What is it?
It's a touring and camping campsite in Cleethorpes. It's located on Meridian Road, just off Kings Road towards the South of the resort.
It's a basic caravan park so don't expect things like a clubhouse or adventure playground for the kids. It does have an extremely clean shower and toilet block that were kept spotless, cleaner than our own bathroom even. The site managers live on site there (pitch 17 in the far corner if they're not in reception when you arrive) and are very friendly. On the day we were due to arrive, we were running late and after a quick call to see if a late arrival was going to be a problem, the answer was a very reassuring, 'Don't worry about it, we'll make sure you're alright'.
There are no concrete pitches or even roads and we arrived just after a particularly effusive precipitation (rained like billy-o) meaning the vehicular track had dissolved into a muddening mess. The outer perimeter of the site is given to electric hook-ups while the inner circle is for non-electric, mostly touring tents and the like. There are 60 pitches in total with 32 of those served by electric hook-ups.
The manager told us that it was the biggest downfall they'd had in months and prior to that day, the ground was incredibly hard. The inner camping area where we pitched was compliant but not overly so and the mud hadn't extended to our tent. The ground was a little rough, the grass a little wild but was level and with a hastily pumped-up airbed to sleep on, not too uncomfortable.
The entire campsite is surrounded by a thick, spiked metal fence which is understandable from a security point of view but is more than a little unsightly. I'm not sure what the solution to that is except for perhaps a mass planting of thick conifer trees?
There's the usual dish-washing and water facilities and the manager will happily lend out electric pumps (for the afore-mentioned air-beds), clothes irons and the like. Reception has also got some money-off vouchers for local attractions so it's worth popping-in if you fancy visiting some.
The Showground Caravan Park is in a fantastic location. Only yards away, there's access to the Cleethorpes south side sand dunes which are miles and miles of virtually deserted headland and nature reserve. It's an amazing place and as the crowds flock Magpie-like towards the bright lights of the penny arcades, kiss-me-quick hats and gaudy pier frontage a couple of miles to the North, this area is an oasis of calm and tranquility. As a place for the kids to excitedly explore, it's fantastic and much more interesting than the fat tourist on the main beach who seems intent on jiggling his sun-creamed moobs as much as humanely possible.
Literally just outside the entrance to the caravan park is a small cafe serving full English breakfasts. Very useful if you haven't got a cooking stove and the prices are entirely reasonable too. Walk on for another 30 seconds and you come across the delightful Cleethorpes Light Railway which has services running throughout the day down to the main resort or the other way towards Pleasure Island. With it's tea-room, museum, smallest pub on the planet (according to them anyway) and 1950's olde worlde charm, it's a faithful replica of the glory days of the railway, albeit on a much smaller scale.
A few hundred metres away is an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet, the Jungle Zoo petting zoo and a large boating lake with lots of water foul to feed. If this kind of thing is your bag, Pleasure Island theme park is another few hundred metres and the massive rides there are plainly visible. The site managers have no problem leaving your vehicle while you go and spend a day and a lot of money on a few over-priced, over-rated thrill-rides.
Across the busy main road is a small retail park with a shop that seemingly sells just about everything (well, not *literally* everything but you know what I mean) and predictably, there's also a KFC, McDonalds and a bowl-a-rama type of place.
There's a road running round the perimeter of the site and a couple of times during the night, this was frequented by some complete and utter scrotebags tear-arsing around in their stupid moronic Citroen Saxo's and Vauxhall Corsa's with ridiculous exhausts, spoilers and tits hanging out the windows while shouting obscenities. We just laughed at that little interruption, unaware of the horrors we were about to face.
More seriously, there were a couple of tents located only a few metres away inhabited by families from hell. Think, The Dingles Go Camping. You see, these 'people' have no regard for anyone other than themselves and that includes their kids. After a skinful in the pub, the mothers decided to continue their party in the tent. At 3.00 in the morning, the campsite manager finally came across and asked them to be quiet. He came round again at 3.30 am, a little more cross this time. The mother finally passed out from alcohol abuse at around 4.30am. We were woken at 7.30am by the roused-again mother shouting at her kids to be quiet because they were making too much noise.
We hardly got a wink of sleep.
This wasn't the fault of the campsite manager who, although could have had interrupted proceedings earlier in the night, had his hands tied. He couldn't exactly kick them out at say, one o'clock in the morning could he? The fault was not kicking them out the next day as a LOT of people complained about the amount of noise (us included). I had actually got up at 2.30am myself and asked them to be quiet. I got a torrent of abuse for my troubles.
It could have been a one-off but after reading some other reviews for the place, it wasn't an isolated incident. Perhaps the convenience of its location is also its biggest problem? We've experienced this kind of behaviour before, usually on campsites with an on-site clubhouse and where parents can palm their kids off on Magic Mike the Magician while they get abusively drunk on cheap lager. It seems here, with the convenience of local pubs, those same parents can come and get blathered to their hearts content. A microcosm of Broken Britain was acted out right in front of our eyes.
Aside from alcoholic munters, the centre field where we pitched is a little disorganised. While the electric hook-up pitches were regimented according to their respective electrical outlet socket, there's no such uniformity in the middle and we were allowed to pitch where we wanted. Also, it seems, the owner of a massive camper .. 'truck' that decided to reverse right up to the front of our tent, belching out diesel fumes and nearly running over our temporary domicile.
The driver, a pot-bellied pig of a man whom had seen fit to paint his pride and joy in a lurid sky-blue complemented by a spare-wheel cover with a dreadful faux air-brushed diorama of a naked woman languishing under a fantasy waterfall, was particularly ebullient in his views of the world. At 11.30pm, we were treated to an enthralling discussion of one-piece aluminium coach-building as the pig explained drunkenly to his friend how his N-reg truck was the epitome of camping luxury. Pur-leeease. Also, the less said of his sleeping clothes the better (fluorescent flares, mirrored-sunglasses and belly flapping about in the wind is not a nice sight to wake up to).
His dog, the biggest British Bulldog we've ever seen, had obviously been crossed with a dinosaur as it made the most god-awful snorting, snarling sounds. Why do I mention this? Because as they returned from the pub with this growling beast in tow, it sounded like our tent was being attacked by a gang of young, delinquent Velociraptors, that's why. I'm sure it was very friendly, it just didn't sound it.
We had booked for two nights but only stayed for one. That should tell you the full story but really, it doesn't. We would actually go again as we recognise the problems we encountered were one-offs, an almost perfect storm of bad campers if you like. A misfortuitous series of coincidences are certainly not the fault of the caravan park which itself was brilliantly-located, had spotlessly clean facilities and run by a wonderfully helpful couple. The people making all the noise were staying for another night and at 7.30 on Saturday evening, we saw them heading off to the pub for what could have been yet another sleepless night for us. We were due to leave first thing in the morning anyway so we cut the trip short, dumped everything into the back of the car and were back home in time for supper.
At time of writing (June 2011), prices range from £10.00 per pitch per night for a low-season, non-electric one to £20.00 per pitch per night with electric. We paid an entirely reasonable £14.00 per night for ours. The site IS basic, make no mistake about that, but it makes the most of what it does have and there's enough nearby to keep everyone occupied. The sand-dunes and deserted nature reserve just around the corner are worth a visit on their own. Just make sure, if you do go, take some earplugs, you know, 'just in case'.