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 https://greatscenicrailways.co.uk/cornwall/ 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.
THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME!
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!