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town, unitary authority of North East Lincolnshire, historic county of Lincolnshire, eastern England, on the south shore of the River Humber estuary where it meets the North Sea. It lies just east of the port of Grimsby. Cleethorpes is a popular seaside resort that has developed since the 19th century as a destination for vacationers from the Midlands and Yorkshire. Coastal erosion makes necessary expensive maintenance of the promenade and seawalls behind the sandy foreshore. Pop. (2001) 31,853.