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Coordinates: 53°43′43″N 0°02′18″E / 53.7285°N 0.0382°E / 53.7285; 0.0382

Pier Towers Withernsea.JPG
Pier Towers, Withernsea
Withernsea is located in East Riding of Yorkshire
 Withernsea shown within the East Riding of Yorkshire
Population 6,159 (2011 census)[1]
OS grid reference TA344277
    - London 150 mi (240 km)  S
Civil parish Withernsea
Unitary authority East Riding of Yorkshire
Ceremonial county East Riding of Yorkshire
Region Yorkshire and the Humber
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district HU19
Dialling code 01964
Police Humberside
Fire Humberside
Ambulance Yorkshire
EU Parliament Yorkshire and the Humber
UK Parliament Beverley and Holderness
List of places

Withernsea is a seaside resort town and civil parish in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England, and forms the focal point for a wider community of small villages in Holderness. Its most famous landmark is the white inland lighthouse, rising around 127 feet (39 m) above Hull Road. The lighthouse – no longer active – now houses a museum to 1950s actress Kay Kendall, who was born in the town.

The Prime Meridian crosses the coast to the north-west of Withernsea.

According to the 2011 UK census, Withernsea parish had a population of 6,159,[1] an increase on the 2001 UK census figure of 5,980.[2]


St Nicholas' Church

Like many seaside resorts, Withernsea has a wide promenade which reaches north and south from Pier Towers, the historic entrance to the pier, built in 1877 at a cost of £12,000. The pier was originally 399 yards (365 metres) long, but was gradually reduced in length through several impacts by local seacraft, starting with the Saffron in 1880 before the collision by an unnamed ship in 1888, again by a Grimsby fishing boat and again by the Henry Parr in 1893, leaving the once grand pier with a mere 50 feet(15 metres) of damaged wood and steel, which was removed in 1903. The Pier Towers have been refurbished.[3]

During the mid-19th century the Hull and Holderness Railway was constructed, connecting the nearby city of Hull with Withernsea (via Keyingham and Patrington) and making possible cheap and convenient holidays for Victorian workers and their families, as well as boosting Withernsea's economy. It closed in 1964 and all that remains of it is an overgrown footpath where the track used to be.[4][5]

Withernsea, like many British resorts, has suffered from a decline in the number of visiting holidaymakers.[6]

Withernsea sea front


Following an unsuccessful attempt to purchase the Proudfoot Supermarket, Tesco opened a competing store which originally struggled to attract sales. Tesco resorted to a campaign of price flexing, offering customers £8 off for every £20 spent in their Withernsea branch.[7] This led to an investigation by the Competition Commission.[8][9] After their market share increased, Tesco prices returned to a level closer to the national average. Subsequently Aldi took over the former Proudfoot supermarket, and are now offering very competitive opposition to Tesco. Meanwhile the Withernsea Town Council has bought a former pub and nightclub, centrally located opposite Aldi, and has renamed it the Meridian Centre. A lottery bid for over £400,000 - Reaching Communities building fund - has been successful, and the building is now being refurbished to provide a community centre, including a cinema and performing arts venue.

There is a 9-hole golf course and leisure centre complex (with a gym and indoor pool) and a variety of pubs and restaurants are situated around the centre of the town.[10]


Some of the town's better-known tourist attractions and landmarks include:

  • The lighthouse situated on Hull Road with a museum dedicated to the actress Kay Kendall. The lighthouse was closed from January 2005 to March 2007, while extensive repairs to the building were carried out, before re-opening to the public.
  • The Pier Towers leading onto a Blue Flag beach.
  • Valley Gardens with a large square and outside stage for local events and celebrations.
  • Various amusement arcades (informally known as 'muggies') that line the road opposite the Valley Gardens.
  • An RNLI lifeboat museum.
  • The parish church of St Nicholas, a Grade II* listed building.[11]
  • The Greenwich Meridian; Just outside the town.


The area is served by BBC Radio Humberside, Viking FM, Seaside FM, Capital Yorkshire, KCFM & Magic 1161 although these radio stations rarely report any local news or events. Ofcom awarded Seaside FM a community radio licence to broadcast to the town on 105.3 MHz and the station launched on 5 October 2007 from studios at 27 Seaside Road. Weekly newspaper The Holderness Gazette also has offices on Seaside Road.


Withernsea's education sector includes a primary and a high school which serve the surrounding area. Withernsea High School is a specialist technology and humanities college and was judged as Grade 2 (good), "with outstanding features" in its most recent Ofsted report.[citation needed]

Public services[edit]

Withernsea has its own hospital owned by the NHS which was subject to services cuts and lost its Accident and Emergency Department facility,[12] it is now a community hospital. Withernsea has four emergency service stations located within the town, Yorkshire Ambulance Service; Humberside Fire and Rescue Service; Humberside Police and Royal National Lifeboat Institution station.

Notable people[edit]

Charles Hotham was vicar of Withernsea from 1640 to 1644.

The town is the birthplace of jazz musician Kenny Baker (1921-1999).[13] Actress Kay Kendall was born in Withernsea in 1926[14]



  1. ^ a b "Key Figures for 2011 Census: Key Statistics: Area: Withernsea CP (Parish)". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 7 February 2013. 
  2. ^ "2001 Census: Key Statistics: Parish Headcounts: Area: Withernsea CP (Parish)". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 20 May 2008. 
  3. ^ "BBC Bus – Withernsea". BBC Humber. BBC. 22 August 2003. Retrieved 22 July 2008. 
  4. ^ Price, Peter (1 January 1989). Lost Railways of Holderness, The Hull Withernsea and Hull Hornsea Lines. Hutton Press Ltd. ISBN 0-907033-86-5. 
  5. ^ Butt, R. V. J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations: details every public and private passenger station, halt, platform and stopping place, past and present (1st ed.). Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 1-8526-0508-1. OCLC 60251199. 
  6. ^ "Reinventing the seaside". BBC News Online (BBC). 19 August 2006. Retrieved 22 July 2008. 
  7. ^ Pratley, Nils (6 January 2005). "Shop tactics". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 22 July 2008. 
  8. ^ "main party responses emerging thinking no 3" (PDF). Retrieved 19 September 2008. 
  9. ^ "Groceries Market inquiry: Main party submission" (PDF). Retrieved 19 September 2008. 
  10. ^ "Withernsea Town Council – home page". Withernsea Town Council. Retrieved 22 July 2008. 
  11. ^ English Heritage. "Church of St Nicholas (1366257)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 15 August 2013 .
  12. ^ "Hospital – Withernsea Community Hospital Managing Trust Information". National Health Service. Retrieved 22 July 2008. 
  13. ^ "Jazz great Baker dies". BBC News Online (BBC). 9 December 1999. Retrieved 22 July 2008. 
  14. ^ "Kay Kendall". www.imdb.com. Retrieved 22 July 2008. 
  • Gazetteer – A–Z of Towns Villages and Hamlets. East Riding of Yorkshire Council. 2006. p. 12. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Withernsea at Wikimedia Commons