Becca Jane St Clair

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A Visit to the Seaside

One sunny day back in May, I asked Tim if we could go to the seaside. Growing up, I used to love going to the (New) Jersey Shore, and I had been looking forward to once again, living close to the seaside. From where we are in Dunholme, it’s only about a 45 minute drive to Cleethorpes, about the same as it was from where I grew up in East Windsor to get to the New Jersey coast. We picked a Friday, figuring it wouldn’t be as crowded and packed up a lunch, grabbed a blanket, and headed out.

We parked down by the Cleethorpes railway station and planned on walking down to the Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway, about a mile down the promenade (what we would call a boardwalk in the US, though it isn’t on boards).

I noticed a few differences between trips to the shore in the US and a trip to the shore in the UK. The first one has to be the lack of a boardwalk. Like I mentioned above, they call the strip of shops and food counters and restaurants a promenade. While it might be raised up from the actual beach, it’s not on planks of wood like it would be in the US. It is made of brick and concrete. It was also interesting to find out that Cleethorpes is called the “seaside”, but the “seaside” is actually the mouth of the River Humber. You can even see across to the Spurn Head Lighthouse if the weather is good! This also explains why there is such a wide tide. When the tide was out, you could barely even see the water from the promenade.

We walked across the beach, and I was surprised to see donkey rides offered every few yards. Tim explained that it was a big thing for kids to get to have a donkey ride down the beach. I have never ridden on a donkey, and had never seen it offered on a beach before. Looking out to “sea”, you could see ferries, container ships, cruise ships, and oil rigs. Definitely not something you would have seen going to the Jersey Shore!

We picked out a patch of sand far enough away from the shoreline to not get wet, but close enough to a set of access steps so we could easily get back up to the promenade, and settled ourselves down to have some Lunch. After Lunch and basking in the sun for a bit, we walked down the promenade to the railway and had a ride.

The Cleethorpes Light Railway isn’t quite narrow gauge (even though I called it that in my vlog), but is what gets referred to as “miniature”. The track is 15 inches wide, so it’s not quite two-foot gauge, but it’s also larger than the 5 and 7 inch “garden railways” we have previously been to. The trip is about a mile long, and you can even stop at the midway point to have a drink in the smallest pub on the planet, at only 2.4m x 2.4m.

Cleethorpes is also home to a castle, believe it or not! The castle is called Ross Castle*, and it’s not actually a castle at all. Ross castle is a mock-up of castle ruins, built by the railway in 1863 to attract more holidaymakers to Cleethorpes. It looks very artificial, but as it is a “castle”, we had to visit it. From the top you could see all the way down the promenade and pretty far out to sea.


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