Things to Do in Hartlepool: A Stone's Throw From North Yorkshire

3 months ago   •   11 min read

By More Yorkshire
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Things to Do in Hartlepool

Nestled on the North Sea coast, Hartlepool bears the hallmarks of a rich maritime history and cultural heritage that resonate through its attractions. The town holds a collection of activities for history buffs, nature enthusiasts, and families alike.

With its award-winning museums and picturesque outdoor spaces, this Durham port town offers a diverse array of pursuits.

Visitors can immerse themselves in the storied past of Hartlepool at the National Museum of the Royal Navy or by stepping aboard the HMS Trincomalee, one of the oldest warships afloat.

For those seeking tranquillity amid nature, the Summerhill Country Park and Outdoor Activities Centre provides a perfect escape with its vast expanse of open spaces and wildlife areas.

Moreover, Hartlepool Marina positions itself as a centrepiece for leisure, featuring the Historic Quay and a selection of bars and cafes. Here, one can appreciate the harmonious blend of modern amenities set against the backdrop of the town's nautical legacy.

Brief History of Hartlepool

Hartlepool's history stretches back to around 647 AD, when the original fishing village known as Old Hartlepool was established. Over time, this village expanded into a small yet bustling port, which held significant importance during the medieval period.

You can still visit the historic Headland, where Old Hartlepool is nestled, just before venturing into the more modern town centre. As you walk around, take note of the Victorian Church of St Hilda, a testament to the locality's rich architectural legacy.

Hartlepool's notable industrial growth coincided with the rise of West Hartlepool. The region experienced a boom in job opportunities, particularly within service industries, light manufacturing, and tourism. The marina complex, built on the site of the old docks, played an essential role in reviving the town's economy.

During WW1, Hartlepool was subjected to a naval attack now remembered as the Bombardment of the Hartlepools, which occurred on 16th December 1914. The town, under fire from the German navy, became part of a significant ship-to-shore engagement during the conflict. You can learn more about this historical event by visiting the local museum, where military artefacts and artillery pieces convey the narrative.

Lastly, don't forget to consider Coopers Tours, a local tour company that will enable you to further explore Hartlepool's captivating history. Through their insightful tours, you can truly appreciate this coastal town's remarkable journey over the centuries.

Exploring the Landmarks

The Headland

The Headland, located in the northeastern part of Hartlepool, is a perfect place to start your exploration. It's an area rich in history and culture, giving you a glimpse of the town's heritage. Wander through the charming streets bustling with traditional architecture, providing splendid opportunities to snap some breathtaking photos.

St Hilda’s Church

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Visit St Hilda's Church, an iconic landmark worth discovering. Founded in the 12th century, this beautiful Anglican church showcases a blend of architectural styles including medieval and Georgian elements. Take your time admiring the carefully preserved exterior and serene atmosphere when you step inside. This historic site will give you an insight into the town's religious past and its undeniable impact on the community.

HMS Trincomalee

Dive into the maritime history of Hartlepool by visiting the HMS Trincomalee. This impressive warship, currently on display at the National Museum of the Royal Navy, will captivate you with its fascinating background. Launched in 1817, the Trincomalee served the British Navy and embodies the area's maritime spirit. Explore the ship and immerse yourself in the nautical heritage, understanding the significance of this vessel during its time in service.

Heugh Battery

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Finally, make your way to the Heugh Battery, a coastal defence battery built in 1860. This historic site offers an insight into the town's military heritage and is now a museum, showcasing the significance of the area during both World Wars. Take a guided tour and appreciate the educational exhibits explaining the battery's role in the defence system, providing you with an enlightening perspective on Hartlepool's role in national security.

Museums and Galleries

National Museum of the Royal Navy

When you're in Hartlepool, the National Museum of the Royal Navy is a must-visit destination to explore fascinating maritime history. This celebrated museum hosts a range of engaging exhibits that delve deep into the UK's naval past. As you stroll through the museum, you'll see various prized collections revealing tales of courage, pride, and adventure.

Museum of Hartlepool

Another notable stop for history buffs is the Museum of Hartlepool, located at Maritime Avenue TS24 0XZ. This museum is dedicated to showcasing the town's unique and captivating past. Here, you'll find eye-opening exhibits depicting the town's development, providing excellent educational opportunities for visitors of all ages. As you immerse yourself in the Museum of Hartlepool, be sure to visit their website beforehand to check the most up-to-date information on opening times and accessibility.

Family Attractions


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Summerhill is a fantastic destination for families seeking outdoor adventures. This 100-acre countryside park offers something for everyone, from walking trails to exciting activities such as climbing and archery. The park even has a soft play area perfect for little ones. Moreover, Summerhill is home to different species of animals and plants, making it a great place for learning about local wildlife. No matter your age, Summerhill guarantees a memorable experience packed with fun and exploration.

Jackson Dock

Jackson Dock in Hartlepool is an ideal spot for families, offering a mix of entertainment and educational sites. Here, you can immerse yourself in history by visiting the Hartlepool Historic Quay and the spectacular HMS Trincomalee, Britain's oldest warship afloat. The Museum of Hartlepool is also nearby, showcasing the town's rich heritage and artefacts. Jackson Dock allows families to bond over unique experiences while gaining valuable knowledge.

RSPB Saltholme

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If you're looking for a nature-based family attraction, RSPB Saltholme is the place to go. As an award-winning nature reserve, it boasts remarkable wetlands where you can spot a plethora of birds and other wildlife species. There are numerous walking trails, adventure playgrounds and a visitor centre available for all ages to enjoy, making RSPB Saltholme an engaging and educational experience for the whole family.

Beaches and Coastal Experiences

Hartlepool offers a variety of beautiful beaches and coastal experiences for you to enjoy. In this section, we will explore three key locations: Seaton Carew, North Gare, and the Teesmouth area.

Seaton Carew

Seaton Carew is a charming seaside resort with a lovely sandy beach where you can relax and take in the views of the North Sea. The beach is perfect for families, offering plenty of space for beach games and picnics. If you're up for a walk, you can explore the promenade and discover the local wildlife, including various bird species.

North Gare

North Gare beach, located near the mouth of the River Tees, offers a more rugged coastal experience. With its vast expanse of sands, it is a popular spot for birdwatchers and those seeking a more secluded beach experience. You might even spot seals basking on the sandbars. It's important to note that the beach is exposed to strong tides, so exercise caution and be aware of the tidal patterns.

Teesmouth Area

The Teesmouth area encompasses a diverse range of habitats, from sand dunes to salt marshes. This unique mix makes it a haven for various forms of wildlife. While visiting, you can enjoy a walk around the nature reserve, spotting birds, seals, and other marine life. Don't miss the chance to see the sand eels, which are an essential source of food for the area's bird population.

In all, Hartlepool's coastline offers a diverse range of experiences to suit all tastes - from the tranquillity of Seaton Carew to the more rugged and wildlife-rich North Gare and Teesmouth area.

Leisure and Shopping

Hartlepool Marina

Hartlepool Marina is a fantastic destination for leisurely activities and shopping experiences. As you stroll along the picturesque waterfront, you'll discover a variety of cafes and restaurants, offering a range of tasty options for a relaxing meal or a quick snack. Enjoy the bustling atmosphere while taking in the beautiful view of the marina.

Walking around the marina, you'll also find a number of retail outlets catering to various interests. Just beyond the marina, you'll come across the Hartlepool Leisure Centre, where you can access a range of recreational facilities and activities, such as swimming pools and fitness classes.

Located within walking distance of Hartlepool Marina, Navigation Point is a popular area offering a lively selection of eateries and venues for entertainment. As you explore Navigation Point, you'll find an array of bars, restaurants, and cafes, all perfect for spending a pleasant evening with family or friends.

This vibrant area is a significant hub of leisure activities, situated close to the marina and various tourist attractions. Whether you’re looking for a charming cafe or an entertaining evening out, you'll be delighted by the options that Navigation Point has to offer.

Local Food and Breweries

While visiting Hartlepool, you'll find a wide variety of dining options and a thriving local beer scene. From cosy cafés to iconic breweries, here are a few must-visit spots for food and drinks.

If you're looking for a place to grab a delicious bite to eat, then Stephanie's Cafe-Bar-Shoppe and the Railway Cafe Hartlepool are among the best cafés in the city. For a quick treat, Cafe Rappor Bar or Gelato JoJo offer fabulous light bites and ice cream delights, perfect for refuelling while exploring the town.

Hartlepool's craft beer scene takes pride in its long-established breweries such as Camerons Brewery and Lion Brewery. At these locations, you can taste a variety of well-crafted beers and learn about the brewing process.

The Camerons Brewery Tap is a great place to sample high-quality beer at an affordable price. Additionally, you can visit the Anchor Tap Room and Bottle Shop which was once Camerons Brewery's visitor centre and now stocks the brewery's special beers. For a more extensive beer experience, the annual Hartlepool Beer Festival takes place in October, offering a wide range of drinks and live music.

In your exploration of Hartlepool's breweries, be sure to visit the historic Lion Brewery. Renowned for its traditional brewing methods and authentic ales, this brewery is a symbol of the city's rich heritage.

No matter where you choose to dine and drink in Hartlepool, you're sure to be met with an impressive array of flavours and local pride.

Nature and Wildlife

Visiting Hartlepool is a fantastic opportunity for nature and wildlife enthusiasts. With its diverse natural landscape, the town offers numerous areas where you can immerse yourself in the beauty of the natural world.

Your journey can begin at Summerhill Country Park and Outdoor Activities Centre. This park offers a variety of nature trails to explore, as well as a boulder park, a BMX track, and two play areas for children. While wandering through the park, you might spot some local wildlife, so keep your eyes peeled and your camera ready.

Another must-visit location is the Teesmouth National Nature Reserve. As a protected area, it is home to various species of wildlife, including birds and aquatic life. Whether you prefer beach walks or simply observing nature, this reserve area provides an enjoyable experience.

Adding to the list of nature attractions is the RSPB Saltholme. This well-renowned nature reserve offers countless opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife spotting. With its welcoming visitor centre, helpful staff, and accessible trails, RSPB Saltholme ensures a delightful day out for everyone.

While exploring Hartlepool's nature and wildlife offerings, don't forget to visit some of the town's other parks, such as WWT Washington Wetland Centre. These parks offer a mix of attractions for all ages, making them perfect spots for a family day out.

In summary, Hartlepool's rich natural landscape is an ideal destination for nature lovers. So, take your binoculars and cameras, and be ready to discover the abundant wildlife inhabiting the town's beaches, reserves, and parks.

Travel and Transportation

When planning your trip to Hartlepool, consider the various means of transportation available to you. There are numerous ways to travel around and explore this charming coastal town.

To begin your journey, book a tour with Coopers Tours. They offer a range of tours near Hartlepool, catering to different interests and preferences. Their knowledgeable guides will ensure you experience the best of what the area has to offer.

When it comes to getting around Hartlepool, public transport is readily available. The town is well-serviced by local buses, making it easy to navigate your way around the attractions and landmarks. If you prefer a more personal touch, consider using one of the many local taxi services, such as:

  • Twenty3 Taxis: 01429 232323
  • Blueline Taxis: 01429 262626 or use the Blueline app
  • Streamline Taxis: 01429 222222

These taxis are reliable, safe, and can be booked in advance to ensure a hassle-free trip around town.

Alternatively, for those who enjoy exploring at their own pace, you may opt to rent a car or bicycle. This gives you the freedom to visit the various attractions in and around Hartlepool at your leisure. Be sure to familiarise yourself with the local traffic rules and parking regulations to avoid any unexpected fines or penalties.

By utilising these travel and transportation options, you can make the most of your visit to Hartlepool and fully immerse yourself in the rich history, culture and beauty that this town has to offer.

Frequently Asked Questions

What activities are available for adults in Hartlepool?

Hartlepool offers a variety of activities for adults to enjoy, including exploring the National Museum of the Royal Navy Hartlepool, which showcases the historic HMS Trincomalee ship and other nautical exhibits. You can also visit the Heugh Battery Museum or take a guided tour of St Hilda's Church and Cameron's Brewery to learn about the town's history and brewing heritage.

Which events are happening this weekend in Hartlepool?

For specific events happening this weekend in Hartlepool, it's best to check the local council website, event listings, or social media accounts that promote activities in the area. This will provide you with the most up-to-date information on concerts, art exhibitions, sporting events, and community gatherings.

Hartlepool has several shopping areas for you to explore. The Middleton Grange Shopping Centre is a popular destination with a range of high street stores, while the Marina area offers a selection of independent shops, boutiques, and cafes.

What are some toddler-friendly activities in Hartlepool?

There are plenty of activities in Hartlepool that are suitable for toddlers and young children. The Hartlepool Historic Quay, for example, offers interactive exhibits and the chance to board the HMS Trincomalee. You can also visit local parks, such as Ward Jackson Park or Seaton Park, which are perfect for outdoor play and family picnics.

What are some attractions in the Teesside area?

Besides Hartlepool, the Teesside area has a variety of attractions to explore. Middlesbrough, Durham, Sunderland, and Newcastle are all nearby cities with their own unique offerings, such as museums, art galleries, and historic landmarks. For nature lovers, the North York Moors National Park is also within easy reach for scenic walks, hikes, and wildlife spotting.

Which activities can be enjoyed during the half-term in Hartlepool?

During the school half-term, Hartlepool often hosts special events and activities to keep children and families entertained. You can visit the Museum of Hartlepool, participate in creative workshops at local art centres, or explore the outdoors with organised walks and activities in parks and nature reserves. Keep an eye on local event listings and community centres for information on what's happening during the half-term break.

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