This picture, taken with my good friend Liz at Durdle Door in Dorset (when I had blonde hair and glases), is – in my opinion – the epitome of all that is great about holidaying on the Great British coast (allow me to explain). It is a far cry from your typical summer holiday snap – there is no blazing sun to speak of, no brightly-coloured cocktails and certainly no hint of painful sunburn – as we have now come to know them.
However, I’d like you to cast your mind back to your childhood holidays, which (if you’re from a happy working-class family like me) you’ll remember fondly as a time to have fun away from home with no three-hour wait at an airport, no need for passports or security checks and the ability to speak to new people without having to learn a new language (not that I would ever encourage children to speak to strangers, but you get my point).
I recently read (with some irritation) a free weekly women’s magazine, the theme of which was travel. This issue was packed with pictures of idyllic far-off lands, relaxing spas and long-stretches of white sandy beaches. Now, I’m not opposed to a bit of long-distance travel – far from it – but what I am opposed to is that this magazine featured absolutely no UK-based holiday destinations.
Some people may find the British habit of self-deprecation endearing, but (in my opinion) we have no reason at all to be ashamed of our country as a place to spend a long weekend or a full blown holiday. So, I’m in favour of no more: ‘We’re off on holiday next week?’, ‘Going anywhere nice?’, ‘Oh, just a week in Cornwall’. Did you know that, in the far west of Cornwall, the sea turns turquoise in the sun and the sand is (would you believe it) white?! You may also be interested to know that Spurn Point on the Yorkshire coast is a sand spit stretching for more than 3 miles as a result of longshore drift (you don’t get those everywhere, you know), and those fortunate enough to visit the Scottish Highlands in January may encounter the beauty of the Northern Lights! See, intriguing, isn’t it?
During my research of the UK coastline I found some more fascinating statistics, for example, did you know that the UK coastline (including islands) is three and a half times longer than the coast of Spain and more than five times longer than that of France. Also, the UK is made up of more than 1000 islands and, wherever we are in the country, we are never more than a 2-hour drive from the coastline.
One of my hopes for my impending trip is that it will provide a glimpse of what it means to get back to and enjoy the true beauty of this island we live on. So, the weather may not always be great and it may not, in fact, be the cheapest country to travel in, but it has its own unique charm, breathtaking scenery and some simply fantastic fish and chips! I shall keep you posted on my journey and I hope it goes some way towards encouraging you to make your next holiday a Great British one! 🙂