 miles to the north. Hornsea also sits on the shore of Yorkshire’s largest freshwater lake. On Hornsea Mere, you can have a go at sailing, rowing, fishing – and it is also a haven for all kinds of birds. The town has a colourful history of smuggling, a trade which was aided and abetted by the entire town, even the local church, whose vault was used to stash contraband. These days shopping has taken over from smuggling as one of Hornsea’s favourite pastimes. People come from miles around to visit Wilbur`s Market on the sea front, famous as one of the friendliest markets in Yorkshire. Plus, the Hornsea Freeport Shopping Village, with more than 40 outlets, has everything from big name fashion brands to kitchenware and china at irresistible prices.
Spurn Point is an extraordinary three-mile long finger of shifting sand and shingle, only 50 metres wide in places, jutting out into the Humber Estuary like an elongated tongue. Spurn’s environment is very fragile and open to the ravages of the North Sea but this is a beautiful place for bird watching, sea fishing, walking or just a day out.
Bridlington offers two lovely sandy beaches, one on either side of the historic harbour, sheltered from the north winds by Flamborough, whose towering chalk cliffs are home to one of the largest sites of nesting sea birds in England. Take a walk along the cliffs to see a wide variety of birds including a colony of gannets. There are sea caves and coves to explore all along the headland.
Inland from Hornsea lie the beautiful, undulating Yorkshire Wolds a series of gently rolling chalk hills and valleys, giving rise to a landscape which is highly reminiscent of the Downs of southern England, although much emptier and less frequented by tourists. The countryside is punctuated by picturesque market towns and historic houses. Beverley has a glorious Gothic Minster and lovingly preserved old streets and buildings. Lying on the edge of the Wolds, Driffield is sometimes known as the ‘Capital of the Wolds’ and is the central point between York, Hull and Scarborough. Tucked away in a fold in the hills is the lost village of Wharram Percy. For a glimpse of the grand lifestyle of landowners in times past, visit Burton Agnes and Burton Constable, both outstanding Elizabethan country houses, and the Georgian Sledmere House. The Wolds have countless villages, with characterful inns, ponds and fine churches. While there are a few tea shops as well as some excellent pubs, the beauty and authenticity of the place remains.