Notes from the East – Pocklington

My home town Pocklington is over in the East Riding, about 12 miles to the east of York.  Pocklington was noted in the Doomsday book in 1086 as the 2nd largest settlement in Yorkshire, after York.

Today Pocklington is a market town with a population of approximately 8300.  Sitting at the foot of the Yorkshire Wolds, it is a mixture of historic houses and buildings with a town centre that boasts many independent shops as well as high street brands.

Burnby Hall Gardens is one of the jewels in Pocklington’s crown.  Home to the National collection of Hardy Waterlillies and beautiful gardens, it was the inspiration of Major Percy Marlborough Stewart, described by many as an amazing man – he undertook 8 round the world trips between 1906 – 1926. The museum at Burnby Hall houses many of the artefacts he brought back from his voyages and pay tribute to his fascinating life.

The Gardens are open all year, during the summer months there is a programme of band concerts on the lawns.  As a child and now an adult, I have spent many afternoons in Burnby Hall with a picnic, listening to brass or big band music and eating ice cream.  The café in the gardens has an outdoor patio seating area looking onto the main lake. You can find out more information about Burnby Hall by visiting the website at

Back in the town centre, Tuesday is market day.  The stallholders take up the whole of the main street and provide fresh food, fruit, clothes, books, DIY, cards, plants as well as much more.

Photo Credit:
Photo Credit:

If you are wandering around the market, there are a number of cafés and coffee shops offering a varied selection of cakes and light meals.  Costa is the newcomer to Pocklington, on the main street it has tables outside for those brave enough to face the elements.  The Deli, a little further down the road serves up cakes and coffee in the upstairs café – giving you a view onto the town.  Judsons is a friendly and cosy bar offering bacon sandwiches and coffee in the morning as well as a lunch menu.

The Coffee Bean is a bustling coffee shop with delicious cakes and homemade food.  The Wolds Café is more traditional, with lovely homemade scones to have with your morning coffee.  Other local cafes and pubs offering coffee include Whispers & The Feathers.

The café at the end of the road, looking back down the market place is a favourite with locals and cyclists who frequent the town as they follow cycle routes up onto the Wolds and the Yorkshire coast.

For something different on market day, All Saints Church has a weekly coffee morning.  Dating from the 15th century, this impressive church dominates the skyline of Pocklington.  In 1773, Thomas Pelling attempted to become the ‘Flying Man’ in a daredevil stunt of walking along a rope from the church to the Star Inn in the town centre.  His stunt was ill-fated and Thomas fell to his death at the east side of the church.  Pocklington remembers this brave attempt of showmanship by holding the ‘Flying Man Festival.’

If you are travelling east, heading to Hull, call by and see Pocklington…..parking is still free and you can easily spend an hour or so wandering around the centre, having coffee, or visiting Burnby Hall Gardens.

There is so much more to tell…..I haven’t even mentioned Pocklington Arts Centre, Millington Woods, Pocklington Canal, William Wilberforce, Pocktoberfest, Easter Rugby 7’s & Kilnwick Percy……..

Written by Jenni Mchahey