Bridlington statue Gansey Girl(1)

Bridlington – The Perfect Yorkshire Seaside Town

Today Bridlington is a popular tourist town during the Summer months jam-packed with history. But the area has been settled for over 1000 years, and there’s something for everyone here. It doesn’t matter if you like nature or history, you can find both in this beautiful coastal Yorkshire town.

It’s a busy place, with plenty of activities and events on around the year to enjoy. In Bridlington, there are buildings dating back to the 1600s, and a beautiful sandy beach nearby for seaside walks and surfing.

History and Traditions

There is evidence to show the area around Bridlington was settled in during the Iron Age, Bronze Age, and when the Ancient Roman’s took over England. For a long time it was known as Bretlington, or Bollington, and is named such in the Domesday Book of 1086.

Nowadays, Bridlington is two towns that grew together. The Old Town was half a mile away from the sea, and Bridlington Quay was a bustling port area that traded in corn. The Quay was industrious, with windmills and water mills popping up along the waterside for grinding corn, a Corn Exchange building was constructed in 1826, and a steam mill in 1837. This led to a few breweries in the area, but they declined in the 19th century.

In the Victorian era, due to the idea that salt water was healthy for the skin and had curative properties, Bridlington became a hot tourist destination and turned into the seaside town and resort it’s still known as today.

During the Industrial Revolution holidays to the seaside became popular, and plenty of buildings were constructed to cater to these new tourists, including the Bridlington Spa which opened in 1896 and still runs as a dance and theatre venue. Plenty of famous acts have played there over the years including David Bowie. It went under a recent refurbishment, and is open to the public again.

Bridlington Priory

The Priory was built in 1113, and aimed to promote worship, prayer, learning, study and hospitality. It was the primary parish church in Bridlington until the 19th century, and is still used today.

When constructed, it was one of the biggest monastic houses for the Augustinian order, and was more than twice as big as it is now. The Priory was founded by Walter de Gant, and it was one of the first Augustinian Canons in the country. In its heyday there was a chapter house, a hall, a cloister, a dormitory, and an infirmary. There were also nearby farm buildings. Unfortunately, most of these structures have been lost to time.

It had Priors and ran as a monastery for hundreds of years, until around 1536 when the dissolution of lesser monasteries around England saw people concerned the same would happen to Bridlington. Prior William Wood was called to London, and was arrested for supposedly giving rebels of the crown help. He was tried for treason and hanged. Afterwards the monastery was destroyed, and its treasures taken away. By 1539 it was a ruin. The nave was all that remained, and is still in use.

It has been restored several times, and continues to be a functioning church today. If you’re stopping by Bridlington it’s an excellent representation of religious and gothic architecture. Entry is completely free.

Town Crier

Bridlington is one of the few places in the UK to still have a town crier. Traditionally used in Europe as a method for spreading information and news before literacy levels rose, town criers used handbells to attract attention and make announcements. They were common in Ancient Rome, and medieval England and were protected by law.

In modern times, town criers have been reinstated for ceremonial reasons. In Bridlington, David Hinde of Bempton was appointed the official town crier in 2012, the first one they’d had since 1901. He is a member of the Ancient and Honourable Guild of Town Criers, and the Loyal Company of Town Criers.

Video Source: Gimbal Walk TV – Youtube

Things To Do

There’s plenty to do around Bridlington, from enjoying some traditional fish and chips and ice-cream, to going birdwatching and soaking up the history. If you’re coming for a trip, it’s worth spending a couple of days here so that you can squeeze it all in.

Bridlington Beach

There is a beautiful beach that runs across Bridlington, and is divided into the North Beach, and South beach. Each have their own identities.

The North Beach offers excellent views to the nearby tall cliffs at Flamborough Headland, and for bird lovers there is a nearby gannet nesting site – the only one in the mainland UK. It’s a popular family beach with excellent waves for kite and wind surfing.

The South Beach stretches out of Bridlington and goes along the East Riding coast for over a mile. It’s a great place to go for walks, and there’s a promenade behind the beach with plenty of cafes and pubs.

Dogs are banned from both beaches from May-September, but if you go further south you can take your dog for a walk along the more remote sections.

Old Town

You can go on a walking route called The Old Town Trail that goes around Bridlington Old Town, taking in all the historic sites and looking at the old buildings. It gives you a chance to visit some of the churches and museums, and understand how Old Town has developed over time.

Take a stroll down the narrow High Street, and get a feel for how people lived 200 years ago with the nostalgic buildings and shopfronts. You’ll feel like you’ve travelled back in time. Some of the older buildings go back to the 1600s.

When in the Old Town, you can visit the Secret Gardens, a beautiful garden hidden behind nearby Georgian houses, where you’ll forget where you are and feel tranquil and calm as you walk around the flowers and shrubbery.

Flamborough Heritage Coast and Flamborough Head

A trip to Bridlington wouldn’t be complete without a walk around the coast. Seabirds flock onto the cliffs during the summer months, making it an excellent bird spotting place. You can also explore smugglers caves and coves, and take in the impressive Danes Dyke, a defensive earthen wall believed to have been constructed during the Iron Age.

The Flamborough Head, an outcrop of chalk with sheer vertical cliffs offers excellent sea views and has been recognised as a Special Area of Conservation.

Not only that, but they’ve got an animal park, a leisure centre that’s excellent for kids, and a model village. They cater to everyone here, so nobody can get bored. Take a walk to the nearby Bempton cliffs and you might even get to spot some puffins.

A Perfect Coastal Town

Bridlington has so much to offer the people who come to visit. You’ll be best taking a couple of days to soak it all in. You can enjoy the natural and rugged coastline with both cliffs and beaches, while also experiencing the pleasure of British seaside resorts. The promenade exudes Victorian elegance, while the narrow streets of the Old Town will have you imagining life 200 years ago.

The port is still a bustling shellfish industry, and Bridlington is very much still a working coastal town that thrives from the tourism every Summer. You can take a stroll along the beach, breathe in the sea air and get away from it all, before going to one of their many pubs for a pint.