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Skegness (/ˌskɛɡˈnɛs/ skeg-NESS) is a seaside town and civil parish in the East Lindsey district of Lincolnshire, England, on the Lincolnshire coast of the North Sea, 43 miles (69 km) east of Lincoln. In the 2011 census Skegness civil parish had a population of 19,579.[1]

Clock Tower, Skegness 1.JPG
The centre of Skegness, showing the clock tower and the "Jolly Fisherman" sculpture fountain
Skegness From the Pier - - 544115.jpg
Skegness from the pier
Skegness is located in Lincolnshire
Location within Lincolnshire
Population19,579 (2011 Census)
OS grid referenceTF5663
• London115 mi (185 km) S
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtPE24, PE25
Dialling code01754
AmbulanceEast Midlands
EU ParliamentEast Midlands
UK Parliament
List of places
53°08′N 0°20′E / 53.14°N 0.34°E / 53.14; 0.34Coordinates: 53°08′N 0°20′E / 53.14°N 0.34°E / 53.14; 0.34

The first Butlin's holiday resort opened in Skegness in 1936.


Longshore drift carries particles of sediment southwards along the Lincolnshire coast; at Skegness, the sand settles out in banks which run at a slight angle to the coast. The slightly elevated dune land sheltered the small natural harbour which the Danes found behind the banks. The finer sediment drifts on to reach the mud of the Wash, beyond Gibraltar Point.

The civil parish extends westwards along the A158 to the west side of the South View Hotel, and the boundary follows North Drain, bordering Burgh le Marsh. Just north of Mill Hill it borders Addlethorpe, passing to the west of Ash Tree Farm, the airfield and Skegness Water Leisure Park. At the north end of the leisure park it borders Ingoldmells, and the boundary follows to the south of Wall's Lane. The boundary crosses the A52 at a subway across the road, just south of the Butlin's camp. To the south of the hotel on the A158, the parish follows Main Drain, to the west of Warth Lane. Just south of Ivy House, it crosses the A52 and borders Croft. The boundary follows Cow Bank Drain, over a level crossing, to the north of Croft Grange, then passes through Bramble Hills, just north of Seacroft Golf Course to the sea.


According to the 2011 census, Skegness was 97.6% White, 1% Asian, 0.4% Black, 0.9% Mixed/multiple.[2]


As with most of the British Isles, Skegness experiences a maritime climate with warm summers and cool winters. Temperature extremes since 1960 have ranged from 32.4 °C (90.3 °F) In August 1990,[3] down to −10.1 °C (13.8 °F) in February 2012, which is the lowest recorded temperature in recent years.[4]

Climate data for Skegness Wainfleet, elevation: 3m (1981-2010) Extremes (1960 - present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 14.1
Average high °C (°F) 6.6
Daily mean °C (°F) 4.1
Average low °C (°F) 1.6
Record low °C (°F) −10.0
Average precipitation mm (inches) 53.3
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 11.2 10.0 10.4 9.2 9.0 10.0 9.1 9.9 9.0 10.4 12.4 11.3 121.6
Mean monthly sunshine hours 32 54 86 136 173 191 169 151 112 75 39 24 1,242
Source #1: Met Office[5]
Source #2: KNMI[6]


Early historyEdit

The name indicates that Skegness has its origin in the Danish period of settlement of England although there is no reference to a village named Skegness in the Domesday Book. The town's name means either "Skeggi's headland" or "beard-shaped headland" (possibly referring to the banks at an angle to the coast).[7] Skeggi (meaning "bearded one"), may have been one of the Vikings who established the original settlement to the east of the current town which was washed away by the sea in the early 16th century; or the Old East Norse word skegg "beard".[8]

Lying within the historic county boundaries of Lincolnshire from a very early time, the parish of Skegness was in the Marsh division of the ancient Wapentake of Candleshoe in the Parts of Lindsey.

In August 1642, a consignment of arms and money, probably raised by Queen Henrietta Maria in the Netherlands to support King Charles I's campaign in the civil war, was forced into Skegness by the ships of the Parliamentarian Earl of Warwick.[9]


Jolly Fisherman at the railway station

Skegness was primarily a fishing village and small port,[10] and significant numbers of visitors were not seen before the arrival of the railway in 1875. In 1908, the Great Northern Railway commissioned a poster to advertise excursions to the resort: the first such excursion was from King's Cross, London on Good Friday 1908, leaving London at 11.30 am.[11] The "Skegness is so Bracing" poster featuring the Jolly Fisherman helped to put Skegness on the map and is now famous. The poster, derived from an oil painting by John Hassall, was purchased by the railway company for 12 guineas (£12.60).[11] However Mr Hassall did not visit the resort until 1936. He is said to have died penniless. Skegness is now served by an East Midlands Railway service from Nottingham via Grantham.

Resort town and Butlin'sEdit

Skegness Beach
Butlin's 1938 badge

Most of the land in the modern centre of Skegness formed part of the estate of Aldred Lumley, 10th Earl of Scarbrough. He and agent H. V. Tippet[12] realised that the extensive sandy beach could be made attractive to holidaymakers from the industrial towns of the Midlands, a clientele already developed by Thomas Cook. He planned the town as a resort,[13] and from 1878 worked with the Lincoln architect James Whitton on the design and layout of the new resort.[14] Skegness expanded rapidly, but along with many other UK resorts, especially those on the cold North Sea, it lost out to the cheap package holiday boom which opened up Spain (in particular) to the average holidaymaker, especially when currency restrictions were lifted in the 1970s and travellers could leave the UK with more than 65 pounds.

Ingoldmells, the parish to the north of Skegness, was the site of the UK's first holiday camp, started by Billy Butlin in 1936. Butlins is still there today, at the north end of the town, on the road to Ingoldmells. It maintains its appeal as a destination for family holidays, and attracts thousands to the resort in the low season with music weekends encompassing '60s, '80s, soul and other genres.

During the Second World War Butlins was occupied by the Navy, who called it HMS Royal Arthur and used it for training seamen. There were up to 4500 naval personnel there at one time. In 1942 a German air attack on the camp destroyed many of the chalets and killed 4 men.[citation needed]

The Wash incidentEdit

The Wash incident took place in the early hours of 5 October 1996 when a "strange red and green rotating light" was seen by Skegness residents and police officers to the southeast of Skegness, who then contacted the Coastguard at Great Yarmouth. It later involved many RAF stations, including RAF Neatishead, and GCHQ. The object was probably not an aircraft because although it could be seen on radar, it had no transponder. The Skegness News, a local newspaper which no longer exists, investigated the incident and sought confirmation of the object from the Jodrell Bank Observatory. In their report to the RAF, the observatory said that Venus, "the queen of UFOs", which had been shining with exceptional brilliance in the early morning sky to the east, probably explained the light shown on the video. The object was caught on video by Skegness Police. The RAF decided the stationary blip was a permanent echo of the 272 ft tall St Botolph's Church, Boston, and the object on the video was the planet Venus.[15][16]

Tourist industryEdit

The main entrance to Skegness Pier from North Parade

The town is popularly known as Skeg, Skeggy, Costa del Skeg, Skegvegas, or "the Blackpool of the East Coast",[17] and has a famous mascot, the Jolly Fisherman (designed by John Hassall in 1908 for the Great Northern Railway), and a slogan - "Skegness is so bracing" - a reference to the chilly prevailing north-easterly winds that can and frequently do blow off the North Sea.[18] The slogan is thought to have come from an unknown member of staff of the railway. The poster was first seen at Easter in conjunction with an excursion from King's Cross railway station. The last of these trips ran in 1913.[19]

Further up the coast are the other holiday resorts of Mablethorpe, Sutton-on-Sea, Ingoldmells and Chapel St Leonards.


Diamond Jubilee Clock TowerEdit

Skegness Clock Tower

At the end of Lumley Road is the town's clock tower, built in 1898-99 to mark Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897, and funded through public subscription. With the "Jolly Fisherman" mascot, it is the most recognised symbol of Skegness. The Diamond Jubilee Clock Tower became the subject of a hoax in the Skegness Standard on 1 April 2009, when the newspaper claimed that it was about to be dismantled and moved to a museum.[20]


Church of St Clement, Skegness

Beyond the clock tower, Tower Esplanade leads to the beach, with a statue of the Jolly Fisherman in the Compass Gardens to one side and the entrance to the once-popular boating lake on the other. The name Lumley comes from the surname of the Earl of Scarbrough's family. St Matthew's Church[21] of Early English Gothic style is on Lumley Avenue, built by the Earl of Scarbrough in 1879, and St Clement's is on Church Road North. Tower Gardens, previously known as the Pleasure Gardens, opened in 1878 after being donated by the Earl of Scarbrough.[22] The gardens have events during the summer.[23]


Skegness Pier deck looking seawards

Skegness pier opened on Whit Monday in June 1881 by the Duke of Edinburgh Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha at a cost of £20,840 (equivalent to £2.17 million in 2016[24]) and was at the time the fourth longest in England, at a length of 614 yards (561 m) long. A severe gale and storm surge in January 1978 caused disaster to Skegness Pier and it was irretrievably damaged, with just 127 yards of pier deck walkway from the main entrance remaining. Today the pier is 129 yards (118 m) long and no evidence remains of the old pierhead and shelters.


The RNLI has a station in Skegness manned by a crew who are volunteers except for the coxswain, and equipped with two lifeboats - the all-weather Joel and April Grunnill which replaced the "Lincolnshire Poacher" (from early 2017) and a smaller dinghy-style inshore boat. The Coastguard have a base on the town's industrial estate.

Two miles (3 km) out to sea is an offshore drilling platform for gas, and clearly visible from the town is the large Lynn and Inner Dowsing Wind Farm operated by Centrica. A larger wind farm further out to sea has been proposed.


Lumley Road, High Street and Roman Bank are the main shopping areas.

Hildreds Centre on Beresford Avenue, with its main entrance on the pedestrianised part of High Street, is a small shopping mall.


Clock Tower

Yearly eventsEdit

Skegness holds its annual 'Scooter Weekend' on or around the May Day Bank Holiday. It attracts thousands of scooter enthusiasts with an emphasis on 'The Mod' scene with local bars including Wellies Bar, The Lumley Hotel, and The Ship hosting live entertainment and DJs.

Skegness has held a yearly carnival in August for many years; In recent years the week of the carnival has additionally included a programme of events, shows and advertisements throughout the town. East Lindsey District Council previously operated the carnival procession but handed control of the event to a group of volunteers, who now run it on a lower budget and thus a smaller scale.[citation needed]

During the summer, since 2009, Skegness has held a music, art and cultural event, the SO Festival, which coincides with a switch-on of seafront illuminations.[25]

2007 Seafront FireEdit

On 16 August 2007, a fire at an entertainment and shopping complex on seafront destroyed a nightclub and amusement arcade. Because of the severity of the fire, what remained of the complex had to be demolished.[26] In late 2008, a further fire at a building on the seafront took place, causing significant damage to a pub and amusement complex.[27]


Skegness Hospital has two entrances – accident and emergency on Dorothy Avenue and the main entrance on Lincoln Road. In October 2005, the East Lincolnshire Primary Care Trust closed the Scarbrough Ward as part of a package of money-saving measures.[28][29] Locals were outraged by the decision, because the ward represented about a third of the hospital's entire capacity and also provided palliative care. Campaigners including doctors, nurses, business people, journalists and councillors marched through the streets and held up the traffic, then later called for the resignations of the PCT board members after they turned down a £100,000 donation offered by East Lindsey District Council to enable the ward to remain open through the winter.[30] The PCT said the donation would "impinge" on its duties, and could be considered "unlawful" if accepted. The ward re-opened in 2006 and began operating to its previous capacity again.

The town also has two GP practices, a nurse-led community mental health team providing long-term and short-term care, and a PCT health centre on Cecil Avenue.

Lumley Road, Skegness

Schools and collegesEdit


  • Richmond Primary School[31]
  • Seathorne Primary School[32]
  • Skegness Infant School[33]
  • Skegness Junior School[34]
  • The Viking School (independent)
  • Skegness Beacon Primary Academy[35]



  • Skegness College of Vocational Training on Wilford Grove and Grosvenor Road.[36]
  • Skegness TEC College[37] on Heath Road run by Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education

Places of interestEdit

Donkeys at Skegness, July 2005


The long and wide sandy beach features donkeys for riding, and has several times won the Blue Flag beach award for cleanliness. The Central beach has retained its blue flag status for 2011/12.[38] From 2007 the Quality Coast Award was introduced by Keep Britain tidy, an environmental charity focusing on raising the standards of beaches in England. This award is handed out in recognition of the achievements of beach managers and guarantees holiday makers that the beach is of the highest standards. The Central beach has been given the coveted "Quality Coast Award".[39]

The shape of the beach has changed considerably in the last decade. In the mid-1990s, an extensive programme of enhancement to the sea defences was carried out, with the installation of rock armour along the length of Lagoon Walk. This provided a barrier against the sea's tremendous power, but consequently the highest tides were forced southwards. The Environment Agency predicted that the sea would destroy Skegness Boating Club's boat compound and possibly wipe out a grassed picnic area just behind it. As the tides shifted, the boat compound was indeed flattened by the sea. Sand dunes were washed away and significant new creeks were carved into the beach, but so far the picnic area remains intact.[40] The boating club now has a new compound just off the Princes Parade car park.

A panorama of the Skegness beach front. Wind turbines are visible (centre). The Skegness donkeys can be seen at the far right.

Fairy DellEdit

On the southern foreshore is the Fairy Dell paddling pool. Closed by the district council because of health and safety fears in 2004, the pool became a centre of controversy as people from Skegness, elsewhere in the country and as far afield as Australia voiced their dismay at the loss of such a time-honoured free facility.[41] Taxpayers and town councillors joined forces with the local press to campaign for the Fairy Dell to be reopened, and the district council gave way to public pressure and promised to have it back in operation by summer 2006.

On 22 May 2006, the Fairy Dell re-opened following a major refurbishment during which improvements were made to the pool such as clean-filtered water, updated fountain and additional water features.[42]

Natureland Seal SanctuaryEdit

Natureland Seal Sanctuary opened in 1965. The sanctuary features seals, penguins, tropical and seawater aquariums and koi pond, a pets corner, tropical house and floral palace. Natureland works with abandoned baby seals which are often washed up on the beach and in need of medical care. Staff treat and rear the seals until they are well enough to be returned to the sea.


Skegness Boating Lake
  • To the south of the town is Gibraltar Point National Nature Reserve, on the northern limit of the Wash.
  • The Village Church Farm is a museum of agricultural life covering the 17th to 20th centuries and features a diverse array of attractions. The museum receives occasional donations of war memorabilia (I.E: Badges, coats, helmets, weapons). The farm also has a variety of themed days and events
  • Annual world's premier Meccano exhibition is staged in the Embassy Theatre, on the Grand Parade by the seafront and opened in September 1989.
  • Botton's Pleasure Beach, featuring roller coasters, mini merry-go-round (the Gallopers), dodgems and many traditional and modern rides[43] as well as its annual end-of-season firework display.
  • The Pier Field, a recreational area which doubles as a car park, which made the news prominently after an announcement in 2014 that the district council was to consider selling it for the building of a Premier Inn hotel.[44][45] This issue is still ongoing, with some local residents opposed to it.[46]

Transport linksEdit


The A52 passes through the town from Boston to Mablethorpe. The A158 connects Lincoln to Skegness, and connects with the A16 to the north via the A1028. National Express operates direct (non-stop) daily coaches from East Midlands cities in the warmer months of the year. A 36-mile-long (58 km) Roman road passes between Lincoln and Skegness via Burgh le Marsh, initially following the A158, then to the north of the road, across the Lincolnshire Wolds.

Railway and busEdit

The railway station concourse and bus station

The town's railway and bus stations are next door to each other at the bottom of Richmond Drive in the town centre.

Stagecoach Lincolnshire is the main operator in the town with regular services operating up the coast as far as Mablethorpe; there are also regular services inland to both Boston and Lincoln.[47]

Skegness railway station is the terminus for the Grantham to Skegness Line. Trains run the full length of this and the Nottingham to Grantham Line to give connections to the East Midlands. For the amount of traffic, the railway station is bigger than necessary with four long platforms. Each platform can accommodate a full HST. The main interconnecting line, the East Lincolnshire Railway, was dismantled from Firsby to Grimsby. Access from the north was discontinued from 1970.

The railway station is having a major renovation programme costing £290,000.

Rail connections to Skegness

Nottingham, Grantham, Boston and Sleaford have direct connections, while popular places such as Leicester, Derby and Kettering require a change at Nottingham. The track from Boston to Skegness, although once part of a busy longer-distance line, is not suited to large heavy trains, therefore line speeds are generally restricted to a maximum of 30 mph (for locomotive-hauled trains).

In 2009, East Midlands Trains introduced a direct service from Nottingham to Skegness, operated using an HST. This service was extended in 2010 as far as Derby.

Skegness AirfieldEdit

Fine beaches link the coastal towns and there are large caravan parks in the surrounding countryside. Skegness Water Leisure Park, a short distance to the north of the town, near Ingoldmells, has its own airfield, with two runways. PPR (Prior Permission Required) is stated for landing.

Ingoldmells aerodrome

Pleasure flights used to operate from the original Skegness airfield which was located close to the current site of Butlin's. Vintage Austers were taking off and landing several times an hour in summer as holidaymakers sampled the joys of flying. At the time the shortest runway was just under 400 yards, making it challenging for less experienced pilots. Pilots from other airfields were sent to Skegness as part of their qualifying cross country.


Skegness Stadium, just outside the town, hosts stock car racing throughout the year, with events such as truck racing, stunt shows, firework displays and caravan racing. Speedway racing was staged at the stadium in 1997.[48] The Skegness Braves failed in both of their attempts to operate there for a full season.

Skegness is home to Skegness Town A.F.C. and Skegness United F.C., which was reformed in 2011. It has a rugby club, Skegness RUFC and there is in the town Skegness Cricket Club.

In March 2013, it was announced that Skegness could become home to the country's national beach sports stadium.[49]

Just outside the town at Thorpe St Peter is a Longtrack venue which has hosted many International meetings. It hosted the European Grasstrack Championship final in 2011. It annually plays hosts to the International Lincolnshire Poacher.

News and mediaEdit

The resort is served by two local newspapers, the Skegness Standard and the East Lindsey Target.

  • The East Lindsey Target is owned by Local World and is published every Wednesday.[50] and .
  • The Skegness Standard is also published on Wednesdays; former tabloid editor Neil Wallis started his journalistic career there in the 1960s.[51]
  • Skegness is covered by BBC Yorkshire & Lincolnshire/ITV Yorkshire, though it overlaps with BBC East Midlands/ITV Central (East). Local TV channel That's Lincolnshire was launched in early 2016 from its studios in Lincoln.
  • Lincs FM is a commercial radio station that covers the whole of Lincolnshire, including Skegness.

Coastal Sound radio is the community radio service broadcasting from Skegness to the area and beyond by way of the internet.

Local governmentEdit

Town CouncilEdit

The parish authority is Skegness Town Council, which comprises five seats in each of four wards (St Clements, Scarbrough, Seacroft and Winthorpe) and a single seat in the newest ward (Brunswick Drive), making 21 seats in total.[52] The UK Independence Party are presently the largest group on the council.

The political composition is as follows:

Party Councillors
UK Independence Party 9
Conservatives 8
Labour 2
Independent 1

As there were no nominations for the Brunswick Drive Ward in the elections on 7 May 2015, that seat is currently vacant.

Skegness Town Council achieved Quality Status[53] in 2005, an official mark of recognition that it conducts its affairs well in areas including official procedures, the qualification of its clerk and the effectiveness of communications. However, this accreditation has since become redundant following the abolition of the scheme.[54]

2020 VisionEdit

In 2008 and 2009, Skegness residents took part in the Skegness 2020 Vision initiative, set in motion by the town council, to draw up a Local Plan for the town.[55] Under this scheme, a group of volunteers from a cross-section of the community used surveys and public consultations to gauge what the townspeople wanted to see change and remain the same.

The aim was to produce a blueprint for the development of Skegness by the end of 2009, to cover the coming ten to twelve years and be a vision for the future, hence the name Skegness 2020 Vision. The plan was to be used as a guide for developers and councillors when it came to submitting applications for planning permission.

Little happened as a result of the initiative, and in 2012 the council again appealed for members of the public to get involved in producing a more localised plan, based on individual wards within the town.[56]

International relationsEdit

Skegness has well-established twin town relations with Bad Gandersheim, a city in southern Lower Saxony, Germany, between Hannover and Kassel. Skegness Twinning Association has existed for more than 30 years, and the town plays host to its German visitors normally once every two years.[57]


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External linksEdit