Picture credit: Kevin Truelove (IFY community)

Bridlington is a smashing coastal town in the East Riding of Yorkshire. It has a population of over 35,000 and is best known for being a fishing port. Throughout the summer months, it’s a brilliant tourist destination where thousands of people across the UK travel to each year to enjoy the sun, sea, and ice cream – as long as a seagull doesn’t eat it!

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Bridlington Harbour

Bridlington is best known for its harbour. Picture Credit: Jean Norris

The town is found at the mouth of the Gypsey Race river which runs through the Yorkshire Wolds. The river runs into the North Sea at Bridlington Harbour, which has become an important place for the coastal towns key industries – fishing and hospitality.

Bridlington Harbour exports shellfish, crabs, and lobster to hotels all over Europe, which contributes to the local economy. Many people visiting Bridlington stroll down the pier and take in the magnificent sea views.


Landmarks & Tourist Attractions in Bridlington

Bridlington is home to many landmarks and tourists attractions people can enjoy throughout the year. These, combined with its large sandy beach and stunning views, make it a great destination for a day out. On a clear day, visitors can see several places along the Yorkshire Coast, including Filey Brigg, Flamborough Head, and even Scarborough.

Bridlington Priory

In 1113, skilled tradesmen built Bridlington Priory. During the middle ages, both kings and nobles favoured the priory located in the East Riding of Yorkshire. It continued to be a popular place of worship until 1538, when it was dissolved and destroyed. Only two remnants remain, including a nave which later became part of an ordinary parish church.

George Gilbert Scott restored the parish church to its current form during the mid-19th century. Another remnant from the ancient priory is the gatehouse, now home to the Bayle Gate Museum, which displays the history of Bridlington and life in 14th century Yorkshire.

Sewerby Hall

Sewerby Hall and gardens near Bridlington make a lovely day out. Picture credit: Richard Harris (IFY community)

Sewerby Hall is a Georgian country house located two miles out of the town. It’s been open to the public since 1936 and is home to both East Yorkshire and Coastguard museums. Its cliff top location also has a small zoo, gardens, and an 18 hole golf course.

John Bull Factory

Nearby, in Carnaby, is the John Bull factory. It’s a working confectionery factory which offers tours of the site where visitors can learn about producing making sweets and chocolates. Visitors can watch demonstrations and also make their own chocolate lolly and roll their own piece of rock with a letter inside.

Bridlington Spa

The Whitaker Brothers of Leeds built Bridlington Spa, which opened in 1896. Since then, the spa has had a colourful history, including having to be restored twice due to fire damage in 1906 and 1932. It remains one of the largest entertainment venues on the East Coast, hosting top international acts, rock concerts, sporting events, and local functions.

Between 2005-2008, the owners refurbished and updated the venue, adding modern technical equipment to the Royal Hall and Theatre while extending it to hold a larger capacity. During this time, they also added conferencing facilities, a larger kitchen, and a new main entrance.

Travelling In & Around Bridlington

Bridlington is linked by two major roads. These are the A165 Hull to Scarborough Road, which bypasses the town, and the A614 road towards Market Weighton and Howden.

In 1846, as part of George Hudson’s master plan, the railway station was built. Similar to other towns on the East Coast, it attracted holidaymakers from the other Ridings of Yorkshire during this time.

The town has three land trains called The Yorkshire Lass, The Yorkshire Lad, and The Yorkshire Rose. Each train stops off at important locations such as The North Beach, Sewerby Hall, and East Riding Leisure sports centre.

Bridlington also has a bus station that runs nine local buses. There are also six services which run to areas outside of Bridlington, such as York, Beverley, and Hull.

Bridlington’s Old Town is an often missed delight. Picture credit: Christine Matthews geograph creative commons.

Shopping in Bridlington

Along Bridlington’s seafront, there are plenty of gift shops, kiosks, and arcades. It has the usual tourist gifts such as sticks of rock, magnets, and even a buckets and spades. Further into the town is a diverse range of shops.

The Promenades centre is at its heart and is home to a variety of high street stores, big brand names, and fashion shops. In the Old Town, there is a thriving market and plenty of independent traders.

Every year, the town hosts a Christmas market which runs from late November to the end of December. The Christmas market has a Dickensian theme with stallholders dressing up in period costumes.

Sport in Bridlington

This seaside town has one semi-professional football team called Bridlington Town, who shares their Queensgate grounds with Scarborough Athletic. This football club re-formed in 1994 after running into financial difficulties.

Uniquely, Bridlington is home to one of three petanque clubs in Yorkshire, which is a form French boules. The two other petanque clubs are located in Doncaster and the East Riding village of Brandesburton.

Along the seafront, residents and visitors can enjoy East Riding Leisure Bridlington, which is a multi-sport centre. In 2016, it closed briefly to make way for a £25 million redevelopment, and now has a splash zone, gym, and soft play area.

Bridlington Nightlife

Bridlington is a family friendly coastal town and makes a great day out with the kids. For those older than 18, it also offers a fantastic night out. You’ll find plenty of lively nightclubs, bars, and pubs to choose from around the harbour, seafront, and Old Town.

Bridlington is a popular coastal town that has something to offer for everyone. It’s a fantastic place to visit whether you’re there for the tourist attractions, a peaceful walk along the beach, or to just enjoy the atmosphere.

History of Bridlington

The first mention of Bridlington is in the 1086 Domesday book where it is recorded by its original name, Bretlinton. Evidence has since been found which suggests that the coastal town had existed long before this recorded time.

Danes Dyke

Danes Dyke is located nearby to Bridlington. It is said to date back to the Bronze Age, but there is further evidence to suggest that the town has been around far longer. Both Greek and Roman coins have been found close to the harbour area, along with an ancient road that leads into the town.

Origin of the name Bridlington

It’s possible that Bridlington’s original name ‘Bretlinton’ derives from the Anglo-Saxon custom of naming the town after a person. However, no one is entirely sure which name it comes from. Over the years, candidates have put forward Bretal, Bridla, and Berthel.

The word ‘ingtun’ is the Saxon term for ‘farm’. The town was later called Burlington and then Bridlington. This suggests that the coastal town of Bridlington was someone’s farm.

Bridlington Priory Founded

Bridlington Priory lays at the very foundations of its history. Picture credit James@hopgrove

Walter de-Gant, the great nephew of King Stephen, founded Bridlington Priory in 1133. He then later granted the town the right to become a port.

In the 14th century, a former canon of the priory was John Twenge, who later became known as St John of Bridlington. People knew John for his miraculous healing powers and general holiness. He reportedly used these to save five Hartlepool fishermen from a shipwreck off the coast of Bridlington, and turn water into wine.

Two Settlements

Originally, Bridlington was two separate settlements. One settlement was based around the Old Town, and the other near the harbour area. Since then, the two settlements merged and thrived. The town became known for its fishing trade and grew on transporting corn through its exchange that was built in 1826.

Tourist Destination

After the railways were built in 1846, the coastal town developed into a thriving tourist destination. It became an extremely popular town and enjoyed its heyday between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century.

The popularity of the town allowed it to grow and led to the construction of the Spa during these times. Other developments also took place, which has made it into the modern seaside town that we know and love today.

Bridlington Trivia

Bridlington was first mentioned in the Domesday Book.

Originally, the seaside town was called Bretlinton.

The town was originally two settlements, but because of tourism, the settlements merged and expanded in the 19th century.

The Old Town is a mile in land.

Bridlington is twinned by two towns. Millau in France and Bad Salzuflen in Germany.

In February 1871, a severe storm called The Great Gale focused on Bridlington Bay. A fisherman’s life boat was overturned and six of the nine crew died. 28 ships were wrecked on the North-East Coast and over 50 people died. The RNLI lifeboat was put out of action trying to save the lives of the sailors. In Bridlington Priory’s Churchyard, there is a memorial obelisk dedicated to the tragedy.

Queen Henrietta Maria of France landed at Bridlington in 1643 with troops to support the Royalist cause in the English Civil War.

During the 19th century, a Chalybeate spring was discovered. The iron rich waters were said to promote health. Many people came to Bridlington to drink the waters, and the town became a popular holiday resort for the industrial workers of the West Riding of Yorkshire. The town motto is Signum Salutis Semper, which means Always the Bringer of Good Health.

Bridlington’s Town Crier, David Hinde, is officially the World’s Loudest Recorded Town Crier. In August 2013, he was recorded to produce sound at 114.8 db.

Bridlington Spa was opened in 1896 and became a leading entertainment venue. David Bowie, Morrissey, The Kaiser Chiefs, Kasabian, The Script, and Joe McElderry have all appeared there.

Bridlington Town FC, founded in 1918, won the FA Vase in 1993.

Mark Herman, a film director and screenwriter, was born in the town in 1954. His best-known works are Brassed Off, Little Voice, and The Boy in Striped Pyjamas.

Bridlington annually hosts the National Domino Championships. Scuffles broke out between rival fans one year and this is noted to be Britain’s only case of ‘Domino Hooliganism’.

The official museum of the East Riding of Yorkshire is located in Bridlington. It has a collection of memorabilia linked to the exploits of the aviator Amy Johnson.