There’s a lot to love about the British seaside. That fresh ocean breeze, the picturesque beaches and the accompanying childhood memories that they often bring are worth their weight in ice cream.
So in honour of the grand tradition that is the Great UK Seaside Holiday, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite classic seaside traditions in all their quirky, quintessentially British glory (even if some of them peaked in popularity a good 50 years ago!)
Punch and Judy Shows
Sadly, these sometimes bawdy, dubiously child-friendly seaside puppet shows have fallen into slight decline over the decades – but there are still some places you can hear Punch’s slightly terrifying squark berating his poor wooden wife. Punch and Judy shows are as British as scones with clotted cream, and in our opinion, even an iPhone wielding child of 2013 should be treated/forced to a performance – no seaside trip is complete without one!
Donkey Rides On The Beach
Ah, kids of today – if only they knew the pleasures of prancing around an ice cold beach on the back of an ungainly fake horse! Donkey rides on British seaside beaches do still exist, but they are sadly few and far between compared to 20 years ago. The jury is still out for whether anyone really enjoyed it that much – we suspect scared looking children and miserable donkeys – but in the gilded glow of memory, it was an equine holiday dream!
If you can’t enjoy a great hulking plate of heavily battered fish with a side of thick-cut, greasy chips at the seaside, then when can you? Seaside food is eaten out of the bag, quickly, with no regard for normal manners – from munching on a fluorescent bubble of candyfloss to getting young teeth stuck on rock or tearing apart a bag of cockles and whelks, what it lacks in glamour it makes up for in fun.
Yes, so kids generally build sandcastles, but there’s just something about the bucket and spadey Englishness of Proper British Holiday Sandcastles that just seems so evocative of a day at the seaside. Apparently it’s all about choosing the right location for your castle building, if you want an imposing outcome. Too dry or too wet and you’ll get nothing but ruins before you’ve even removed the upside-down bucket.
How anyone ever thought that a delicate constitution would benefit from a dip in the sea off the coast of the UK is beyond me! It’s certainly a seaside tradition in my family to go for a swim with everyone in tow, much as that pained teenage me – do you dare take yours in? We say make sure that you get wetsuited up for the best results!
What do you like best about the good ol’ British seaside?