‘Skeg Vegas’ is one of the original resorts with rides, cotton candy and arcades

At the center of the Lincolnshire coast, Skegness offered some of the very first bucket and shovel breaks in the UK. During Britain’s seaside heyday of the 1920s and 30s, it became one of the country’s most popular holiday destinations.

Today, the city is full of flashbacks to those happy times. In summer, vintage fairground rides line the waterfront, pop-up stalls sell clouds of cotton candy and rock sticks, and a pleasure pier – albeit rebuilt – still stretches out over the North Sea .

In recent years, more and more arcades have moved to Skegness, earning it its nickname “Skeg Vegas”. Still, hopping around the 2p machines is now an integral part of a city break that’s still just as good-humoured as ever. Find out more at visitlincscoast.co.uk/explore/skegness.

The city has embraced her nickname (Photo: Sarah Holt)

How to get there

Skegness’s tourist attractions cluster around the compact town center and the beach that borders it, so it’s easy to get around on foot. The train and coach station are located right in the heart of the city, with East Midlands Railway services from Nottingham. Bus services are operated by Stagecoach and in summer passengers travel in open top buses. Use bus numbers 1 and 3 to tour the city’s top attractions and to venture out to the coast, stagecoachbus.com.

Where to stay

Opened in 1936, Butlin’s is Skegness’ most famous resort and the group’s first holiday park. However, the minimum stay here is three nights, so it doesn’t lend itself to short weekends.

Offering a range of deluxe rooms, family rooms and wheelchair accessible rooms, The Vine is one of the most highly regarded hotels in town. Standard double rooms are available from £80 per night. If you want to wake up to a sea view, try the North Parade Hotel. Rates start at £60 per night for a standard double room.

Day One: Standing with the Sun

Hail a taxi or take the bus to Chapel Point for the North Sea Observatory. Opened in 2018, this angular marine observatory is home to the Seascape Café. The menu puts local produce on a pedestal. Breakfast highlights include the Full Lincolnshire which comes with Lincolnshire chubby sausages and the toasted Lincolnshire plum bread. Open year-round, the cafe has indoor and outdoor seating areas overlooking the sea.

photography opportunity

A short detour into town will take you to the “Skeg Vegas” sign. Built by Skegness Raceway, the sign was designed to look like the famous Las Vegas welcome sign and features the words “Welcome to Fabulous Skeg Vegas”. This roadside marker has become a popular place to take selfies.

Don’t miss

Bring plenty of 2ps for an afternoon in the arcades

Tours in Skegness are all about losing track of time at the waterfront attractions. Dive into the arcades to play 2p coin pushers and lint catchers. Take a tour of the fairground rides. Use the 20p sights on the pier. For the cooler months, the pier has an indoor area with a bowling alley. For something different, follow a Treasure Trail around town. Available for £10.99 online, these packs help you explore Skegness by giving you a series of clues and puzzles to solve.

From pubs to sports bars, there is no shortage of drinking places in town. In the summer, you can even buy a boozy slushie from one of the beachfront kiosks and sip it as you stroll. One place that really stands out, however, is the Spirit of Skegness distillery, which produces a range of gins and rums using ‘Dora’, the copper pot still. The distillery bar does not accept walk-in customers. However, visitors can book for a range of experiences. Saturday nights are Gin School nights, where you can make your own gin.

Dinner reservation

Dinner translates to fish and chips in Skegness. The main street of the town was once known as ‘chip pan alley’ as it was lined with chips and over the years these locals have also moved closer to the waterfront. Trawlers Catch is one of the most popular. Animatronic pirates welcome you to this restaurant and inside the cooks fry fresh fish caught in Grimsby every morning.

Three things you might not know about Skegness…

1) The name Skegness is believed to derive from the Old Norse words Skeggi and Ness and roughly translates to “the bearded promontory”. It is suggested that this term relates to one of the Vikings who established a colony in the region during the Middle Ages.
2) John Hassall, the artist behind Skegness’s retro Jolly Fisherman poster, had not visited Skegness when he painted his now famous work.
3) Poet Laureate Alfred Lord Tennyson holidayed in Skegness as a youth and some scholars believe his poetry was influenced by the walks he took along the beach.

Day 2: Go to the beach

Wide and long with crumb-coloured sand, Skegness’ Blue Flag beach is a frisbee throw from the town centre. Stall owners sell buckets and shovels near the sand, and in winter the wind makes it a great place to fly kites.

Lunch time

Half an hour’s walk north or a five-minute taxi ride from Skegness Pier will bring you to The View. Located inside a former lifeguard station, this cafe overlooks the crumble-colored sands of Winthorpe Beach. The menu features everything from seafood platters to loaded fries, all served in Everest-esque portions.

Relaxation time

Gunby Hall has eight acres of gardens (Picture: Sarah Holt)

A 15 minute ride on the number 56 bus followed by a 20 minute walk will take you to Gunby Hall. On the edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds Area of ​​Outstanding Natural Beauty, this 18th-century estate is home to a grand mansion (open on select dates) and eight acres of gardens.

Treat yourself

No trip to Skegness is complete without ice cream. In the summer, kiosks along the waterfront load up cones with flavors ranging from birthday cake to blue sorbet. On colder days, head to Artisan Coffee Design, which serves a dozen different cheesecakes, from the Dime bar to the Eton Mess. Gluten-free and vegan cakes also available.

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