Skirlaugh to Hornsea Cycling for families (Trans Pennine Trail)

Skirlaugh is a village and civil parish in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England, in an area known as Holderness. It is situated approximately 7 miles northeast of Hull city centre on the A165 road. Originally a farming community, it is now primarily a commuter village for Hull.

Having stayed last October at Willow Pastures Country Park lodge site we decided to stay again and utilise the proximity to the Trans Pennine Trail.

Last time we took the route from Skirlaugh to Sutton Village (towards the centre of Hull) and we were keen to take the opposite direction to the coastal region of Hornsea. Returning in June meant the weather forecast was great for the weekend and this was perfect beach weather.

I must confess we are not avid beachgoers however adding the 16-mile round trip cycle made it a really exciting prospect for the day. It was the furthest we had pushed out 7-year-old in terms of distance so we were keen to see how she would do. Packed to the rafters with snacks and spades we were raring to go!

You can actually travel in two directions. One is towards Hull City centre (approximately 8 miles) while the other takes you to the coastal region of Hornsea. As you can see from the map below Willow Pastures Country Park is a couple of minutes from the trail. (In the green).

Where does the ride take me?

From Willow Pastures Country Park you will see directions to the Trans Pennine trail.

The Trail is perfect for family cycles or teaching children how to ride a bike unaided as it’s incredibly flat and largely a tarmac surface. There are a few inclines but nothing really testing and perfectly suitable for children; even if they were to push up the difficult parts.

The route seems popular with locals; especially dog walkers and cyclists. You feel very safe at all times. The paths are wide, the nature is abundant and it’s a brilliant place to teach kids how to ride too.

The beginning of The Trans Pennine Trail to Hornsea from Skirlaugh involves a busy road (National Speed limit) and some of the cars drive very fast. You’ve just got to wait for a break in traffic and wheel your bike across the road.

Once you are over this road apart from a couple of country roads it’s largely uninterrupted until you get into Hornsea. Even in Hornsea, the signposts are brilliant and there are off-street tracks to reach the seafront free of cars.

One of the particular highlights of the route is the old railway platforms. You can see these at the side of the route and it’s possible to ride up and down the other side. Furthermore the railway houses largely still exist and are beautiful landmarks as a dedication to the time if the industrial age.

Throughout the route, you are surrounded by wonderful scenery. Pretty rolling fields, small streams and beautiful wildflowers.

Once you arrive into Hornsea pick up the signs for the beachfront. There are multiple parts of the beach front and we parked our bikes in the dedicated bike racks near the shops and Hornsea Hub (bike parking is available here too).

Here is the Strava link of our trip for context. For those not staying at Willow Pasture Country Park, you can use the free parking available across the road at the start of this section of the trail. There are free car parks dotted down the trail. 

What level of rider is it suitable for?

The Trans Pennine Trail route from Skirlaugh to Hornsea is very much for beginners. The route is largely flat, the surface is tarmac/gravel and is safe for children of all ages. It’s a good place for those who are beginning their journey as independent riders.

One word of warning. It’s approximately 8 miles each way so for little ones the distance/duration is probably the hardest part vs the actual cycle. If you are wanting to cycle the route but are worried about the distance I recommend getting a little closer to Hornsea. We were comfortable with Matilda (7) cycling her bike and Barney on the back of Beth but obviously SHATTERED at the end of the day!

It really did feel as though we had earned the time on the beach…..and the ice cream.

How much of it is traffic-free?

The Trans Pennine route to Hornsea is 95% traffic free. There are a couple of roads to cross but once crossed you are instantly back onto the trail. Once you arrive in Hornsea there are walking/cycling pavements throughout so you can escape most of the traffic.

Would you recommend it?

Absolutely! If you have young children or are new to cycling then this is a perfect place to visit. It’s safe, the paths are wide and the surface is tarmac/gravel so very easy to navigate on.

The cycle paths are also completely traffic-free which as a parent is reassuring as it enables you to enjoy your own ride instead of worrying about the safety of your children.

The beauty of this cycle is the incentive of the beach….and ice cream. Like adults, your children need encouragement to achieve and need to be pushed.

We found the beach a great incentive to push Matilda to complete the ride. There’s no better feeling as a parent to have children who are well-exercised and strong. Cycling is an enabler and an inexpensive family fun day out. This was certainly one of our favourite trips alongside The Monsal Trail in the Peak District.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a cafe?:

Hornsea is chocked full of things to eat. From your typical seafront shops (Doughnuts, candy floss, rock) right through to cafes selling brownies and cakes. It has a real mix of things to buy. We took a picnic but bought ice cream from one of the popular shops along the front and some biscuits from the cafe inside the Hornsea Hub.

Are there any hills?:

There are a couple of small hills but nothing too difficult. Matilda was able to cycle successfully up all of the hills. Beth was too with Barney on the back and a bunch of spades in her basket!

What is your favourite part?:

My favourite part was the old platforms. It was a real flashback to the industrial ages and a historic look at the area. I personally love what the Trail has become too. From an old railway to a route suitable for those to actively travel to a seaside town. Furthermore, it’s a wonderful free activity to have on the doorstep for the locals.

The trial was also bustling with people of all ages too. From children with their parents right through to those in their 60s on electric bikes. It had a really nice feel to it.

Is it suitable for Dog walkers?

The Trans Pennine route is perfect for Dog Walkers. There are plenty of places for the dogs to explore and it seems to be an incredibly popular route with many parking within the provided car park in Skirlaugh. You should see the sign for the trial and you can choose which direction works for you.

How much is it to park?

The car park is free on a first come first serve basis. There is however plenty of parking opportunities further down the trail should you decide to start from a different location.

Trans Pennine Trail Cycling To Hornsea

Pros & Cons


  • Free Parking
  • Flat and traffic-free once on the route
  • Suitable for children of all ability levels
  • Seaside location awaiting.
  • Nice beach


  • No cafe on the route but available in Hornsea.

Cycle enjoyment rating

Last Updated on June 19, 2023 by Ryan

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