/ Travel & Leisure

Would you swap Australia’s Bondi for Britain’s Bridlington?

Is Bridlington really a better beach for surfers than Bondi? It is if you believe the government-funded TV ads out now. All in the name of English Tourism Week! So, would you pick Liverpool over the Algarve?

I’m lucky enough to have been to Bondi and Bridlington beaches, and while both had their charms, if I had to choose one for a second visit, it would be the one in Australia not East Yorkshire.

That said, I’m not in a hurry to repeat the experience of flying to Australia. So when Harry Potter’s Rupert Grint asks in the ad why anyone would go all the way to Bondi when there’s Bridlington on the doorstep, the idea of avoiding a long flight appeals.

Are holidays at home great?

Still, as much as I’d love Bridlington to be the equal of Bondi, no amount of wishful thinking is going to make it so.

And I think this wishful thinking has taken over the ad, in which Grint lines up alongside Stephen Fry, Julie Walters and Downton Abbey’s Michelle Dockery to extol the virtues of domestic tourism.

We’re told that the green and pleasant Lake District beats a foreign taverna any day; that Liverpool is better than the Algarve because it has a Tate gallery; and that we should avoid Corfu or Crete because the Olympic Torch won’t be at the Greek Islands.

The Lake District can be stunning, Liverpool is a fine city to visit, and no doubt there’ll be a little thrill in seeing the Olympic Flame. But I wouldn’t swap two sunny weeks in Portugal for a fortnight on Merseyside. Nor do I think a fleeting glimpse of a torch is worth sacrificing some guaranteed sun in the country that invented the Olympics.

I might just risk taking my main annual holiday in the Lakes, but it would be a massive leap of faith in the English weather, which has let me down when I’ve gambled on it previously. So I’m uneasy about the government telling me I’d be mad to leave the country this year.

Will you holiday at home in 2012?

The advert is part of a £4 million campaign to get people holidaying at home, to help both local economies and tax revenues. If I happen to take its advice and the weather and food turns out to be awful, I won’t be getting a tax rebate in return, so I don’t think it’s my patriotic duty to stay at home.

I recognise the government has a duty to promote domestic tourism, but perhaps it could have publicised the delights of England without discouraging people from travelling abroad.

Plenty of outbound travel companies have gone bust over the past few years, and some are no doubt teetering on the brink as we speak. A few lost customers as a result of this campaign might push them over the edge.

What do you think of the ad? Do you think the UK’s holiday spots beat equivalents abroad?

Where will you be holidaying this year?

Both in the UK and abroad (35%, 72 Votes)

In the UK (28%, 57 Votes)

I won't be going away this year (20%, 40 Votes)

Abroad (18%, 36 Votes)

Total Voters: 205

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If you can have a long enough spell to guarantee plenty of fine weather the east coast [especially Norfolk] takes some beating. If you’ve only got a week then a trip to the Med or the Canaries is probably the best answer as sunshine is virtually guaranteed throughout – and it might even be less expensive and more free & easy with better accommodation, luxury facilities, and more desirable attractions. I’m not sure that the British hospitality industry has yet woken up to the need to provide the quality of accommodation, meals, amenities, and entertainment that people want these days – not in Bridlington at least, nor even in Great Yarmouth.

It’s all down to the expectation of good weather really isn’t it?
In OZ and in the Med it’s good in the UK it’s not, and the sea is “freezing” all year round.
If only the inevitable Global warming had some positive effect on us, but with our luck it probably won’t.

As Chris said above, I think the weather is a key issue – if you go on holiday to get a nice tan and sit around in the sunshine then Britain isn’t always going to cut it. Although some places do get gorgeous weather in the summer, there’s still always the worry that you’ll end up sitting in a chip shop in the rain.

Having said that, I love English holidays, and I think that if you can get past the weather there are some stunning places to go. I’m a big fan of Dartmoor and Exmoor – fantastic walking, beautiful views and (depending on whether you’re a camping person!) some great places to stay. I’ve done a lot of travelling before, and the thing I enjoy most is soaking up the different cultures abroad – maybe even trying out some rapidly-learned words. But sunshine and novelty aren’t always the be-all and end-all of holidays – I’m aiming to do more holidaying in the UK, mainly for cost reasons, but also because there’s just so much of it that I haven’t yet explored!

Sophie Gilbert says:
13 March 2012

Horses for courses, I don’t think we’ll ever all want to go abroad for our holidays, or all ever want to stay in Blighty and face bad weather from day one of the holiday. To me, nothing replaces the sound of the cicadas on a Mediterranean summer’s day and a glass of ouzo as an aperitif in a Greek taverna, but then, nothing replaces a dram in a nice pub after a long day’s walk in the Highlands, followed by a pint of lager and a fish supper.

My husband and I try to have two one-week holidays a year, one abroad for warmth and a change of scenery, and one at home in Scotland, for a wee change from Edinburgh, where we live. In Scotland we rent a cottage for a week and treat ourselves to one meal out during that week, usually in a local restaurant with good reviews/Michelin star/ etc (a fish supper has to be good!). Like that it’s cheaper and we don’t have to rely on bad cuisine for our meals. The best of both worlds. However, to be truthful, I think I could face two weeks in the Mediterranean, but I’m not sure about two weeks in Britain. The weather does start to matter after a while…

Like Sophie, getting a balance between going abroad and staying at home is important to me. I like to go abroad with friends, but if I holiday with my family we always opt for the UK – normally heading to Cornwall.

I’m from Dorset which is still a really popular destination for holiday makers, with it’s beautiful countryside and world heritage coastline you can see why. On a sunny day Weymouth beach can get pretty packed. Having said that, a wet summer can be very damaging to local tourism so I think it’s good that the government are reminding people that UK holidays are still an option.

I’m afraid no amount of celebrity endorsement is going to get me choosing the UK over a foreign destination for my holidays this year.

When choosing my holidays I am looking for a warm relaxing break – the UK is too unpredictable for that. Nikki’s hit the nail on the head with her chip shop comment – that’s my worst nightmare, being cold and wet sad indoors with a frown on my face.

In addition to this, I tend to find UK holidays rather expensive for what they are. Yes, a day trip to the beach is cheap but if you want to eat or visit attractions beyond the local museum it all costs – and you’ll end up handing over a few bob!

A few years back I priced up a weekend away for a few friends to Blackpool as many of them were on a budget and, as it turns out, 3 days there cost more than a weeks stay in the canaries.

Jack Hughes says:
26 March 2012

These patronising adverts just sum up the desperation of the UK holiday industry. I live in South Devon. The streets of the main towns at night are awash with noisy drunks and rowdies. Not the nicest place to spend your holiday evenings with a family. So sorry, even with 20.12% off (what knothead thought that up?) I’ll be avoiding the Olympics the torch, the noise, the mediocrity. And especially, I’ll be avoiding Stephen Fry and his tedious ‘I’m so posh and clever’ act. Give us a break. Rolling out tired famous people, or almost famous people doesn’t cut it.
(And, Which, I’m not ‘bored of typing my name and email’ I’m a bit bored BY it – but then I’m clever and a bit posh, and incredibly patronising too, like the adverts).