Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Are Clacton-on-Sea and Bognor Regis the worst seasides in the country?

Clacton-on-Sea and Bognor Regis have been voted as the worst seaside resorts in the UK. 


Bognor Regis seafront from the pier
Bognor Regis seafront from the pier

We're big fans of the seaside and have visited many coastal towns and resorts, including Clacton-on-Sea and Bognor Regis, on our minigolf travels over the last 13 years.


Clacton-on-Sea pier from the seafront
Clacton-on-Sea pier from the seafront

Seaside resorts were rated in ten categories in the Which? survey. Clacton-on-Sea and Bognor Regis were both rated poorly for their attractions, peace and quiet, scenery and value for money.


Bognor Regis seafront
Bognor Regis pier from the seafront

Bamburgh, Northumberland was rated as top of the 100 seasides. We haven't been there, but did drive past it on our way to nearby Seahouses as that was more our cup of tea.

Adventure Golf course on Clacton Pier
In 2011 Clacton Pier was home to a pop-up Adventure Golf course

As with most things, it really does depend what you want from a trip to a seaside. If you want a sedate place then Clacton and Bognor are probably not for you, but even saying that I have some nice memories of picnicking in the gardens near the seafront in Clacton and there are some very good spots for a more tranquil wander in Bognor Regis.

Crazy Golf in Bognor Regis
The Crazy Golf course on Waterloo Place in Bognor Regis in 2011

We've been to some seasides that other people rave about and haven't been impressed at all. That could be down to us being us, or it could be because of the time of year we visited, the weather on the day, or a number of other factors.

I've been to seven of the seasides ranked in the top ten. Only one of those, Southwold, would possibly rank in my top ten.

Top ten:

  • Bamburgh
  • Portmeirion
  • Dartmouth
  • North Berwick
  • St Mawes
  • Beer
  • St Andrews
  • Aldeburgh
  • Southwold
  • Tenby


Looking at the bottom ten seaside resorts I've been to all of them, many multiple times. I'd select some of them for my top ten.

Bottom ten:

  • Bognor Regis
  • Clacton-on-Sea
  • Burnham-on-Sea
  • Skegness
  • Fleetwood
  • Weston-Super-Mare
  • Great Yarmouth
  • Margate
  • Morecambe
  • Minehead


A few years ago another poll rated the Lincolnshire seaside resort of Skegness as one of the world's worst holiday destinations, on a par with Pyongyang, North Korea. I disagree with that result. Pyongyang only has one minigolf course, whereas Skegness has ten courses on the seafront so it is head and shoulders above the North Korean city.

Crazy Golf in Bognor Regis
A view of Bognor Regis Pier from the Crazy Golf course

Crazy Golf in Bognor Regis
Emily playing Crazy Golf in Bognor Regis
  
Adventure Golf on Clacton Pier
Playing Adventure Golf on Clacton Pier in 2011

We're looking forward to return visits to both Bognor Regis and Clacton-on-Sea. The towns have new minigolf courses we've yet to play too, an even better reason to go again.

Do you agree with the results of the survey?

Have you been to Clacton-on-Sea or Bognor Regis? What did you think?

What's your favourite / least favourite seaside?

Related blog posts:
Bognor Regis
- Clacton-on-Sea

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Cathedral Crazy Golf in Rochester

There's a new Crazy Golf course at Rochester Cathedral in Kent.


Plans for the temporary Crazy Golf installation were announced earlier this year and the new course is now open to play.


The 9-hole Crazy Golf course is free to play and is a partnership between Rochester Cathedral and Rochester Bridge Trust. The layout has been supplied by HM Adventure Golf.


It's fair to say the pop-up Crazy Golf course's appearance in a religious setting has caused some controversy.

However, it's not the first time minigolf and cathedrals have mixed. Back in 2017 a complaint was made about a devil obstacle on a Crazy Golf course at the Winchester Hat Fair. That course was set-up in the grounds of Winchester Cathedral.

The Rochester Cathedral Crazy Golf course is from the same range as the course I recently played at The Palace Fun Centre in Rhyl.

 Mini Golf at the Palace Fun Centre in Rhyl
 The HM Adventure Golf course at the Palace Fun Centre in Rhyl

You can play the Rochester Cathedral Crazy Golf course until the 1st September.

The Crazy Golf course at Onchan Pleasure Park on the Isle of Man

Visiting the Crazy Golf course at Onchan Pleasure Park on the Isle of Man.


Crazy Golf course at Onchan Pleasure Park on the Isle of Man

Last summer we had a holiday on the Isle of Man and notched up five more course visits on our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour. One of which was the Crazy Golf course at Onchan Pleasure Park.

Crazy Golf course at Onchan Pleasure Park on the Isle of Man
This is how the course looked on the 30th July last year. We also visited the course on the 28th July, but didn't get to actually play it until the 31st July

Crazy Golf course at Onchan Pleasure Park on the Isle of Man

Crazy Golf course at Onchan Pleasure Park on the Isle of Man

Crazy Golf course at Onchan Pleasure Park on the Isle of Man

Crazy Golf course at Onchan Pleasure Park on the Isle of Man

Crazy Golf course at Onchan Pleasure Park on the Isle of Man

Crazy Golf course at Onchan Pleasure Park on the Isle of Man

Crazy Golf course at Onchan Pleasure Park on the Isle of Man
 
Crazy Golf course at Onchan Pleasure Park on the Isle of Man

Crazy Golf course at Onchan Pleasure Park on the Isle of Man

Crazy Golf course at Onchan Pleasure Park on the Isle of Man

The 9-hole Crazy Golf course at Onchan Pleasure Park was the 825th visited and 490th played on our travels.

Related blog posts:
Isle of Man
Mini Golf on the Isle of Man
Crazy World of Minigolf Tour

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Minigolfnews blog: Bringing an old minigolf course back to life

My latest blog post at Minigolfnews is about the work of Blackpool Fulfilling Lives and Blackpool & the Fylde Street Angels and the project bringing an old Crazy Golf course back to life.

Princess Parade Crazy Golf course on Blackpool's North Shore
The course wasn't in great condition before the project got underway

The teams at the two organisations in the seaside resort have joined forces to refresh and reopen the Princess Parade Crazy Golf course on Blackpool's North Shore.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Lost minigolf courses - the Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Exmouth

A look at the Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Exmouth, Devon.


Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Exmouth

We stayed in Exmouth, Devon for part of our summer holiday in June 2015 so we could visit the Arnold Palmer Putting Course on the seafront.


Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Exmouth
Sadly the course wasn't open when we swung by in June 2015

Unfortunately the course wasn't open on the day we visited and even more unfortunate is the fact that the course is now consigned to history as it was demolished in 2016.


Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Exmouth
A view of the 10-hole course

I'm a BIG fan of Arnold Palmer Putting Courses and the Exmouth layout looked superb.

Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Exmouth
The classic windmill obstacle was on hole 3 at Exmouth

It was a 10-hole course, with a lucky 11th hole where you could win a free game if you rang the bell with your shot.

Hole 1

Hole 2

Hole 4

Hole 5

The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Exmouth was the 611th course visited on our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour.

Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Exmouth
Hole 10 was a waterwheel obstacle

Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Exmouth
The venue in Exmouth was also home to a grass Putting course

The first Arnold Palmer Putting Course in the UK opened in Coventry in 1965 and was part of an Arnold Palmer Driving Range. A course was also located at a Driving Range in Sheffield.

Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Exmouth
A classic Arnold Palmer Putting Course sign

Sadly over the years a number of Arnold Palmer Putting Courses in the UK have been closed, abandoned, demolished or converted beyond recognition.

As well as the loss of the Exmouth Arnold Palmer course, the two Arnold Palmer courses in Great Yarmouth have been replaced by one Adventure Golf course. The two courses in Cliftonville, Margate were closed in 2014 and removed shortly after. The course that was once in Folkestone is no longer playable - as it was used to make an art installation on the promenade.

Luckily you can still find playable examples of Arnold Palmer Putting Courses - in varying conditions and some with modifications - in the following locations:

  • Bognor Regis - built in 1993
  • Broadstairs - built in 1995
  • Caister-on-Sea (Haven Holiday Park)
  • Canvey Island (9 holes of an 18 hole course remain)
  • Cleethorpes
  • Filey (Primrose Valley Holiday Park)
  • Gorleston-on-Sea
  • Hastings
  • Mablethorpe (Haven Golden Sands Caravan Holiday Park)
  • Mablethorpe (Hooks Island)
  • Prestatyn
  • Skegness x2 (9 and 18 hole courses)
  • Southend-on-Sea (1 of 2 courses remain - the 'East' course) - upgraded
  • Southport
  • Weston-Super-Mare
  • Whitby


A scorecard from the Arnold Palmer Putting Courses in Skegness - this has a wonderful listing of other courses. Some of these still exist, while others have closed
A scorecard from the Arnold Palmer Putting Courses in Skegness - this has a wonderful listing of other courses. Some of these still exist, while others have closed

Lost Arnold Palmer Putting Courses:

  • Ayr (Haven Craig Tara Holiday Park, formerly Butlin's)
  • Battersea
  • Blackpool, Starr Gate
  • Bognor Regis (Butlin's)
  • Camber Sands - now a Car Park
  • Cliftonville, Margate (2 courses)
  • Coventry
  • Eastbourne
  • Exmouth
  • Folkestone - now an Art Installation on Beach Huts!
  • Goodrington
  • Great Yarmouth (2 courses) - turned into Castaway Adventure Golf
  • Hornsea Potteries
  • Hove
  • Ladram Bay
  • Leicester
  • Manchester
  • Minehead (Butlin's)
  • Nottingham
  • Prestatyn
  • Pwhelli (Butlin's)
  • Rhyl
  • Scarborough
  • Sheffield
  • South Shields
  • Southend-on-Sea ('West' course demolished)
  • Tynemouth
  • Weymouth
  • Whitley Bay
  • Withernsea


If you know of any Arnold Palmer Putting Courses missing from the lists above please do get in touch.

Of the 912 courses we've visited since September 2006, 25 have been Arnold Palmer Putting Course locations.

Related blog posts:
- Arnold Palmer Putting Courses in the UK
- Crazy World of Minigolf Tour
- Exmouth

Friday, July 26, 2019

Crazy Golf course on the Promenade in Ilfracombe, Devon

A look back at our visit to the Crazy Golf course in Ilfracombe, Devon.


Crazy Golf course on the Promenade in Ilfracombe, Devon

During our summer holiday around the South West of England back in 2015 we visited 62 miniature golf courses on our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour.


Crazy Golf course on the Promenade in Ilfracombe, Devon

The last of the seaside courses on the trip, and the penultimate course visited, was the 12-hole Crazy Golf course on the Promenade in Ilfracombe, Devon.


Crazy Golf in Ilfracombe, Devon

Crazy Golf course on the Promenade in Ilfracombe, Devon

The course was the 660th visited on our travels.

Crazy Golf in Ilfracombe, Devon

Crazy Golf in Ilfracombe, Devon

Crazy Golf in Ilfracombe, Devon

Crazy Golf in Ilfracombe, Devon

Crazy Golf in Ilfracombe, Devon

Crazy Golf in Ilfracombe, Devon
 
Crazy Golf in Ilfracombe, Devon

Crazy Golf in Ilfracombe, Devon
A rocket hole

Crazy Golf in Ilfracombe, Devon
What a space ship!

Crazy Golf in Ilfracombe, Devon
A view of the 'moon' green

Crazy Golf in Ilfracombe, Devon

Crazy Golf in Ilfracombe, Devon

Crazy Golf in Ilfracombe, Devon

The last hole is really long!

A view of hole 12

A look back at hole 12 from the green

For more information check out the Ilfracombe Crazy Golf course website.

Squeezing 62 course visits into two-weeks was a BIG task and it wasn't possible to stop at, or play all of the Mini, Crazy and Adventure Golf courses, or all the Putting Greens and Pitch & Putts we saw on the trip, or those we'd heard about beforehand.

Related blog posts:

Crazy World of Minigolf Tour
Mini Golf in the South West of England