Bempton Cliffs, Eden Camp ... and why Hull is my favourite city

There are seabirds everywhere. Tumbling and falling in artistic flight, as graceful as butterflies and as loud as an orchestra. The layers of song that emerge in varied tones is mesmerising. Such a meditative scene these flapping wings against a turquoise sea make. We're at Bempton Cliffs RSPB Reserve on the East Yorkshire coast. It is home to Britain's only mainland breeding colony of gannets, and there are flocks of them in the air and arranged on ledges along the broad chalky cliffs. They're so sleek and powerful-looking, with their sharp eyes and lemony crests. Peering through our binoculars, we can see their fluffy young nestled against the white rock. There are also herring gulls and kittiwakes, and we even spot a puffin.

We march along the clifftops, enjoying the salty air and marvelling at the vivid colour of the North Sea, before continuing to Flamborough South Landing for a picnic. This beautiful nature reserve on Flamborough Headland comprises wooded ravines, wildflower meadows and a secluded beach, where today, the waves are lashing onto the shore in angry, milky folds. It doesn't stop one brave woman going in for a swim, but we're content to sit on the beach with our flask of tea. Across the headland is North Landing, a well-kept secret of a beach. Here, the water is calm, its glassy depths swirling between the cove's impressive amphitheatre of rock formations and affording uninterrupted views to the sea bed. The cove is as beautiful as any I have ever seen - and so placid today, despite the time of year.
I'm so lucky to have grown up in this part of the country. There's such a lot to see, such a lot of unique beauty... and our long weekend easily fills up. We spent a day exploring Hull, which if I have to choose, is my favourite city. People can snigger all they like, but to them I say go and spend a day there and let it work its charm on you. From the River Humber, which at first appears murky but then twinkles like the prettiest of seas, beautifully preserved Georgian architecture tumbles along cobbled streets towards central Queen Victoria square and gardens, where fountains spout and colourful flowers bloom.

There is an excellent collection of museums, all of them free entry. Energised with fresh leaf green tea from Caffeinated in Trinity Market, we visited the William Wilberforce Museum, located in the house where the leader of the anti-slave trade movement was born, and the Maritime Museum in the former Dock Offices, which was hosting a moving exhibition about the Cod Wars with Iceland. Hull's fortunes once derived from fishing, and this conflict proved devastating. Then it was over to the Street Life Museum, which has a fantastic crowd of vehicles from the past 200 years arranged along a 1940s high street, as well as a simulation of a carriage ride. We just had time to visit Ferens Art Gallery, where we found Rembrandt's The Shipbuilder and His Wife - such a masterpiece it seemed to breathe; Spencer Tunick's Sea of Hull photographs, featuring 3,200 nudes painted blue; Ron Mueck's startlingly lifelike sculptures; and a comprehensive collection of beautiful maritime paintings.
The sea at Flamborough North Landing today is quite the contrast to the boat-swallowing storms depicted in many of those scenes. So tempted we are by its clarity that we prepare for a paddle. More exercise is required anyway, after our indulgent day out in North Yorkshire yesterday. We visited Eden Camp, a museum located in a Second World War POW camp and full of all the sights, sounds and smells of life in wartime. It was beautifully sunny, the blue canvas perfectly paired with the model spitfires set against the sky. Our day concluded with a sumptuously good Sunday roast at the Fox and Hounds Country Inn in Sinnington to celebrate Dad's birthday - such a pretty rural setting, tender beef, crisp vegetables and the creamiest swede. Our bellies filled with the roast, there was still Dad's delicious birthday cake from The Little Cake Cottage near Leeds to come. So yes, it's a good thing we've been fighting against the wind on the clifftops today and are now geeing up our circulation with a very fresh paddle.
© Emmy in Switzerland | All rights reserved.
Blog Layout Created by pipdig