entertain oneself


Skegness is a seaside town and civil parish within the East Lindsey district of Lincolnshire, England. Located along the Lincolnshire coast of the North Sea, it is east of the city of Lincoln, and has a total resident population of 18,910. Grid reference: TF564636.

Skegness is perhaps best known as the location of the first Butlins holiday resort, built in 1936, which remains within the area to this day, and in this capacity, remains one of the more famous seaside resorts in the United Kingdom.


Early history

The name indicates that Skegness has its origin in the Danish period of settlement in England. Although it has been suggested that it looks like a foot, a hypothetical Viking responsible for establishing the earliest settlement on this location, it is much more likely to have derived from words which appear in modern Danish as skæg, beard and næs, nose or in geographical terms, headland.

Lying within the historic county boundaries of Lincolnshire from a very early time, for governance, the parish of Skegness was in the Marsh division of the ancient Candleshoe Wapentake in the Parts of Lindsey.

Longshore drift carries particles of sediment southwards along the Lincolnshire coast but at Skegness, the sand settles out in banks (tombolos) which run at a slight angle to the coast forming the beard. The slightly elevated dune land sheltered the small natural harbour which the Danes found behind the banks. The finer sediment drifts on to find a home in the mud of The Wash, beyond Gibraltar Point.

In August 1642, a consignment of arms and money, probably raised by Queen Henrietta Maria, in the Netherlands for the support of King Charles I's campaign in the Civil War, was forced into Skegness by the ships of the Parliamentarian Earl of Warwick.

Skegness was primarily a fishing village and small port until the arrival of the railway in 1875. In 1908, Great Northern Railways commissioned a poster to advertise excursions to the resort. The 'Skegness is so Bracing' poster and featuring The Jolly Fisherman helped to put Skegness on the map and is now world famous. The poster was drawn by John Hassall (illustrator) for a sum of 12 guineas. Paradoxically, Mr Hassall had never visited the resort until 1936.

Resort town & Butlins

The land was part of the Earl of Scarbrough's estate and he, or his agent H.V.Tippet, saw that the extensive sandy beach could be made attractive to holidaymakers from the industrial towns of the English Midlands, a clientele already developed by Thomas Cook. He planned the town as a resort from 1877 and it expanded rapidly, but along with many other UK resorts, especially those on the cold North Sea, it lost out to the cheap package holiday boom which opened up Spain (in particular) to the average holidaymaker after World War II currency restrictions were lifted and travellers could leave the UK with more than 50 pounds.

Ingoldmells, the parish to the north of Skegness, was the site of the UK's first Holiday Camp, started by Billy Butlin in 1936. Butlin's is still there today, in modern dress, at the north end of the town, on the road to Ingoldmells.

Present day

In March 2005, Skegness took the top spot in a survey by Yours magazine, looking at the best retirement places in the UK. Yours researchers visited sixty likely towns, and factors involved in judging included house prices, hospital waiting lists, the crime rate, council tax rates, activities and attractions, weather patterns and ease of transport. It has also been described by Lonely Planet's Great Britain guide as "everything you could want" in a seaside resort.On July 22, 2008 the newly elected mayor of London, Boris Johnson, caused controversy in an article in the Daily Telegraph where he declared "Stuff Skegness, my trunks and I are off to the sun"" in his desire to have a foreign holiday this year.

Tourist Industry

Today the town's tourist industry mainly caters for working-class holiday-makers and day-trippers.

Skegness has been dubbed "the Blackpool of the East Coast" or "Skeggy", and has a famous mascot, the Jolly Fisherman (designed by John Hassall in 1908 for the Great Northern Railway), and a slogan - "Skegness is so bracing" - a reference to the chilly prevailing north-easterly winds that can and frequently do blow off the North Sea.

The town is popularly known as Skeg, Skeggy, Costa del Skeg or Skegvegas. Further up the coast are the other holiday resorts of Mablethorpe, Sutton-on-Sea, Ingoldmells and Chapel St Leonards.

Many of the hotels, guest-houses, self catering apartments and bed & breakfast establishments in and around the Skegness area are members of the "Skegness East Coast and Wolds Hospitality Association" or SECWHA for short. An association formed in April 2008 after the merging of two previous associations known as "The Skegness Hoteliers Association", consisting of Hotel, bed and breakfast and guest house accommodation providers and the "Skegness Self Catering Association", consisting of holiday flats, chalet and caravan parks. Members of "Skegness East Coast and Wolds Hospitality Association" can be contacted through their website


At the end of Lumley Road is the prominent clock tower near the stone fisherman and boating lake The name Lumley comes from the surname of the Earl of Scarbrough's family. St Matthew's church of Early English Gothic style is on Lumley Avenue, being built by the Earl of Scarbrough in 1879, and St Clement's is on Church Road North. Tower Gardens, previously known as the Pleasure Gardens, opened in 1878 after being generously donated by the Earl of Scarbrough. The gardens have events during the summer.

Skegness had a 1,843 foot (562 m) long pier which was opened on Whit Monday 1881, at that time it was the fourth longest in England. Steamboat trips ran from the pier to The Wash and Hunstanton in Norfolk from 1882 until 1910. In 1919, it was damaged by a drifting ship and it took twenty years to raise the money to fully repair it. Again in 1978, the pier was badly damaged and considerably shortened; this time by severe gales. The pier has since undergone major refurbishment and is now once again a thriving tourist attraction, although it no longer extends far seaward of the high tide line.

Well-known hotels include the Lumley, the Vine, and Southview Park Hotel (west along the A158).

There is a lifeboat station. The lifeboat is launchedwith a tractor The coastguard is a mile further north at Seathorne

Two miles out to sea is a gas drilling platform


Lumley Road is the main shopping area, with plenty of fish and chip shops and pubs. There are large Morrisons and Tesco supermarkets in the centre of the town near the railway station, and a Co-op in the Hildreds Shopping Centre.

There are also seasonal shops selling cheap ways to entertain oneself, such as kites and buckets and spades.


The seafront teems with a variety of ways for visiting tourists to spend their money. The main strip of road along the beach is a kaleidoscope of neon and flashing lights advertising arcade machines, slot machines, fairground rides, crazy golf, fish-and-chip shops and various bars.

On August 16 2007, a huge fire hit an entertainment complex on the Skegness front, no one was injured but the severity of the fire meant that the complex had to be demolished. There are many rumours circulating as to what could be built on the site but the owners plan to release details in 2008.


Skegness Hospital is on Dorothy Avenue. In October 2005, the East Lincolnshire Primary Care Trust closed the Scarbrough Ward at Skegness Hospital as part of a package of money-saving measures. Locals were outraged by the decision, because the ward represented about a third of the hospital's entire capacity and also provided palliative care. Campaigners marched through the streets and held up the traffic, then later called for the resignations of the PCT board members after they turned down a £100,000 donation offered by East Lindsey District Council to enable the ward to remain open through the winter. The PCT said the donation would "impinge" on its duties, and could be considered "unlawful" if accepted. The ward re-opened in 2006 and began operating to its previous capacity again.

The town also has two large GP practices, a nurse-lead community mental health team, providing long-term and short-term care and a PCT health centre; the latter being on Cecil Avenue.


Infant schools

Secondary schools


  • Skegness College of Vocational Training

Places of interest


The long wide award-winning sandy beach features a fine herd of donkeys for riding

Fairy Dell

On the southern foreshore sits a popular family attraction, the Fairy Dell paddling pool. Closed by the district council because of health and safety fears in 2004, the pool soon became the centre of controversy as people from Skegness, elsewhere in the country and as far afield as Australia voiced their dismay at the loss of such a time-honoured free facility. Taxpayers and town councillors joined forces with the local press to campaign for the Fairy Dell to be reopened, and the district council gave way to public pressure and promised to have it back in operation by summer 2006.

On May 22, 2006 the Fairy Dell re-opened following a major refurbishment during which many improvements were made to the pool such as clean-filtered water and extra water features.


Transport Links


The A52 passes through the town from Boston to Mablethorpe and the A158 takes people from Lincoln to Skegness.


The town is served by Skegness railway station, which is the terminus for the Grantham to Skegness Line. Trains run the full lengh of this and the Nottingham to Grantham Line to give connections to the East Midlands.

Nottingham, Grantham, Boston and Sleaford have direct connections, while popular places such as Leicester, Derby, and Kettering require a change.


Fine beaches link the coastal towns, and there are many large caravan parks in the surrounding countryside. One caravan park a short distance to the north of the town near Ingoldmells has its own airfield, with a 755 metre grass runway Visiting pilots can call the airfield on 132.425 MHz, although PPR (Prior Permission Required) is stated for landing. A number of years ago, pleasure flights used to operate from the aerodrome.


Speedway racing was staged at the stock car racing stadium near to the town. The Skegness Braves failed to operate for a full season in both attempts to operate there.


The resort is served primarily by three local newspapers - the Skegness Standard, Skegness Citizen and Skegness Target.

  • The Skegness Target is a free newspaper when copies are delivered to homes, which they regularly are each week, but it is a paid-for newspaper when copies are bought from retail outlets such as newsagents and petrol stations.
  • The Skegness Standard is always a paid-for newspaper and the Skegness Citizen is a free newspaper which is delivered to homes. Neil Wallis, ex-editor of The Sun, and People, currently deputy editor of the News of the World, an ex-resident of Tarran Way, and pupil at Skegness Grammar School, started his journalistic career in the 1960s on the Skegness Standard


External links

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