Explore Hockney’s landscapes


July 4, 2013 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Destination Guide


David Hockney, arguably the most versatile and popular British artist of the 20th-century has in the last few years produced a series of landscape paintings of the Yorkshire Wolds, bearing testament to his love for this undiscovered part of northern England.

There is a fantastic choice of holiday cottages in East Yorkshire. Cottages4You have a good choice of cottages in the area including over 40 holiday homes in the Flamborough area. Hoseasons have a varied selection on the coast as well as inland. English Country Cottages have a dozen or so luxury cottages in Wolds around Driffield. Yorkshire Cottages have a small selection of about 20 properties in the Wolds.

The Wolds are a series of gently rolling chalk hills and dry valleys, giving rise to scenery which is highly reminiscent of the Downs of southern England, although much emptier and less frequented by tourists. Open roads pass through countless East Yorkshire villages with characterful inns, pretty brick cottages, ponds and fine churches to charming and unspoilt market towns such as Driffield, known as the ‘capital of the Wolds’.

Hockney has spoken of the ‘hot, living’ quality of this ‘very beautiful Yorkshire landscape, a very preserved corner of England that has hardly changed in 50 years … The ground is extremely fertile, so one does not find anything for tourists – no teashops, just beautiful, undulating hills.’ While there are a few tea shops, as well as some excellent pubs, the beauty and authenticity of the place remains. Tucked away in a fold in the Wolds is the deserted medieval village of Wharram Percy. The church and the mill pond remain as well as some excavations, although why the inhabitants left this idyllic setting is unknown. Mystery also surrounds the Rudston Monolith, the tallest standing stone in England. It sits in the cemetery of the village church, perhaps indicating the religious importance placed on the stone. Several legends surround the origins of the stone. One says that it was thrown by the Devil at the church – but missed – landing in the churchyard. It is also said to have fell from the sky to kill people who were going to desecrate the churchyard.

The Wolds meet the sea at Flamborough Head (pictured), the most northerly location at which you can find coastal chalk cliffs in the UK. It protects the seaside resort and historic harbour of Bridlington from the north winds. All along the promontory there are coves to explore where fishermen in their traditional cobble boats still put to sea to catch the local delicacy of crab or to offer holidaymakers views of the magnificent sea caves around the headland. Flamborough is best known for one of the largest sites of nesting sea birds in England. You can walk along the cliffs to see a wide variety of birds, including a colony of gannets.

My pick of holiday cottages in East Yorkshire

holiday cottages in Easy Yorkshire choice

I spent many long, happy summers in Kilham as a boy, roaming the fields, cycling the quiet lanes and enjoying day trips to the beach whilst on holiday there. Tucked away in the folds of the Wolds, David Hockney has painted many scenes in the surrounding countryside, including his series of studies along Woldgate,  the Roman road that links Kilham with Bridlington. Dating back to the 1850s, this fine detached cottage for four sits peacefully in the grounds of Kilham Hall. Beautifully presented, the property boasts use of croquet lawns, tennis court and outdoor heated swimming pool. Click here for more details.