The Great British Summer Holiday – 7 Top Destinations Then and Now

The Great British Summer Holiday – Top Destinations then and now!

During the post war years, the British summer holiday escape was in its hey-day! It is ironic, therefore that post pandemic, with limited travel options abroad, our UK destinations seem appealing once again! So, where did our parents and grand-parents head off to for their summer getaway? Let’s look at the great British summer holiday and top destinations then and now!


Cornwall, a favourite summer holiday destination. Sitting at the South Western tip of Britain, Cornwall boasts something for everyone! From the sandy beaches of the southern coastline (known as the Cornish riviera), to the towering cliffs and famous surfer’s beaches like Newquay and Fistral in the North. Delightful, picturesque fishing villages, wild moorland and a county full of history and mystery! In addition to this, you can indulge in delicious cream teas, Cornish ice cream and famous Cornish pasties!

However, getting to Cornwall and all its delights can be difficult! The M5 only takes traffic to Exeter, in Devon. Therefore, if travelling by car, you must brave the A30 and all other holiday makers following the same route. Alternatively, you could let the train take the strain! That is certainly what many of our Grand-Parents and Parents did. Lines took holiday makers direct to popular destinations, like Newquay and St. Ives. Indeed, you can get the train all the way to Penzance! Why not have a look at for more information.


Devon and its famous Jurassic coastline! This South Western coastline, known as the English Riviera, boasts sandy beaches and fossil rich cliffs. For seaside holidays, families flocked to Torquay, Paignton and Sidmouth. Still popular today for staycation holidays, these historic towns have plenty to offer. From gorgeous beaches, theme parks and zoos, to historic castles, botanical gardens and casual country walks.

In addition to this, Plymouth offers amazing Maritime history and a wide range of activities, come rain or shine! In addition to this, the South Devon railway will take you on a round trip steam train journey, between Buckfastleigh and Totnes. This delightful journey will give you a small insight into the world of travel for those holidaying in this area in the post war period.

The South Coast

Travelling further East from Devon we have famous holiday destinations like, Bournemouth, Brighton and Eastbourne. Particularly popular with those travelling from the Capital, these historic seaside resorts provided many families a chance to escape. For a week or two, holiday makers enjoyed staying at grand hotels, friendly B&Bs, or, if they were lucky, (a cost-effective option), with friends or relatives! This year, look out for the 32nd London to Brighton Classic Car run, 6th June 2021. A great draw for car enthusiasts, with a myriad of vehicles including, in 2020, a 1915 Model T Ford! If maritime history is of more interest, visit Portsmouth. At the National Museum of the Royal Navy, you will discover HMS Victory and HMS Warrior. The Tudor ship, Mary Rose can also be visited in this vibrant port city.

The East of England

From Clacton, in Essex, to The Broads in Norfolk, the East of England has much to offer. Our parents and grand-parents may well have visited the Butlins resort in Clacton! Although no longer there, Clacton still has plenty to offer those looking for a seaside holiday escape. Built in 1871, Clacton Pier was voted Pier of the year in 2020, for example, and hosts a wide variety of family fun activities!

For those looking for a quieter escape, why not visit The Broads? A beautiful National Park, known for its waterways, exotic wildlife, and picturesque landscape, this is definitely the place to visit if you are looking for a slower pace of life!


Yorkshire, boasting two National parks, stunning coastline and history steeped with the Romans and Vikings, a destination for many families during their summer break! In the 50s and 60s, families escaped the mines and factories for a fortnight, often by the coast. Train links led them to destinations including, Filey and Whitby. Amusement arcades, candy floss and seafood stalls all provided an escape from their day to day lives. Many of these features remain today and you are guaranteed a warm Yorkshire welcome, even if the weather doesn’t live up to hopes and expectations!

If the coastline is not for you, however, why not visit the North Yorkshire Moors or the rolling Yorkshire Dales? Contrasting landscape, each beautiful in their own right. For history buffs, a visit to York itself is a must. With its historic Cathedral, the Jorvik Viking Museum, medieval walls, restaurants and tea shops aplenty, you will not be disappointed!


Although North of Britain and therefore, historically cooler and wetter than the South, Scotland remains a popular destination for holiday makers. Our predecessors often crossed the borders by train, pulled by fantastic steam engines, like The Flying Scotsman! Scotland boasts the most amazing landscape, from the borders in the South to the Highlands and islands in the North and West. Scotland has so much to offer in history, culture and sport. From the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to the Edinburgh Tattoo, castles, Lochs (even a monster!) and, of course, golf courses! Inventors of this fine sport, St. Andrews is known as the home of golf! There is so much to see and do in Scotland, that one visit will certainly never be enough!


The small country with a big heart! With rugged coastlines, amazing national parks, a deep-rooted Celtic history with its own unique language, Wales is never short of diverse holiday destinations. In the 50s, 60s, and 70s, every summer, the coastline would be visited by the hard-working miners and their families from the valleys! Known as miner’s fortnight, seaside resorts like Barry Island, Porthcawl and, of course, the Gower peninsular, offered an annual opportunity to embrace the refreshing sea air! In the North, Llandudno, Bangor and Rhyl equally proved fashionable destinations. Wales does boast wonderful coastal holidays and has a coastal path around the whole of its shoreline!

Wales offers far more than just seaside vacations, however. From its vibrant, cosmopolitan capitol city, Cardiff, in the South, to the impressive Snowdonia National park in the North. Families are spoilt for choice on which region to explore next! Enjoy the culture, history and fine food as you explore the ever-changing landscape.


As you have read, the great British summer holiday is something staycationers have enjoyed for decades. This blog merely scratches the surface of some destinations that proved popular in the past and offer so much more to those in the future. Who needs guaranteed sunshine and scorching temperatures? When we have a nation filled with sensational landscapes, unbeatable beaches, history, culture, why travel anywhere else? Besides, you can’t beat tucking into delicious fish and chips, wrapped in paper, whilst looking out over our amazing coastline!

We hope you have enjoyed our blog. If you would like to visit our Sweet and Nostalgic store for more inspiration on gifts and collectables from the 20th century, please visit our online store. Happy holidays and stay safe!


What was life like in 1960’s Britain?

What was life like in 1960’s Britain?

The Beatles Help Album

The 1960’s was a decade of great social change. Music set the pace and songs from The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Kinks and Dusty Springfield led the youth culture. So, what was life like in 1960’s Britain?


Challenges to authority made by programmes on the TV, for example, ‘That was the week that was’ with David Frost and Lance Percival, became a popular theme. Pushing the limits, rock musicals like ‘Hair’ and ‘Oh Calcutta’, included nude scenes! By the end of the decade, most families had televisions and the Telstar satellite made live Trans-Atlantic broadcasts possible. Television entertained the children with puppet shows such as Camberwick Green, Trumpton and Magic Roundabout. Science Fiction puppets Captain Scarlet and Thunderbirds thrilled youngsters and Doctor Who and the Daleks were ‘real’ enough to scare many young viewers to hide behind their sofas! BBC2 was launched in 1964 and in 1967 was the first channel to have colour.  Comics were very popular including The Hornet, Jena and Twinkle to name just a few of many.


Fashion was influenced by Jean Shrimpton and Mary Quant, mini skirts became very popular, as well as florescent and bright geometrical patterns. Twiggy became a teenage model sensation. In 1966 the Daily Express named her the ‘Face of 1966’ and British Woman of The Year. By the end of the decade ‘Flower Power’ manifested itself in everything, from psychedelic fabrics, to peaceful rebellion and even hallucinogenic drugs.


The 1969 Moon Landing

The 1960’s had memorable headlines, for example, the death in 1965 of Sir Winston Churchill and the Great Train Robbery of 1963 shocked the nation.  Meanwhile, the assassination of President Kennedy, on Friday 22nd November 1963, rocked the World. 

There were a string of achievements in the space race, firstly with Russia sending the first man into space and then three weeks later the USA’s Alan Shepard went up. John Glen and Scott Carpenter orbited the Earth in 1962. The first space walks were made in 1965 and after more missions, the greatest achievement of the decade was the Moon Walk, by the Americans Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin in 1969.


Supermarket shelves were filled with branded goods including frozen and chilled items such as desserts and yoghurts. Most homes by this decade had refrigerators to store their shopping for longer. So, the weekly shop came into being! Iconic brands like, Babycham, Kellogg’s Cornflakes, Fairy washing up liquid and Golden Shred remained popular on the shopping lists.

The MOD’s and the Rockers

Mods in the 1960's

The 1960’s was the time of the MOD’s and Rockers, who were two social groups of opposing cultures. The Mod’s were style-conscious and wore light suits and polo neck shirts and rode Italian Scooters such as the Lambretta and Vespa. The Rockers wore leather jackets and rode high octane motorbike of the day. Seaside towns, like Brighton, became the battle-fields with stand offs between the opposing groups.


Employment was high and most people had a reasonable income so consumerism increased. Holidays abroad became popular and many more people owned their own cars. Austin and Morris Mini cars endorsed by Peter Sellers, Lord Snowden and Twiggy became favourites! Paddy Hopkirk won the Monte Carlo Rally in 1964 in a Mini Cooper and sales accelerated.

Barbie was a teenage doll that had endless clothes and accessories. Action Man came to the UK in 1966 and for many years was the most popular toy for boys. Space Hoppers were new outdoor playthings and brought great fun to children (and Adults !).

Nicknamed, ‘The Swinging Sixties’, it’s understandable why people felt free, bright and ‘modern’. Youngsters experiencing fewer responsibilities than their parent’s generation, enjoyed significant changes to sexual and political views.

Here at Sweet and Nostalgic, we have a great range of 1960’s Gift ideas. Come and have a look! Our products give you a warm nostalgic flavour for this wonderful decade. Our range covers the whole of the 20th Century so, there’s something on our site for everyone interested in the most influential century that the world has known to date.