Things to do in Grimsby
There are few places around the UK coast more synonymous with the traditional fishing industry than Grimsby. Grimsby’s town charter was granted in 1201, but the town really took off when the first fishing dock opened in 1856.
By 1900, 10% of the UK’s fish was landed here, and by the 1950s Grimsby had fair claim to being the busiest fishing port in the world. It’s still a charming and bustling seaside town with lots to recommend it to holidaymakers. Here we present our pick of the sights, sounds and smells of Grimsby, all of them within a reasonable travelling distance of our Thorpe Park Holiday Park.
1. The People’s Park
After all that history and drama, you might want to catch a breath of fresh air, and the People’s Park, like many Victorian era parks, is beautifully laid out. It contains a children’s play area, a bandstand, a very relaxing café, and a landscaped lake with three islands, which is a playground for local waterfowl.
There’s plenty of shade under the trees for hot, sunny days, and there are often events held in the park including fairs, concerts and festivals.
2. Grimsby Fishing Heritage Centre
Given the town’s illustrious fishing history, it makes sense to start here. The museum’s centrepiece is the perfectly preserved fishing trawler, the Ross Tiger. Take a tour of the boat and find out what it must have been like to take to sea in all weathers in the oldest surviving side trawler in the UK.
The museum itself holds a number of local collections including maritime art, ship miniatures, period clothing and other remnants of a bygone era. There are three galleries within the space hosting both permanent and changing exhibitions, as well as a cafe.
3. Grimsby Tennis Centre
Sports enthusiasts are well catered for in Grimsby. The tennis club has an illustrious 100-year history and boasts four floodlit, artificial grass courts. You have to be a member to play here, but membership is very reasonably priced, well worth it if you live locally or are likely to visit Lincolnshire more than once a year.
Coaching sessions are usually available, and members of all abilities are welcomed. Membership guarantees entry into the Wimbledon attendees’ ballot too.
4. Time Trap Museum
A contrasting museum experience can be found at this hidden gem, situated in the Grimsby Town Hall. The exhibits are situated in what was once the town jail, and gives dark and sinister insights into local history, including law and order, disease, and political upheaval.
The museum is structured almost like a maze, which allows visitors to stumble across tableaus of daily life and contemporary newspaper headlines. The effect is somehow more powerful than many more staid museums. It’s also extremely reasonably priced, with discounted children’s seniors and family tickets.
5. Freeman Street Market
The pretty, striped awnings of Freeman Street Market make this a must-visit, whether you’re doing a spot of food shopping or browsing for souvenirs. There’s a classy selection of stalls here, ranging from knitwear to local artwork to flowers.
There are also plenty of places to eat too, including burger vans, Greek food, and German home-cooking in the recently opened food court.
6. Caxton Theatre
Grimbsy is large and cultured enough to boast two theatres. The Caxton Theatre has an impressive red brick front and hosts local theatre companies performing crowd-pleasing TV and literary adaptations (Jeeves and Wooster, Blackadder), classic repertory and original plays.
7. Docks Beers
If all that shopping has made you thirsty, one of the highlights of the local craft beer scene in Grimsby is this local brewery and taproom, where you can sample a dozen or so brews from both Docks and sister company Axholme Brewing.
The bar is cool and stylish, and you’ll even see brewers at work behind a glass wall as you taste their creations. A local pizzeria, Tredici, deliver wood-fired pizza here if you want to supplement those bar snacks. Tours and tastings are available on the first Saturday of every month.
8. Grimsby Auditorium
The city’s other theatre is a much glitzier venue, which seats 1200 and features major bands and comedians, as well as musicals, ballet, kids shows and even boxing matches and wrestling events. The programme changes frequently (almost every day), so it’s worth checking in advance of your visit so you don’t miss any highlights.
9. Yardbirds Rock Club
From the sacred to the profane! Yardbirds is the venue to visit to check out new bands, particularly of the loud and guitar-driven variety.
Tribute bands and burlesque shows form much of the line-up and the venue is very much an over-18s club, so arrange for childcare if you need to!
10. Grimsby Minister
For more spiritual sustenance, head to the town’s 13th-century church, which features impressive stained-glass windows and no less than 14 bells, which you can hear pealing during bell-ringing practice sessions on Wednesday evenings.
From Tuesday to Saturday, there’s a very popular lunchtime cafe at the minster, with delicious cakes and freshly brewed coffee. Needless to say, the building itself (Grade I-listed) is beautiful and the grounds a very relaxing place for an afternoon stroll.
11. Time 4 Play
Having had some time away from the kids, you may want to reward them with a child-friendly extravaganza at Time 4 Play. It’s a compact but busy adventure play facility with climbing, slides, soft play, spread across three levels. There are individual zones for babies, toddlers and juniors, a giant ball pit, a miniature zip wire and numerous other obstacles to exhaust and delight the little ones.
You’ll also find a cafe with both kids’ and adult meals and coffee for the supervising parents. Time4Play holds special events for toddlers too, including a chance to meet their friendly bear mascot!