Jane Stuart – Writer

Writer on beer, football culture and Blackpool FC.

Far East Tour: Day Four – Cleethorpes & Grimsby

If you missed Days One, Two and Three, you can find them here, here and here.

Today was our first morning in Clee and we were excited to see what breakfast would be like in our B&B.

Cloves Boutique Bed & Breakfast

Lee’s day began screaming in the shower as the temperature fluctuated between freezing and scalding. I was oblivious to all of this, as I had the hairdryer on at the time, after my perfectly normal temperature shower. This wasn’t to be the last time Lee would be screaming today but more of that later. Now down to breakfast.

For my Earl Grey. An indulgence I was allowing myself on hollibobs.
Lee’s coffee.
Decent breakfast.
Ooh a toast rack!

Loud businesswomen at the next table aside, it was a very pleasant breakfast experience.

Nice chairs too. They give you a hug when you sit in them.

Right! Now it was time to set out to explore Clee.


Can you see the other one opposite? These were magic sound travel devices. When I spoke into this, Lee could hear through its opposite number.

Cleethorpes Boating Lake

Apparently black swans are rare but I often saw them at my local duck pond when I was little(r).
A big sand pit!

Cleethorpes Taphouse & Kitchen

We came across this by accident but obvs we were going in. I had heard of this place but had been put off by my local correspondent Brian (more of him later) saying it wasn’t all that. How wrong he was! Let’s take a look.

WHAAATTT?! I’ve been after their beers for AGES since I’ve seen Ian and Adele drinking their lush flavours. I’m having this. Dear reader, we’ve barely made it through the door at this point. We’ve only (ostentatiously) come in here to buy food for the ducks, geese and swans that have followed us all the way across the lake.

Posh scratchings. Not for ducks.
OMG WHAAATTT?! Can we stay here all day please?
Might have been tempted if I was hungry.
Craft TIMOTHY TAYLORS?! Have we time travelled again?
STOP IT NOW! I want all of these.
Love the CleeBabs (despite some questionable spelling in the ingredients).
GTFC pizza! I love this!
Lee couldn’t resist these jelly beans. Bit sickly for me.

We ordered some chippy chips and curry sauce to share. As usual I’d been lambasted for having gravy here yesterday so I thought I’d give the public what they seemed to want. It was really tasty.

Monkeys hanging from the ceiling made me think I was in Hartlepool.

Full beer list. Note the Leaking Boot Pale Ale as a nod to the statue we saw earlier. He’s one of many similar statues around the world.

Mauritius Dodo Rum. Almost bought this for the magnificent bottle. Did you know dodos died out because they never evolved a fear of humans, rendering them easy to capture and kill?

Dear reader, I didn’t want to leave this place and now, looking back, I’m surprised I’m not still there. This is now a surefire inclusion on my annual visit to Clee. I want to go back now!

Our last call before leaving the building was the gift shop upstairs for the duck food we’d actually come in for.

Not duck food.

I completed the required transaction, handing the bag of seed to Lee.

What happened next was very funny. As Lee began throwing seed to the surrounding geese, he was mobbed by pigeons, who were impatient for food and keen to get to the source: the bag of seed in Lee’s hand.

He screamed in terror before trying to extract himself from the situation.

‘Here – do you want to feed them?’

Er no thanks love! I’ve seen enough Hitchcock to know to steer clear here.

I stood back and photographed the birds.

Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway

The weather didn’t know what it was doing today so our little train ride had been in doubt. Happily it wasn’t raining when we got to the station – and the train was just pulling in.

We love this little train and spent the journey waving at passers-by. Even the ones that, at first glance, looked a bit miserable waved back enthusiastically and broke into a broad grin when we waved at them.


Now it was time for a little walk down the prom.

Even the bins are fun here.
We got to be the pieces on the snakes and ladders board! This was great fun.

Willys Pub / Brewery

No way was I walking past Willys again – and Lee was keen to go in too as he’d loved it here last night. Sadly we were too late for lunch (plus we’d already eaten twice today) so we couldn’t sample their food.

Same beers as yesterday. I tried the Brewsters today as I hadn’t tried it before.

We decided to sit out front – looking out to sea – as it had really warmed up now. Ah this was delightful: beer, sea view, hollibobs.

By way of entertainment, I pulled from my handbag our new game: British Birds Top Trumps (acquired at RSPB Bempton Cliffs on Day One).

We’d played a few games and were beginning to learn which birds were strong in which areas. It’s a good game and we were learning a lot about birds. Did you know that the goldcrest (cutest British bird) weighs the same as a 20p piece?

Meanwhile a man staggered out of the pub for a smoke, leaning against the wall behind Lee and slugging what looked like a whisky. As he observed us and our game, he made approving noises as his interest grew and he slowly made his way closer to our table until he was standing directly behind Lee. He began speaking and was just about as intelligible as Gerald from Clarkson’s Farm (here’s a link, in case you don’t know who that is).

We managed to infer that he had been here all day, liked birds but didn’t want to disturb us so we were to carry on playing.

Lee was in control of the game and on a roll. We were really getting to know the birds now so the person in the driving seat had a good chance of winning. And then our new friend – now standing right next to Lee – piped up (completely coherently).

‘Ooh gannet – beautiful bird.’

Ha! I knew the gannet to be a beautiful bird indeed as we’d seen some on Day One. But cute they were not, so I opted to play the Top Trumps Cute Rating on my Blue Tit and promptly regained control of the game, going on to win. Lee was fuming but I couldn’t stop laughing.

Our new friend explained that he loved nature and evidenced this by showing us some photos on his phone of birds and moths.

Meanwhile Lee’s smart watch piped up.

How about a walk indeed! It was coming up to 1600 and the bar at my favourite bottle shop was about to open…

Message In A Bottle

Now this is one of those bottle shops where I walk in and immediately want EVERYTHING that takes my eye on the shelves.

I had to forcibly turn myself away from the shelves after I spotted these four.

Today we were greeted by Charlie, the one who had given me nothing but grief banter on my first visit here.

I of course had to explain why I was here today (‘we’re on our way to Norwich for the match’…had you forgotten, dear reader? I know we set off weeks ago in blog terms but it is a long way).

Today they were hosting a party for a member of their team in the bottle shop bit (‘feel free to browse but you’ll have to drink them in the outside bar’). The tables were laden with paper plates of crisps and sweets and to be honest I was glad not to be in the same room as such temptation (whilst not feeling I was missing out on the party because I had had jelly and ice cream yesterday).

We chilled awhile in the patio bar and I drank the Tiny Rebel Terrys Stay Puft because who could resist that (not me) and it made it feel like Christmas.

This place is ace and I wish there was one in Blackpool but also I don’t because then I’d be drinking all the time and that’s probably not a good thing. So an annual visit it is – although possibly not too long until my next visit, which will be when we play Lincoln next season.

Now it was time for tea. We’d wandered round Clee looking for a suitable restaurant befitting of our respective dietary requirements. It was mainly chippies and, whilst Papas was tempting (it dominates the entire pier), I felt it would be disloyal to Steels to visit a neighbouring chippy. And besides it wouldn’t be as good so I’d only come away disappointed. We kept returning to one place, which we’d spotted yesterday – and it was here we dined this evening.


This is a Moroccan restaurant, the like of which I’m not sure I’d been in before. But, sure enough, there were things on the menu to suit both me and Lee.

It was pretty quiet when we arrived around opening time at 1700 but it gradually filled up as time passed.

Once our order had been placed I conducted a loo review.

Tangerine sink!
This hand cream was beautifully potent and our hands smelled of cloves all night.

Now it was time for some scran.

Lamb Tagine with Couscous.

I was warned it was hot but I burned the roof of my mouth in my eagerness to gromph it down.

Satisfied that had proved a good choice for tea, we strolled back up the prom to our B&B, to ditch the cans and pick up the car to take us to Grimsby.

Sunbirds @ Docks Academy

I love Docks Beers. I suspect they first came to my attention through being on the menu in Steels (see Day Three).

Indeed I was seated outside Docks Beers – on the first day of our Far East hollibob last summer – when the news came through that Critch had left the Blackpool manager’s job to join Aston Villa. I had to verify that news on three different websites and in a phone conversation with a reliable source before I believed it.

Thus we had returned to make happy memories tonight. I knew there was a venue upstairs that hosted gigs so I’d checked the listings to see who we could see while we were in town. Tonight Docks was hosting Sunbirds – the new band of Dave Hemingway from The Beautiful South. I booked tickets online and here we were tonight.

It was easy to park close to the venue, which is on a road with lots of industrial units (close to Grimsby docks). The entrance was to the right and to the rear of the building and up the stairs we went.

I was immediately impressed with the room: it was a good size (not too small, not too big), with a long bar along the entire right hand side of the room, and the stage was sufficiently elevated such that visibility was not an issue.

Of course it was to the bar I headed to check out the beers.

I had a pint of the coffee beer.
Followed by a pint of dark mild.

We stood down the front because my eyes aren’t the best and I’m short.

First up was local lad Alex Henderson. He displayed such confidence for a young lad, looking totally comfortable on stage, singing songs he had written and playing guitar in a 50-minute set.

At half time I sought out Brian, who I’ve been friends with on social media since my first visit to Clee back in 2018 but never actually met. We chatted about football but I can’t recall if I remembered to chastise him for putting me off the Clee Tap (see above). Anyway that was a minor misdemeanour and I’ve forgiven worse (we’ll move on to Critch in a future blog…).

Back down the front with mild in hand, it was time for Sunbirds.

They are a six-piece band collected by Hemingway. They put on a great set that I enjoyed more and more as it progressed. But the absolute highlight for me was violinist and vocalist Laura Wilcockson, whose performance moved me to tears – something I’m not sure I’ve experienced at a live music event before. Her passion for her music radiated from her and was incredibly moving. Bravo Laura!

And bravo Docks for creating such a magnificent venue. I couldn’t fault anything about it. The sound was great and the service at the well-stocked bar was efficient.

Well what a brilliant day that had been! But there’s more to come. Join me for Day Five, when we head to Lincoln, where we test our fitness on Steep Hill, find a dog’s dinner, level up on biscuits and have the best beer day of the week.

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Next Up: Far East Tour: Day Five – Cleethorpes & Lincoln.