I have a battered Philip Navigator that records my travels with a pink pen. After completing all the entries in a current Beer Guide, I aim to travel all the roads in England.  There’s a bit of work to do in east Lincs, as this excerpt shows;


I haven’t been to Skegness since I bought the Navigator in 2000.  You can see the little pink line leading to the Vine Hotel.  I’ve no idea why we went there in early December, possibly as a base for the seal sightings up the coast, or because we thought it would sound weird in the office on Monday.

Rather embarrassingly, the great Roger Protz was staying there too, and our six-month old son rather interrupted his dinner. Apart from that Skeg was actually a really attractive little resort.

Since the Vine and the workaday Wetherspoons dropped out, I can’t recall another entry in Skeg, and the only other entries nearby have been Bateman’s excellent visitor centre plus what is effectively a brewpub in Ingoldmells. You can see that Ingoldmells has the glamour; Funcoast World, Fantasy Island and Fosters lager on tap.

Chapel St Leonards seems to have nothing but caravan parks. A work colleague once spent a week there which seemed to consist entirely of losing 5ps in the slots in Greens Amusements, clearly the major building in the resort.

It was drizzling when I arrived, but when the clouds broke it looked marvellous.

You know you’re getting old when you’re drawn to the sea (I should never have read “Children of Men”).

Took me hours to set that shot up

I practically had the perfect beach to myself, until I got to the Admiral Benbow. There must be a lot of on-the-beach bars, but this is the only one I can think of in the current Beer Guide since Southport’s Lakeside Inn got squeezed out.

Sand dunes, doggies and microbrewery beer

The outside area is very seaside cafe, the inside is great micropub. And a haven for dogs.

Yes, they like dogs here

A succession of well-behaved canines came off the beach, no doubt enjoying the dog beer and snacks as much as their owners enjoyed their Carlbergs.

It was incredibly homely, and would have been a much better place to observe the British pub than dining pubs in North Lincs. Almost everyone was just enjoying a drink and a chat, and the place was as bustling as anywhere I’ve been this year. Folk were chatting at the bar for a bit, then taking their drinks into the sunshine.  Which didn’t last long.


The wedge shaped building looked very similar, a cross between the Dutch Barge at Wells and Liverpool’s Baltic Fleet. I’d welcome Pub Curmudgeon’s take on that seating.

The owners obviously take beer seriously; beers from Mr Grundy’s and Badger Cross are rare enough in Derby and Penzance, let alone the Lincolnshire coast. The Mr Grundy wasn’t the best, the Cornish Porter was. Nottingham holidaymakers still drink lager.

Along with the Vaults, that’s two classic pubs in the week, alongside a fair bit of eatery mediocrity.  Sums up the British pub in 2016.

I couldn’t really recommend Chapel St Leonards for a week, even if in many respects it rivals Clun for solitude.  The Admiral Benbow is worth the 90 minute trip from civilisation (Grimsby) though.


      1. Golden Sands is still there and served by the bus service between Mablethorpe ‘bus station’ and the rather excellent seal sanctuary.

        Martin, I fully endorse your project with the Navigator. It is essentially the same idea as me with railway lines.

        I’ve never been a fan of seaside towns, possibly due to living so close to one. However, Chapel has a certain attraction to it and the rather brilliant pub is convenient for the bus stop. Just a shame that corner of Lincolnshire is such a stagger to get to.


      2. Well done Tom – the seal sanctuary at Mablethorpe is wonderful, as are the dunes.

        Thanks for the endorsement. I also mark railway lines on the Navigator but embryonic.


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