With two of our leisure parks sited close to the Lincolnshire coastal town of Mablethorpe, we’re focusing this edition of our blog on some of the attractions nearby – the places you can visit and things you can to make your holiday at Willows Park and Whispering Water go with even more of a swing!
Our top ten things to do in Mablethorpe
Mablethorpe is something of a hot-spot for marine life, both off the coast itself and at this popular wildlife facility in the town. Established almost 50 years ago, the sanctuary attracts 100,000 people per year and has become a home to a wide variety of rescued animals – including primates, reptiles, birds of prey, meerkats, aviary birds and (as you might suspect from the sanctuary’s name) seals. Alongside the sanctuary you’ll also find Mablethorpe Wildlife Rescue which funds the rescue and care of hundreds of seals and sea birds, and you could slip them a few pounds as a donation.
Big Sky Alpacas:
If you’ve enjoyed the seal sanctuary and animal life is your thing then the alpaca attraction at Beesby, near the market town of Alford, is a great way to spend some time. Whether you go on a gentle alpaca walk for a couple of hours or enjoy a donkey experience full of cuddles, Big Sky Alpacas is a charming way to get up close to these lovely creatures, each of which has a unique personality. You can book your time at Big Sky in advance.
Saltfleetby / Theddlethorpe Dunes:
Along the coastline in a northerly direction from the Seal Sanctuary, a nature reserve features a protected 1,500 acres (approx.) of sand dunes, salt marsh, freshwater marsh, mudflats and beach. The landward ridge dates back centuries, to the 1200s, and was formed on a storm beach and the dunes on the east side are from the 1800s, caused by the Great Eau River being diverted. There are three marked trails to walk, with plenty of interesting things to see, different during each season. Wildfowl such as teal and widgeon spend the winter in the reserve, and in summer you can spot many migrant bird species.
Burghley House and estate:
Although visiting this 16th-century country house and grounds will require a full-on ‘day out’ and some transport (it’s near Stamford, around 60 miles away from Mablethorpe), this is one of those ‘must see’ places so it’s well worth the commitment of your time. There are some wonderful gardens full of imaginative planting and sculptures, and the surrounding parkland is home to fallow deer and ancient trees. The area was created by the legendary 18th-century English gardener and landscape architect Capability Brown, and his vision remains vivid to this day. There is also plenty to eat and drink here, and Burghley is open between March and October each year.
Mablethorpe’s sand train:
It’s not quite as elevating as taking a trip on a vintage steam train, but there is still a great thrill to be had when going for a ride on Mablethorpe’s famous sand train. It is, basically, a Land Rover pulling some carriages all the way down the beach to the Seal Sanctuary and back, with five stops along the way (including Golden Sands Haven and the cinema). On the return journey the sand train goes right through the water, so that adds extra excitement if you have the kids with you.
Skegness And District Heritage Centre:
Travelling a mere fifteen or so miles from Mablethorpe to Skegness means you’ll capture the opportunity to spend some time in the Heritage Centre, sited in the 19th-century former police station, courthouse and cells, including a padded cell. Here, there is a truly fascinating permanent exhibition focusing on law, order, crime and punishment. It’s not all doom and gloom – there are plenty of photo opportunities and fun in amongst all of the macabre! Once you’ve had enough of the seedy side of life, you could explore some of the tea rooms and cafes Skegness has to offer, to get yourself calmed down.
This is a fantastic park in Mablethorpe that offers hours of fun at one of the coastal resort’s best beauty spots. Sometimes referred to as the boating lake or Queens Park paddling pool, this is a picturesque spot with plenty of activities for all the family to enjoy. You can take a boat out onto the boating lake, ride the miniature railway, enjoy crazy golf or challenge yourself on the 18-hole putting green, play flat green bowls or serve up some tennis, and the kids can enjoy the paddling pool or the play area. There are places to eat and drink at the edges of the park, and it’s a really great location for a day of low-key relaxation.
If the putting green at Queen’s Park – or even the crazy golf! – don’t bring you the stick and ball action you require, the welcoming Sandilands Golf Club will. Located between Mablethorpe and Skegness, it’s a fast greened 18-holer with a par of 70 and a standard scratch of 69, so it’s a decent challenge. Other courses in the area include Skegness Golf Centre, in the village of Addlethorpe, which is relatively new (having been constructed around twenty years ago on farmland). The par-74 course is fairly challenging and has a few water features, and provides a good test for single handicappers while not being too difficult for less experienced players looking for a decent day out.
Alford & District Cricket Club:
A mere eight miles from Mablethorpe and, if the season is right, you’re in the heart of some leather on willow action. Alford and District Cricket Club is a charming local cricket club which was founded in 1885 and which offers great facilities to the community, and a warm welcome to casual visitors. There are currently two senior teams (one playing Saturdays and one Sundays) plus a junior team playing midweek.
Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre:
Just twenty miles from Mablethorpe lies the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre in East Kirkby, based on a former military site (a 1940’s RAF Lancaster Bomber Airfield). There are several exhibitions plus some impressively restored aircraft including a running Lancaster and Mosquito, plus a Hampden, a Proctor, a Bristol Blenheim and a Mitchell. If those names mean anything to you as you are reading this then you are going to find great interest at the Heritage Centre, and if the names don’t mean too much to you, then you will find plenty of exciting and interesting stuff to discover on a visit.
Remember, when you stay on a caravan park in Mablethorpe you don’t have to stay within the park itself for all of your holiday. There are plenty of things to do in and around the town, or relatively nearby, which will ensure your time with us at Willows Park or Whispering Water is well spent. We hope you’ll take note of our ten suggestions here – and we’d love to hear from you if you discover more great things to do and see.