/ Travel & Leisure

Do you like to be beside the seaside?

Blackpool beach at night

As Blackpool takes the ‘best seaside town’ crown, Travel Editor Lorna Cowan looks back on her childhood holidays there with great fondness. So are ‘nostalgia’ holidays becoming the next big British getaway?

Only last week, Which? Holiday announced that the nation’s all-time favourite seaside town was Blackpool. It beat 150 destinations – including Brighton, Whitby, Bournemouth and Scarborough – to take the winning crown.

Perhaps a surprising result for some, but the Lancashire resort is loved for its amusements, entertainment and nightlife, as well as the annual illuminations. To come to our conclusion, we spoke to 4,217 UK adults – 6.7% of them were fans of Blackpool, and many cited its special atmosphere as the reason why they think so fondly of it.

This got me thinking about my yearly childhood holidays in Blackpool. Regardless of where we’d been for the past week or so, I always persuaded my mum and dad to pitch up the caravan in Blackpool for a couple of nights en route home to Scotland.

Today, I’m not quite sure why the town held so much appeal, but it probably had something to do with the fact I’d spent the entire year saving up 1p pieces and desperately needed to find some slot machines (I’m revealing my age here!). And there was so much going on in the seaside resort – well, certainly compared to the mining village where I lived.

It was also the place where Dad would be happy to go on the log flume, Mum would allow us to have chips even though it wasn’t dinner time, and we’d all be treated to a show – be it on the pier, at the Winter Gardens or at the ice rink. It was one of the highlights of our fortnight away.

Reminiscing about it now, I can see why ‘nostalgia’ holidays have become increasingly more popular over the past year. People are returning to seaside towns up and down the British Isles, hoping to relive happy, nostalgic memories of their childhood breaks. But will they delight or disappoint?

Bluealienfish says:
5 July 2010

I think that nostalgia holidays are best avoided.
In my experience, so much will have changed by the time you go back that those happy childhood memories get shattered and you can no longer spend time reminiscing about the ‘good old days’ – but then maybe our memories have become distorted overtime anyway.

I just came back from a brilliant nostalgia weekend in the Isle of Wight. Not only did it bring back childhood memories, we also stayed in vintage 50s caravans called Delia and Stanley! But the best bit was Blackgang Chine – a family attraction that was built in the 70s and hasn’t changed a bit since. It’s seriously like stepping back in time with creaky roller coasters and oversized model creatures. You’ve got to see it to believe it but it beats most of the overly commercial days out you usually encounter.

Kendal Cottages says:
16 August 2010

What I can’t understand about Blackpool is why the beach is so deserted! It’s actually quite a nice beach they have there but for some inexplicable reason everyone just seems to head for the tack of the seafront. Still, at least that keeps the beach nice and quiet…

Have they fixed the raw sewage pipelines just offshore yet?

I was at Blackpool 2 years ago – it was the dingyest place I’ve ever been too – and I’ve travelled Asia.

2nd tackiest ever is Mablethorpe – I was there as a kid, it was heaven – now there’s not a single real shop in the town – every shop is a tacky arcade or chip shop, and I mean every shop.

Why are British seaside towns so tacky?

I’ve never seen a comparable trashy resort in Europe

I visited Mablethorpe last summer for the first time in many years – just for a few hours – and was dismayed at how tacky the place looks. In the main area just about every premise required maintenance ie repairs, paint jobs etc. The beach huts along the seafront look like sheds (many just boarded up no doubt for security) . Three miles away is Sutton on Sea , a very tidy,neat and well kept town.