British Seasides – Worth Remembering or Forgetting?
The great British seaside resorts – Blackpool, Scarborough, Skegness, Yarmouth, Southend, Weston-super-Mare, Brighton, Hastings, Eastbourne – are synonymous with windbreaks, candy floss, amusement parks and, of course, proper fish and chips.
There is a real nostalgia that I feel for UK resorts having grown up in the generation just before cheap flights. I enjoyed many summers playing games on the beach in winter woollies and dodging showers in amusement parks.
On a recent visit to one of the towns I used to adore, I realised that this is not the seaside of my childhood.
I’m in danger of becoming officially ‘old’ as I reminisce about the good old days. I’ve been coming here for over 30 years and I remember my British holidays in ‘Skeggy’, Yarmouth, and a raft of other UK seaside towns with fond memories but they don’t bear much resemblance to the overindulgent, dirty, soulless place that I visited recently.
Yes, as kids we had candy floss, fairground rides and even the penny slot machines, but we also spent much more of our time on the beach, going for adventures, making up treasure hunts and playing endless games of french cricket.
They were happy holidays and the occasional trip to the fairground was a real treat. This is not the impression I got from the seaside resort I witnessed.
Children being dragged around and shouted at – in language I’d not feel comfortable having a dog hear, a disturbing number of morbidly obese, tattooed chain smokers and shops marketing themselves on the fact that they sell sizes up to XXXXXL. More than this – people didn’t look very happy.
I was left wondering what effect this would have on the children and what their memories of their summer holidays in British seaside resorts would be.
Children learn by copying. What ever you do or say they, will repeat it (often at the most inappropriate moment!) and this goes for the experiences they have on holiday too.
The people and places that we surround our children with will have an impact on their attitude, behaviour and their futures.
A family holiday is meant to be adventurous as well as fun and is a wonderful opportunity for the children to really get to know their parents, away from the stresses of every day life.
However, we still need to think about the activities we do, what we eat and how we act.
I’m really not wanting to be judgemental here, but my recent experience has left me with a really uncomfortable feeling about the messages being given to children in seaside resorts.
Over-indulgence, gambling, costly entertainment activity after costly entertainment activity, junk food for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
No chance for children to make their own fun, use their imaginations or enjoy simple pleasures and nowhere to go for any peace and quiet.
We need to find a solution – family holidays abroad are very expensive and can be a cause of stress for the parents, in terms of budget and planning the trip and being able to satisfy the whole family.
With parents being fined and even prosecuted for taking children away in term time, we have the perfect opportunity to give children fantastic memorable holidays in the UK.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom; a few miles down the coast, the beaches were full of children building sandcastles and playing beach games.
Please remember to let children enjoy the freedoms of the holidays and give them the chance to make their own fun, just like we used to have, and give them back their innocence.
(Updated April 2017)
Photo Credits:amusements, Beach, British Holidays, Outdoor Play, seaside
This post was written by Dr Amanda Gummer