Last week I wrote about the importance of maintaining a sense of adventure into adulthood. And at the weekend I actually took my own advice (for a change) when, in true Brit style, I booked a spontaneous weekend break to a small Yorkshire seaside town called Hornsea.
I'm not usually one for taking winter breaks. However, I'm determined to travel within England more this year, so I figured that it would be better to get started sooner, rather than later. So, on Saturday I climbed into the car, with my overnight bag packed into the boot and enough snacks on the spare seat to get me through far more than the three hour journey that I had ahead of me. And with that, my mum, step-dad and I began the drive up North to Yorkshire for our weekend getaway.
I always read about weekend breaks that are crammed full of tips on places to visit and things to do while you’re away. Which is great and sometimes I really love weekends like that. I’m definitely someone who likes to make the most of my time away and exploring a new area is always exciting. But sometimes it can be nice to simply take a step back and to go away for a relaxing trip. Which is exactly what this weekend was all about.
I don’t think I realised just how much I needed a relaxing trip away until I stepped foot onto the beach in Hornsea. I don’t know if it was simply having no plans for the day, no to-do lists to get through, the sight of the sea, the quiet and idyllic town or the fact that it was just somewhere new, but I physically felt the stress fall away when my foot hit the sand.
Finding accommodation in Hornsea:
As with any seaside town, Hornsea has a few caravan and holiday sites. As we went in Winter, they were closed so staying in one wasn't an option for us. And while we did look into hotels and B&B's, we chose to stay in an AirBnB while we were in Hornsea as we wanted somewhere that we could all relax together in the evening.
Upon arriving we were welcomed into the gorgeous Victorian three-story house by Sue, the host. We were instantly made to feel at home as Sue was so incredibly friendly as she showed us up to our apartment. She showed us our rooms, told us there was some fresh food in the fridge for us to use, gave us a long list of recommendations on places to visit and then gave us the go-ahead to turn the heating up as it was freezing on the day we arrived!
It was incredible value at just £95 for the three of us and we had use of the entire upstairs private apartment. And, location wise, it couldn’t have been any more perfectly situated. While Hornsea isn’t exactly enormous, Sue’s AirBnB is located a mere 5 minute walk to the beach and has a number of shops just down the road from it. So, unless you plan on leaving the town during your stay you won’t really need to worry about driving anywhere while you’re away.
The only flaw we did find with the apartment was that, while the circular window in the room that I was staying in was very quirky and gave a gorgeous view over the enormous garden out the back, there were no curtains over it. This wasn’t a problem for us as it still wasn't getting light until after seven when we stayed which isn't too ungodly but during the summer I can see it being a slight problem for anyone who doesn’t want to be up with the birds!
Where to eat and drink while you're in Hornsea:
Quick snack: Rasparilla Diner
After arriving we quickly dumped our overnight bags in our rooms and headed out for a bit of exploring. We had no set plans on what we wanted to do, so we spent the next few hours strolling along the beach. There were dog walkers everywhere and families of all shapes and sizes out enjoying the beach, just like we were, despite the fact that it was bitterly cold. So, after we were sufficiently frozen through to the bone, we made a bee-line for Rasparilla Diner (upon recommendation from Sue). The cafe is above a small arcade and in all honesty, it doesn't have the most gorgeous of decors. However, they did serve up the most delicious hot chocolate I have ever had and so I would whole-heartedly recommend a visit for a hot drink during your stay.
Lunch: Sullivan’s Fish and Chips
As you would expect of any British coastal town, fish and chips takes centre stage in Hornsea. The options range from full-blown restaurants to little seafront takeaways but the one I would recommend above all else is Sullivan’s which offers both an eat-in experience and a takeaway option. We opted to sit in as, after another hour-long along the beach we were frozen, yet again. We arrived at lunch and it was absolutely heaving but we still managed to find a table within a matter of minutes and it was reassuring to find the restaurant filled with a good mix of locals and tourists. The service was incredible, the staff were friendly and my god, the battered haddock was simply divine. My mouth is watering just thinking about it now...
Dinner: The Marine
We stopped off at The Marine after lunch for a quick drink and were instantly sold by the friendly staff and beautiful sea views. So much so that we booked a table for dinner that very evening. So, after a quick change of clothes back at our AirBnB we wandered back down to the beach for dinner at The Marine. This was another place that was full of an equal mix of locals and tourists, which I always take as a sign of good quality food.
I opted for the Cheese and Bacon burger, while my mum had the Chicken and Mushroom pie and my step-dad went all out with the Steak. As you would expect of a chain pub, the prices were cheap but the food definitely did not reflect that – it was delicious, filling and brought out in a very timely manner.
What to do while you're in Hornsea, Yorkshire:
The entire idea of this weekend away was to relax, so we didn’t pick a town to stay in that would have a long list of things for us to do as we didn’t want to end up rushing from attraction to attraction. But, for anyone looking to have a relaxing weekend break, Hornsea and its neighboring towns are ideal.
Walk the coastline:
As with any British seaside town, the beach is the main attraction. Hornsea’s beach was full of dog walkers and families enjoying the bit of sunshine that we did get while we were away, even though the wind was bitter. Rise early to enjoy watching the sunrise across the water.
Visit Hornsea's biggest natural attraction, the Mere:
We were told repeatedly during our stay that we had to find time to visit Hornsea Mere. The mere is the largest freshwater lake in Yorkshire and it's meant to be a sight to behold. Unfortunately, it was incredibly wet on the weekend we visited and none of us had suitable shoes to be trekking across the nature reserve in. But we did take a driveby to view it from two different locations. And it did look pretty spectacular. There is a cafe overlooking the lake by the car park, but that was closed when we arrived. During the summer, however, I believe the cafe is open and that there is also the option to hire a rowing boat, fishing boat or to take a motorboat trip across the lake so that you can experience the Mere from a completely different vantage point.
Visit the neighboring town of Withernsea:
Just thirty minutes drive down the coast is a slightly larger town of Withernsea. We picked what must have been the windiest day of the year so far to visit, so we didn't stay for long as it was bitterly cold. But, for anyone looking to tick off an attraction from their list and anyone who is a history lover, Withernsea is a must-see.
While you're there, you could always opt to climb the 144 steps inside one of the few lighthouses in England to be built inland for panoramic views of the seaside town. Or head down to the sandy beach by stepping through the remnants of the historic Pier Towers.
Gawk at the view from Mappleton Viewing Point:
We discovered Mappleton after driving through it to Withernsea but it wasn’t until we were returning that we actually decided to stop off there. There is a small sign signalling a viewing point off from the main road and so, curious, we pulled in on our return to Hornsea. And boy were we glad we did. The viewing point is high up on the clifftop (obviously) and you can see for miles across the sandy beach. There is a path down to the beach if you’d like to head down after recovering your jaw from the floor of the viewing point but we simply stood and admired the golden light that was streaming over the clifftops for a few minutes. It’s only about a twenty minute drive out from Hornsea and I’d highly recommend it, especially if you can get there for golden hour.
Hornsea might not be the best place for you to head if you're looking for a bustling weekend away. But, if you're looking to enjoy a seaside getaway, without all of the commercialisation you can get elsewhere in the country, then Hornsea is ideal.
The small, seaside town is quiet and idyllic, making it a wonderful place to escape to in the heart of winter. With friendly locals, plenty of places to grab a delicious meal and a few attractions nearby to fill your time with, Hornsea is the perfect place to escape to for long walks along the beach.
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