History of the British seaside holiday

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Holiday in Yarmouth bathing in the seaLooking back to the 18thCentury doctors would prescribe sea bathing as a beneficial aid to health.

A trip to the seaside was a  privilege usually only afforded to the wealthy until the 1840’s, the huge expansion of the railway network saw the first package holidays with entrepreneur Thomas Cook arranging to take his first group across the country by striking a deal with the train companies.  By 1888 his travel agents had sprung up in towns and cities around the world.


Bank HolidayThe history of the bank holiday taking a flight in a suit

The Bank holiday act of 1871 gave bank workers the chance to watch a day’s cricket. People had more time to travel and explore.

If first became a legal right for workers to have holiday leave in 1939.  New Year’s Day was made a bank holiday in 1974.  Most people chose the British seaside for their holidays and would save all year for this special time.  It became clear that the holiday was being firmly fixed as a staple in the calendar of UK life.


It was only with the dawn of car ownership that we had the freedom to explore further than the train stations allowed and saw the start of the camping and caravanning holiday.


As our horizons literally broadened and we watched Judith Chalmers jetting off on ‘Wish you were here’ we had Coco Chanel to thank for seeing the sun tan as a souvenir of a far flung getaway as opposed to the mark of a working peasant labourer.

“The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever”

Jacques Cousteau


With the financial crisis of 2008 the ‘staycation’ became the way to stay with short trips being the preference.  One yearly trip would be spread across up to 3 short breaks instead. This trend has continued with over half of the holidays taken this year being in the UK according to new research.

So if you are looking to avoid the airport delays, enjoy the fantastic coast line and revel in a little luxury then the UK has it all and I would probably echo the recommendations of the 18th Century doctors in prescribing a good day out at the seaside as beneficial to the health and soul of us all.


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