Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Tiddley om pom pom

Says the BBC:

Come the bank holiday, millions will head abroad or to the countryside. But what of the UK's seaside resorts? After years in the shade, they're making a comeback.

Ah, the smell of fish and chips, the squawk of seagulls and the splash of bracing briney waves. Few childhood memories are as evocative as that of the British seaside holiday, which holds a unique place in the national psyche.

Yet while domestic tourism is in rude health - with walking, camping and caravanning enjoying a revival - and flights to the Mediterranean cheaper than an inter-city train fare, bucket-and-spade breaks seem to have been left behind.

For 30 years there have been repeated predictions that the British seaside holiday is doomed. MPs are currently investigating what action can be taken to save coastal towns gripped by deprivation.

But are there stirrings that the UK's love affair with the seaside may be rekindled?

Traditional English seaside holidays only 'went away' in the sense that they moved to the Algarve, Spain, Greece, the Canaries, the Balearics etc. Dotted all over the Med are Little Britain enclaves, with English pubs, bingo, full breakfasts, and TV screens endlessly running Only Fools and Horses, Dad's Army and Fawlty Towers.

If only global warming could guarantee us decent weather for just July and August, then Margate and Scunthorpe would be as popular as they were in the 1950s.


martpol said...

The problem is that going on holiday in Britain is just too damn expensive. This might be viewed as a symptom of our healthy economy, but it's also related to our poor public transport networks and our odd sense of value for money.

You could take a package holiday of a week in Brighton or Cornwall, routinely be advertised as a "bargain" at £300 or so, which includes a very long and dull coach journey from your home town. Or you could drive yourself somewhere and end up paying £50 a night for a guest house which can't even knock up a good breakfast.

The other interpretation, of course, is that flying abroad is too cheap. But that's a whole other argument...

Oroborous said...

At the current rate of exchange, £300 for a week of in-season seaside lodging plus transportation would be considered a great bargain in America, as well.

If it's even cheaper than that for you guys to jet off to the Continent for a week of better weather, well then, you should count yourselves lucky.
Another small way in which you've got it better than do Americans.

Brit said...

You can go to the Med or the Canaries for half the price of an English holiday or less, and be guaranteed sunshine and warmth.

I do think that many Britons would happily forego the flight, pay the extra and holiday at home if the weather was reliable, though.

Oroborous said...

O/T, but I was just re-reading the Blogger's Lament that you put up over at The Duck, and it's not just good, it's really, really good.

Brit said...

Thank you, Oro - very kind.

I'll have to add a Poetry section of TofE - the compendium is growing.

Peter Burnet said...

Perhaps it isn't just cost that drives you fellows out of the country for your holidays.

David said...

There are few experiences as sobering for Americans as entering "English beaches" and discovering that what the British consider vacation spots lie halfway between what we would, in America, call "badlands" and "Love Canal."