Bempton Cliffs is an RSPB nature reserve between Bridlington and Flamborough that’s home to 250,000 seabirds. It’s the place on the Yorkshire coast to see gannets, kittiwakes and even puffins nesting, diving for fish and taking their first flight. We braved the A64 on a bank holiday weekend (yes, that’s how seriously we take our job) to give it the Little Vikings once-over and let you have our verdict. We had a really lovely time, and here’s our top five reasons why families in York should pay Bempton a visit.
1. It’s beautiful
The Yorkshire Coast is famed for its beauty, and Bempton is no different, with its staggering white cliffs, lush wild flowers and spectacular views of the sea. Walk the well-maintained paths (navigable with a buggy) and head to one of the six viewing platforms as these are the best spots. The kids enjoyed running along the paths, greeting the cows along the way and spotting butterflies and snails almost as much as they did seeing the birds.
2. The birds are incredible
For kids whose contact with birdlife has mostly been restricted to pigeons on Parliament Street and the geese of Rowntree Park, the sight of so many seabirds is quite something. We saw gannets, kittiwakes and thousands of other birds nesting in the cliffs. Bempton is famed as a place to see puffins, so we were really excited when our patience paid off and we finally spotted a shy one hiding amongst a gang of bigger birds. Binoculars are a must – either take your own or borrow a pair, because the puffins aren’t just going to sit next to you while you eat your picnic!
3. There’s fun stuff for kids
The RSPB have worked hard to engage younger visitors, with backpacks to borrow (£3) containing binoculars, i-spy games, bird identification games and more. We borrowed one and were glad we did, as the binoculars were invaluable. There’s also a small indoor area with some interactive activities and a large TV screen where you can watch a live stream of the birds on the cliffs. There are several family trails, too, which are free and popular with little visitors.
4. It’s great value
At £5 an adult and with under 5s going free, we thought it was a very good value activity. We spent almost four hours at Bempton, and would have stayed longer if little legs hadn’t run out of steam. Although there’s a little cafe serving sandwiches, snacks, drinks and the all-important ice creams, we took a picnic (plenty of places to eat it) which saved on eating out. Parking’s free, too.
5. It’s close to Bridlington and Flamborough
Address: RSPB Bempton Cliffs, Cliff Ln, Bempton, Bridlington YO15 1JF
Opening hours: 8.30am to 5pm (May to July); 9.30am to 5pm for the rest of the summer; 9.30am to 4pm in winter
Cost: Family (2 adults and 2 children) £10
Travel time from York: 1 hour (approx)
Website: Visit the Bempton Cliffs website