Holidays in the UK

Before it became cheaper to go abroad than to holiday in the UK, that was all we did. I didn’t actually see the seaside until I was seven, and I vividly remember the first time I saw the sea stretching out in front of me. Much bigger than you could fit on a TV screen, it was really quite scary, but also exciting in the pit of my stomach. Like you could go anywhere and do anything without restriction. It’s no coincidence that when it was time to choose a university, I went to a coastal town.

It just wasn’t a part of the culture back then to go abroad every year. When I was younger, we would stay at home for holidays and ‘holiday’ to me just meant no school and playing in the park. Or we would go to my Gran’s in Worcestershire, which was 75 miles away from home and a major culture shock because the people spoke with a burl, and to me they sounded like cows mooing. I’m sure that I sounded equally bizarre to them. Before the motorway, there was a great deal of difference between the North of Brum and the South!

Me on left (eating biscuits) and my two sisters on holiday in a tent circa 1980A week on a North Wales campsite was my holiday treat from the age of nine, and if you got good weather to go with it like we did one year in Red Wharf Bay on Anglesey then that was a bonus! You can get a panorama of Red Wharf Bay here but you may need to download Apple Quicktime for it.

One week per year was it, and other than that we’d take our holidays in ‘our backyard’. I used to think this was an actual place when my mum said that in answer to someone asking, ‘Where are you going this year?’

These days, only one holiday a year and there’s a sense of deprivation. The child that doesn’t go away on holiday at all is positively abused!

The first time I went abroad was a day trip to Calais with school when I was thirteen. Okay so I’m deviating from the seventies, but this is an important aspect of our attitude towards holidays then compared to now. I wouldn’t have gone but for the coincidence in timing. It was three days before my fourteenth birthday, so I decided that it would be my present. It cost £14 and my mum gave me £6 to spend because she would have spent £20 on a present for me. The point being that if I hadn’t begged and pleaded and had a birthday very close to the date then I wouldn’t have gone abroad until the next time I went when I was 23. Is this just my family or is it a Seventies thing?

Now it seems like the race is on to get as much abroad experience as possible before all the fuel runs out. ‘Abroad’ in the Seventies was in the next town. It’s fabulous of course, to be jetsetting around the world – last year I went to Paris and then Egypt and in recent years I’ve been to places in Europe and America. I wouldn’t have missed those experiences for the world. (In case anyone doesn’t get the irony here, I am conscious of The World being affected by the spiralling numbers of holidaying Brits.) HOWEVER, and this is very important for people who don’t have money coming out of their ears, the Paris holiday cost almost three times as much as the Egypt one, and I recently spent a weekend in London which cost more than a whole week in Benidorm. So where is the incentive to stay close to home?

There will come a time when we can’t travel so much. Resources will be so low that the UK will become the deprived country that needs assistance. And then we’ll go back to our backyard and making our own entertainment.

 Josie Henley-Einion, author, blogger, Legend in my own Living Room


5 Responses

  1. […] Originally posted here: Holidays in the UK […]

  2. […] Read the rest here: Holidays in the UK […]

  3. Our family never took a holiday, all through the Seventies: we did have one weekend in Williamsburg Virginia (a two-hour drive away) and one weekend in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia (a one-hour drive) during the entire decade.

    I never missed it or felt deprived however. We took ‘Sunday Drives’ almost every week, where we’d wake up early, pack a picnic, and the whole family would climb in the car and just drive all day, seeing oddball roadside attractions, visiting towns we’d never seen, going to county fairs, whatever. It was wonderful! And it cost nothing but the fuel and a souvenir or two.

    The sad thing is a lot of families here fly abroad every chance they get, when they haven’t experienced a fraction of the charms of their own country….while thousands of others are flying across oceans to visit here! Seems silly.

    As ever, thanks for the memories!

  4. Hey again Susan! I have discovered now that there is a word for the stay at home holiday – it’s a staycation. We didn’t call it that when I was a kid, but then it wasn’t fashionable! It is pretty silly to fly off to another country rather than exploring your own. But for instance I’ve been trying to get a holiday in the UK for the end of August and found that a caravan in Cornwall – which would be self-catering – is £1200 for the week. Compared to the same price for an all-inclusive in Spain. People vote with their feet.

  5. […] Bank Holiday Posted on August 25, 2008 by pop&crisps Apart from the staycation (which is when you stay at home on holiday, except that we didn’t know that this was what it was […]

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