Skegness continues to attract families to its shores. It has been a holiday retreat for generation of Britons…
Wish you were here..?
In this climate of cheap package holidays and even cheaper flights, the traditional British seaside resort is finding it difficult to compete. But for a group of die-hard holiday makers, Skegness is the one and only summer destination. Inside Out grabs its bucket and spade and umbrella – just in case – to find out why. » Source 2003 BBC:
Years ago, a holiday abroad a luxury afforded by very few. Nowadays, cheap flights make it easier than ever before to leave the country for foreign climbs. Over 3.2 million people flew out of East Midlands’ airport last year – an increase of one third on the previous year. Yet Skegness continues to hold its own.
Home grown fun
The Tourist Board estimates that Skegness attracts around 7 million visitors each year. Amanda Townsend is one of them.”I’ve never been abroad. I’d never want to go abroad,” says Amanda. “There’s so much to do. There’s miles of beaches…it’s just a brilliant place to come and chill.”
There are now 100’s of holiday parks built across the Lincolnshire coast with 1000’s of Caravan Holidays in Skegness.
Oh I do like to be beside the seaside…
Amanda is following in the footsteps of generations of holiday makers who made Skegness their destination. In 1873 the opening of the railway station made Skegness accessible to holiday makers across the East Midlands.
By the 1920s, over 450,000 daytrippers would flock to Skegness each year. “In the height of the season, we’d get up to 60 trip trains a day coming into Skegness,” says Harold Fainlight. The pier, clocktower and parade were soon followed by a swimming pool, boating lake and formal gardens.
The birth of Butlin’s
The resort’s appeal was further strenghtend by Billy Butlin who turned a field of sugar beet and turnips into the first Butlin’s holiday camp in 1936. Butlin’s at Skegness became the blue print for a number of holiday camps across the country.
Three meals a day and free entertainment from the famous Redcoats – it’s not difficult to see why Butlin’s appealed to so many families. Butlin’s launched the career of many household names such as Des O’Connor, Jimmy Tarbuck and Cliff Richard. More than 60 years later and the Redcoats are still entertaining holiday makers today.
Keen to shed its Hi-de-Hi image, in the 1980s Butlin’s changed its name from ‘holiday camp’ to ‘resort’. Along with the new name came new investment to ensure that facilities would appeal to a whole new generation of holiday makers.
Butlins is moving with the times and for the Holmes family, who have made it their holiday retreat for 30 years, there really is no place like it. “It wasn’t long before we were coming twice a year, then three times a year,” says John Holmes.” Then once they opened the caravan village in ’86, that was it.”
With its friendly welcoming atmosphere and traditional seaside attractions, Skegness has enduring appeal spanning generations of holiday makers. “It’s got an atmosphere about it,” explains Harold Fainlight. “When they come as youngsters, they always want to come back.”
And let’s hope they will for many years to come.