Home » I visited ‘the UK’s worst seaside town’ – it’s like the British Library of bad tattoos

I visited ‘the UK’s worst seaside town’ – it’s like the British Library of bad tattoos

All summer we will be taking the pulse of our most famous traditional seaside towns, examining the efforts being made to regenerate them, and opining on whether they are still worth visiting. This week, Ed Grenby explores Skegness.

I have narrowly avoided winning a plastic lizard. Which is good because I think I might have been mugged for it by a seething crowd of septuagenarians otherwise.

At 49, I am the youngest person in the bingo hall by a decade or two, and the other patrons eye me with barely-veiled suspicion. Skegness, it seems, is not just the Midlands seaside town that time forgot; it’s the one time buried alive and then forgot.

This means that much of what made it famous is still right here and smelling only faintly of damp. Dodgems and donkey rides, candy floss and caravan parks, Butlins and indeed bingo – it’s all just where Freddie Laker left it when his cheap-overseas-package-holiday boom tore two-thirds of the town’s tourists away in the 1970s. Except now there are vodka slushies on sale alongside the ice creams. (Literally alongside, as it happens, which marks an interesting pathway to early alcoholism, and perhaps explains the bands of underage drinkers who make some of the streets faintly threatening after dark.)

Skegness isn’t exactly faded then; if anything it’s become brighter and more lurid (the vodka slushies are neon blue, in case you wondered). Welcome to what locals call “Skegvegas”…