Growing up in nearby Sunny Scunthorpe, with so many of my Dad's extended family living in Cleethorpes, enjoyed loads of days out here over the years, and have a real affection for the town. Never quite managed to work out how Grimsby and Cleethorpes are practically joined at the hip but still classed as separate towns, a golden opportunity at this juncture to drop in my fascinatingtastic fact that Grimsby Town football club play away every week (as you've guessed it their grounds only in Cleethorpes - wowsa I here you gasp, but let me tell you once you've been to the Findus Family stand , you've seen real footie!!!)
So what can I tell you about Cleethorpes - naturally its blessed with more than its fair share of quality fish and chipperies - for the formal occasion can recommend a visit to Steels Corner House where its black and white waitress service, but when they're queuing round the blocks you might want to try Ernie Becketts which is top cafe chips and mushy pea nosh.
The beach goes on for 3 miles so I'm told, and its golden sand all the way - what's always fascinated me is just how far out the tide actually goes - think its some kind of hybrid between the North sea and river estuary which explains the constant absence of high tides, but something to bear in mind when you just want a quick paddle, and end up having to recreate that iconic chariots of fire promenade-
Oh and fascinating fact number 2, Coldplay's anthemic and starry night kagoule hugging Yellow video was actually filmed on Cleethorpes Beach.
Naah of course it wasn't but I'm always inspired by just how gullible my older sister really can be!!
Of course in the more crowded summer months, heading down to the pier and turn left and you'll find all the usual rows of arcades with quite a few of the 2p drops and roulette / horse racey ones still on the go, as well as the endless varieties of incredibly slow moving and over priced bob the postman pat tweenies rides decorating the outer fronts, but if you want something a bit more inspiring to do, my advice is turn right at the pier and walk up towards the leisure centre at the end of the promenade.
First of all, you'll come across the majestic Ross Castle, (more like a little and I swear that when I was a kid I genuinely thought it was really high up and was so proud of myself making it all the way up there- how things look different. Just opposite there in the miniature gardens section there's a fun little maze for the little ones to explore, equipped with a few puzzles to solve en route.
Looking over the beach you should see how clean its kept, and particularly when you get beyond the leisure centre how unspoilt it is , with proper sand dunes for the little ones to bomb up and down - aah the simple pleasures.
And there lo and behold beyond the leisure dome (which is ok in itself for a wetter afternoon with the old wave machines and slides) lies a proper old fashioned miniature railway line. As if that's not enough there's quite a well kept paddling pool area, and a bit further along a great little adventure playground in the shape of a pirate ship boat, with dodgy rope walkways and slides. By this point you'll have spied the boating lake - a traditional venue I do recall for those Radio 1 roadshows back in the day no less when D.J Mike Cheese and co would broadcast some crazy smiley miley fun to the nation, and still going strong with added proper cafe / centre type building where you can get proper duck food for the more cultured canard to enjoy
(particularly makes you popular in mid-week when its quiet and they're all starving!)
If you've still got any energy left, there's always the Pleasure Island theme park up the road - I still treasure my Scunthorpe United shirt when we were sponsored by the very same a few years back - certainly one or two half decent rides to have a go on and not too exorbitant. If like me you are a cultural afish onado, a short drive up the road to Grimsby the European food capital (as the signs were know to boast) brings you to the National Fishing Heritage Museum which is suprisingly interesting and you get a guided tour from real fishermen thrown in.
So I hear you say - what's the catch? Well for me the place has fallen behind a little compared with other seaside resorts in recent years, but in many ways that's what I like about it the most - it doesn't pretend to be anything other than a bucket and spade cheap and cheerful family day out- Good old Clee!!