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Holidaymakers have replaced smugglers as Hornsea's main visitors and it's easy to see why. Perfect for a short break or a family day, this small seaside town has a lovely sandy Blue Flag beach, award-winning promenade, cut-price shopping and colourful smuggling history. Even the vault at the local church was used by smugglers to stash contraband.

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    2 Reviews
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    • More +
      09.08.2013 08:24
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      A place to visit for the day or maybe a weekend

      I was brought up in a small seaside town called Hornsea. As I grew up there seemed to be less and less there and I preferred to call it the dump of the East Coast. I now live 3 miles outside of the town but still find myself in the town a few times a week. In the next year I will be moving to be with my boyfriend once we are married as he is in the army. This got me thinking of my home town and what it has to offer.


      Hornsea is situated on the East Coast and is 18 miles from Hull and 15 miles down the coast from Bridlington. It is the mark of the end of the TransPennine trail. It is a very small seaside town but it does have something to offer people. Compared to the more commercial seaside towns of the east coast like Scarborough and Bridlington it is quieter and more peaceful. Hornsea was once famous for the Potteries. Hornsea Pottery was based in the south side of the town. Unfortunately like many great things in Hornsea it has gone now. It was replaced with a shopping outlet but over the years that has gone downhill too, it was once worth a full day out now an hour or two and your done!


      *****The Town*****

      Once whilst working in Hornsea I was asked by a tourist where the town centre was. When I explained he laughed and asked if that was it! Hornsea isn't about shopping and if that's what you come for you will be extremely disappointed I would say look at it more as an exploring place. There are plenty of things to explore in the town and hopefully this review will help you if you decide to visit the place for a day!

      The main street of Hornsea is Newbegin there are very few shops down this street. It has plenty of hair dressers and charity shops but shops you will recognise are very few. There is a small Co-op that is just about surviving since Tesco arrived in the town. There is The Factory shop, a local card shop, Heron, Fulton Foods, Harpers Fish and Chips, Cooplands and a few other shops but nothing worth coming specially for. The two main things I would recommend in the actual town centre are the Hornsea Museum and Hall Garth Park.

      Hornsea Museum is a lovely small quaint museum. It is a while since I have visited the place but I have on numerous occasions and every time I have enjoyed it. The museum is about Hornsea and the north Holderness over time. It is within an 18th century farmhouse and cottages attached. There is plenty to do at the Museum and lots to keep children entertained too with hands on bits. There is a large display of Hornsea Pottery items and there is an outside area to the rear too. Every time I have been bits have been changed and more has been added. It isn't a free museum but the admission prices are low and very fair in my eyes.

      The Hall Garth Park on the other hand is free open land and if the weather is on your side it is certainly a place to have a walk through. There is a large children's play area with swings, slides, roundabout and climbing frames. There are lots of pieces for the very young and slightly older child too. Next to the play ground is a skate park which can be enjoyed by all. Then the rest of the park is grass, hills and trees to walk through. It is beautiful and there are plenty of benches dotted about for you sit on, maybe enjoy your lunch there too. If you're looking for a bit of shade there are plenty of tree areas you could sit by.

      Beginning to move away from the centre of the town towards the sea front is the Memorial gardens situated on New Road. I find it a lovely peaceful place to sit. It is quite an open garden with plenty of benches around. Within the gardens is a memorial wall with the names of all the local people who fought and died in the War. Recently my brother-in-law's name was added to this wall. The first local to die in Afghanistan. At the end of the gardens which by many children of the town is known as the lion park are two large stone lions. I am not too sure of the history of them but they have been their ever since I have been alive. I remember sitting on them as a child and pretending to feed them grass and now my son's do the same! There is also a large wooden piece of the pier Hornsea once had in the garden's.


      *****The Seafront*****

      A few years ago the sea front was given a bit of a revamp improving a small area of it. The beach at Hornsea is lovely I have spent many a time down on the beach. There are stoney areas but the majority is just sand. On the promenade is a small landscaped area with grass, plants and walls and a small children's paddling pool by Hucklebury's cafe. This area does get quite busy in the summer. It is a lovely little paddling pool for little ones to play in and is always kept lovely and clean. There isn't a great deal down on the sea front but there are places to get ice creams and buy the usual bucket and spade. There is also a Leisure centre down by the sea front so if the weather isn't great you can always go for a swim there, be aware though the pool isn't over warm.

      Also there is a children's indoor play centre called Little rascals near the sea front that is for children up to 12 years old. You pay £4 per child and that gets them a ticket for all day. You can come and go as you like. There are bouncy castles, slides, a large sand pit, lots of inflatable items, a baby area and more. I have taken my children a couple of times and they loved it.

      Up the south side of the beach is an independent life boat station that often on a Sunday is open for tea, coffee's and ice creams and there is often a chance to look at their station and the life boat they use. In the spring and summer they also quite often have a small car boot sale on the land next to the station.


      *****Freeport Hornsea*****

      As I have already mentioned Freeport was the home of the potteries many years ago but after it closed it was turned into a shopping outlet. Over the years it has lost its appeal and many big shops have moved away from it. But that said if you're in the town it might be worth an hour to look round. For me I only use it from time to time and tend to stick to the same shops. There is a Works shop which I always have a nosey round and often find a bargain book or game for my boys, Thornton's are up there too along with quite a few outdoor walking shops. There is also a Pound stretcher which I visit from time to time and a local shop called William's Farm shop. William's Farm shop is a little gem up there but make sure you have some money because it's not cheap. Hallmarks card shop is also situated up at Freeport it's a great place to get decent cards at a good price. There is a cafe or two so you could have your lunch up at Freeport as well.

      My biggest gem up at Freeport is Neptune's Kingdom the children's indoor play centre. It has been there for years I remember it as a child although it has changed a bit since then. There is a designated baby and toddler area and a large ball pool for children over four. It is about £2 for a child over 4 and £1 for under that. There never seems to be a time limit when I have gone up and I go quite often with my boys they love it. As well as the ball pool there are a few arcade games, a climbing wall and one of those pools were there are those large balls you can get into and walk on the water. All of these things you have to pay for separately but seem to quite well priced.


      *****The rest of the town and surrounding*****

      As well as the famous Hornsea Potteries Hornsea has also always been known for its Mere which is actually the largest fresh water lake in Yorkshire. It is a good few years since I have been up there and recently the cafe up there has been taken over and renovated and I have heard good things about it. You can hire out rowing boats to explore the mere or take a motor boat trip which runs throughout the day. It is a lovely little gem of Hornsea which is often over looked but certainly shouldn't be.

      Just outside of Hornsea a couple of minutes car drive is Honeysuckle farm a great place to visit with the children. My eldest recently went on a school trip there and even though he has been a good few times with us he still loved it. There is plenty to do and see at the farm and well worth a visit.


      *****Places to Eat*****

      There are plenty of take away's in Hornsea three of them being pizza places and six being fish and chips shops! As for sit down meals there are a few. MED is a lovely Italian restaurant with wonderful food and a delightful menu I have enjoyed a good few meals there but do expect quite a big bill. One of my favourites though has to be Sonali Spice which is an Indian restaurant I love the food there. The place is lovely, the staff are friendly and most important the food is excellent. It does get extremely busy so I would recommend you book and do expect a bit of a wait but it will be worth it. As well as the Indian and MED there is The Lemon Tree restaurant that serves Mediterranean food. I haven't visited this one but have heard great things about it. It is quite a small restaurant so there is plenty of atmosphere here.

      My favourite coffee shop in Hornsea by far has to be Number 10 coffee shop it does a fantastic range of baguettes my favourite by far has to be Chinese Chicken it just isn't as nice anywhere else I go. There are a few takeaway sandwich shops in Hornsea and now there is a Cooplands on the main street too.


      *****Overall thoughts*****

      Living here all my life I have fallen out of love for the place but as I wrote this review I realised Hornsea does have something to offer and I think when I do move away I will actually enjoy visiting family here. I personally wouldn't recommend it for a week's holiday a less you are willing to drive out most days but certainly for a day trip or even a weekend. If you are after something a little bit quieter and not so commercial then Hornsea is your place. One thing I used to love doing when I lived at home was to stroll along the beach on a summer's evening it was the nicest thing. There is more to do then first meets the eye with this little town and maybe as I have lived near in for so long I don't give it much credit but for someone who comes for their first visit I would say don't expect to shop and be prepared to have to explore.

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      • More +
        16.11.2009 11:36
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        Nice place to visit and just chill out

        Hornsea is a very small seaside town just south of Bridlington on the East coast of England, its about 9 miles away from Bridlington in one direction and about 15 miles from Beverley and is a very small but quiet little seaside town.

        I love Hornsea for its quietness, its almost quaint left in the sixties charm and its almost lack of facilities common to most seaside towns. We stay there at a superb bed and breakfast called Earlham house which is about a stone shrow away from the seaside. The town is about an hours drive away from Sheffield (where we live) and we have spent a couple of the August bank holidays over the last three years. The seaside is long, has a lovely sandy beach and is nowhere near as built up as Scarborough or even Bridlington, that in its way is its charm and also its limitations.

        Hornsea's seaside has limited in some ways facilities, it only has one pub, it only has two very small arcades and only a smattering of ice cream and fish and chip shops. There are a few more upmarket coffee shops and restaurants but you have to walk away from the seaside towards the town centre, this does include Cafe chocolate which provides a fantastic chocolate and croissant combo (the owners quite hot as well).

        What is there to do when you've got kids?

        Well the sea is relatively clean but it is the North Sea so its a bit chilly, as with all seaside resorts the weather is key so if its hot then there's a very nice sandy beach which is clean and wel maintained. There is also plenty of opportunities to buy ice creams, fish and chips and soft drinks. For the more elderly there is a very nice bowling green, and pavilion where you can get tea and coffee and cakes.

        If its raining, well like all seaside resorts bad weather is a bit of a problem, there are only two slot machines and one indoor market. There's not a huge amount to do in the town centre as there aren't many shops, you can if you have to go to the Hornsea Freeport but that is largely open air.

        There is a superb swimming pool at hornsea, its I think the hottest swimming pool I've ever had the pleasure of swimming in. We take our son swimming every week and thats the only pool were we didn't have to get him out of the water after 15 minutes because he's cold. If you park at the leisure centre and go swimming in the pool then effectively parking is free as you get your money back as a rebate for paying for swimming. The parking isn't too expensive but it saves a few quid for parking for the day.

        There is also a fabulous ice cream parlour called Mr.Moos which is about 5 miles towards Bridlington, to say we over indulged wouold be an understatement. You can also visit the cows and see the conditions they are kept in and watch them get milked if your arround at the right time.

        Hornsea is close enough to Bridlington and Scarborough to make a visit for the day possible and its not too far from Hull if you have to visit the city.


        Finally I enjoy visiting Hornsea and spending a couple of nights getting away from it all, its small and unpretentious there's not the drive to go and do a million things which is nice sometimes. Enjoyable if the weathers fine and you can sit on the beach but a bit limited in terms of facilities and could do with a few more things for visitors to do if the wather is poor.

        Hornsea is also the start of the TranPennine way, you can start the walk from the old Hornsea station and walk to Southport which is appoximatley 250 miles.

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