• Rob Butterfield


Cleethorpes is keeping the memories of the good old British Seaside holiday alive and well.

Cleethorpes Pier 2018 by Rob Butterfield.

The recent bout of unseasonably warm weather got me thinking about family trips to the seaside. I remember with absolute fondness my summer holidays as a kid. The early morning starts, packing the luggage and a family of five into Dad’s Vauxhall Viva (or Cresta or Victor depending on the year!) before starting out the 130+ mile journey to the south coast. Bournemouth was the usual place of choice – I think we saw it as a bit posher than other resorts! Everyone knows that feeling of excitement as the sea comes into view for the first time... We always arrived around mid-morning so we normally had time to explore the beach and amusements before checking in to our Guest House or Hotel.

Ah, the memories. The daily ritual, up early before breakfast for a quick wander down to the seafront shop with my Dad to pick up a newspaper. The smell of guest house breakfasts filling the air on the walk back. Breakfast in the dining room following polite ‘good mornings’ to all the assembled guests. A walk to the beach fully laden with buckets, spades, wind breaks, balls and all manner of ‘essentials’. Building sand castles, a mouthful of salty sea water, sand in our sandwiches and the excruciating pain as Mum rubbed sand-filled sun cream onto our sunburnt shoulders! Back to the Hotel for an evening meal (more polite ‘hellos’ to the assembled guests) before heading out to the amusements or to watch the summer show at the Winter Gardens – I remember Val Doonican and Mike and Bernie Winters among others. They were indeed special times.

As time progresses ‘lads’ holidays in Spain beckon, then comes marriage and romantic holidays abroad and then kids. As our two children grew up I hope they experienced some of the delights we did with summer holidays although the south coast of England was exchanged for the more exotic climes of Spain, Greece, the Canaries, Florida, Jamaica and Asia.

So, it was nice to visit Cleethorpes whilst away for a weekend with my wife in the early September of 2018. It had a certain charm that is sadly missing from many of the UK resorts now. It took us both back to ‘simpler’ times. Fish and chips on the pier, the seafront gift shops with all manner of plastic accessories for the beach and cafés selling ice cream sundaes. The only thing that seemed to be missing were the saucy postcards that are seen as just not pc in current times – what a shame. I know this all exists in other UK coastal resorts but Cleethorpes seemed to capture some of that magic from my childhood memories that seems to be missing in favour of a more modern holidaymaker experience in trendier resorts.

Photos by Rob Butterfield.

We’ll definitely be returning, maybe for more than a quick day trip, so we can immerse ourselves in an atmosphere that is quintessentially British.

Well done Cleethorpes, please don’t change!

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