If I was to say that I have just had one of the most enjoyable days out I have had in a long time, few would guess as to the destination.

It wasn’t to the Yorkshire Dales, Haworth, Scarborough or any of the usual tourist hotspots.

My day out, which I enjoyed with my husband, was to Goole, the UK’s furthest inland port not far from Junction 36 of the M62. Highly versatile, it is capable of handling almost three million tonnes of cargo every year, making it one of the most important ports on the east coast.

The East Riding town stands at the confluence of the Rivers Ouse and Don and has a fascinating maritime history linked to both the coast and canal system taking trade to and from other parts of Yorkshire.

It is all contained within The Yorkshire Waterways Museum, a multi-award-wining attraction sited at the intriguingly named Dutch River Side. The location itself is interesting, set away from the town between the Aire and Calder Navigation and the Dutch River.

The latter was created by Dutch civil engineer Cornelius Vermuyden, who, in the early 17th century, diverted the River Don northwards to the River Ouse.

The work - which involved draining marshland, sparking protests - was carried out at the behest of King Charles l, to make the lower Don navigable for barges. This would enable coal to be transported from the South Yorkshire Coalfield for transfer to ocean-going vessels.

The museum forms part of the East Yorkshire-based charity the Sobriety Project, founded in 1973 to work towards improving the social and economic wellbeing of people living in and around Goole.

It is packed with interesting information about the port’s history, from its heyday in the early 1900s when cargoes including wool, nickel, China clay, olive oil and wheat, came and went from across the globe.

Goole’s success as a port came from its ability to compete with the railways to export coal. This was achieved by a system of compartment boats developed in 1863. Known locally as ‘Tom Puddings’ - ‘Tom’ after the original constructor and ‘Pudding’ because the compartments looked a string of black pudding or perhaps Yorkshire puddings. Each could hold around 40 tons of coal. They were lifted into waiting ships via hydraulic hoists - a system that continued to be used up to 1985.

On weekends, bank and school holidays, barge trips around the Goole Docks set off from the museum.

The docks were like a millpond on the day we visited with reflections of ships in sharp relief.

We passed the redundant coal wagon hoist - now a Grade ll-listed structure - that had lifted the Tom Puddings.

To my delight, large ships were loading and unloading goods. We spotted bricks, wood and steel.

Ships this size can only access the docks for 90 minutes either side of high tide, we were told.

Visible from the boat, Goole’s landmark ‘salt and pepper’ pots - two Grade ll-listed water towers, one concrete, the other brick. When the 150ft-high salt pot was built in 1927, it was the largest water tower in Europe.

The hour-long trip was interesting and fun - I even got to steer the boat.

We later walked around the town following the Reuben Chappell Art Trail, a series of paintings by the prolific Goole-born Pierhead Painter. These have been reproduced and dotted around the streets.

To end with, a cup of tea in a lovely café. A wonderful day, we both agreed.

*By car Goole is 43 miles from Bradford via the M62. It can also be accessed by train, via Leeds and Doncaster.

*Yorkshire Waterways Museum, Dutch River Side, Goole DN14 5TB. T: 01405 768730; W: waterwaysmuseum.org.uk.