Originally published 25th July 2007

It’s the middle of summer and some of us have already had our holiday while others still have theirs to look forward to. No matter where you go, to have a really enjoyable time the weather has to be warm and sunny. That’s why those who can, choose to go abroad to places where the sunshine can almost be guaranteed.

Over the years costs have become more and more competitive encouraging us to travel further. Now, with careful planning, it is possible to visit countries all over the world for little more than is charged for a couple of weeks stay in the UK.

Did You Know?

Our parents and grandparents rarely had more than one or two weeks holiday each year and it often had to be taken together with all their workmates so their factory or works could close down while they were away.


Those with regular jobs who saved carefully through the year could afford to hire a caravan or bungalow and spend the time with their families by the sea. The facilities were generally very primitive but as well as making a nice break for everyone away from the same old daily routine, the children enjoyed a freedom they never had at home.

summer holiday

Even before the war some managed to find the money to go to a Holiday Camp and once they had been, they always seemed to have the urge to go back the following year.

However, there were many folk who had to be satisfied spending their summer holiday at home with their children. They passed the time playing games, having picnics or just an afternoon lazing by the river at a spot where it was shallow enough for youngsters to swim. For a shilling or two they could hire a boat and take turns rowing while the children gazed into the water to see how many fish they could count.

Older couples and those without children who had relatives living away sometimes made a change by going to stay with them for a few days.

For those who had a few shillings saved, could always spend them on the delights found at the seaside. Coaches and Trains ran regularly down to the coast. Anyone with very young children preferred the train because prams and pushchairs were put in the Guards van. In those days they didn’t fold up.

summer holiday on the beach

As soon as they arrived they were met by the smell of fresh salty air which seemed to fit in with the shouts and screams of happy children playing or watching Punch and Judy. All the while the constant sound of the waves breaking gently onto the beach could be heard in the background.

As they moved along the front other smells filled the air: – Onions from the Hot Dog stall: Kippers and Bloaters from shops who would despatch them to any destination of your choice: Rock in the process of being made at the back of the rock shops: Cockles and muscles as well as jellied eels and the sweet smelling candy floss. Not forgetting the traditional fish and chips.

Every flavour of ice-cream imaginable was readily available in the wooden built Café’s which seemed to be everywhere with their odour of fresh brewed tea. There was all kinds of food on sale ready to eat on the beach. Even the deck chairs were placed in straight rows to make it easy for the venders with their baskets of fruit, trays of sweets and ice boxes to walk up and down between them.


Perhaps one of the most lasting memories of those days on the beach was the sight of fathers and mothers paddling in the sea. Something they always had to do because it was good for their feet. Women tucked their dresses up under the elastic in the legs of their bloomers. While the men, with their braces on full display, rolled up their shirt sleeves and trouser legs and donned a knotted handkerchief on their head to protect it from the sun before setting off down to the waters edge.

With the advent of the car people were becoming more affluent and started to venture further afield for their annual break. When businessmen became aware of the opportunities the Tourist Industry now offered venues catering for all kinds of activities sprang up everywhere.

Technology advanced rapidly and before long most people found an airport nearby waiting to whisk them away to all parts of the world.


During the war a train left Euston Station at ten o’clock every morning to transport Servicemen bound for Scapa Flow and the Orkneys. There were two scheduled stops, Carlisle and Perth. It arrived in Thurso at about seven-thirty the following day. The personnel then had to transfer to Scrabster Pier to catch the ferry so as to arrive at their destination sometime in the afternoon.

Today, if they were stationed as far away as Australia their journey wouldn’t take that long nor be so exhausting.

However, although we are informed of the ever increasing number of holiday destinations that await and we are constantly advised of the cut priced flights available, there is still that same major problem that thwarted our forefathers: – Finding the money to pay for it! Years ago it was easy, if you couldn’t afford it you chose a cheaper holiday or stayed at home. Now there are lots of people only too keen to loan you all you need. Others are saying buy now and pay later: – It’s always sooner rather than later when they start to add the interest on what you owe.

It’s upsetting for children to see their classmates flying off while their parents, watching their friends do the same, try to work out how they managed to find the cash to finance such a venture. The amount of pressure created by the constant flow of adverts with their numerous offers of cheap accommodation and bargain flights are impossible to ignore and grossly unfair. Especially to hard working families who are trying desperately to give their families all they need and set up a stable home. Unfortunately, there are no visible means of escape unless you follow the guidelines and put all your faith into winning the Lottery, or maybe get lucky with a bit of online betting.

valley lad – [NINETEEN]