Bridlington Offers Fun for Young
and Not So Young
Bridlington is a classic English seaside town. Here you’ll see kiddies building sandcastles on the golden beaches. It’s all the fun of the fair on the promenade close by the harbour. Multi-coloured stalls line the harbour wall and shorefront streets – selling shellfish delicacies, fish ‘n’ chips and buckets and spades. Bridlington harbour has colourful boats bobbing about at high tide – resting at crazy angles in the mud when the tide is out. Inviting pubs, crowded with dads enjoying an afternoon pint or three, overlook the sands. You’ll find bed and breakfast signs in every window along the prom. The ever so slightly faded facades of the once posh seafront hotels languish in the afternoon sun.
Had you been working in the industrial Yorkshire of the nineteenth century, Bridlington would probably have been your holiday destination of choice. The first hotel was opened in 1805 and in 1896 – coinciding with the opening of the Spa and gardens – donkey rides were first introduced on the beach!
The drying harbour was developed around the Gypsy Race – a small river that drains the Yorkshire Wolds through the Gypsy Race Valley before emptying through the harbour into the North Sea. Usually a busy, bustling place, the harbour is home to the local fishing fleet and the Royal Yorkshire Yacht Club. Here also you’ll find boats and crew to take you sea fishing – all equipment included! Speed boat trips and mini cruises round the bay are advertised noisily by men with loud voices.
The harbour separates the two beaches of Bridlington. South Beach’s golden sands stretch for miles – as far as the eye can see – as it follows the gently curving bay southwards. North Beach runs beneath the terraced promenades to the shingle beaches and magnificent cliffs of Flamborough Head – the Northern point of Bridlington Bay.
A few yards back from this transition between the salty sea and terra firma you’ll find the serious business of providing visitors with everything they need to make a great holiday or day out. Amusement arcades and bingo parlours, pubs that do “pub grub” and fish ‘n’ chip cafes that do – well, fish ‘n’ chips! Kids of all ages seem to love the ice cream parlours and the tea and coffee shops do a roaring trade. The Spa Theatre complex has recently emerged, resplendant from an eighteen month regeneration. The wide variety of shows are thrilling packed audiences from far and wide. The 3B theatre – that used to be the Grand Pavilion – is part of the Leisure World complex. This is where the kids of all ages go wild in the swimming pool – complete with covered slides and wave machines!
On fine sunny days my wife and I enjoy nothing more than the invigorating walk along the cliff tops – a wide swathe of well-tended grassland stretching from the end of the North Promenade to Sewerby Hall and beyond. If we feel a bit tired there’s the land train to jump onto. This connects the fun fair near the harbour with Sewerby Park and has stops at various points. The entire land train route is about two miles each way and if you’re less than energetic it’s a great way to enjoy the sea views.
Sewerby Hall is a relaxed and friendly place – welcoming visitors throughout the summer season. Set in delightful, well kept gardens it’s an elegant old manor house that you’re sure to enjoy exploring. Should you have walked here from Bridlington why not rest awhile in the tea rooms under the clock tower before visiting the zoo and gardens? We visited late in the afternoon when fewer visitors were about. On the lawns of the formal gardens we were enthralled by the antics of the cheeky resident squirrels.
Bridlington on the Yorkshire coast is a wonderful, traditional seaside holiday resort where there is something for everyone – young or not so young. As part of a longer holiday or vacation in Yorkshire I’m sure you’ll enjoy a visit. My family have enjoyed holidays and daytrips here for many years. Here’s an old photo, from my dad’s collection, of Bridlington’s harbour as it looked some time in the late 1950s or early ’60s.