Tag Archives: Blue Flag Cleethorpes

Cleethorpes Pier, Fish and Chips and Leicester City Football Club

Cleethorpes Pier and Beach

Cleethorpes is a seaside town that is attached to Grimsby like a barnacle to a rock.  This is unfortunate for the residents of Cleethorpes because they consider themselves to be superior to Grimbarians in all respects and snootily resent the association with its grubby neighbour.

The short train journey took only ten minutes or so as it passed through the site of old fishing docks, past the Grimsby Town Football Club ground (which is actually in Cleethorpes) and then alongside the estuary at low tide, sticky with mud before arriving at the station which really is the end of the line for this particular route.

The railway terminates here but is the starting point of many seaside holidays because this is where visitors to the resort arrive from towns and cities of Humberside and South Yorkshire because while people from Leicester and Nottingham go to Skegness in the south of Lincolnshire, Cleethorpes is the seaside of choice for people from Sheffield, Doncaster and Scunthorpe.

BR Cleethorpes

The station is situated at the western end of the promenade right in the middle of the tacky funfair and associated attractions.  The sort of place that children are drawn to like bees to nectar but which I cannot wait to pass through as quickly as possible.  I especially dislike those pointless children’s rides that do nothing in particular and seem to me to cost a disproportionate amount of money to the pleasure they provide.  I hate them outside supermarkets and in shopping malls and if I were Prime Minister the first thing that I would do is pass a law to make them illegal.

I hurried the children through this part of the visit with a promise that I would think about paying for a pointless ride on the way back later.

Cleethorpes Excursion Poster

Next we came to the pier.  The pleasure pier is quintessentially British, a genuine icon and one that I have never really understood. No one in England lives more than seventy miles* or so from the sea but when they get to the coast they have a curious compulsion to get even closer to the water and as far away from the shore as possible without taking to a boat. The Victorians especially liked piers and by time of the First-World-War there were nearly two hundred sticking out all around the coastline as though the country was a giant pin-cushion.

Cleethorpes Pier

Cleethorpes Pier now claims to be the site of the ‘Biggest Fish and Chip Shop’ in the World but I take that boast with a pinch of salt!


The shortest pier in England is that at Burnham-on-Sea in Somerset (so they claim) but this one must be a true contender for the title.  It was opened in 1873 (financed by the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway) and was originally nearly a quarter of a mile long but over its lifetime it has been severely shortened.

English piers you see are rather fragile structures and over the years have had an alarming tendency to catch fire – Weston-Super-Mare, Brighton, Blackpool, Eastbourne, and Great Yarmouth have all suffered this fate but Southend-on-Sea is probably the most unfortunate of all because it has burned down four times which seems rather careless.

The problem with a pier of course is that they are generally constructed of wood and are highly combustible and a quarter of a mile or so out to sea they are also rather inaccessible to the fire service so once they go up in flames little can be done but to watch the blazing inferno from the safety of the promenade until the fire goes out by itself and all that is left is a tangle of twisted metal girders and beams.


Fire isn’t the only danger of course because the coast can be a rough old place to be in bad weather and severe storms and gales have accounted over the years for Aberystwyth, Cromer, Saltburn, Southwold and Brighton.  Reaching far out to sea also makes them rather vulnerable to passing ships and the aforementioned unfortunate Southend-on-Sea was sliced in half in 1986 by a tanker that had lost its navigational bearings.  One unfortunate man was in the pier toilets at the time and only just made it out in time before they tipped over the edge!

Cleethorpes pier is no exception to disaster and it burnt down in 1905. It was rebuilt but was shortened again in 1940 and this is my favourite Cleethorpes Pier anecdote.  It was demolished to prevent it being of any use to the German army in the event of an invasion of England via the Humber estuary.  Quite honestly I don’t understand why the German army would need the pier to offload their tanks and equipment when they could simply have driven it up the muddy beach but that is not the point of my story.

The dismantled iron sections were sold after the war and they were bought by Leicester City Football Club who used them in the construction of the main stand at their ground at Filbert Street.  From about the age of ten my dad used to take me to watch Leicester City and we used to sit in that stand every home match and so although I didn’t know it I had actually  been on Cleethorpes pier fifty years before I ever visited the place.

Leiceter City Filbert Street

* Based on a direct line drawn on an Ordnance Survey map from location to the first coast with tidal water.  The village that is further from the sea than any other human settlement in the UK is Coton in the Elms in Derbyshire at exactly seventy miles in all directions.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Off-Season

Cleethorpes Lincolnshire Clouds

Weekly Photo Challenge: Twist

Gate with dew and webs

Gate with Dew and Webs

Groyne at Cleethorpes Beach

Weathered Groyne 


Cleethorpes Funfair

Seafront Funfair

All pictures taken at Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Thankful

Cleethorpes Blue Peter Lifeboat

Cleethorpes is one of seven stations operating a lifeboat funded by viewers of the BBC television programme Blue Peter.

Blue Flag Beaches 2011

The Blue Flag Beach awards for 2011 were announced in May and the total number of successful beaches decreased overall by sixty, which means that either the criteria is getting tougher or the coastline is getting dirtier – I hope it is the former.

Each year, national Blue Flag juries assess all Blue Flag candidates to ensure they meet all of the criteria for beaches and marinas at the national and international level. In England this preliminary assessment is carried out by ‘Keep Britain Tidy’ and in the other UK countries by ‘Keep Wales Tidy, ‘Keep Scotland Beautiful’ and ‘Tidy Northern Ireland‘. Those that do are then forwarded to the International Jury, who focus on set criteria that varies from year to year, before giving a final verdict.

Some might legitimately complain that it is an unfair competition because forty-five countries in the World are excluded from the awards simply because they have no coastline.  The largest country in the World without a coastline is Afghanistan but I don’t suppose they concern themselves greatly with the Blue Flag awards because no one would go on holiday there anyway!

In the United Kingdom the total reduced by six, which is 5% of the total following a 10% reduction in 2010, but the biggest losers were Greece, thirty-four, and Spain, eleven.  Because of Greece’s poor performance Spain stretched its lead at the top of the league table to one hundred and twenty-four beaches.  To compensate for the reductions Portugal increased by a whopping thirty beaches and France by fifteen.

In the United Kingdom it is nice to see my new local beach at Cleethorpes in North East Lincolnshire has retained its Blue Flag Status and although I don’t generally go on holiday to the coast in the United Kingdom, this year I went to Mwnt Beach in Ceredigion which I have to say was a delightful place with a thoroughly deserved blue flag.

Mwnt Beach Wales Cardigan

These slight movements have not however affected the top of the European leader board in any way and the top ten Blue Flag beaches in 2011 are:

Spain, Greece and France deserve to be proud of their achievement but if we look at the results in a different way then there are some dramatic changes in the top ten.  If we divide the number of blue flag beaches by the length of coastline then Portugal are rewarded for their special effort this year because they are way out in front with a Blue Flag beach every six and a half kilometres, pushing their Iberian neighbours into only third place.  Turkey, Italy and Denmark all drop down the list but stay in the top ten but Greece, Croatia and the United Kingdom (where there is only one blue flag for every one-hundred kilometres) drop out altogether to be replaced by the Netherlands who jump to second, Cyprus and Montenegro, which must be a bit of a kick in the teeth for Greece and Croatia.

My favourite beach remains Cofete Beach in Fuerteventura which isn’t Blue Flag but take it from me is quite magnificent and to compensate for no award it’s a place where pretty ladies get their kit off!

Blue Flag Beaches – Original Blog Post

Blue Flag Beaches 2010

More Beaches:

Ambleteuse, France

Galicia Blue Flag Beaches

Cofete Beach

Mwnt Beach, South Wales


Portimão, Carvoeiro, Praia Vale de Centianes and Silves

Portugal, Beaches and a Sunset

Kefalonia, Fiskardo and Assos

Kefalonia, Villages and Beaches

Kefalonia, Lassi and Hotel Mediterranee

Benidorm 1977- Beaches, the Old Town and Peacock Island

Greece 2009 – Ios, Beaches and Naturists

Serifos Psili-Ammos