Trail: Hornsea - Ruff's Children's Guide

(Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times)

When you walk down a street have you ever wondered what was here? Ruff has! Join him on this Hornsea Trail and use the app to see lots of places looking how they used to look a long, long time ago.

Ruff says – “Make sure you look around you when you are walking. Don’t cross the roads without checking for cars first and always listen to your grown up.”

Created by children’s author Andi Dawson, of Flower Guard Books.

Anyone For An Ice Cream?

The Floral Hall was originally a large glass building, built in 1911. Over the years it has changed quite a lot and in 2012 it was going to be knocked down, but the people of Hornsea got together to save the building, as it has been an important part of the seafront for over 200 years. The bit of the Promenade next to the Floral Hall used to be blocked off by gates and you could only walk on this part of the Prom if you could afford to buy a ticket. Nowadays anyone can walk along the Prom for free. The picture you can see shows the old gates that kept people off the Promenade.

(Image courtesy of Hornsea Civic Society)

Can You Peer At The Pier?

A long time Hornsea had its very own pier, though it didn’t last long. It was built between 1878 and 1880 and was as long as 3 football pitches or 27 buses. A year after it was finished it was hit by a ship during a storm, which knocked the end off, shortening it to the length of one football pitch or 7 and a half buses.

The pier was open to the public a few times after it was crashed in to, but by 1897 it had been sold for scrap and demolished. The photograph you can see is one of the few photographs that shows Hornsea Pier when it was first built.

(Image courtesy of Hornsea Civic Society)

Oh I Do Like To Be Beside the Seaside

The beach at Hornsea is a blue flag beach, this means that it is clean, safe and environmentally important. The beach that you see today has hardly changed in the last 200 years. The area where you are standing was, and sometimes still is, used for children’s entertainment, with fairground swings, helter-skelters and roundabouts popping up during the busy summer months of years gone by.

As you walk along the Promenade you will see that the sea wall is high, this is to try and protect the houses nearby from flooding. This doesn’t always work, as when it is windy and there is a high tide the waves come crashing over the top of the sea wall onto the pavement you are walking on.

(Image courtesy of Hornsea Civic Society)


Even though Hornsea is quite a small town, only about 8,000 people live here, it has always been a busy tourist town. Back in the early 19th Century Hornsea was advertised throughout Yorkshire as the ‘must go to’ place on the coast.

Beach chalets (huts), horse racing on the beach and bathing machines were mentioned as reasons to come to Hornsea. The train station arrived in 1864 and was built to enable people to travel to Hornsea on holiday and also to link the town with the city of Hull for business. The station was closed down in 1964 as it was said that it wasn’t needed any more and the buildings were eventually turned into houses. The photograph shows the old train station when it was still being used.

(Image courtesy of Hornsea Civic Society)

The Lions Sleep Tonight

The Memorial Gardens used to be called Grosvenor Gardens and in 19th Century you could only go in to the gardens if you lived in one of the houses you can see around the outside.

Once the gardens were open to the public anyone was allowed to go in and enjoy the peace and quiet. The lions that are in the garden today originally came from the Criterion Cinema in Hull, but were brought to Hornsea in the early 1970s when the Criterion was knocked down. Where the lions are now, used to be where the old War Memorial was until 2008, when the gardens were changed to feature the War Memorial in the centre of the space.

You can also see wooden trusses from Hornsea’s pier around the edge of the gardens near the lions. The picture you will see shows the old War Memorial where it used to be.

(Image courtesy of Hornsea Civic Society)

Shopping And Changing

Here we are on Newbegin, where Ruff has taken us back to the 1950s.  What can you see that looks the same today?  Can you spot any differences?

(Image courtesy of Hornsea Civic Society)

What’s For Tea?

Bettison’s Folly is a bit like a Rapunzel Tower that was made out of something called ‘treacle bricks’ in the first half of the 19th century, probably sometime between 1829 and 1853. The tower was there long before the houses and school were built and was used as a look-out tower. In the Second World War the tower was used as an air-raid look out point and there was a siren that would warn people about bombs being dropped.

Hornsea History Starts Here

(Our trail begins on Newbegin, outside what is now Hornsea Museum. Use ‘View on map’ from the trail’s homepage to reach point ‘1’ and the start of the trail).

The buildings that now house Hornsea Museum used to be a working farm called Burns’ Farm. The Burns family lived and worked on the farm for nearly 300 years, but now it is a museum that is full of local history and shows you what it might have been like to live in Victorian Times. In 1978 a man called Dr Walker bought the farm buildings and started filling it with things he had collected. With a team of helpers, the museum opened to the public and has been open ever since. The museum is a great place to visit and holds Children’s Craft Mornings and concerts in the gardens.


Use the ‘Camera View’ button and say ‘hello’ to Ruff.