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Skeg and Donkey - off on another whirlwind adventure!
Skegness in General
Member Name: yabbadabbadoo
Skegness in General
Date: 12/04/10, updated on 09/02/11 (333 review reads)
Advantages: Golden sands, still a place where little rascals can play
Disadvantages: Tacky and worn around the edges in places
Finally, the promise of an all sunny weekend, proved too tempting to resist.
So yesterday morning, we fired up the Quattro (well technically our Volvo) and headed back to the 1980s, to the East Coast wonderland that is Skegness (a.k.a Skeggy!)
Pretty much a first time visit for all of us, so a chance to look at things with fresh eyes.
~~~~First Impressions - which way to Mablethorpe?!~~~~
Driving through into the town centre, and along the sea front, I have to be honest it wasn't looking all that promising.
There's absolutely no view of the sea or beach.
Basically, all you can see is a seemingly endless line of cardboard cut out gawdy light bulb coated frontages proclaiming crazy amusing golf, paddling lakes, candyfloss coated go karts and all you can eat Bingo...
We kept hoping that as we headed towards the North car park there might be a small let up in the visual bombardment of unfettered tattiness.
A quick scan of the sat nav told us that our backup options of Mablethorpe and Sutton-on-Sea were at least 15 miles away.
Little man needed his lunch as soon as, and so we gathered our resources, bravely deposited the £6 all day fee and scrambled up the ridge to discover if a high tide was about to write off our entire bucket and spade day dreams...
~~~~Super sandy go ballistic, beach it is just gorgeous!~~~~
Lo and behold. Wide and welcoming, golden and warm, sands stretching as far as the eye could see.
Admittedly the sort of biting breeze that chilled down to the bone, and the empty spaces owing much to it being early season but nonetheless, before our very eyes, just the kind of beach you dream of as a kid.
Before too long our little man, is darting up and down the drifting sands, tackling and tumbling (and stopping every couple of minutes asking us to get the sand out of his shoes), roaming free and wild.
But a rumbling of a different kind was dominating my thoughts. Ahead we could see a pier, and where there's a pier there's fish and chips, so my primeval hunting instincts took hold.
~~~~The ultimate seaside combo~~~
Just across from the pier, we spotted a takeaway fish façade, and a few moments later found ourselves in the all-singing, all-dancing, Beachside Tavern.
Not only a full fledged pub, big screen tvs, carpeted floors, dark wooden tables and chairs, but a very well organised food order point, offering a full range from the classic Fish, Chips and Peas, to Jacket potatoes and chilli (for those of us weirdos with our new healthy dietary tendencies).
Even a full carvery option available at a reasonable £6.95 for adults £4.95 for kids.
So quick served food, freshly prepared (well we got the fish straightaway so I nicked half of the fish out of the batter on good lady wife's platter), pleasant surroundings, happy days.
Just then out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a menacing turn of events. A wild-eyed thug, racing towards the glass window outside, his arm swung back ready to land a crashing blow.
Luckily it turned out to be one of those 3 punches for a pound, test your strength boxing machines that he was aiming for, so I didn't have to evacuate the little one after all!
No better way, I always think to make sure your dinner goes down properly than to get on board a 15 minutes unlimited bounce fest for £2 on the trampolines at the end of the pier. Still, a promise was a promise, and whilst he was clowning around, we spotted the donkeys ready for our next challenge.
If you happen to have kids with hamster like tendencies, you could always put them in the giant see through plastic balls on water, but we figured that really would bring his fish and chips back to life a little prematurely!
So down to the beach to the right of the pier, and a very large and handsome steed called Macca hand picked by our little fella. Nutall's donkeys, complete with red uniforms, and all, did look very well looked after, so we had no qualms about using them. According to a quick web search, the donkeys and one of them in particular called Sooty, have recently won awards from the Donkey Sanctuary in Devon, so they must be well treated.
All the donkeys walk together, with little bells ringing, and Macca had read the script perfectly making sure that he kept in front of all the other donkeys the whole way.
We walked along a little further, and the lure of the giant big wheel and the roller coasters proved too much. Little fella soon revised down his plans on what he wanted to go on after closer inspection of the green caterpillar coaster and the like, but we still had our 6 tokens for a fiver to try and use up.
The most old fashioned of all saved the day. A real classic Merry go round Carousel with horses, not once, twice , but three times round.
All a bit too noisy and baudy in the fairground part, the tell tale hands over his ears told us it was time to move on once again.
Just then we had our next big result of the day. We spied a pink frontage, to an aged 3-14 year old play area called Little Rascals. Basically for a price per child of £4 they can stay and play as long as they like, with plenty of seating for the parents to sit on and watch.
Instead of paying up to £2 a time to go on individual rides and the like, here they had an indoors windy castle, an Aladdin Themed Bouncy castle and a giant slide, plus gondola swings, a sandpit and a mini playground for the younger ones.
No surprise here that this was his favourite part of the whole trip. Each child gets a sticker and a handstamp so you can come and go any time during the day. A good 45 minutes of bouncing to his hearts content was the perfect way to burn off his lunchtime chips and make room for a mini-ice.
Of course, no trip to the seaside could ever be complete without the proper sandcastle building and roll your trousers up paddle time, so once again we braved the open plains and the wind to dip in a toe or two.
It is a fair old trek to the waters front with so much beach to enjoy, but he had brought his own little flag with him, so you can't miss photo opportunities like that.
If anyone visiting happens to have quit smoking recently, they may be a little disconcerted by the rows and rows of wind farm machines that are out to sea. Light brown bases and white sticks, maybe not the best colour scheme if you are trying to beat the cravings - I know a totally random observation , but that's just the way my mind works.
~~~~Wrapping it up~~~~
Once I'd reattached my frozen toe, back we headed through the artificial park land and over the collection of bridges and mini river ways. Plenty of ideas for our next visit - looking across over to Nature Land, with a Seal sanctuary built in , I saw a big green sign saying "Crocodiles , etc" - now that is clearly a properly run establishment for educational purposes and not at all some cheesy seaside cash-in.
There's always a great selection of mini-golf with all the classic windmills and the like. You can ride for £3 return or £2 one way on the river boat service which winds its way through the mayhem.
We found a nice modern playground with a couple of big slides, rope climbs and tyre swings, and that was just enough to prepare him for the 1 and a half hour sleeping ride home.
Depending on where you are coming from there are various routes in and out of Skegness - the main one being the A52, but as a result the early season traffic levels really didn't trouble us.
So I have to conclude that despite our initial reservations, Skeggy still has a lot to offer as a family resort, if you can see beyond the creaking, and achingly artificial elements.
We'll certainly be back!
Summary: Discover some real treasures in amongst the tat!
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