From being a small port where coal was landed in 1841, and a recorded population of 185 in 1842 when it was a pleasant seaside village with only two hotels and private lodgings Skegness has grown immensely. In 1873 the railway arrived and it began to grow when the working class came to spend a day at the seaside. August Bank Holiday 1882 in Skegness saw 22,000 day trippers!
Now with a year round population of 18,000+ Skegness is the largest town on what is known as the “Funcoast” and is still popular with day trippers and holidaymakers as there is so much to entertain.
Butlins Holiday Camp, opened in 1935, saw many of these holiday makers. Situated between Skegness and Ingoldmels it is now known as Funcoast World and the old holiday camp huts have been refurbished into modern apartments which give the impression of a small village.
The pier is one of only 50 remaining in the United Kingdom. Built in 1881 at a cost of £22,000 it used to house theatres to which people flocked. No British holiday at the seaside was complete without a visit to a Variety Show on the pier and all the best entertainers “did a summer season”. Now although refurbished and still in use, it is good for a stroll out to sea and look back at the town, but the variety shows are now housed in new theatres off the pier.
Natureland – which is a seal sanctuary will be of interest to children and animal lovers. Here abandoned seals are rescued, nursed, and released along with oiled seabirds and birds of prey. There is a childrens’ corner, coral fish and tropical butterflies all to be viewed from 10am at a cost of adults £5.50, children £3.60.
Skeggy (as it is known) has the most wonderful long sandy beach with few people. The very busy town is awash with amusement arcades and slot machines, souvenir shops, fish and chips restaurants and take-aways, and most holidaymakers seem to prefer to just amble around. Beach visitors (which were very few during our visit) tend to stay near the promenade to be in reach of refreshments, so as the tide, which recedes a long way, was almost out of sight we walked to the waters edge and along an almost deserted beach. The day was quite windy and the walk was invigorating and the dogs loved playing in the surf. We walked about three miles before stopping for coffee at one of the cafes, on the edge of Ingoldmels, before making our way back to the town..
INGOLDMELS a few miles from Skegness seems to be the caravan centre of the world. As far as the eye can see there are caravans – mostly static and mostly costing thousands of £’s. We British seem to love our caravan holidays and many people buy as an investment to rent out as well as use themselves.
Also here is Fantasy Island which the kids love as it houses amusement arcades, slot machines and fair rides as well as a large market (which ladies love for bargains). Again there are a lot of fish and chip restaurants, cafes and take-aways.
MABLETHORPE 17 miles north of Skegness is a quieter neighbour, but still with the usual fish and chips and amusements. This is basically a one street town, but it is usually very busy and has a safe award winning sandy beach. On the beach are donkeys on which children can ride and a sand train, which gives rides along the ocean edge. There is a large car park and toilet facilities for the many day trippers. On arrival we made our way to the beach, enjoyed a coffee from one of the many cafes on the promenade, then walked a short way, but as it was the day after the accident no-one could settle, so we made our way back home.
This whole coast has the sort of beach where you could just keep walking. During the busy summer holiday period dogs are banned (usually March – September) on certain parts of all beaches, but usually there is an area set aside for dog owners. Many caravan owners take pets with them so they have to be catered for. The towns all have prominent signs at the beaches displaying this information.