Holmpton – An Old Coastal Village in Yorkshire

The name Holmpton derives from Homletone, a name that comes from a combination of Old Norse and Old English. Holmpton is a small hamlet with a population of 228, and it lies on the East Yorkshire coast, not far from Hull.

Like the rest of the coastal towns and villages in this area, Holmpton suffers from drastic coastal erosion. The road that connects Holmpton to Withernsea in the north runs along the coast, and locals worry that the road could disappear during a particularly difficult and stormy winter.


The area of Holmpton has been occupied for over a thousand years, as it gets a mention in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Homletone. Most of the buildings still standing in the village can be dated back to the 18th century.

 St.Nicholas' church
Photo: Richard Croft / St.Nicholas’ church

There is a gothic church, St Nicholas, that was rebuilt in 1832, and rumours abound of hidden underground tunnels leading from certain houses to the church. It’s unknown if these were for smuggling uses, or for when people may have needed to be worship certain religions secretly.

The town has a website where you can look up old pictures from the HM Coastguard which give an excellent reflection of village life during the years. Images include Cliff Farm, an old farmhouse which has been washed away by the sea due to the disappearing coastline.

Nuclear War Bunker

One of Holmpton’s primary tourist attractions is a nuclear war bunker constructed during the 1950s. It was recently decommissioned and is restored to its former glory. From above, at ground level all you’ll see is a bungalow to conceal the entrance. Inside, you’ll travel down a long flight of stairs and walk through a 120 metre tunnel to access the bunker.

Photo: Rafholmpton at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

The first room is the control room, where observations of the ground would be taken. The bunker itself has bedrooms, toilets and shower rooms, and a kitchen to make meals. There was also access to fresh air and water, and they even had a recreation room with arcade games in it. There’s even a pool table!

It gives an excellent glimpse into Cold War era Britain, when they thought these nuclear bunkers were going to be necessary. If you’re visiting Holmpton it’s worth a look.

All in all, Holmpton is a small coastal village worth a visit for the afternoon, although its primary tourist attraction is the bunker. It’s a lovely example of quintessential coastal English life, and worth wandering along the lanes and admiring their red-bricked houses. You really do feel like you’re stepping back in time.

Cover photo: Andy Beecroft, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons